A quick dinner for five
It´s not only I who am stressed and at my wit´s end with the heat of summer and the pressure of all the workload that has to be handed in before August.
My friends are all like that, too, or so it seems. We exchange a lot of emails that usually end with a hopeless "we really should get together sometime".
And then yesterday, magically, we decided to finally go ahead,and have dinner at my house. The decision was taken at 8, so there was just enough time to go to the market before they closed. I rushed out to buy ice , tonic and lemons, which would be needed no matter what, and ran over menu possibilities on the way there.
I´d have loved to try something new or spectacular, but there was really no time, so I opted for trusted warhorses ; focaccia, green beans in vinaigrette, and a pasta salad.
It´s a menu that can be done a few hours in advance. This time I didn´t have hours, but I did want half an hour´s quiet before they arrived, enough for a shower at least.
The first thing was to make the focaccia dough, and leave at least half an hour´s rising time. With the Thermomix that´s just a matter of pressing a few buttons.
While it rested, I boiled the beans, mixed the vinaigrette with some bottled mayo, sliced the tomatoes, and chopped the chalottes.
As the pasta boiled, I also found time to grate cucumbers and chop mint for a raita-ish dip with a bit of cumin and sesame thrown in.
Once all this was done, I put the focaccia in the oven and went off to breathe a little.
The dough didn´t rise as it should have. Maybe I didn´t leave it long enough, or maybe it was too hot in the kitchen. Probably the yeast was a bit old, having been in my freezer four months. So it was crusty and brittle, but tasted very good.
It was good to see everyone before we all disperse for the summer.
Btw, that drawing is nothing like us , of course, but the kitchen is very vaguely inspired on mine, which has red walls too.
adapted from the Ballymaloe cookery course
250 gr. pasta in a smallish shape
2 big jars of beans, preferably dark, and if possible, two different kinds, for a prettier effect
200 gr. tuna in olive oil
Chopped parsley, and some other herbs if you like (chives are good)
Vinaigrette , as much as you like
Ideally, you should mix the vinaigrette some hours before, and leave the beans soaking in it. They will drink it up, and be very flavourful and very cold. When you add the hot pasta and toss them together, they both achieve the perfect temperature. Then all you do is throw in the chopped herbs and the tuna.
This can sit around for quite a while, but be sure to check for seasoning before you serve it. It seems to soak up vast amounts.