Recipe: Bruschetta Bar Winter Edition

When we were tired of heavy Christmas food on Christmas Day (we celebrate on Christmas Eve in Sweden) I threw together this Winter Edition Bruschetta Bar with various goodies we had at home.

A mix of reinvented leftovers, charcuterie and cheese. We had thinly sliced venison with remoulade and crispy onions, sun blush tomato cream cheese spread, olives, pata negra ham, homemade mayonnaise, saucisson, cured salmon and dill cream cheese. As well as cheeses, crackers and sliced pear.

It was the perfect antidote to heavy Christmas food as well as a really good way of using up leftovers. In summer I love tomatoes and burrata for the bruschetta bar, but in winter I think a spread such as this is better (tomatoes are a bit dull in winter), so I hope this could serve as some inspiration.

Recipe: Whipped Brown Butter

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You know how sometimes the bread and butter in a restaurant can be so incredibly good that it puts you in a great mood straight away?! Because you know that if they care that much about the bread and the butter the rest of the dishes will have gotten as much care and attention and you’re in for something truly special.

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Oh, how I wish I could recreate that moment at home! But I don’t have the time (or knowledge) to experiment with butter and I’m no Paul Hollywood when it comes to bread making.

So what to do? Use the power of browned butter to your advantage!

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Make sure you use good quality butter and buy some really nice bread to go with it. And maybe some Italian fennel salami too, like I did. And you’ll have that restaurant moment in your own home!

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Whipped brown butter, for the table

Adapted after and translated from Jessica Frej’s recipe.

 

200 g unsalted good quality butter, at room temperature 

sea salt flakes

Brown 100 g butter in a large saucepan.  Pour it into a bowl to cool down and set. Whip the browned butter with the remaining butter with an electric whisk until really fluffy approx 1-2 minutes. Season with salt, mix and serve with nice bread. 

Recipe: Puff Pastry Pizza with Browned Butter, Creme Fraiche, Red Onions, Salmon Roe and Herbs

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Puff pastry pizza seems to be trending in my native Sweden and inspired by Swedish foodie Tuvessonskan I thought I would give it a try too!

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A adapted her recipe slightly but kept the idea of spreading a browned butter mixture over store-bought puff pastry, scatter with grated cheddar and bake it before adding the rest of the (very Scandinavian) toppings.

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I love the classic combination of creme frachie, chopped red onions and fish roe and it works great on puff pastry too, especially when enhanced further with herbs and lemon.

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Puff pastry pizza with browned butter, creme fraiche, red onions, salmon roe and herbs, serves 4 as nibbles or a starter

Adapted fromTuvessonskan’s recipe.

1/2 roll all butter puff pastry 

50 g butter

50 g philadelphia

2 tbsp creme fraiche

approx 200 ml grated cheddar

salt and pepper

Topping:

100 ml creme fraiche

1 jar salmon (or other fish) roe

1/2 red onions, finely chopped

a bunch chives, finely chopped

a bunch dill, finely chopped

1/2 lemon, the juice

salt and pepper

Brown the butter 30 minutes in advance. Leave to cool in room temperature. Mix the cooled butter with philadelphia and creme fraîche in a bowl. Add salt and pepper. Spread the mixture over the puff (leaving the edges bare if you like) and scatter with the cheddar. Bake in 200C fan or 220 C without fan until the puff is golden and the cheese has melted. Leave to cool. 

One the baked puff is cooled, spoon or pipe the creme fraîche onto it, then the salmon roe. Scatter with red onions and herbs. Season and finish by squeezing a bit of lemon juice over it. Cut into pieces (either cut in four and serve as a starter on plates or cut into small bites and serve on a tray or platter). 

 

Updated: Jerusalem Artichoke Soup 3.0 – with the Best Topping!

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Even though I obviously think about other things too (work, skincare, loved ones) food is on my mind a lot. I don’t actively think about it all the time but sometimes thoughts about food are idling in the background until they need my attention.

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And it was one of those idling thoughts that led to the discovery of the best topping for my favourite soup!

I have used prosciutto crumbs a lot lately (because they’re so so delicious!!) and suddenly it hit me that maybe they would work as topping for my creamy Jerusalem artichoke too? And yes, they did!

They’re not as salty as bacon (tried that but it didn’t work for me), yet offer a nice texture (unlike fried mushrooms – tried that too!) and they accompany my already favourite topping of chopped shallots perfectly.

Soooo, let me introduce you to my newly perfected Jerusalem soup recipe – with that wonderful new topping! Hope you like it too!

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Jerusalem artichoke soup 3.0, serves 4 as a starter

2 shallots, finely chopped 

1 tbsp butter

750 g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into similar sized pieces

water

1/2 good-quality stock cube (chicken or vegetable)

100 ml double cream

salt and pepper

Topping: 

3 slices prosciutto

1 shallots, finely chopped 

Fry the onions until soft in the butter without browning. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and fry for a minute. Cover with boiling water. Add salt and the stock cube and bring to the boil. Once the Jerusalem artichokes are soft, drain half the cooking liquid but keep it aside. Purée the Jerusalem artichokes and remaning water (adding more of the cooking water if needed) until you have a thick soup. Add the cream to the soup and bring it to the boil again. Season to taste. 

While the soup is underway, pre-heat the oven to 200C. Place the prosciutto slices on a baking parchment covered tray and let them crisp up in the oven for approx 5 minutes.  Leave to cool and chop it into crumbs.

Divide the soup between four bowls. Add chopped shallots and prosciutto crumbs. 

Recipe: Burrata with Girolles, Dill and Browned Butter

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As you may already know, I’m a HUGE burrata fan (which my archives can attest to!) and I eat it as often as possible during summer when there are plenty of tomatoes around because it pairs so well with the creamy pillowy cheese. But tomato season is sadly over and as a result there has definitely been less burrata in my life because I just haven’t found that perfect autumnal pairing for it. Until now.

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And it’s all thanks to Instagram and this post from Tuvessonskan! The slightly garlicky girolles and the nuttiness of the brown butter works so well with the creaminess of the burrata while the dill and lemon adds freshness. Do not forget the lemon; it balances the butter perfectly!

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Burrata with girolles, dill and browned butter, serves 2

1 small burrata

1 baguette (or crostini)

150 g fresh girolles

1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp oil for frying

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped 

50 g salted butter

1/2 lemon

plenty of fresh dill

salt and peppar 

Remove the burrata from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you need it. Fry the mushrooms in oil an butter. Add the garlic towards the end. Season and put aside.

Brown the butter in a medium-sized pan on medium-high heat. Wait for it to foam up a lot and turn brown (but not dark) and smell nutty. Remove from heat.

Place the burrata in a shallow bowl or something with an edge. Arrange the girolles around the burrata. Spoon over the browned butter. Squeeze some lemon over the whole thing. Scatter with plenty of chopped dill. Season one last time and serve with bread. 

 

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.