I know what you’re thinking. More mini food *sigh* Actually, no, scrap that. Who doesn’t like mini food? Not surprisingly, it seems that my mini food obsession is not going away any time soon and, to be honest, I’m ok with that.
Believe it or not, I’m not actually going out of my way to find recipes for these pocket-sized bites but I do like the fact that they magically keep appearing on my radar. You can see some of my other mini creations here.
I have had my eye on these little loaves for a while now but hadn’t quite found the right opportunity to make them. Then when a friend shared a recipe for “The Best Tomato Basil Soup” on Pinterest that gave me the perfect excuse. I love soups for a healthy lunch or dinner option but as they’re not quite filling enough for the man of the house these mini loaves are the perfect accompaniment and make it more of a meal. They’re also great for serving with soup as an entrée at a dinner party or on their own in place of a bread basket.
As long as you keep the base recipe constant (the flour, eggs, oil & courgettes) you can play around with the fillings to create your favourite flavour combination. I would recommend keeping the feta though as I tried a batch without and they definitely weren’t as good! The original recipe had one more egg and more courgette which gave the loaves more of a frittata-like texture so I cut those down for a more doughy result.
The 8 hole mini loaf tin the original recipe was designed for was playing hard to get (I found it here but it was out of stock – I have since seen quite a few on Amazon) so I have settled for 4 individual mini tins for now which were easier to find. The inside of each measures 9cm x 6cm, they hold 150ml and are about 4.5cm deep. The base is narrower measuring only 7cm x 4cm. If you’re going to go for individual ones, can I suggest tins that don’t have a join/gap in the corners (like mine) – they are very cute but a pain to clean!
According to the original recipe, you can also use the mixture for the loaves to bake one large loaf which will need about 45 minutes in the oven. Based on my experience with the smaller loaves it may need longer than this to turn golden brown, just keep an eye on it.
The soup is easy, very tasty and even better the next day. The original recipe calls for all tinned tomatoes which I tried, and I also tried a mix of fresh and tinned which I preferred. If you’re in a hurry, tinned is the way forward but you may need to adjust the salt and sugar – see note below. Although I’m generally much more of a chunky-style soup eater, I opted for a smoother version of the original in this case and ran it all through the food processor but I also halved the amount of stock to give a thicker consistency. If you plan on serving them together, start the loaves first, then start the soup while the loaves are in the oven.
By the way, who else is on Pinterest? Leave me a comment with your username, I would love some new people to follow – although I have already had to set myself time limits on there to avoid losing days, weeks, months…Tomato & Basil Soup (Serves 3-4) (adapted from Everyday Occasions by Jenny Steffens Hobick)
INGREDIENTS400g fresh tomatoes (or a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled, bashed with the flat of a knife and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp of sea salt*
1 tsp of sugar*
1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup of whipping cream
12 large fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
Sour cream to garnish (optional)
* A note about salt and sugar – the quantities you need will vary depending on your personal taste and the tomatoes you use. Tinned tomatoes often have salt added so if using only those you may wish to use less (or no) salt and a bit more sugar. If using fresh tomatoes you might need the whole teaspoon of salt and if they are very sweet, less sugar. I suggest you start with less of both and keep adding more until it’s seasoned to your taste.
If using fresh tomatoes, start by peeling and deseeding them. Fill the sink or a large bowl with just boiled water. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross on the bottom of each tomato and drop them into the hot water for about 20 seconds until you see the skin near the cut starting to curl. Pull the tomatoes out and place them in a bowl of cold water then peel away the skins. Then cut the tomatoes in quarters and scoop out the seeds. The team over at Good Food have put together a great video demonstrating this process.
Once all of your tomatoes have been peeled and deseeded, puree them in a food processor until there are no lumps.
If not using fresh tomatoes, start here. Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Add all of the tomatoes, the stock, salt, sugar, pepper and half of the fresh basil. Simmer for 15 minutes using a potato masher to mash the tomatoes and stir the mixture every now and then.
Turn off and allow to cool for a few minutes then pour the mixture into your food processor and blend. The mixture won’t be completely smooth, if you want a smoother texture try running it through a sieve after processing.
Return to the pan and stir in the cream. Serve topped with black pepper, the remaining shredded basil and a dollop of sour cream (optional).Mini Bacon, Feta & Sun Dried Tomato Loaves (Makes 8 ) (adapted from The 12 Days of Christmas by The Australian Women’s Weekly)
INGREDIENTS10g butter, melted 200g bacon, fat trimmed and diced 1 onion, finely chopped
150g self-raising flour
¼ cup olive oil
70g feta cheese, crumbled
85g cheddar cheese, grated
300g courgettes/zucchini/marrow, grated
¼ (30g) cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
4 cherry tomatoes, to decorate (8 if not using poppy seeds)
Poppy seeds, to decorate
Cut 4 strips of baking parchment to line your tins making sure to leave enough at each end to help you leverage out the loaves once baked – mine measured 4cm x 18.5cm.
In a small pan, fry the bacon for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, add the onions and sauté for 5-10 minutes until they are soft and start to brown. Add a little hot water to the pan if it starts to dry out. Turn heat off.
Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the eggs and oil and whisk together. Add the cheeses, bacon, vegetables and herbs and mix well.
Spoon the mixture into the pans until they are about ¾ full. If using individual pans make sure you leave half of the mixture for the remaining 4 loaves.
If using the poppy seeds, slice the cherry tomatoes in half and place two halves on top of two of the loaves (four if using the 8 hole tin). On the remaining loaves, pour a line of poppy seeds about 4cm long along the middle of the loaves (lengthways).
Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes until they are a nice golden brown colour and a skewer stuck into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for a couple of minutes then pull them out, peel away the baking parchment and place them on a cooling rack.
If using 4 individual tins, put the baking parchment back into the tins, spoon the remaining mixture into the pans until they are about ¾ full, decorate and bake as directed above.