Monday, 11 June 2007

Strata & Strawberries

The boys and I were on our own for supper tonight - Hubby's shift changed at the last minute. I decided to cook this cheese strata, which is one of those brilliant standby dishes I always have all the ingredients for. As a bonus, it's very easy to throw together and fantastically comforting. A strata is basically cheese sandwiches baked in a savoury custard. I sometimes put some chopped cooked bacon in, or some slices of ham in the sandwiches along with the cheese. I think granary bread gives the best texture and flavour, but use some decent white bread if you prefer to. I use Dijon mustard because it's what I tend to have in the house, but any mustard will be fine, or leave it out entirely if you're not keen.

Cheese Strata

6 slices granary bread
100g cheddar cheese, finely grated

Spread the bread with butter and a little mustard. Use 75g of the cheese to make sandwiches. Cut off the crusts and slice the sandwiches in half diagonally. Arrange the sandwiches in an ovenproof dish with the points pointing (ha!) upwards. You may need to cut one of the halves into two to fill the ends of dish if your dish is oval like mine.

200ml milk
2 eggs
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Beat these together with a little black pepper. Pour the mixture over the sandwiches in the dish, making sure you soak all the protruding parts. Scatter over the remaining 25g of grated cheese, then bake at 200°c for 25 minutes. Allow to cool a little before serving. At this time of year, there's nothing better than a big bowl of gorgeous ripe tomatoes to eat with it.

As a quick pudding, I sliced some strawberries that I got cheap because they were a little over-ripe. To each serving, after dolloping on some nice thick cream, I added one of the coconut biscuits that I made yesterday. This is a really good use for any biscuits that spread a little too much on the baking sheet and join up at the edges with their neighbour. Pop them in a pudding bowl with some fruit and cream and it looks terribly clever and entirely deliberate (which, of course, it is).

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