I have a minor confession: I’m ever-so-slightly addicted to food magazines. There are worse things to be addicted to though, so it’s all good (flawless logic). Also, I’m not addicted to any-and-every food magazine out there, oh no, I’m quite picky – it has to be well laid-out and intelligently written, have lots of mouth-watering photos, contain a majority of recipes that I’m actually likely to make and I have to be confident that the recipes will work. For this month’s Random Recipe challenge, we had to randomly pick a recipe from our collection of magazines or recipe cuttings (we all have them!). My recipe cuttings are in several different folders and I have some saved on my laptop and some still saved on my old laptop because I haven’t quite got round to transferring them, making randomly choosing a recipe rather impractical. So I decided to go for the magazine option.
I may or may not have slightly flouted the rules and not picked my magazine randomly. All with good reason though. See, to justify my food magazine habit, I’ve made a rule for myself: if I buy a food magazine, I have to try at least two recipes from it (though nothing happens if I don’t). So I picked out the September 2011 issue of delicious. because A) I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet and B) we’re in September so it should have seasonal recipes in it (if I’d had September issues from previous years, I’d have mixed them all up and chosen one randomly). Out came the trusty calculator with its random number generator which pointed me to page 19: a mouth-watering photo of a three-cheese summer vegetable bake. Sounds yummy to me!
It turned out to be very yummy indeed, although there seemed to be an issue with the stated cooking times because they were certainly not long enough to cook all the vegetables (especially the potatoes) through. Which disappointed me somewhat I’ve never had an issue with the recipes in delicious. before. Have I just been lucky up until now? It was hardly a disaster though – on taking the bake out of the oven to remove the foil and scatter the cheese over the top, it was quite obvious that the vegetables weren’t nearly cooked enough, so it went back in the oven for a little while. No biggie. Except that we had lunch (which we eat as our main meal, French-style) rather later than planned. Once it came out of the oven properly cooked, it was rather delicious, filling but not too heavy, which is always a good thing! Since the recipe uses seasonal vegetables, I’m also submitting it to this month’s Simple and in Season blog event over at Fabulicious Food.
Three-cheese summer vegetable bake
Adapted from delicious. (September 2011)
I love the combination of vegetables in this dish – I don’t really tend to use fennel much, so it’s something a little different. I also really liked that this dish was filling, but not too heavy. I had to increase the cooking times quite significantly to the ones given here so that the vegetables (particularly the potatoes) were cooked through, so do be aware of that, and if you don’t think it’s quite cooked enough, don’t be afraid to pop it back in the oven for another 10 mins or so!
1 fennel bulb
2 large potatoes
1 red pepper
2 garlic cloves
Handful fresh parsley
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
100g smoked ham
250g mozzarella ball
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
2. Finely slice the fennel bulb, potatoes, courgette and de-seeded red pepper and finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and fresh parsley. Mix them all together in a bowl with the flour and season well.
3. Place a third of the vegetable mix in a large ovenproof dish. Tear the ham into pieces and scatter half of it over the vegetables. Scatter half of the ricotta and a third of the torn mozzarella over the top of the ham. Cover with half the remaining vegetable mix, followed by the remaining ham, remaining ricotta and half the remaining mozzarella. Evenly scatter the remaining vegetable mix over the top. Set the left over mozzarella aside for later.
4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour, before removing the foil and scattering the grated parmesan and remaining mozzarella. Bake for a further 30-35 mins until golden. Serve immediately.