Recipe: bruschetta bar!

IMG_6506.jpg

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.

IMG_6505.jpg

IMG_6506.jpg

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.

IMG_7164

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

IMG_8057

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

IMG_8812.jpeg

IMG_8811.jpeg

IMG_8815.jpeg

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

IMG_6505.jpg

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. 

Advent gathering

The first Sunday of Advent is special to me, and I like to invite people over to celebrate it with Swedish glögg and plenty of nibbles.

Unfortunately I was too busy in the kitchen to have time to take pictures of everything, but at least a few things got caught by the camera.

For the first time ever, I made my own glögg, which is basically a sweeter version of mulled wine, served in little cups wit almonds and raisins.

I love it, and you can have white or red glögg although the red one is more common. I also made mulled cider which is a bit drier, although still sweet, so that was why I served mainly savoury nibbles this year.

We had mini potato bakes with anchovies (it is a lot nicer than it sounds, promise), meatballs and pickled beetroot on scewers, dates wrapped in bacon, ginger thins with Stilton (great combo), clementines and a soft gingerbread cake with frosting (recipe to follow). I also made a little spread with potato, hardboiled eggs, herring, dill, chives, mayonnaise and creme fraiche, knows as old man’s spread. A dollop of that on crisp bread is delicious.

Homemade glögg, 70 cl

Translated and adapted from this recipe.

1 bottle red wine

1 whole cinnamon stock

20 cloves

1 tsp ground ginger

4 cardamom kernels, crushed

300 ml caster sugar (start with 200 ml if you don’t want it too sweet)

1 tsp vanilla

some grated lemon zest

Pour the wine into a large sauce pan. Add the spices and leave it for at least an hour and a half. Before serving, add the sugar and vanilla and heat it up without boiling. Pour through a sieve to remove the spices. Serve in a small cup (espresso size) with almonds and raisins.

Mulled cider, 2 litres

2 litres dry cider

1 vanilla pod, cut in half lengthways

2 tbsp brown sugar

2-3 star anise

2 tsp ground cinnamon

orange or lemon peel

Place everything in a large saucepan and heat up. Serve without the spices.

Christmas meatballs, makes 50

500 g beef mince

500 g pork mince

2 eggs

150 ml breadcrumbs

100 ml cream

1 onion, finely chopped or 1 tbsp onion granules

2-3 tsp salt

white pepper

1,5 tsp allspice

Pour everything but the meat into a large bowl. Mix and let it sweel for a few minutes. Add the meat and mix it throughly with a wooden fork. Rinse your hands in cold water and roll into smallish meatballs. Fry in the oven or in a frying pan until cooked through Serve hot or cold. Place a meatball on a toothpick together with a wedge of pickled beetroot for a simple canapé.

Old man’s spread (Gubbröra), makes 30 canapées

2-3 medium potatoes, cooked, cold and chopped

1 jar matjes herring, chopped

2 hardboiled eggs, cold and chopped

4 tbsp mayonnaise

4 tbsp creme fraiche

1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped

1/2 bunch chives, finely chopped

Mix creme fraiche and mayo in a bowl. Add the other ingredients and mix. Break crispbread into small pieces and place a dollop of the spread on each. Serve straight away as the crispbread will soften from the moisture.

Bacon wrapped dates, makes 18

18 pitted dates

9 slices smoked streaky bacon

Cut the baconslices in half. Wrap a bacon piece around each date, fasten with a toothpick. Place in a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes in 200C until the bacon is crisp. Serve while hot.

Rosti with crayfish spread

I have a long-lasting fondness of rosti, from when my mother used to serve it as starter in the late 80s early 90s as a starter at dinner parties. The crispy buttery shreds of potato taste absolutely divine with salty caviar, sharp red onions and velvety creme fraiche. I can still crave this, and I don’t care one bit that it is so retro. It is  good!

Sometimes I make this as a light supper, but Christopher is unfortunately not very fond of caviar. I know… He does have other qualities to make up for it, I promise!

So to enjoy this this with my dear boyfriend, I came up with this little crayfish mixture, dip, spread – whatever you would like to call it. And it is good. Less salty, but just as good. This would be absolutely mind blowing with fresh crayfish tails, but mixed in with the large amount of dill and the cream cheese, the in-brine version works too.

You can also put a large dollop of this on your jacket potato, in your baguette, in a cold omelette that you roll up and make little appetizers from, and plenty more.

Crayfish spread, serves 2

180 g crayfish tails

3 large tbs philadelphia

a bunch of dill, finely chopped

1/4 lemon, the juice

1 tsp paprika

salt

white pepper

Chop the crayfish tails coarsely. Mix with the other ingredients.

Rosti, serves 2

ca 6-8 medium potatoes (not new ones)

Peel and grate. Melt butter and oil in a large skilled and place dollops of the potatoe with space in between. Flatten them out. The starch is enough to hold them together (hence the older more starchy variety). Fry until crisp on both sides. Season and serve immediately.