Caponata with a goats’ cheese crust – Christmas starter

I love making starters, particularly fussy little pastry contrivances. But Christmas dinner can be an all-out onslaught on the digestion, so something lighter seemed necessary. After an hour or so spent building a fort out of recipe books and looking for something that fit the bill, I failed completely and settled upon caponata. It’s vegetarian, certainly. But it is not light.

Caponata is a rich stew of aubergines and tomatoes, with handfuls of capers and olives. It’s what you’d get to if you spent months trying to re-engineer tapenade into a casserole. It has a sweet and sour edge, and looks lovely – like a rougher aubergine caviar, and just as richly savoury.

So obviously I put goats’ cheese on it. Obviously.

Caponata with a goats' cheese crouton
Caponata with a goats’ cheese crouton

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Broad and green bean gnocchi with goats’ cheese

Something very quick and simple. Throw in a spot of garlic and probably-unnecessary parsley, and the ingredients list is basically the recipe.

Two bean and goats' cheese pasta
Simple, and decidedly tasty

I was going to do this with just broad beans and wilted rocket, but it seemed a shame to throw out the lingering end of the fine green beans, and on balance I think this was a good call.

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