Ratatouille

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A wonderful vegetable side dish or starter, the tiny cubes takes for a lot of chopping but allows for the rich flavours to release and mix, thus creating a delicious dish!!

2 zucchinis/courgettes (1 to be kept for decorations)
1 onion
1 aubergine
3-4 tomatoes
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
4-5 tablespoons chopped parsley

Some chopped parsley to decorate and black pepper

1. Oven at 175 C
2. Cut one zucchini and one aubergine, first in 5 mm slices then lengthwise and across to create 5 mm cubes.
3. Cut the tomato into wedges, cut out the seeds and discard. Then cut the tomato flesh into fine cubes.
4. Chop the onion finely.
5. Mix the vegetables with the oil, juice and spices.
6. Spread in wide oven proof dish.
7. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring 3-4 times during this time.
8. Slice the remaining zucchini into very thin slices using a vegetable slicer, if you have. Also, a cheese slicer can be used (or a knife, but that is a bit harder) to create a long zucchini ribbon.
9. After the 25 minutes of baking, add the zucchini ribbons on top (see photo) and bake another 10 minutes.
10. To serve: press into ring molds, drizzle with oil and chopped parsley.

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Baked Root Celery. Minted Pea Puree. Corn Gremolata.

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A gentle vegetarian meal with a hint of sweetness. If you want more of a bite to it, add some chili flakes to the honey for the root celery. This dish has many components. Feel free to experiment with them in other recipes/combinations. The Beet Shards should be made in advance (may be kept in the freezer).

Baked Root Celery:
I slice per person
½ teaspoon honey per person
Olive oil
Salt

1. Cut the celery in 1 cm slices
2. Brush each slice with olive oil and 1/2 tsp of honey. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
3. Bake in 175C oven for 30 minutes.

Cheesy Beet Shards:
150 ml chopped pickled beets
60 gram macademia nuts, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp nutritional yeast
salt and black pepper
2 tsp flax meal (to be added after all the other ingredients are well blended into a smooth puree)
2 tsp black sesame seeds

1. Run all except flax meal and sesame seeds in blender until completely smooth
2. Add the flax meal and sesame seeds and blend just until combined
3. Pour thinly onto sheets and place in dehydrator, 45C, and dry until crisp. Probably overnight.
4. Brake into shards and keep in freezer until use.

Pea Puree with mint:
300 ml frozen peas
Water to boil in
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon vermouth
½ tablespoon of olive oil

1. Simmer the peas in water for 3 minutes
2. Run cooked peas in blender together with chopped mint leaves, vermouth, olive oil and a little (2-4 tablespoons) of the hot water
3. Add more water if needed
4. Push through a sieve (this step may be omitted if the puree is smooth enough)
5. Cool quickly as to not losing that strong, green colour

Corn Gremolata:
100 ml chopped hazelnuts
100 ml parsley
50 ml corn (canned or frozen)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoons lemon zest
salt and pepper

1. Pulse in food processor, do not puree, make sure some chunks remain.

Tomato liquid:
400 ml chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil

1. Run all in blender until smooth. Add the basil and briefly pulse.
2. Pour into wide casserole and set in 100C oven for 30 minutes to reduce
3. Strain

Plate with the tomato liquid, a slice of root celery, the pea puree on top, gremolata, pieces of the beet shards and, maybe, some extra corn. There are some beautiful colours to play with!

Sweet Potato Plum Pesto Starter

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This starter really has it all; it’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s sour and it has crunch!!
My garden is overflowing with plums so I try to create as many varying dishes with plums as I can. This is a layered sweet potato dish that can be served with or without a spoonful of Greek yoghurt.

Serves 4

Sweet potato:
1-2 large sweet potato, peeled
Olive oil
Coarse salt

1. Heat oven to 205 C
2. Slice the sweet potato (you need 3 slices per person)
3. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle some salt on top
4. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes

Plum mix:
75 ml cut up (pitted) plums
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

• Gently fry the plums in the oil. If you, like me, have sweet plums, add the vinegar. If the plums are really sour, add a few drops of agave instead.

Pesto:
75 ml shelled pistachios
100 ml loosely packed basil leaves
½ tablespoon lemon juice
1,5 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 clove crushed garlic
½ tsp chili flakes

Plus some extra basil leaves for decoration

• Combine all pesto ingredients in a mini prep and run until well combined but still chunky (crunchy).

Plate:
• Start by drizzling some plum mix on the plate, then layer the sweet potato, plum mix and pesto with three layers of each. Decorate the plate with some drops of juice from the plum mix and some basil leaves. Enjoy.

Summery Citrus Salad

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Just a simple salad – but, oh, how lovely! Refreshing, tasty and with a crunch to each bite. Complements anything from the BBQ – how about serving with some grilled halloumi cheese?

100 g mixed lettuce leaves
1 grapefruit, peel and white pith cut out
2 oranges, peel and white pith cut off
1 large avocado, sliced
50 ml toasted sunflower seeds
50 ml toasted pine nuts
50 ml toasted pumpkin seeds
1 red onion, cut in 2 halves and thinly sliced
100 ml olives

Dressing:
1 tablespoon fig balsamic dressing
1 tsp Dijon mustard
50 ml olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Combine the salad in a bowl
2. Shake/whisk the dressing well and toss with the salad.
3. Serve

Red Sauce

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Red Sauce (not a ketchup).
Sometimes, it is good to have some healthy, tasty sauces on hand. I like to make this Kidney Bean sauce which can be used together with so many different things. It’s beautiful pinkish red coloured sauce to plate with (goes especially well with smoked and BBQ dishes). Make ahead and keep in the fridge.
Below you will find three other suggested uses.

The Red Sauce:
250 g Kidney Beans, cooked (about 350 ml)
1 lemon, juice from
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium sized red onion
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
A few drops of honey
Pinch of salt
½ tsp chili flakes

1. Run in blender until smooth. Taste. Season some more if needed.
2. If too thick add another spoon of olive oil. Consistency should be like a smooth apple sauce.

SERVE AS A SAUCE WITH GRILLED AUBERGINE/EGGPLANT AND DIJON BALSAMIC DRESSING: (great starter or snack)

– pour the Red Sauce into a squeezy bottle and place in fridge until time of use.

Dijon Balsamic Dressing:170607 Not a Ketchup -5569
50 ml olive oil
50 ml red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt

1. Whisk or shake to combine. Make sure it blends well.
2. This sauce is rather thin, plate with pipette or drop from tip of spoon.
3. Drizzle on plate.

Roasted Aubergine:
1 large, sliced aubergine
Olive oil
Sea salt

1. Oven on 200 C
2. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle with salt and oil.
3. Roast 35 minutes.

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SERVE ON TOP OF AN AVOCADO SANDWICH:
Please see my previously posted Crisp Bread recipe.
SERVE AS A DIP:
– with serve with carrot sticks, celery or sliced apple

Marinated Carrots with Fennel Foam

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A healthy, tasty and colourful starter! Sometimes, I add a few drops of brandy to the foam (a little goes a very long way) which adds a rounder flavour. Possible a drop of vinegar would have the same effect?

2 large carrots, thinly sliced (best to use a mandolin slicer)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt

Some fresh spinach leaves on the plate to serve on.

1. Heat oven on high grill setting
2. Toss the carrot slices with juice, oil and salt. Leave for 30 minutes.
3. Place the carrot slices on an oven sheet
4. Roast under the grill for about 10 minutes, until slightly charred and caramelized

Fennel Foam:
1 fennel bulb, tips and “grassy tops” only
Water
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A few drops agave syrup
Dash of salt
½ tsp olive oil

½ tsp lecithin

1. Cut off the tops (including the grassy parts) from the fennel bulb. The bulb can be saved for use another time.
2. Bring some water to boil and blanch the tops for 30 seconds.
3. Remove the tops from the boiling water and put in an ice bath (to secure the green colour).
4. When cool, place in blender with a 2 table spoons of water. Add some more water if needed. You want a smooth, thick mix but do not over blend.
5. Add the syrup, salt and oil. Blend briefly to mix.
6. Set aside until you are ready to make the foam (may be prepared and kept in the fridge until the following day)
7. Mix in the lecithin.
8. Pour the mix into a large shallow container. Using a handheld blender, incorporate air into the mix, thus creating a foam. Might take a few minutes! Spoon off the foam into a separate bowl and repeat until you have a bowl of foam.

Serve the carrots with the foam on top.

Alternative to the foam:
If you’d rather make a fennel cream to go with the carrots, you can either mix in a couple of tablespoons of coconut cream or some double cream. No lecithin. By choosing the coconut cream you will have less of the fennel taste and, instead, some coconut flavour which goes wonderfully with the carrots.

(On this photo I have sprinkled some black, Hawaiian salt on top.)

Little Gem Lettuce Wraps

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The perfect fun, light and varied dinner or appetizer finger food. Here with 4 different toppings but any of your favourite stews or mixes will work. As long as they are not too liquid.

Ingredients:

Baby gem lettuce, trim off the outer leaves, rinse and separate the leaves

Creamy Quinoa Mix:
200 ml Quinoa cooked in vegetable bullion as per instructions on the package
1 small leek, finely chopped
2 tablespoons spicy mango chutney
50 ml coconut milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp ginger

1) Cook the quinoa
2) When done, stir in the remaining ingredients. Keep stirring over low heat until warm. Set aside.

Chili Cauliflower Mix:
½ garlic clove, crushed
Olive oil
½ a large head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
3 tablespoons coriander leaves, shredded
1 lime, juice and zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
Chili flakes to taste

1) Sautee the garlic in olive oil
2) Add the cauliflower pieces
3) When soft, remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients
4) Stir to combine

Asian Beef Mix:
Small onion, chopped
Olive oil
400 g ground beef
2 tablespoon of soy sauce (Japanese)
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger

1) Sautee the onion.
2) Add the beef and fry until done.
3) Add the remaining ingredients.

Creamy Shrimp Mix:
200 g peeled shrimp
1 avocado, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons crème fresh/sour cream
Variation 1) 1 table spoon Asian sweet chili sauce
Variation 2) ½ lime, juice from

1) Combine all ingredients and, if you want, add variation 1) or 2)

Add salt and pepper as needed to the 4 mixes.

Place the lettuce leaves on a plate. Add the toppings. Enjoy!

Asparagus Nut Cheese Starter

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A tasty and fresh spring starter. For a smaller/lighter starter, serve just one cheese ball per person.

Serves 4
(3 small balls per person)

Steamed Asparagus:
12 green, young asparagus
2 tablespoon olive oil

Pine Nut Cheese:
200 ml pine nuts, soaked for at least 2 hours
1/2 of small garlic clove
1 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp chili flakes

Decorations:
Toasted pine nuts, chili flakes and the tips of the asparagus.

1) Heat an empty pan on the stove. Add the asparagus and 3-4 tablespoons of water. Cook until all water has evaporated. Add the olive oil. Shake to coat, cover with a lid and take off heat.
2) Run all ingredients for the Pine Nut Cheese except the chili flakes in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the chili flakes. Set aside.
3) Cut of the tips of the asparagus. Set aside.
4) Chop the asparagus stalks into small pieces. Fold the small pieces into the nut cheese.
5) With a small ice cream scoop or a melon baller, make balls of the pine nut cheese mix. Place 3 balls on a plate, decorate with asparagus tips, pine nuts and chili flakes.
6) Optional – serve with gluten free crackers.

Spicy Salad with Balsamic Pearls

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This is a way to jazz up the serving of a tasty, but ordinary looking, salad.
The ingredients aside, you will need a pipette and a slotted spoon (or a fine strainer) for this recipe. Looks really professional and is so easy to make!

Ingredients:
3 medium sized tomatoes, quartered, seeds removed and chopped
½ cucumber, seeds and skin removed, chopped
¼ chopped leek
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red chili, seeds removed, chopped
50 ml dry toasted sunflower seeds, salted
1/2 lemon, zest

Dressing:
30 ml olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper

1. In a bowl, combine the salad ingredients.
2. Whisk together the dressing and pour on top.
3. Refrigerate.

Pearls:
90 ml balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of lemon juice
½ tsp agar agar

Vegetable oil as below for the freezer

1. In a freezer, for minimum of 30 minutes, chill enough oil to measure 15 cm tall in a glass.
2. In a small pan, bring the mix for the pearls to a boil and then take it off the heat.
3. Let sit for 5 minutes.
4. Using a pipette, drop the dressing mix into the glass containing the cold oil. Let sit for 2-3 minutes.
5. Remove the pearls from the oil using a slotted spoon or pour the oil with the pearls through a fine strainer.

Serve the pearls with the spicy salad.

This technique can be used with many other sauces apart from balsamic dressing. Just play with it and be sure to (in the comments below) let me know what you did and how it turned out!

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Zucchini Soup

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A wonderful, easy, quick, delicious recipe! Serve as a starter, lunch or, with some bread, for dinner.

Serves 4

6-7 medium sized zucchini/courgette, washed (no need to peel)
1 liter of vegetable broth (or more if you want a thinner soup)
Dash of salt
(optional: black pepper and a drop of agave/maple syrup)

2 tsp Boursin garlic soft cheese (or just 1/3 of a minced garlic clove)

Optional: 50 ml sour cream (or coconut cream)

Decoration: Parsley and 2 tbsp of sour cream

1. Cut the zucchini into thick slices. Place in a saucepan along with the vegetable broth and salt.
2. Simmer 15-20 minutes until the zucchini is soft.
3. Take off heat, add the cheese and blend with a hand-held immersion blender. (At this point you may also add the optional sour cream – this will make the soup creamier)
4. Add some more broth if you prefer a thinner soup. Reheat if the soup got too cool.
5. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. A drop of agave or maple syrup can help balance the flavours.
6. Pour into serving bowls, drizzle sour cream and add some parsley leaves.

Aubergine Chutney, Coconut Chickpea Hummus with Quinoa

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This dish has three main components and makes for a delicious light lunch or a starter. Of course, the chutney and hummus can be used on their own too. The toasted coconut/nuts/seeds in the hummus gives a wonderful crunch to each bite! A must try!!

1.Aubergine Chutney
2 aubergines, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
olive oil

½ tsp curry
½ tsp turmeric
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp agave syrup
1 tbsp soy sauce

50 ml water
50 ml olive oil
75 ml coconut cream

Shredded basil.

1. Sauté the onion, garlic and aubergine over low heat until soft.
2. Add the spices, vinegar, agave and soy sauce. Stir for a few minutes.
3. Add the liquids and simmer 10-15 minutes.
4. Lastly, stir in the basil.

2.Coconut Chickpea Hummus

100 ml un-peeled almonds, chopped
75 ml shredded coconut
75 ml sunflower seeds
salt and pepper

400 g cooked chickpeas
2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 lemon, zest and juice

1. Toast the almond, coconut and sunflower seed in a pan. Season. Set aside.
2. Combine the chickpeas, chili, paprika and lemon in a blender and run until well blended. Add some water (or juice from the chickpeas) if it is too thick. It doesn’t have to be smooth.
3. When done, turn off the blender and stir in the toasted mix.

3.Quinoa
200 ml quinoa
500 ml water (or vegetable broth)
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, whole

1. Wash the quinoa and combine all ingredients in a pan
2. Cook the quinoa for 12-15 minutes
3. Discard the bay leaf and garlic

4.Plating.
Rocket salad
Tomato
Olive oil

1. Plate on rocket salad with tomato sliced.
2. Chop some rocket salad and sprinkle on top together with some olive oil.

Beetroot Quinoa

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I know cooks who avoid cooking with beetroots as they turn everything bright red. But beetroots are so delicious and versatile!! This dish can be served as a great side, starter or as a full meal. A delicious alternative to an ordinary risotto. The parmesan can be replaced with nutritional yeast.

Steamed beetroots:
5 medium sized beetroots
25 ml olive oil
50 ml water

Mixing ingredients:
1 lemon, zest and juice
100 ml finely grated parmesan cheese or 50 ml nutritional yeast
25 ml olive oil
½ tsp agave syrup
juice from the steamed beetroots
salt and pepper
Plus, the steamed beetroots (those you’ve just steamed)

½ onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
olive oil
4 beetroot stalks and leaves, washed and chopped (leave some for the decoration, if you are using the leaves then quickly blanch them in boiling water before serving)

200 ml uncooked quinoa
500 ml water
salt

Olive oil
Parmesan shavings or finely diced beetroot stalks

1. Oven at 200 C
2. Trim the stalks and tips of the beetroots
3. Place in foil with oil and water, close the foil and steam in the oven for 45 minutes
4. Take out, cool for a bit and then peel (the peel will just fall off, you can use paper towels to rub it off)
5. Put beetroots and mixing ingredients in a food processor. Run until smooth. Set aside.
6. Cook the quinoa.
7. In a pan, sauté the onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add the chopped stalks and leaves.
8. Add the cooked quinoa. Stir.
9. Mix the beetroot mix into the quinoa pan.
10. Add some olive oil.
11. Serve with parmesan shavings (or, as I did in the photo, finely diced beetroot stalks)

Thin Crust Pepper Pizza

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Some people like their pizzas nice and thick. I published a wonderful recipe like that about a year ago (type in “pizza” in the search bar). Others want the crust really, really thin. This is a recipe for a really, really thin pizza crust that will have wonderful texture and won’t break when being handled. With this pizza I’m also posting my favorite red pepper pizza sauce (can also be used for many other dishes).

Makes 8 small pizzas

Sauce:
300 g roasted red peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp maple syrup
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed

Toppings:
Red onion
Mozzarella pieces
Mushrooms, sliced
Rocket salad
Grated cheese

Pizza crust:
12 g fresh yeast
300 ml room temperature water (plus some more to ensure you have a loose/sticky dough)
300 ml rice flour
150 ml buckwheat
50 ml cornstarch
2 tbsp psyllium husk (finely ground)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp agave or rice syrup

Baking parchment (oven proof paper) enough for 8 small pizzas.

1. Combine the yeast with 50 ml water. Let proof for 10 minutes.
2. Add the remaining water and other ingredients for the crust. Mix well. You want a sticky dough, if too dry add some more water.
3. Let rise for 4 hours under plastic wrap.
4. Set the oven to 225 C and, if using a pizza stone, place the stone in the cold oven. Otherwise, place a baking tray in the oven.
5. Take out the dough, using rice flour, work it into a ball. Divide into 8 smaller balls.
6. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 2 mm thick pizza round. Place on a baking parchment. Make only one pizza at the time (or more if they can fit into the oven at the same time).
7. Combine all ingredients for the sauce, run in a blender.
8. Spread the sauce on top, add the sliced mushrooms, mozzarella pieces, red onion and the grated cheese on top.
9. Place the pizza (on the paper) on the baking tray or the pizza stone.
10. Put in the hot oven, bake for 12-15 minutes.
11. Add the rocket salad.

Charred tomatoes:
Vine tomatoes
Olive oil
Butan torch

1. Brush the tomatoes with some olive oil, avoiding the greens.
2. Using a butan torch, scorch the skin of the tomatoes, avoiding the greens as much as possible.

Lemon infused Carrots and Elderflower infused Beetroots

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Surprise your guest by serving vegetables with a whole new taste to them! First dehydrate your vegetables so that they lose a lot of their moisture, then add a new flavour of moisture by infusing the vegetable for a long time in a chosen liquid. WILL TAKE A COUPLE OF DAYS TO MAKE!

This is such a fun project. You really do need a food dehydrator for this one though. An oven may be used but it will need to stay on low temp for many hours…

I infused the carrots with lemon and the beetroots with elderflower but there are endless possibilities of combinations. A pretty foam and some greens will go nicely with this beautiful dish.

A “sous vide” to cook the vegetables in low temperature is useful for this recipe but not necessary.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Carrots:
12 small and thin carrots
Liquid: 100 ml lemon juice mixed with 200 ml water

1. Wash and scrub the carrots. Then let dry at 45 C for at least 15 hours (depending on the size of your carrot) in your food dehydrator.
2. If cooking in a sous vide: Place your vegetable in a freezer zip lock bag, pour the liquid in, press as much air out as you possibly can (submerge the bag into water up to the top of the bag, that way the air will be pressed out of the bag, then close the bag). Put the bag in the sous vide pan, set it for 60 C and cook for 10 hours. No, the carrots will not get soggy at this low temperature cooking.
3. If cooking in a pan on the stove, let simmer (or just below simmer) in the liquid until almost soft. Then cool and let sit in the juice for another 4-5 hours.

Beetroots:
4 small beetroots
Liquid: 200 ml elderflower syrup and 300 ml water

1. Scrub the beetroot well removing the outer skin. I usually use plastic gloves for this step.
2. Place in a dehydrator 50C for 24 hours. Or in an oven 70 C for 14 hours. Depending on the size of your beetroot.
3. When all shrivelled up it is time to replace the moisture with the elderflower mix.
4. Either place in a bag (as above) and cook in a sous vide 70C for 3 hours, or, simmer on the stove (covered with the liquid) for 60-90 minutes. Take away from the heat and keep in the hot water for another hour. Then keep in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

Now you have “carrolemons” and “elderbeets”. Serve with some greens, an elderflower/beetroot foam and some salt.

Eldeflower/beetroot foam:
150 ml elderflower liquid (that you boiled the beetroots in).
About 1 gram of soy lecithin.

1. Take 150 ml of the elderflower liquid that you boiled the beetroots in.
2. Pour into a shallow dish.
3. Add the soy lecithin.
4. Tilt the dish and, using an immersion blender, whisk air into the mixture. May take a few minutes to get enough foam. Spoon off the resulting foam and let it sit to stabilize a few minutes in a separate bowl.

Spoon the foam onto the dish. Serve immediately (the foam may start to disappear in about 10 minutes).

Carrots Carrots Carrots

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Sometimes you come across the most beautiful carrots in several colours. Take the opportunity of this and make a Carrot Salad. Soften the carrots a bit with this marinade and serve as a starter or as part of a main course. Beautiful, simple and delicious.

Ingredients:

3 different coloured carrots

Marinade:
100 ml olive oil
100 ml white wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Basil to decorate, cut into chiffonade (thinly sliced)

Day one:
1. Using a peeler, shave long thin strands of the carrots. Reserve the remaining carrot “blocks” (the part that is too small to shave any more strand from).
2. Whisk the marinade. Combine all strands of carrot except for the dark coloured (the colour might bleed and stain the others) and pour the marinade on top, saving some for the dark coloured strands which should marinate in a separate bowl (again, to save the colours from bleeding). Refrigerate.
3. Now take the remaining carrot “blocks”, cut into small pieces (brunoise) and again, keep the dark coloured apart. Add some lemon juice and set aside in the fridge.
Day two:
1. Plate the strands and the brunoise of carrots in a fun way. Now is OK to combine the dark colour with the lighter, they won’t bleed too much.
2. Sprinkle the basil on top and serve as a starter or as a side.