I was wondering around the food stalls at Southbank last week – I’d gone there for the Darbar Festival – and stumbled upon an Italian stall serving bruschetta when it suddenly started raining. As I waited under the canopy for the rain to die down – it was one of those days with short bursts of intense rain and I had, as always, not checked the forecast and therefore had no umbrella – I noticed bright red cherry tomatoes roasting away in their small grill. When they pulled out the tray to check if the tomatoes were cooked and drained of water, the aroma, as intense as the beautiful colour, made me desperately want to taste them. “Sure,” and he chopped and gave me one. Sweet little cherry tomatoes drizzled with a little olive oil and Bread Tree‘s own authentic herb mix. I instantly wanted more and decided to go home and make something with cherry tomatoes.
I bought the extra spicy chilli sauce from Bread Tree and used that the following day to make a spicy, colourful and energetic cherry tomato and chickpea topping for courgette ribbons. Not that this was the actual plan… but when is it ever fun to plan things! As I was mixing it together, I added whole garlic cloves and half avocados to roast away with them, and decided that some thick yoghurt whisked with sizzling whole cumin seeds would make for the perfect saucy addition to the courgettini. I left the tray in the grill for at least half an hour, mixing it every now and again, careful not to burn any of the vegetables.
When I took it out of the oven, the garlic and avocado were slightly brown, perhaps just a little burnt – burnt to perfection possibly, the cherry tomatoes looked succulent and juicy, and the chickpeas somewhat crisp. It smelt and looked divine.. something I wanted to eat right there and then, not wait to photograph. I chewed on a couple of chickpeas and laid the the vegetables on the courgette ribbons, added a few basil leaves and a mix of sesame seeds for that extra pizzazz, and then, lastly, the spoonfuls of sizzling cumin yoghurt here and there.
And voila – an artistically delicious melange of colours and flavours, a perfect sharing plate. All inspired by a bout of rain, seductive aromas and enticing colours…
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Mira Manek's desire for healthy cooking combines her love of traditional Indian cuisine with her mother and grandmother's recipes to create lighter, healthier dishes.