Recipe: Puff Pastry Squares with Speck, Cream Cheese, Tomato and Chives

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I’m so pleased with these nibbles! They went down extremely well at our Christmas party. Some even claimed them their favourite canapé of the evening! Which is great because they are ridiculously easy to make, yet a real crowd pleaser.

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The base is store bought ALL BUTTER puff pastry covered with creme fraiche and grated cheese and then baked until golden and flaky.

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The combination of salty speck (or any other cured ham) with the cream cheese and sun blush tomato mixture works really well with the buttery puff and a sprinkling of chopped chives makes it look pretty while also giving it a little flavour.

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Puff pastry squares with speck, cream cheese, tomato and chives, makes 20

The base:

1 roll all butter puff pastry 

100 ml creme fraiche

2 handfuls grated cheddar

salt and pepper

Topping:

180 g (small tub) Philadelphia cheese

3/4 tub sun blush tomatoes in oil

salt and pepper

5 slices speck, each torn into 4

bunch of chives, finely chopped

Place the puff pastry on top of a parchment paper covered baking tray. Spread a layer of creme fraiche on top. Scatter with grated cheese. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake in 200C oven until crispy and golden. 

Remove the tomatoes from the oil and chop finely. Mix with cream cheese and season well. 

Cut the puff pastry into 20 squares and place on a serving platter. Add a piece of ham to each, then a dollop of the cream cheese mixture on top and top with chopped chives. 

 

 

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). 

 

Recipe: puff pastry Quiche Lorraine

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Quiche Lorraine is undoubtedly my favourite quiche (closely followed by Västerbotten cheese quiche with crayfish) and until now my trusted recipe has served me well. The pastry is easy to make and it never gives a soggy bottom and the filling is delicious. But do you know what would make it EVEN better? Puff pastry! Golden, flaky buttery puff… Yes, please! Said and done.

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I made this (in Sweden quite unorthodox) quiche for my friends in the summer and children and adults alike really liked it – and had seconds. Always a good sign!

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Quiche Lorraine with puff pastry, serves 4

1 roll butter puff pastry

Filling:

1/2 onion, finely chopped

300 g smoked and cured streaky bacon (fried in pieces, then drained on kitchen towel)

butter and oil for frying

150 ml grated cheese (I used Monterey Jack)

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

1 bunch chives, chopped

300 ml cream

3 eggs + 1/2 left over from the crust making

white pepper (no salt needed)

Cover a quiche dish with puff pastry. Use a fork to make holes in pastry and pre-bake in 180C oven for 10 mins.

Fry the onion soft on medium heat. Place in a mixing bowl. Fry the bacon crisp in the same pan, remove to the mixing bowl and leave to cool slightly. Add the cheese, eggs, cream, herbs and pepper. Fill the quiche and bake for 35 mins in 180C (or until set and golden in colour). Enjoy it hot or cold or in between, ideally with a nice salad.

 

Recipe: salmon en crôute

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When I had friends over for an al fresco luncheon at the summer house in August, this salmon en crôute was a great success. I have Gordon Ramsay to thank for the excellent recipe, although I tweaked it slightly, using puff pastry instead of shortcrust and doubled the recipe.

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I served the salmon with buttery amandine potatoes with peas and dill, provencale tomatoes and a lovely sauce I will tell you all about in another post. Everybody liked it, including the children!

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It was just the perfect summer’s day to sit outside sipping rosé and catching up with dear friends.

I did make too much salmon though, but that just meant I had lunch for the next day. And heated up in the oven (a microwave will make the pastry soggy) it was as good as the day before!

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Salmon en crôute, serves 4

Adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe.

I doubled the recipe and made two parcels, and also substituted the shortcrust pastry for puff as I like the buttery flakiness better.

1 side of salmon (as even as possible), about 900 g, skinned

a little olive oil

60 g butter, softened

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

generous handful of basil leaves, chopped

small handful of dill leaves

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

1 roll puff pastry with butter

1 egg yolk, beaten

Check the salmon for pin bones, removing any that you find. 

Mix the softened butter with the lemon zest, basil, dill and some salt and pepper in a bowl. 

Pat the salmon fillets dry with kitchen paper, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the herb butter over one side and place the salmon with the buttery side down on the rolled out puff pastry. Spread the mustard on top and bring up the edges and tuck them in before folding the rest of the pastry over to form a neat parcel. Carefully turn the whole thing over so that the seam is underneath and place on a parchment lined baking tray.

Brush the pastry with beaten egg. Lightly score a herringbone or cross-hatch pattern using the back of a knife. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover loosely and chill for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C. 

Bake the salmon for 20–25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Rest the salmon for 5 minutes, then cut into portions. 

 

This year’s Christmas drinks party

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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?!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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

 

 

Puff pastry squares with girolles and Västerbotten cheese

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The second nibble we had with the pre-crayfish prosecco was these lovely puff pastry squares with fried girolles and Swedish Västerbotten cheese (any other sharp cheese will do, but Västerbotten is a must with crayfish). I’m so pleased I can now by girolles with my food orders from a decent supermarket I come up with any excuse to buy them and this is a good way to use them. But to make them go a bit further (as they’re not the cheapest of shrooms) I threw in some chestnut mushrooms as well.

Puff pastry squares with girolles and Västerbotten cheese, serves 5 people as only nibble

1 roll  all butter puff

600 g mushrooms (I had approx 400 g girolles and 200 g chestnut mushrooms) 

a knob of butter for frying 

1 garlic clove, chopped 

1 bunch parsley, chopped

30 g Västerbotten cheese, finely grated

Pre-heat oven to 200C. Roll out the puff onto a parchment paper covered baking tray and cut into squares. Clean the mushrooms and slice. Melt the butter in a frying pan on medium heat and fry the mushrooms until golden in batches. Add the garlic towards the end. Add salt, pepper and parsley. Leave to cool. 

Distribute the mushrooms on the puff. Scatter grated Västerbotten cheese on top and bake until golden. Serve immediately. 

Anchovies puff pastry rolls

The third nibble for the party was these anchovies puff pastry rolls that everybody raved about. Thank goodness!, as I hadn’t tested the recipe beforehand.The whole reason I made these was to honour the host who is a serious anchovy lover. Luckily the others liked them too.

The recipe is courtesy of Swedish chef Leila Lindholm, with a few changes; I used puff pastry instead of pizza dough to get a crispy flaky snack. And it really worked.

(Picture courtesy of TV4/Recept.nu; I was to slow to photograph these.)

Anchovies puff pastry rolls, makes about 40

2 rolls ready made butter puff pastry 

200 g softened salted butter

4 garlic cloves

4-6 anchovies fillets, finely chopped

2 tbsp honey

plenty of grated parmesan 

a large bunch of fresh oregano, chopped 

a large bunch of rosemary, chopped 

a little black pepper 

Mix all the ingredients apart from the puff in a bowl. Roll out the pastry and spread a thick even layer of butter on top. Roll into a tight roll from the long edge and cut into 1 cm thick rolls. Place on parchment paper on a tray and bake for 200C until golden and crisp, approx 10 minutes. Serve immediately.