Recipe: crostini with mushroom spread

IMG_8536.JPG

This Finnish-Russian mushroom salad or spread is absolutely delicious. When it was first introduced to me by fellow food blogger Anna, I couldn’t believe it was made from only a few ingredients (fried mushrooms, smetana, dill and salt). It truly is one of those dishes where the sum if far far greater than its parts.

The fabulous recipe is courtesy or Swedish food writer Jens Linder and was published in one of the leading Swedish newspapers as a dish for Julbordet, i.e. the Christmas smorgasbord, but I prefer it like this, served on crostini as a pre-dinner snack, all year round.

Please note the recipe calls for smetana; the Russian version of creme fraiche/soured cream. If you can’t find it creme fraiche is a good substitute, but smetana works so well here it’s worth going out of your way to find it. Personally, I will place an order for some here next time I get a craving.

I also mixed fresh and dried mushrooms as I prefer the texture of the fresh ones but as it’s not mushroom season, they taste less than the dried porcini and black trumpets I have in my cupboard.

Mushroom salad, makes 1 batch (enough for 12 crostini which serves 3-4 people)

Translated from and adapted after Jens Linder’s recipe.

This salad is so delicious I would urge you to make a double batch straight away. That’s what I did, and it was the perfect amount for five hungry people as a pre-dinner snack.

600 ml fresh or frozen mushrooms, or 50 ml dried mushrooms

2-3 tbsp butter

plenty of sea salt flakes

4 tbsp finely chopped dill

300 ml smetana (or creme fraiche)

12 crostini

Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for ten minutes. Drain and discard the liquid. If using fresh or frozen mushrooms, finely chop these.

Fry the mushrooms in butter on medium heat until golden. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. 

Mix the now cool mushrooms with whole sea salt flakes, dill and smetana. The mixture should be plenty salty. Leave for a few hours in the fridge before serving. 

Divide between the crostini and serve. 

 

Advertisements

Chicken liver mousse with white wine and rosemary

IMG_7448

I like some DIY action when I host parties, like the blini table I had one year, and the crostinis with different spreads in jars in December.

Not surprisingly, my friends loved the smoked salmon spread (this is like the essence of Scandinavia, Hanna – oh yes!), whereas I prefer the deeper, more complex flavours of the chicken liver mousse. But when my friends had overcome the hurdle of the brown dull colour and tasted it, they also really enjoyed it!

IMG_0732

Chicken liver mousse with white wine and rosemary 

400 g chicken liver (approx 375 g with tendons removed)

1 shallots, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 tbsp chopped rosemary

100 ml dry white wine

4 anchovies from a tin

100 ml homemade chicken stock

50-100 ml cream

 

Remove all tendons and chop the liver coarsely. Fry the onion until soft in butter and oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary, making sure the garlic does not burn. Add the wine and let some of it evaporate. Add the anchovies and let them melt. Turn up the heat and add the liver and fry until cooked through. Add the stock and let some evaporate but still keeping a good amount of liquid in the pan. 

Mix until smooth in a food processor. Add the cream little by little until desired consistency. Push through a fine sieve. Leave to cool and refrigerate. 

This year’s Christmas drinks party

IMG_7440

I had some of the girls over for Christmas drinks the first Saturday in December and it was so much fun! Last year I had a larger gathering with both girls and boys, but this year I just didn’t have enough time or energy to prepare something big, but rather than not organising anything at all I preferred to scale it down. I do hope I have more time and energy last year for a proper Christmas party with lots of canapés, but I’m not making any promises.

To start with we had prosecco (and quite a lot of it!) and savoury canapés, starting with warm crisps with browned butter, grated comté, lemon juice and cress. I love these so so much! I know it’s making crisps even unhealthier, but it is so worth it. I mentioned the browned butter right?!

IMG_7448

Thereafter I put out a little DIY project with crostinis. I had a large bag filled with crostinis and three jars on a silver tray with different spreads to put on top; bean spread with sage, hot smoked salmon spread (the girls favourite!) and a new version of chicken liver parfait (recipe to follow soon) and cornichons.

IMG_7455

After that I passed around a board of prosciutto parcels filled with cream cheese mixed with chopped sunblush tomatoes. It’s the easiest recipe ever (three ingredients!) but always goes down well.

IMG_7461

We then moved on to the hot food. First up were these puff pastry squares with mushrooms, grated cheese, creme fraiche and parsley. IMG_7468

Then the mini Janssons frestelse that all my London friends adore! Janssons frestelse is like a creamy potato bake (with grated potato) with anchovies. It sounds rather odd I know, but everyone who’s ever tried it loves it, I promise!

IMG_7480

Having finished the savoury canapés it was time for the sweets and glögg! I put it all out on the table at once to people cook pick and choose. The rocky road I made this year is probably the best one yet (recipe to follow), mainly because it has honeycomb in it and it really works!! I also tried to pretty them pieces up with snowflakes (which I tend to use on everything this time of year!) and edible glitter.

IMG_7484

I also served gingerbread with blue cheese, but this time I substituted Stilton for St Agur, which works even better.

IMG_7489

I also made these mini saffron pannacottas that I like to make every year – I’m so lucky my friends are happy to eat! 

 

 

Hot smoked salmon spread for crostinis

IMG_9453

The London crayfish party was a success and so much fun! There was only ten of us but we managed to demolish 5 kgs crayfish and drink two bottles of snaps (as well as beer and wine) and sing snaps songs. Thank you to everyone involved for embracing my country’s silly traditions and being such fun guests!

Before we started on the crayfish though, we had some prosecco and nibbles. I usually start a dinner party with nibbles as I think it’s such a nice informal way to start the evening and get people chatting. One of the nibbles I made was this hot smoked salmon spread. I just put it in a bowl and the guests assembled their own crostinis.

Hot smoked salmon spread, enough for 5 people as a nibble

Adapted after and translated from Arla’s recipe.

350 g hot smoked salmon fillets (no bones)

200 ml soured cream

2 tbsp freshly grated horseradish

1/2 bunch chives

1/2 lemon, the juice

salt, black pepper

Check the salmon for bones and remove them and any skin. Place in a bowl and mush it with a fork. Add soured cream, horseradish (Ocado has the fresh stuff) and lemon juice. Add the lemon juice and season to taste. Keep refrigerated until serving. 

Crostini with goat’s cheese crème, pine nuts, honey and rosemary

cro1 Crostinis with different toppings are one of my go-to nibbles. You can prepare both toppings and the bread ahead of time and just assemble before serving, plus the flavour combinations are endless. These guys with goat’s cheese crème (so mild the goat’s cheese haters liked it too!), toasted pine nuts, Acacia honey and rosemary are so yummy and went down a treat at the party. Crostinis with goat’s cheese créme, toasted pine nuts, rosemary and honey, makes 70 2 really long baguettes mild olive oil 500 ml thick French crème fraiche (I used Waitrose’s French full fat crème fraiche)  250 g soft mild goat’s cheese  1 tbsp mild olive oil salt, white pepper 100 g pine nuts 1 bunch rosemary, finely chopped Acacia honey Slice the baguettes and place on trays. Drizzle with oil and toast in the oven (180-200C0 until golden brown, approx 12 minutes. Leave to cool. Add the creme fraiche to a large bowl. Add the crumbled cheese and whip with an electric whisk until combined. Add oil, salt and pepper and combine. Store in the fridge until assembly time.   Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan. Leave to cool.  Assemble: Pipe a dollop of cheese crème onto each crostini, top with toasted pine nuts, some chopped rosemary and a small dollop of honey. Serve immediately.  

Truffled mushroom crostini

IMG_9110

Twice in December I made these truffled mushroom crostinis for my friends. Above with chantarelles and chestnut mushrooms and below with only chestnut mushrooms as I was feeding lots of people and fresh chantarelles aren’t exactly cheap. What’s great about the recipe is that it can feed anyone. It’s vegan and works for people sensitive to dairy, and if you make glutenfree crostinis this works for coeliacs as well.

When using the chantarelle mushrooms I added a bit of cream for added creaminess, so feel free to do that if you like, but plenty of oil (or use butter) is enough moisture for me.

IMG_9147

Truffled mushroom crostini (vegan), makes quite a few

1 large baguette

mild olive oil

400 g mixed mushrooms

oil for frying

1 garlic clove, pressed

2 tbsp porcini mushroom and truffle paste (I used this one)

salt, black pepper

chopped parsley for serving

Slice the baguette, place the slices on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in 180C oven until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Slice the mushrooms. Fry until golden in oil on medium heat (preferably in batches). Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so. Add the truffle paste, salt and pepper. Divide between the crostini and topped with chopped parsley. 

Two types of crostini to start a dinner party

IMG_7947

Last Friday a few of my girl friends came over for dinner and while waiting for everyone to arrive we had some bubbly, this sparkling wine from Loire, and crisps. When most people had arrived I brought out two types of crostini, still casually sitting on the sofas.

One of the toppings were suppose to be the same as on Toast Öjeby, a mixture of crayfish, sharp cheese, dill, cumin and honey, but as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s both failed to deliver crayfish, I made the same mixture with coldwater prawns instead. And parsley instead of dill as I hadn’t bought enough (yep, it was one of those weeks). Substituting the crayfish with prawns worked well flavour wise but it didn’t look as pretty. As one of my friends is not that keen on shellfish I also served a bunch of crostini topped with homemade gravadlax (cured salmon) and dill cream cheese.

Crostini with gravadlax crostini and dill cream cheese, makes 30

500 g salmon fillet

2 tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp chopped dill

1 large baguette

olive oil

150 g cream cheese

1 handful dill, finely chopped

1 tsp dijon mustard

a dash of honey

salt and pepper

Start 48 hours before serving. Remove the skin from the salmon. Mix sugar, salt and dill and pat it onto the fish. Place in a small dish and cover with cling. Refrigerate for 48 hours. 

Before serving, make the crostini by slicing the baguette thinly, placing the slices on parchment paper on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in 200C oven until crisp and golden, approx 10-15 minutes. Leave to cool.

Pat the salmon dry with kitchen towel and slice thinly. Mix cream cheese with dill, honey and mustard. Season. Divide the salmon slices on the crostini, place a teaspoon sized dollop of dilly cream cheese on top, season and serve.