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Life and living: Breaking bread: Recipes to try

Do you have stale bread? Too much bread? Or maybe you just really love a good loaf of bread, but you’d like to try something new. Here are three bread-based recipes to try:

Avocado Panzanella

Ingredients

  • ¾ lb. mix of ripe tomatoes

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 1½ tbsp. capers, drained and rinsed

  • 1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and chopped

  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced

  • 6 oz. ciabatta or crusty loaf of bread

  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

  • Small handful basil leaves

To prepare

STEP 1: Halve or roughly chop the tomatoes (depending on size) and put them in a bowl. Season well and add the garlic, capers, avocado and onion, and mix well. Set aside for 10 minutes.

STEP 2: Meanwhile, tear or slice the ciabatta into a little more than 1-inch chunks and place in a large serving bowl or on a platter. Drizzle with half the olive oil, half the vinegar and add some seasoning. When ready to serve, pour over the tomatoes and any juices. Scatter with the basil leaves and drizzle over the remaining oil and vinegar. Give it a final stir and serve immediately.

Tomato and Cheese Bread Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. butter, plus extra for greasing

  • 8 oz. crusty white bread, torn into chunks (all the better if it’s a few days old)

  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 4 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 4 eggs

  • 1/3 c. milk

  • 1/3 c. sharp cheddar, grated

  • Ketchup, for serving (optional)

To prepare

STEP 1: Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking dish and fill with the torn bread. Heat the butter in a large pan until it starts to foam. Add the leeks and garlic, and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring as you go. Spoon softened leek mixture over the bread and top with cherry tomatoes.

STEP 2: Beat together the eggs, milk and cheddar. Season, then pour over the bread and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and puffy. Serve with ketchup if desired.

Fruity Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. white or brown bread

  • 1lb., 2 oz. mixed dried fruit

  • 2 oz. mixed peel (aka candied fruit peel)

  • 1½ tbsp. allspice

  • 2 c. milk

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 1 c. light brown sugar

  • Zest of 1 lemon (optional)

  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted

  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar

To prepare

STEP 1: Tear bread into a large mixing bowl and add mixed dried fruit, mixed peel and 1½ tbsp. allspice.

STEP 2: Pour in milk, then stir or scrunch through your fingers to mix everything well and completely break up the bread.

STEP 3: Add 2 beaten large eggs, sugar and zest of 1 lemon, if using. Stir well, then set aside for 15 minutes to soak.

STEP 4: Heat oven to 350°F. Butter and line the base of a 9-inch non-stick square cake pan (do not use a springform pan with a removable base).

STEP 5: Stir the melted butter into the pudding mixture, tip into the pan, then scatter with brown sugar.

STEP 6: Bake for 1½ hours until firm and golden, covering with foil if it starts to brown too much. Turn out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve warm.

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