Monday Munchies : Basil, Goats Cheese and Tomato Bruschetta.

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I must confess that I did not actually make my basil pesto, goats cheese and tomato bruschetta (Brew-Sket-tah) this weekend. After a week of frantic thesis writing and teaching, I was feeling lazy and my weekend consisted of all the carbs, all the pizza and all the wine. I even had pasta for breakfast one morning and I don’t regret a thing. Pasta has every right to be a breakfast cereal too.

So, excuses aside, today I have decided to recycle an old go-to recipe that I just love and adore. It is delicious, super simple to make and the perfect treat for a tapas evening or a party in need of some brightly coloured nibbles.

This antipasto which hails from Italy boasts immense charm and is a big part of the olive harvest in Tuscany. It has been dubbed as the “original garlic bread” by Colman Andrews and can be kept simple – with chopped tomatoes – or jazzed up to incorporate your favourite flavours. Perhaps it was my early obsession with Wallace and Gromit, but I like to add some cheese to mine! After all, a day without cheese is a very sad day indeed.

So, my ode to cheese aside. This is what you will need:

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  • A French Loaf, or ciabatta. I just love the olive ciabatta from Woolies, but any will do and I prefer to buy it fresh on the day.
  • Olive oil (To drizzle over the ciabatta before you toast it… and by drizzle, I mean glug!)
  • Basil Pesto (Store bought if you are feeling lazy, or home-made if you are feeling adventurous. If you are doing your own then you will need basil leaves, some rocket, olive oil, Parmesan and pine nuts. And also a blender. So sometimes, unless your inner Nigella is calling, a store bought option is easier, albeit not as authentic.)
  • Goats cheese (I usually just get the Fairview Chevin from Pick n Pay, but any goats cheese will do. Though I think the creamy ones are better and more delicious for this dish.)
  • Rosa tomatoes (I find Rosa tomatoes so much sweeter than the cherry tomatoes).
  • Fresh basil leaves (If you love your basil, I definitely recommend getting yourself a basil plant. They are so easy to look after and add such colour and flavour to almost any dish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

What to do:

  • Cut your ciabatta into 1 cm thick slices (and if you are a bread fiend like myself, try not to eat every slice as you cut it!) Then drizzle with olive oil (using a brush is helpful) and rub a freshly cut clove of garlic over the bread for extra flavour.
  •  Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste and pop in the oven or a griddle pan until toasty. I prefer to grill them on a lower heat so that the olive oil can seep into the bread and so that it doesn’t burn.
  • Once the bread has cooled layer the basil pesto, goats cheese and rosa tomatoes and garnish with a fresh basil leaf or two and enjoy!

If you want to make your own pesto :

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  •  Combine two cups of basil leaves (I also enjoy adding some rocket), 2-3 cloves of garlic (again I am a garlic fiend so I always go for more!)  and  1/4 cup pine nuts in your food processor or blender. Pulse the mixture until they are all very finely chopped.
  • Add 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 a cup of Parmesan cheese and continue to blend until smooth.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

I am excitingly going to be going to Florence in July. So perhaps my Bruschetta skills will improve after experiencing some authentic Tuscan cuisine.

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