Kevin Dundon's speed meals
IF YOU’RE looking for a couple of quick recipes for an impromptu al-fresco supper, these two will do nicely.
My lovely creamy aubergine and ricotta gratin pairs so well with barbecued meats (particularly lamb) and is perfect as a quick vegetarian dish too.
Ricotta cheese works really well in this recipe.
It’s a great creamy cheese with fine textured curds, similar to cottage cheese but creamier.
I have used basil and oregano in this recipe to pack in more flavour. Rosemary, chives and tarragon would work too.
And to follow, a lovely fresh summer fruit salad with strawberries and cherries, mixed with crushed meringue and served with a dallop of freshly whipped cream – an alternative eton mess, of sorts
When making your meringues, have the egg whites at room temperature as cold egg whites incorporate less air. A good tip is to separate the egg whites from the yolks into two ramekins before transferring the egg whites to a large bowl. This way if a yolk leaks into the white you will not spoil all the egg whites.
Another important point is to ensure all your utensils are free from traces of fat- (butter and oil or egg yolk) as this would inhibit the egg whites from incorporating air and getting good stiff peaks.
Aubergine and Toonbridge ricotta gratin
3 aubergines, sliced
3 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
2 x 400g tins tomato
2 tsp oregano
450g Toonbridge dairy buffalo ricotta
150g + 50g Parmesan, grated
2 tsp basil
1 Preheat the oven to 220˚C/425˚F/gas mark 7. Lay the aubergine slices on a large roasting tray and drizzle with some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
2 Pour the tinned tomatoes into a pan and add the oregano and simmer for 15 minutes over a low heat. Season with salt and pepper if required.
3 In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper and basil.
4 Place a layer of aubergine into a baking dish and cover with a layer of the cheese and herb mixture. Continue to layer until you have used up all the ingredients, and sprinkle 50g of parmesan on the top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until bubbling and golden.
Strawberry & cherry fresh fruit salad with lime zest
250g cherries, stone removed
250g strawberries, halved
1 lime, zest and juice
1 vanilla pod, seeded
1 tbsp icing sugar
100g whipped cream
2 meringue nests (see recipe below or use shop bought)
1 Place the fruits in a bowl with the lime juice and zest, vanilla seeds and icing sugar. Shake to combine and leave to marinate covered with clingfilm for 1 hour.
2 When marinated, crush the meringue and fold into the cream. Serve the marinated fruit with a dollop of meringue cream.
For the meringues
160g or 6 egg whites
320g caster sugar
½ teaspoon of Corn flour
½ teaspoon of vanilla essence
½ teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1 Preheat oven to 120°C/240°F/ Gas mark ½. Put the egg whites into a spotlessly-clean mixing bowl of a kitchen aid and beat on full speed until quite stiffly beaten.
2 Turn the speed of the mixer down and slowly add the sugar, a little at a time. When all the sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla essence, cornflour and vinegar and give it one final whisk on high speed. When ready, the mixture should be glossy and when the bowl is turned upside down, the mixture should remain stationary in the bowl.
3 Prepare your baking tray (13x9 inches) with parchment paper. Pipe the meringue into nest sizes. Bake in the oven for one hour, until the meringue is firm but still soft on the middle. I normally leave mine to cool in the oven with the door ajar.