Recipe: Puff Pastry Nibbles Two Ways

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Give me the choice of savoury and sweet and I will most often choose savoury. Starter over dessert and nibbles always. I love cocktail parties and its many canapés and it has happened that I on more than one occasion ordered a second starter when everybody else were having pudding.

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So it’s not that surprising that I am about to present not one but two different puff pastry snacks. They are a little large as a canapé but could be cut into smaller squares, but as an informal starter before a dinner party I think it works like this.

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The reason I made two different ones was because I wanted to play around a bit, and also, after having eaten the first very yummy version, I thought it might be easier to eat these if there were some kind of “glue” to hold the tomatoes in place. Enter the versatile parmesan créme.

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I actually thought one of these would outshine the other – but although similar the subtle differences matter and I cannot possibly choose. Try them both and see which is your favourite!

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Puff Pastry Slices with Speck, Tomatoes and Basil, makes 4-6

For the base:

1/2 roll all butter puff pastry

100 ml creme fraiche

a handful grated cheddar

salt and pepper

Topping:

2-3 slices speck or prosiutto

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

salt and pepper

Cut the puff pastry into slices, approx 2,5 cm wide and 10 cm long. Place on a parchment lined baking tray. 

Spread Creme Fraiche evenly onto the puff. Scatter with grated cheese and season. Bake until golden and crispy in 200 C for approx 10 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Mix the tomatoes with olive oil, lemon zest, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl. 

Once cool, place half a slice of speck on each puff pastry slice and top with the tomato mixture. Serve with napkins. 

Puff Pastry Slices with Prosciutto, Parmesan Crème and Tomatoes, makes 4-6

For the base:

1/2 roll all butter puff pastry

100 ml cream cheese

a handful grated cheddar

salt and pepper

Topping:

2-3 slices prosiutto

Parmesan crème:

100 ml creme fraiche

2 tbsp grated parmesan

1/4 lemon, the zest

salt and pepper

Tomato mixture:

8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

salt and pepper

Cut the puff pastry into slices, approx 2,5 cm wide and 10 cm long. Place on a parchment lined baking tray. 

Spread cream cheese evenly onto the puff. Scatter with grated cheese and season. Bake until golden and crispy in 200 C for approx 10 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Mix the tomatoes with olive oil, lemon zest, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl. 

Mix the ingredients for the parmesan crème together in a separate bowl. Season to taste. 

Once cool, place half a slice of speck on each puff pastry slice. Place a dollop of parmesan crème on the ham and top with the tomato mixture. Serve with napkins. 

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: caprese salad with burrata

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If you follow me, you know I have one strong obsession at the moment – burrata! I think it’s partly because it’s tomato season and burrata go so well with tomatoes. The creaminess of the cheese is the perfect contrast to the sweet and slightly acidic tomatoes.

One of the best – and easiest – ways to combine the two is in a simple caprese salad. All you need is four ingredients (good quality tomatoes, burrata, basil and a decent olive) and salt and pepper.

It’s perfect for lunch with some bread, as a casual al fresco starter with rosé or as part of a buffet or on little skewers as a canapé. The possibilities are endless.

Caprese salad with burrata, serves 2

2 large tomatoes, sliced (or the corresponding amount of cherry tomatoes, halved), at room temperature

1 small burrata, at room temperature

approx 10 basil leaves

2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

Divide the tomato slices between two plates. Tear the burrata into pieces and divide between the plates. Scatter with basil (I like to keep the leaves whole). Season. Drizzle generously with olive oil and serve straight away, maybe with some nice crusty bread. 

 

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: rösti with avocado, creme fraîche and lumpfish roe

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This recipe might be the best Scandi brunch recipe yet. Rösti with creme fraîche and lumpfish roe (or bleak roe) is a retro starter from the 1970s that I grew up with in the 1980s and I still eat it regularly now too, but for supper.

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By adding avocado the dish feels more current (thanks avocado toast, for that!) than retro even though half an avocado topped with creme fraîche and lumpfish roe was another popular starter back in the day, so all I’ve really done here is to combine the two.

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Rösti with avocado, creme fraiche, lumpfish roe and red onion, serves 2

2 large potatoes

1 avocado, sliced

2 large spoonfuls creme fraiche

2 topped tsp lumpfish roe 

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

butter and oil for frying

Peel and grate the potatoes on a coarse setting. Shape into two rounds and fry in butter and oil until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Season well. Plate the rösti and top with avocado, creme fraîche and lumpfish roe. Scatter with chopped red onions.