Sunday, March 27, 2011

No-Cook Tomato Sauce with Olives

This is one of my favourite no-cook pasta ‘sauces’. I’ve always had one ingredient missing (capers) whenever I seem to have the rest of the ingredients in the house, but even without capers it still tastes good. The proper title is ‘Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce’ and it’s from the Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Murdoch books.

What you’ll need:
* 4 spring onions, chopped so finely it’s almost minced
* 4 firm ripe tomatoes (or 250g cherry tomatoes, halved).
* 8 stuffed green olives (or more – I used lots as we love olives, stuffed or otherwise) halved
* 2 tablespoons capers (didn’t have it)
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* ½ teaspoon dried oregano
* 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 500g spaghetti or other dried pasta

What to do:
Except for the pasta, mix all ingredients (previously chopped, halved etc) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Cook and drain pasta according to packet instructions (or until you remember the pasta is still on the stove). Add cold sauce to hot pasta, mix well. (The books suggests, adding 1/3 cup of fresh basil leaves but I haven’t tried that yet…).

Red Pepper Soup

A bag of peppers were going cheap at the Asian Veg shop in Dandenong, so I did a web-search and found a couple of recipes that are worth a try. But, as sometimes happens from printer to kitchen counter – I then remembered this recipe from my collection of Margaret Fulton’s mini cookbooks and thought I’d give it a go instead. Inspired by the Sweet Pepper Soup from Margaret’s book of Soups and Starters, this is my version of a creamy red pepper soup without the cream:

I used:
* 45g butter
* 1 large onion, quartered
* 4 cloves, garlic, peeled and left whole (the book recommends 1)
* ¼ cup plain flour
* 4 cups vegetable stock
* 500g red peppers, quartered
* 1 dried red chilli, whole
* 1 teaspoon chopped thyme (fresh, or ½ teaspoon dried)
* 1 spring onion, chopped fine (optional, i.e. it’s not in the book)
* Salt and black pepper (pepper is optional)

What I did:
Added butter and onions into a pan all at once (this way, I don’t have to worry about the butter burning while I multi-task in the kitchen). Fry until onions are softened. Add two of the garlic cloves. Fry for a couple of minutes. Then add flour and cook for a further 2 minutes. Gradually add stock, stirring constantly and bring to a boil.
Add red peppers, chilli, tomatoes and thyme (as well as black pepper). Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until vegetables are cooked. Turn off heat. Then add last two garlic cloves (yes, raw!) and the sliced up spring onion and slender blend. Add salt to taste.
This soup might have more of a punch if the red peppers are roasted, but that’s another soup for another day.