Bruschetta with tomato and basil or Sheese and chutney

Tasty little starters or nibbly things. I like to serve these with marinated olives before a meal instead of a starter. The smoked cheddar Sheese is a favourite of mine at the moment – I’ve served it to omnivore friends and relatives who said it does taste like ‘normal’ cheese and it works particularly well for this recipe.

Serves 4

2 half ciabatta loaves or 4 ciabatta rolls
Olive oil
Cherry tomatoes
A few fresh basil leaves
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
Smoked cheddar-style Sheese
Chutney, relish or pickle of your choice (anything that goes with smoked cheddar!)

To prepare the tomato topping, chop the cherry tomatoes into small pieces and gently fry for a minute or two to soften. Add the vinegar if using. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and add to the tomatoes.

Cut the ciabatta into slices of about 1cm thick. Heat a griddle pan and toast the bread slices for about a minute on each side, until they get golden brown lines across the surface. (Toast lightly under a normal grill if you don’t have a griddle pan.) Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over each slice.

Place some tomato mixture onto half the bread slices. Place thin slices of Sheese on the remaining bread slices and spread the chutney over the top.

If you happen to have the oven on, place them in the oven for a minute before serving to warm the toppings a little, otherwise serve as they are.


From an early age Rick would rather pick up a carrot than a sausage. Not a vegetarian, but would like people to think he was.

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