Summer pudding with pesto? (bill’s pesto puddings)

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As summer ebbs away,  you may still find that there is still an abundance of courgettes and tomatoes in the garden and if you are lucky basil. Even if you don’t have a vegetable garden, someone is bound to press a few spare courgettes (zuccinis  for Aussies & Italians) onto you. These are the flavours that I certainly associate with this time of year.

About 15 years ago Bill Sewell came to Hereford and opened one of his cafes This has been good news for everyone, as the cafe has consistently produced fabulous food for all that time. Although The Cafe @ All Saints is only open during the day,  there have been occasional dinners. The following recipe was served at one such and I have never forgotten it. It was so delicious.

The olive oil drenched crispy bread crust and the layers of courgette and tomato inside ooze with a garlicky pesto. The recipe  has been adapted from Bill’s book Food from the Place Below, a book where you will find the most imaginative and easy to follow vegetarian recipes.

BILL’S LATE SUMMER PUDDINGS with PESTO serves 6

Ingredients 1 medium sliced white loaf (about 15 slices),  olive oil,  salt and pepper, 250g (9oz) courgettes,            250g (9oz) cherry tomatoes

Bill’s pesto ½ bunch (20g) basil,  handful (20g) parsley, 1 clove garlic, 30g (1oz) pine nuts, juice of ½ lemon, ½ tsp salt, 100ml (4 fl oz) olive oil, 50g (2oz) grated parmesan

to serve salad leaves, fresh herbs – mint, parsley, oregano,    boiled new baby potatoes

Method Remove the bread crusts, brush the  bread with oil and season with pepper and salt.  Brush individual  100ml (4oz)  pudding moulds with oil.  Cut out bread circles to fit the base and top of the moulds.  Cut the remaining bread into finger pieces.  Line the moulds without any  gaps.

To make the pesto put the herbs, minus stalks, in the food processor, add all ingredients except the oil and process.  Pour on oil with the motor going to finish the paste.

Cut courgettes in quarters lengthways and then in thick slices. Blanch for 1 minute in boiling water then drain. Halve the tomatoes, and mix with pesto and courgettes.  Fill moulds, pressing the filling down firmly.  Put the bread lids on and brush with oil, then cover each mould with foil.

Bake at 200OC  (400OF, gas 6) for 15–20 minutes. In an Aga place in the middle of the ROASTING OVEN.

To serve ease the puddings out on to plates, scatter leaves and herbs around the outside of plates.  Dot around potatoes dressed in lemon oil.