Recipe: bruschetta bar!

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On several occasions over the last month I have trialled a great new concept for entertaining, *drum roll* –  the bruschetta bar!

I can’t take any credit though, as What’s Gaby Cooking was the one who cleverly coined the term!

As you readers already know, I’m an avid fan of everything crostini and bruschetta and this blog is evidence of that (you’ll find the classic bruschetta; one with burrata; crostini with a mushroom spread to die for; with ricotta, ham and peaches; smoked salmon spread etc etc) but instead of serving already topped crostini of one or two varieties, the bruschetta bar is more of a DIY job. It’s so much easier for the organiser; just fill a big platter with heaps of crostini and a nice spread of toppings, and more fun for the guests who can create their own flavour combinations and partake more. It feels more relaxed and the toppings can be varied after season, inspiration or whatever you can find in your fridge and larders. I can even see this becoming the ultimate fridge forage dinner with lots of fun bits!

I must say I’m a little peeved I didn’t come up with the idea myself (especially as I for one party organised a blini bar and the concepts are pretty similar AND for dinner parties in the past I have served crostini this way too ), but I’m also so grateful for other bloggers inspiring me and sharing great ideas!

As I said, I have trialled this concept a few times already and all the different occasions had slightly different spreads, so to give you a few ideas I’ve listed them all below.

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The all-in birthday celebration. This was my first, AND it was for my birthday, so of course I went all out. I did focus on pasteurised cheeses and less charcuterie though as one of the guests was pregnant, but if that wasn’t the case all I would have done differently would be to add more charcuterie and choose different cheeses!

Serrano ham
Saucisson
Sliced cheddar
Classic bruschetta topping
Ricotta
Boursin cheese
Creamy chantarelles
Philadelphia with sunblush tomatoes
Large white beans with olive oil, garlic and smoked paprika 
Pea pesto
Fresh figs
Acacia honey 
Vanilla jelly
Truffle mayo
Grilled peppers in oil

Extra: two types of crisps, small carrots and cucumber to sticks, two dips, nocellara olives, prosecco, rosé and sparkling elderflower.

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The last minute spread with caprese salad. This was super last minute so we threw together what we found in the supermarket we passed on our way home.

Caprese salad (mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, basil and olive oil)
Thinly sliced truffle salami 
Creamy girolles
Grilled peppers in oil
Serrano ham
Creamy gorgonzola

On the side: fig jam, honey

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The greatest hits. When you have time to think about the spread and the supermarket has it all in stock (I’m looking at you burrata!). Perfect as a starter for four people.

Burrata, sliced red and yellow tomatoes, basil and olive oil 
Thinly sliced truffle salami 
Prosciutto
Philadelphia with sunblush tomatoes
Homemade pesto (just swap wild garlic for basil)
Grilled peppers in oil

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The pot luck spread. When the book club girls come over and you organise the spread together.

Burrata, sliced red and yellow tomatoes, basil and olive oil 
Philadelphia with sunblush tomatoes
Store-bought fresh pesto
Brie
Cranberry cheese 
Mild goat’s cheese log
Grilled peppers in oil
Chorizo
Saucisson
Salami
Prosciutto
Spansk soft rind cheese
Large Spanish beans in oil

Extra: two types of crips and dip 

Recipe: pea pesto for crostini

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For my little rooftop birthday party I made platters with crostini and topping, inspired by What’s Gaby Cooking, and I also made her pea pesto as I thought it was a nice addition to the spread.

It’s delicious on a crostini on it’s own, but also with ricotta or burrata and cured ham. I like that it’s fresh and filling (for a spread) and has a hint of spice to it!

Pea pesto spread, serves 6

Adapted from What’s Gaby Cooking’s recipe.

150 g frozen petit poi, thawed

a handful fresh basil (or mint)

1/2 garlic clove

3 tbsp grated parmesan

1/2 lemon, the juice

1/4 tsp chilli flakes 

salt and pepper

Mix together all of the ingredients in a food processor or using a stick blender, but not too fine as you want a little texture. Season to taste. Serve with crostini. 

Recipe: pan con tomate

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Last weekend I made tapas at home, and although I’ve made both croquetas (so yummy!) and tortilla before for some reason I had never attempted pan con tomate.

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It’s very easy to make though, and you’ll figure out how to grate the tomato (yes, that’s the secret!) pretty quickly. I love this toasted bread with plenty of olive oil, a bit of garlic, tomato pulp and salt so much that I will probably incorporate it into every summer lunch and dinner from now on, tapas or not!

It just tastes like summer! Picture a sunny day by the mediterranean, glass of rosé in hand and a plate of these to tuck into with your friends. Yum!

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Pan con tomate, serves 4

1 large baguette 

4 large vine tomatoes 

good quality extra virgin oil 

1 clove garlic

sea salt

Cut the baguette in half lenghtways and cut into four so you have eight pieces. Place them, cut side up, on a parchment covered baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and put in a 180C oven for approx 10 minutes or until golden and toasted. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the garlic, cut side down, over the bread. 

Half the tomatoes and grate them with the cut side to the grater with a plate underneath. Grate only the inside of the tomato, press the tomato to the grater so the skin remains intact. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the bread and drizzle generously with olive oil. Add salt, plate and serve with napkins. 

Recipe: bruschetta with burrata

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I hardly think I’m the first person to think of this combination, but since I like to pair burrata with everything tomato-y here we are. And it’s a winner! I love the classic bruschetta but the burrata adds another dimension with its creaminess and makes the dish a little more sophisticated (but also more difficult to eat with dignity).

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I could start every dinner party, luncheon and gathering with this and some rosé from now until August and have happy guests – I’m sure of it. Or if you want to skip the bread, make a classic caprese salad (basically the same ingredients) but with burrata instead of mozzarella. That’s what I did with the leftovers and it was delicious too! But bruschetta is great for a crowd as you don’t need plates (although they are quite handy), just serve these with plenty of napkins!

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Hanna’s bruschetta with  burrata, serves 4-6 as a starter or as nibbles

1 large baguette

olive oil

1 garlic clove, cut in half 

4-5 vine tomatoes

1 handful fresh basil, finely chopped 

sea salt, black pepper 

2 small burrata or 1 large, at room temperature

Slice the baguette thinly on the diagonal. Place on a parchment covered baking tray. Drizzle with oil and rub the bread with the garlic. Toast the bread in a 200C oven until golden, approx 8-10 minutes. 

Meanwhile chop the tomatoes and place in a sieve or colander to remove the excess liquid. Transfer to a bowl. Chop the garlic used for rubbing the bread and mix that in as well as the basil. Add oil, salt and pepper.

Remove the toasted bread from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Place on a plate or platter, top with the tomato mixture. Tear the burrata into smaller pieces and put some on each bruschetta. Drizzle with olive oil and top with black pepper. Serve immediately with plenty of napkins. 

Recipe: oysters au gratin with Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic

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I love oysters; both au naturelle and cooked. So you can only imagine that I felt like I was in heaven when I visited Cape Cod a few summers ago. I don’t think I ate anything other than seafood while I was there!

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When cooking oysters at home, I think the au gratin concept is the best approach, as it’s easy, quick and seriously delicious!

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This recipe with Swedish Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic is perfect for spring (and you can of course substitute the Swedish cheese with parmesan or even cheddar) and we followed it up with asparagus (some harvested in our own garden!) and hollandaise sauce as well as prawns (cooked and smoked), homemade mayonnaise and wild garlic bread. It was quite the feast and such a treat to enjoy it with my parents! As we don’t see each other all that often we try to make it special when we are together.

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Oysters au gratin with Västerbotten cheese and wild garlic, serves 3 as a starter

With two more courses two oysters each was the perfect amount, but if you’re having a light main course I would recommend three oysters per person.

6 fresh oysters 

3 tbsp double cream

3 tbsp grated Västerbotten cheese

1/2 – 1 tsp Dijon mustard

approx 6 wild garlic leaves, finely chopped

salt, black pepper

To serve:

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Open the oysters with an oyster knife and discard the top shell. Cut loose the oysters but keep on the shells and place in an ovenproof dish. Mix cream and mustard in a bowl and add cheese and most of wild garlic. Season well. Spoon the mixture over the oysters, enough to cover them and sprinkle some more wild garlic on top. Place under a hot grill or in a very hot oven (225C) until bubbly and a little brown, approx 3-5 minutes. Serve with baguette or crusty bread to soak up the juices. 

Recipe: baked Vacherin Mont d’Or

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Anyone else who LOVES melted cheese?! Well, then this is for you. Cheese haters, please look away now.

I’ve only had this amazing cheese (seriously, it’s HEAVEN!) in restaurants before but thought it would be a good supper for Valentine’s Day, especially since we were going to the theatre but needed to eat something afterwards.

This beauty of a cheese; Vacherin Mont d’Or, is a French unpasteurised cheese and is only produced during the winter months (until March or so). The reason for this is that the same cows whose milk normally goes towards the production of Comté and Gruyère, are on a different diet in the winter and so their milk tastes different and is perfect for making this creamy dreamy cheese.

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It’s quite gooey at room temperature but when baked it becomes the best cheese fondue (see below picture) and is both gooey and rich AND light at the same time. The recipe I used is courtesy of David Lebovitz and is of course completely fool proof and the only guidance one needs.

So what to eat with these cheese?! We had a lot of bits for dipping; prosciutto, cooked ham, bresaola, saucisson, cornichons, apple slices (Pink Lady and Granny Smith), crusty baguette and cold cooked new potatoes. Everything worked well, but my favourite was without a doubt the cold new potatoes. You must try it!

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Baked Vacherin Mont d’Or, serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s recipe.

1 Vacherin Mont d’Or cheese 450-500 g, at room temperature

1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

60ml dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Wrap the container of cheese securely in foil, making sure to enclose it so the foil goes up to the top of the outside of the container, but leave the top exposed. Set the wrapped cheese on a baking sheet.

Poke eight-to-ten slits in the top of the cheese with a paring knife and slide the slivers of fresh garlic in them. Pour white wine over the cheese, and bake the cheese until it’s very hot – it will take between 20 and 30 minutes.

 

 

NYE 2018

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I’m very fond of New Year’s Eve and have been since I was a child. It always felt like a special night and think it still does today. I like to dress up, eat and drink well and spend it with dear ones.

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This year it was just four of us and a little toddler, but it was a lovely evening. The boys played golf while Emma and I cooked and played with the little one and as soon as the boys were back we got some nibbles and wine out. Then we continued with champagne and more nibbles until my goddaughter was asleep.

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I had made three types of nibbles; crisps with smetana, bleak roe, chopped red onions and dill, Toast Lingstrom and my girolle toasts 2.0. I love all of these snacks and they were substantial enough to keep us going for a while. The champagne we had was delicious too and definitely one I will buy again: Pol Roger Brut Vintage, 2009.

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After the nibbles we sat down for a three-course meal. First lobster with garlic butter, browned butter and lemon.

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Followed by fillet of beef with garlic butter, potato terrine with cheese and herbs, green beans, tenderstem broccoli and red wine jus.

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And for pudding we had a well-loved classic; churros with cinnamon sugar, chocolate sauce and three minute ice cream.