Here in the UK we’ve been enjoying blissfully balmy weather this October. To date, I have yet to don my winter coat, which would have been unheard of in past years. As such we’ve not been craving heavier stews and curries, but instead continuing to enjoy lighter food that we would eat in the summer months. So when my friend Vritti, the founder of Binge Magazine (have you bought your copy yet? I took a couple of the photos, including the front cover and one of the articles – you can buy your copy here), made a whirlwind visit to London from Dublin, I wanted to cook something fuss free, light and delicious for lunch.
I adore sourdough bread, so opted to make toasted sour dough with goats cheese, radish, watercress, lemon zest and pink peppercorns with a honey, lemon dressing. Lots of colours, textures and flavours each complementing one another.
On the side I cooked a simple leek and potato soup that was both light and flavoursome. I garnished with a dollop of creme fraiche and fresh chives adding another layer of flavours. Both dish are relatively quick to rustle up and can be made a little in advance as the toasted sourdough is best eaten at room temperature and the soup can be heated upon the arrival of your guests.
Toasted sourdough with goats cheese, broad beans, watercress and radish
150g broad beans (frozen or fresh), boiled and skins removed
6 large pieces of fresh sour dough
2 cloves of garlic
150g smooth goats cheese
3 handfuls of fresh watercress (you could also use rocket)
4 pink radishes, finely sliced (I find a mandolin great for doing this, but be careful about your fingers!)
1 tsp pink peppercorns, roughly ground
1 lemon, zest only
salt (optional – I find you don’t need any due to the goats cheese)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp running honey or agave
juice from 1 small lemon
- First boil the broad beans for 4 minutes and when cool de-pod them and place to one side.
- Next make the dressing, taste to test the balance is right for you. If it is too acidic then add a little more honey.
- Place the sour dough under a grill and when it is delicately bronzed turn over and repeat. Be warned it burns easily so really monitor this process.
- Remove the toasted sour dough from the oven and rub the garlic cloves over each piece so that a hint of garlic lingers on each piece.
- Spread a generous amount of goats cheese on each piece of toasted sourdough. Layer up all the other ingredients: broad beans, watercress, radishes. Sprinkle with lemon zest, pink peppercorns and salt if using.
- Finally sprinkle, using a teaspoon, the dressing over all the pieces. Cut each piece of sour dough in half and plate up.
Leek and Potato Soup
3 leeks, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
2 large potatoes, diced
1 vegetable stock cube
water to cover the vegetables
pepper and salt to taste
creme fraiche and finely chopped fresh chives to serve
- In a large deep pan heat the butter and once melted add the leeks, onion, potato and bay leaves.
- Move around the pan for 5 minutes before adding the stock cube, water and milk to cover the ingredients. I have purposely not given a precise amount of water to be added as I find some people prefer a thicker soup than others. I tend to opt more for the slightly thinner soup.
- Leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes, by which time the potato will be soft. Remove the bay leaves and then blend, using a hand blender, until smooth. Add more water if you want to thin out the soup.
- When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and add a dollop of creme fraiche and some finely chopped chives.
A great combination that looks colourful and healthy and is packed with lots of fresh flavours.