A small treat for the new year…

December 31st, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

End of the day in unterwasser
Hello from Unterwasser, Switzerland. Just missed the sunset, will try to do better tomorrow…

Haven’t been around the kitchen a lot these last ten days… I’m on a winterholiday road-trip: 

After travelling through the Benelux and France with a short stop in Vougeot in the heart of Bourgogne (will tell u later about the wines… mmmm), we’ve stopped in Nimes for Christmas where we inaugurated the new bar of my little bro (the one he built with his own hands in his kitchen, not the real thing where you go out with your pals but still quite impressive). For the occasion, little bro spoiled us with his best cooking (including a delicious girolles and scallops risotto for Christmas eve) and I must say it was quite nice to be away from the kitchen for a while. Now, we’ve ended up in the german part of Switzerland to visit a couple of friends for the new year and hit the snow a bit. You won’t see me in the kitchen before at least next week and it’s already a miracle that I’ve come so far as to find the internet connection today.

Tonight, I’ll be sleighing down the swiss pistes to inaugurate the new year.
So,
I just wanted to wish you a very very happy and yummy new year with all your loved ones and best friends…
I hope you make it something special.

C u next year in my kitchen,

Xxx, Myriam.

ps. I kind of lied before. I did test my bro’s kitchen once: to bake you the most simple apetizers you can get: Crunchy and golden palmitos filled with tapenade* and a mix of tomato tapenade and parmeggiano. You could use another local treat from Nimes, brandade, which is made of dried cod fish, or simply use grated cheese or fresh cream cheese with fine herbs from your own region, pesto…. Anyway, enjoy!

palmitos nimois
Heart shaped bites to warm up your new year’s party…

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Chanterelle Mea Culpa

October 23rd, 2008 § 2 comments § permalink

Yep, the lazy gourmande is back. It’s been a long while. I missed you all.
I’ve been wondering how I could make it up to you…
And then, I was drooling in front of the mouthwatering automn specials of the duch cooking magazine Wining & dining when I found this little gem…  a tender mini-bite with chanterelles and old sheep cheese that will make you feel like going mushroom-picking next weekend.

Mini-cakes des sous-bois
Just for you… A personal interpretation of Wining and Dining automn proof mini-muffins*
 

Of course, I couldn’t help bringing in my personnal touch to the original recipe*, but that was mostly ’cause I missed part of the ingredients in my cupboards.

 

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Merry Christmas from Holland!

December 28th, 2007 § 4 comments § permalink

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

Amsterdam3
Sunset in Vondelpark

So far so good for my stressless Christmas… We do not know how to do without stress in the family! No worries, it ended up al well and we all had a great time and the Christmas dinner was a success. I’ll post about it later once I fully recovered from this week.

In the mean time, here’s a few photos from some of my favourite spots in Amsterdam I took after the Christmas eve rush on Christmas day…

Amsterdam1 amsterdam4
Amsterdam2

Couldn’t get to post the recipe for the cheese sablés before Christmas. Here it is at last! The recipe is based on the recipe for the ‘Goudse Kaasmoppen’ from the famous dutch baker Kees Raat from the book ‘Koekje’. The shortcrust texture of these cheese bites sablés is wonderful and Kees Raat uses Chick pea flour which gives a little nutty something to the taste. As a twist to the recipe I added some spices to the dough: I spiced half of the cookies with crushed pepper and chilipepper and the other half with slightly toasted and roughly crushed cummin seeds… Perfect!

goudsekaasmoppen
Spicy Goudse Kaasmoppen

Spicy dutch cheese sablés
Petits sablés épicés au gouda

Makes about 40.
prep: 15min +1hr rest. cook: 15 min

Ingredients:
160 g dutch gouda cheese,
160 g butter at room temperature,
140 g chickpea flour,

2g sea salt (~1/2 tsp),
pepper, chilipepper, cummin seeds… according to taste

Mix the cheese and butter together. Knead in the chick pea flour, the salt and spices until the dough is homogeneous. Roll the dough into two cilinders of ~2cm diameter en leave to cool in the fridge for at least one hour. Preheat the oven at 170 deg C. Cut the dough in 1cm thick slices and lay them on a baking tray covered with baking foil. Cook for about 15 min at 170 deg C or until golden. Watch out that the cookies do not get brown, they could get bitter. Leave to cool on a rack and store in a metal tin.

Bon appétit!

Running late for Christmas?

December 21st, 2007 § 1 comment § permalink

Eid, Christmas and Hanoeka are coming close…

christmas2

Are you all set? … I am not: the house is a mess, haven’t had one minut yet to think of my christmas dinner, still got to get the christmas tree, the presents… and my family will be at the door two days from now for a whole week of festivities! Sounds desperate… Well, nevermind! I’ve decided to (try to) keep cool this year. *deep breath*.  

In case some of you out there can recognise themselves, I thought I could share my christmas race with you (If I manage to fit posting in the program). 

First, I’ve got one tip for your christmas presents: Have you heard of the Menu for Hope raffle yet? If not, have a look… you’ve got until tonight to get a chance of winning amazing food related prizes worldwide (meals in world famous restaurants, culinary tours of your favourite cities, cooking equipment, signed cookbooks, cooking workshops…) while helping children in Lesotho getting food for lunch! Don’t miss it… I got tickets for the guided tour of El Bulli of course, a culinary tour of Barcelona and a lovely vintage print.

For the rest, my moto this year is: get organised and go simple!
(I know that my friends will no doubt get tears of laughter reading this…)

So in that spirit, here are a couple of tips for great homemade appetizers that will impress your guests while being so simple and easy to prepare…

apetizers
Asparagus mousse, cheese sablés* and candied tomato tartlets

Mousse or soup shots always make a great impression, while they can be pretty easy and prepared in advance. The asparagus and vanilla mousse on the picture is based on the recipe I cooked for Blog Appétit quite a while ago. This time I used canned asparagus, and I baked the mousse in shot glasses for 20min. They can be prepared a couple of days in advance and kept in the refrigerator. For the decoration, I used green aspasragus tips blanched for a couple of minnutes an strips of smoked salmon. For Christmas, I am thinking of trying this with artichoke hearts instead of asparagus, with seared slices of scallops on top maybe.

pumpkin_cappucino
You can also think of shots with a celeriac or pumpkin cappuccino or creamy jerusalem artichokes soup topped wth scallops or langoustines.

For the celeriac, cook in half water, half milk until soft (~15min) and mix. For jerusalem artichokes, sauteed them with a small shallot before adding the liquids, spice to your taste. You can prepare and freeze these soups well in advance. Take out of the freezer the night before. On the day itself, mix with liquid cream and warm up before serving. Top with whipped cream, seared scallops, truffles, langoustines, crushed hazelnuts, nutmeg, sechuan pepper… whatever fit your mood that day.

mini candied tomato tartlet
And what about homemade mini savoury tartlets? sounds to complicated…

The trick is to prepare a savoury shortcrust well in advance (70g flour, 30g powdered almonds, 60g butter, 1 Tsp milk, salt, pepper and any spices or herbs you fill like). Bake in mini silicon molds and freeze the tartlet bottoms. You’ll only need to take them out of the freezer a couple of hours in advance, garnish when thawed and warm up in the oven.
I like to garnish them with homemade candied tomatoes, or spicy apple compote topped with ‘magret de canard’ (smoked duck breast), sauteed spinach and goat cheese or smoked trout… but really the possibilities are endless!

asperge_stJacques
And then, there’s the scallops… I love scallops, just seared served with a drop of argan or hazelnut oil, spiced with sechuan pepper, or with a strawberry coulis. Or mini blinis or baghrir (prepared in advanced and frozen), just warmed up, topped with creme fraiche with a touch of lemon or wasabi and garnished with salmon or fish eggs.

I could go on for hours, but I’ve got to seriously get started, so I’ll finish with dried fruits… Prunes rolled in bacon and baked until crispy in the oven, dates filled with foie gras topped with sea salt and pepper. So easy!

Bon appétit and merry christmas!

*I’ll post the recipe later, I’ve got to run to the market…

 

Trick or treat flop

October 31st, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

Today, just back from work, I settled comfortably in front of my computer with a steaming expresso ready to get blogging when the doorbell started singing… Not expecting anyone. Probably my big friend the doorbell ghost again, I thought  (damn interferences!). But we never know, so I got up and went to the door…

Surprisingly, there was someone at the door this time: a ghost actually, the cutest little dutch ghost I’ve ever seen. Halloween! of course, it’s halloween today… Believe it or not, this was my first trick or treat experience ever. Halloween is far not as popular in Europe as it is in America.  It didn’t even exist in France when I was a child, and has always seemed to me as one purely commercial event that shops are forcing into our lives to fill their pockets while awaiting the christmas season…She was so cute though. I melted. And then I freaked: I had nothing, not a chocolate bar, not one cookie in the house (I have to take drastic measures to combine food blogging and a decent waistline), maybe a mandarine?… she was not tempted… I felt just like Rachel in one of these episodes of Friends, when she rushes to her checkbook when she realises she’s out of treats… What a flop!

I’ve rushed to the shop at the corner in the meantime to get a bag of candy, but my doorbell keeps now desperately silent…

So, to make it up… here’s at least a little pumkin treat, all smooth and velvety, for all the smaller and bigger ghosts who will knock at the door of my blog tonight.


 

pumpkin_cappucino

 

Pumpkin cappuccino
Cappuccino de citrouille

serves 6 (as apetizer*)
prep: 10 min cook: 15 + 20 min

Ingredients:
A small butternut squash (~350g), peeled, seeded and roughly cut in ~0.5 to 1cm thick slices,
1 Tsp olive oil,
1 apple, chopped,
1 shallot, chopped,
1/2 tsp ginger powder (fresh should be great to, but I didnt have any at the time),
3 pods of cardamon
1 knob of butter,
50 cl chicken stock**
15 cl milk,
10 cl liquid cream,
sea salt and pepper to taste
To serve:
Whipped cream or creme fraiche,
Cardamon, crushed.
Preheat the oven at 200 deg C.
Line a baking tray with baking foil. Put the pumpkin slices on the tray, drizzle with the tablespon olive oil and season with salt. Toss gently and bake for about 15 min or until the pumkin flesh soften.
In a pan, warm up the butter on medium fire and add the chopped shallot, ginger and cardamon. When the onion is translucid (~5min), add the apple, pumpkin and cover with the stock. After the first boil, lower the fire and cover. Simmer for 15 min. Leave to cool for 10 min. Remove the cardamon pods. Then, add the milk and cream and blend until smooth.
To serve, warm the pumpkin cream on low fire, and pour in nice glasses or coffee cups, top with a generous lump of whipped cream or creme fraiche and sprinkle with cardamon. Serve immediately.

Cheers!


* Double the proportions, if you wish to serve this cappuccino as a starter.
** If your stock is very concentrated, cut it with water so that it doesn’t overpower the pumpkin.

Summer dreams

September 21st, 2007 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, I know… summer is long gone in the netherlands (if it ever came at all). Just stopped in town today after work to buy myself a new and warmer jacket ’cause I was freezing and blessed god for my heater thermostat when I came home. Not that the weather is so bad here, it’s just cold. I can’t help but long and dream for just a little bit more of summer. Warm evenings with late sunsets and a lot of friends around the barbecue… And you, well you might have more luck than me with that if I trust the world weather forecast which has kept me red with jealousy for the last three months.  If you do, please enjoy one more outdoor aperitif in the sun for me…

apetizer_melonpastequejambon

Petites brochettes melon jambon
Melon and ham skewers

apetizer
serves 4 to 8. prep: 10 min

Ingredients:
400g of various sorts of melon and watermelon diced,
10 thin slices of parma ham,
a dash of olive oil,
“fleur de sel” and pepper to taste
mini skewersWash, peel and chop the melons and watermelon in dices (~2x2cm). Cut the ham slices in 6 rectangles. Use your imagination to create colourful skewers alternating a couple of melon dices with a thin rectangle of ham. Season with fleur de sel, pepper and a dash of olive oil. serve fresh with a glass of wine or a summery cocktail like the one below for example

Bon appétit!

summer_cocktail

Melon/raspberry/vodka cocktail

cocktail
serves 6. prep: 5 min

Ingredients:
half of a ripe and perfurmed green or yellow melon (I used a dutch “Hollandse Oogst” melon),
150g fresh or frozen raspberries,
1 1/5 lime juiced,
a few basil leaves,
a pinch of pepper,
2 Tsp brown sugar,
20 cl vodka,
15 ice cubes.

Wash, peel and cut the melon in pieces. Pour all ingredients in your food processor and mix until you get a smooth mixture. Pour in a summery caraf. Go back to your friends on your terasse or garden and enjoy your cocktail with the girls while the men get the barbecue ready.

Cheers!

ps. For a kid friendly version, just skip the vodka and replace it with apple juice or some extra melon.

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