I go for cook books that show me recipes that look appetising and achievable rather than style over substance, so when perusing my local book shop, I spotted The Half Hour Cook. Does anyone own this? It was shoved to one side in the window whilst the big TV chefs took up centre shelf and it was on offer for just £5.
One flick through the big names and it was a massive ‘meh’ but this one is brilliant. It’s exactly how a cook book should be – beautifully illustrated, straight to the point and full of hundreds of recipes you can’t resist. The big appeal with The Half Hour Cook book is well, in the title itself. I’ve bookmarked several recipes I can’t wait to try and the first one I went for was Tomato and Mozzerella Toasts.
I had most of the ingredients, it was so simple and even better, it took 5 minutes to make. You can prepare these hours ahead before they are toasted in the oven or a short while before serving.
If you’re looking for inspirational finger food over the tiresome hummus and vegetable dips or salsa with tortilla chips, try this. It’s also great to snack on too.
Drained Mozzeralla cheese (chopped or shredded)
Dried mixed herbs or oregano
Ground black pepper
Oven setting: Gas mark 7/220°C (425°F)
- Preheat the oven to the required setting. Also preheat the grill. Slice the baguette diagonally into slices of about 1.5cm wide and discard the ends (well, I’ll eat them too). Now I’ve not specified the measurements because it’s down to how many you would like to make. I used half a baguette which was adequate for 2 to 3 people so a large one will serve 4 to 6. For the rest of the ingredients you will know how much to use. The book states quantities to serve 6 to 8.
- Grill both sides of the slices until lightly toasted.
- Spread tomato puree on one side of each slice.
- Arrange the mozzarella over the tomato puree.
- Lay the toasts on a baking sheet, sprinkle with herbs and pepper to taste, and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is bubbling.
- Leave the toasts to settle for a couple of minutes before serving.
- You may want to add extras like chopped chorizo, peppers, mushrooms, sweetcorn – well, whatever takes your fancy.
OK, it’s essentially posh pizza in bite sized portions but come on, how simple and obvious are these without trying too hard? A lot of the ingredients are things you will use relentlessly so you’re just making good use of them. What do you think? I’d love to know your thoughts.