Only just, as well - the end of our meal was rudely interrupted by a crash of thunder, so (putting aside any wistful thoughts of a evening spent lingering in the sun with a drink) we rushed the children and the crockery inside before the rain came down. And how it came down!
Never mind, at least we did get supper outside tonight. We've had lunch outside for the last few days, but I hadn't been quite brave enough to go the whole hog until this evening. It was a lovely supper, though; just right for a warm evening and not too many pots to wash up afterwards. We started with chickpea patties and tzatziki. I used to make the patties for the children, when they were babies, as early finger food and I suddenly thought how easy it would be to make them again; to use for ambulant snacks or as part of a first course.
Cheesy Chickpea Patties
Strong Cheddar or Parmesan are my choices for the cheese, however any hard cheese would suffice.
2 x 410g cans chickpeas, drined and rinsed
60g cheese, grated (and see above)
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp tahini paste (if you have it)
2 tbsp olive oil
Bung everything in the processor and whizz to form a nubbly purée. Scoop out spoonfuls of the mixture onto baking sheets, then bake for 30 minutes at 160°c until just tinged with brown. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight box until needed.
To go with, I made tzatziki. For me, it is the apotheosis of hot-weather food and during the summer I make it once a week or thereabouts, as inevitable as the rain which follows the heat. I should own up, here, that I have never been to Greece, but I did know a lot of Greek students at university and something rubbed off, I guess. This is so easy and way better than the dismal stuff you can buy in a tub.
The easiest way to dry the rinsed cucumber is to put it on a clean teatowel, gather up the corners and squeeze!
500g tub Greek yoghurt
2 tsp 'Lazy Garlic'
1 tsp lemon juice
Quarter the cucumber lengthways and scoop the 'seedy' bit out of the centre with a spoon. Chop the cuke and plce in a colander. Sprinkle with salt, mix well then put a plate on top and set aside for 20 minutes or so to draw out excess water. Rinse and dry (see above). Mix the dégorged (for that is what you have done) cucumber with the other ingredients in a large bowl. Serve with, well, anything you like really.
The main course that followed is really simple and well received by all (maybe not veggies). You can, once assembled, freeze this in the dish, if it's freezerproof, then cook it (once defrosted) for 20 minutes at the same temperature given in the recipe. If you aren't prepared to 'lose' your oven dish to the freezer, line it with a big sheet of foil before you assemble the melt. You then freeze it like this and, once solid, simply 'pop' out the foil-bottomed block, wrap it over and return to the freezer. Bingo! I made one of these towards the end of both my pregnancies, to provide sustenance after each of our babies were born.
25g butter, melted
1 small onion, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
2 x 160g cans tuna in spring water, drained
4 tbsp mayonnaise
150g Cheddar cheese, grated
Peel and grate the potatoes. Line the bottom of an ovenproof dish with the grated potato, press down and brush with the melted butter. Bake at 180°c for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the other ingredients (bar the cheese) together. When the potato-lined dish is ready, spread the tuna mix over the base and top with the grated cheese (this is the point at which to cool and freeze it). Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.