We’ve been hit by some amazingly beautiful weather lately. We are approaching our third summer in London and boy did we learn fast! Sunny and warm days are so rare and far in between that you gotta grab them as soon as you see a small clearing in the sky. You know you’ve met a true Londoner if he is sporting shorts, flip flops and pale legs in 17C weather. I believe we are quickly moving in that direction.
Balmy days call for picnics and fresh food. Nothing could be better than stretching out on a blanket in the Greenwich park after the empty picnic basket has been tossed aside and enjoy watching your little ones run wild. That’s exactly what we did this past bank holiday Monday. And the food was definitely worth writing about. Fresh, simple, quick and delicious.
My picnic menu was inspired by these things: a baby olive tree growing in my front yard and a bowl of ripe red tomatoes.
A Bruschetta Trio was born. Eggplant and Mint. Artichoke, Lemon and Mint. Tomato and Basil.
Brad and I really enjoy a meal of little bites, one that could be thrown together within minutes but lingers in your memory for days. This is one of those meals! Colours, smells, textures will send all of your senses into overdrive.
- Eggplant-2 medium
- Olive Oil-2 tbsp.
- Balsamic Vinegar (or any other vinegar)- 1 tbsp.
- Fresh Flat leaf Parsley- 4 sprigs (leaves only)
- Fresh Mint- 6 sprigs (leaves only)
- Garlic- 1 clove
- Salt and Pepper
Slice eggplant 1/8″ thick and grill on a hot grill or griddle about 3-5 minutes on each side or until cooked and not spongy anymore. While eggplant is getting grilled. Mixed together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped parsley and mint, finely chopped garlic. Add the cooked eggplant to the bowl, mix with a pinch of salt and pepper. Done.
Ingredients for Artichoke, Lemon and Mint Bruschetta:
- Artichokes- 1 jar
- Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
- Garlic- 2 cloves
- Mint- 2 sprigs
- Olive Oil (optional)
If your prepared artichokes were packed in oil like mine skip adding oil to your bruschetta. Chop up artichokes in bite sized chunks and add the rest of the ingredients. Voila your Artichoke and Mint Bruschetta is ready. I told you it was easy. It should also be noted that although it doesn’t look as appealing as eggplant and tomato it can definitely rival them in taste.
- Ripe Tomatoes (deseeded)- 5 medium
- Fresh Basil- a handful
- Garlic- 1-2 cloves
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 1 tbsp.
- Salt and Pepper
Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze the seeds out, chop them finely or chunky-your choice, put them a bowl. Tear basil leaves into the same bowl, add garlic, olive oil and season with salt and pepper. It’s very important you only use very ripe tomatoes and good quality olive oil because that’s where your flavour is going to come from.
Finally, slice a loaf of crusty bread (ciabatta is my favourite) and grill the slices until a bit crispy. Load up your bread right before serving, otherwise it will get soggy very quickly or let your guests do the work themselves. They will love it!
To round up the meal serve with some olives, salami and cheese or use the Bruschetta Trio as a lovely starter.