If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have noticed a lot of complaining over the last couple of weeks about moving house. Like, a LOT. It really is the worst – there’s always so much more to pack than you think, and then once you’ve loaded a million boxes and done a thousand trips in the car, there’s all the cleaning left to deal with. And to add insult to injury, once all THAT’S done, you have to tackle unpacking at the other end. Ugh.
The worst thing about moving this time around though, is adjusting to living with my parents again – and this time, with Matt. As much as we appreciate the opportunity, we always knew it would be difficult to swap a two bedroom flat for my parents’ spare room, but as we try to find space for all our things, it’s just dawning how difficult. And that’s with two thirds of our belongings in storage, too. But it’s for the greater good – by the end of the year we’ll hopefully have our own place… and if not, we’ll have a lot of money in the bank! It’s going to be a challenging few months, but I think we can do it.
Expedia challenged me to make a romantic Italian-themed meal for Matt and I in celebration of Valentine’s Day, but as you saw, we could only manage takeaway pizza on the big day (and even though pizza is technically Italian, I don’t think Domino’s counts…). And so, a few days later, I took over my Mum’s kitchen and made a romantic Italian-themed meal for Matt and I. And my parents. Because sometimes you have to ignore the theme, and just make your Mum and Dad a nice thank you meal for disrupting their home all weekend and leaving your chaos everywhere. I’ll move those boxes soon, Mum, promise.
I was sent a bumper pack of goodies to help put together my post, which did a lot of the recipe-building for me, but I always want to try and add my own twist. So I decided to invent the ultimate bruschetta loaf, instead. This baby is a result of the unholy union between bruschetta and garlic bread, and believe me - you need it in your life.
Tomato Bruschetta Garlic Bread
6-8 large tomatoes (plum are best)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3-4 spring onions, chopped
3-4 spring onions, chopped
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 tsp olive oil
Big bunch of basil, finely chopped
2 part baked ciabatta baguettes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Serves 4-6 as a starter
1. Preheat the oven to 180c / gas mark 4
2. Dice the tomatoes and put in a big bowl, along with 2 of the garlic cloves, the spring onions, the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil
3. Add about half the basil to the bowl, a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper, then stir everything together and cover
4. In a smaller bowl, add half the butter and put in the microwave until softened slightly (not completely liquid). Then add the other 2 garlic cloves and the other half of the basil to the bowl, and stir
5. Put the baguettes in a baking tray, then slice about 2/3rds of the way down, leaving the bottom of the loaves intact - basically how garlic bread would usually be sliced
6. Slice the remaining, unmelted butter into fine slices and squeeze them into the slices on the ciabatta loaf
7. Pour the mixture of butter, garlic and basil over the baguettes, trying to squeeze it into the slices if possible
8. Smear the baguettes with a little olive oil to add crunch, then add to the oven
9. Cook for 10-12 minutes until the baguettes are browned and the butter has melted and absorbed
10. Get the baguettes out, transfer to a plate and then pile the tomato bruschetta mixture over the top. Garnish with a few basil leaves, and stir. Messy, garlicky as hell, but daaaamn good.
Serve with big bowls of truffle spaghetti, chicken arrabiata, pumpkin ravioli, tomato and mozzarella salad along with lashings of red wine. And cheese to finish, obvs.
Thanks to Expedia for providing the ingredients for this post as part of their #ExpediaWorldonaPlate campaign.