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Insalata Caprese – Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Much like chilli peppers, basil is an obsession in our food garden and in our cooking. This recipe is one of the first we make every year when the basil starts overflowing with abundance and the first tomatoes ripens on the vines. It’s also the recipe we probably make most during the course of the growing season.

caprese salad with fresh basil
An old time favourite! Caprese salad with fresh basil.

Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri or Tomato and Mozzarella Salad) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, plum tomatoes and basil. Balsamic vinegar, good olive oil, salt and pepper make up the dressing.

According to Wikipedia, ideally, the mozzarella is “di bufala campana“, the olive oil is “extra virgin” from the peninsula of “Sorrento” and the tomatoes and basil are grown in the full sun of the “mezzogiorno“.

This is one of those recipes that celebrates simple food, local produce and healthy eating. It simply bursts with flavour and it is packed with protective antioxidant nutrients and health promoting phytonutrients. It also provides nearly a third of your daily vitamin A and vitamin C requirements and also nearly half of your calcium requirements.

Use tomatoes of any type as long as they burst with flavour. Vine-ripened tomatoes from your own organic food garden are best. You really need top-quality tomatoes for this salad, so if you don’t have any, rather make another salad instead.

Serve Insalata Caprese as an appetizer, or as a side dish. And by the way, the colours of the salad is that of the Italian flag.

Buon appetito!

tomato mozzarella salad

Insalata Caprese
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serve the salad immediately or cover and set aside at room temperature for an hour or so to allow the flavours to develop. When serving later, dress with only half the oil and vinegar.
By:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
  • 4 large ripe, full-flavoured tomatoes
  • 225 g mozzarella cheese
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 75 ml fresh basil leaves, shredded fine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Cut the tomatoes into thin (about 3 - 5 mm) slices and slice to mozzarella to a similar thickness.
  2. Sprinkle your serving plate with a dash of salt and a twist of black pepper.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella in slightly overlapping circles on the seasoned serving plate.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle over shredded basil leaves.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

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Potato Wedges with Rosemary and Thyme – Recipe

A favourite in almost every household and restaurant, this potato wedges recipe can be enjoyed as a snack, side dish, or as a light meal on its own. I love serving it with a juicy steak or as a quick snack with sweet chili sauce or a dipping sauce.

You almost can’t make a mistake with this recipe and if you do, well then you might have just created your own signature version of it.

Potato Wedges

Potato Wedges with Rosemary and Thyme
 
By:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
  • 6 large potatoes (peeled)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt & pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 C with a roasting pan inside
  2. Cut the potatoes into wedges about 1 cm thick.
  3. Boil the potato wedges in salted water for about 5-6 minutes until just tender not soft.
  4. Drain the potato wedges and pat dry with paper towel.
  5. Remove the hot roasting pan from the oven and scatter the potatoes in the pan.
  6. Coat the potato wedges with the garlic, herbs, olive oil, salt & pepper. Use tongs to toss all the ingredients to make sure everything is mixed properly.
  7. Bake for 10-15 min until golden brown and crispy, turning regularly during baking. Remove and serve.
Notes
Variations: Baby potatoes cut in halves. Add a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice. Tip: Use fresh herbs and not dried, as the fresh herbs flavours will develop more in the oven. Make sure the potato wedges are well coated with olive oil as this is vital in getting them crispy.

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Avocado Dip with Chives and Marjoram

Ripe avocados are an almost complete food. Giving us lots of natural potassium, beta-carotene, vitamin E, some vitamin B and C, a little protein and starch and avocado oil, which is mainly a monounsaturated fat. Avocado, chives and marjoram, is a match made in heaven and its healthy indulgence at its best.

avocado dip

Avocado Dip with Chives and Marjoram
 
Prep time
Total time
 
By:
Serves: 2
  • For each avocado use:
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Halve the avocado and remove the stone.
  2. Scoop out the flesh, without damaging the skin, and mash it with the lemon juice.
  3. Blend in the cream, chives and marjoram and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Pile back into avocado skins (or scoop into a small serving bowl) and add a few sprigs chives or marjoram as a garnish.
  5. Serve with crisp bread, potato chips or as is.
  6. The variations on this recipe are nearly endless. Add a little crushed garlic, chopped chillies, chervil, cilantro, tarragon or flat-leaf parsley in whatever ratios you feel like. But be careful, too much garlic and tarragon can easily overpower the avocado.
Notes
The variations on this recipe are nearly endless. Add a little crushed garlic, chopped chillies, chervil, cilantro, tarragon or flat-leaf parsley in whatever ratios you feel like. But be careful, too much garlic and tarragon can easily overpower the avocado.