Posts tagged ‘brunch’

August 23, 2011

Recipe: Halloumi cheese and pesto bites

 

 

I finally managed to find some decent halloumi cheese in the supermarket. Let me tell you, I love them! Its a great substitute for a vegetarian BBQ, which meat lovers will like as well. These cheese is traditionally Cyprian, and very popular in The Middle East and Greece. Usually made by sheep’s or goats milk, sometimes there are cows milk based available too.

The best thing about it: It goes ell with almost anything, with chili or sweeter sauces, vegetables, grills, prosciutto, salads..you name it. Spices as well can be used while grilling, I would recommend sumac and some cured lemon.

I had to try out some bread recipes today, and ended up, with a nice thin sourdough, which is perfect toasted with some olive oil. I thought it ill go well with the halloumi, just wanted to make it a  bit colorful As I said it goes well with almost anything, I thought I add some grilled tomatoes, and since I had a pesto open just spread it on the toast. The result was yummy! The combination of the flavors was just amazing, and nothing beats fresh home-made bread! Its perfect as a welcome snack or to a wine tasting or to pretty much any food-loving occasion!

Note: If its your first time grilling halloumi, there’s a few things you should know. Fry it in a non-stick frying pan. Make sure the pan is burning hot…and I mean literally burning hot! Use only a drop of olive oil, not much more! Don`t overcrowd, so try and fry maybe 3-4 at once, or else the temperature will drop and your cheese is going to melt instead if grilling. Just brown each side and your cheese is ready!

Heat a frying pan, add a couple of spoons of olive oil, toast the bread slices at both sides

Spread some pesto over the toasts, while they are still warm so it melts a bit.

heat the same frying pan, until burning hot

add halloumi cheese and fast fry on both sides

when finished with cheese add tomato halves, and grill

season with a bit of sumac and white pepper only if you like

be careful with salt, as the cheese itself is very salty!

Enjoy!!

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August 17, 2011

Recipe: Gorgonzola toasts with poached figs

 

 

How about a little snack? Dinner party, wine tasting, bbq, birthday party..these little toasts will serve you well. Easy and will be ready in no-time. Especially now, when figs are in season, you can easily replace the poached figs to some fresh ones with balsamic glaze. For this one I used ciabata bread, but any thick crust dough will be nice, especially french baguettes!

To prepare the poached figs will take some time, depending of course how many you are making, to me 40 pieces were 20 minutes, it also cools fast, and in case you wont be using all, it can be stored up until a month in the fridge!

Ingredients for 10 toasts

10 slices of ciabata bread, or any other bread

50 g of Gorgonzola cheese

20 figs, dried..or fresh ones, which don`t need to be poached

100ml of red wine

100ml of water

2 spoons of sugar

1 spoon of white wine vinegar

little bit of salt

Combine the water, wine, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan, add figs, and bring it to boil. Cook until liquid is reduced, and you end up with a thick caramelized. Put it aside to cool.

Spread the gorgonzola on the bread slices, add as thick as you like, depending how much you like the taste of the cheese. Some prefer a bit less, some a bit more. Put it in the oven to 180C for a couple of minutes, until golden brown.

When toasts are ready, add 2-3 figs each, spread some of the caramelized wine jam, on the serving plate!

Enjoy!

July 11, 2011

Recipe: Simple meal for 2

 

I always say simple meals are the best. Yes of course I like eating out, and have something fancy, but after spending most of my time in the kitchen,nothing beats home-made.

Now its summer, fresh vegetables are just over the roof, its hot and we need fruits and greens. Again Im not vegetarian, but I much prefer meatless dishes. One of my new favourite ingredients and greens are the romanesco broccoli. Why? Cos they just look fun, and the taste is somewhere between a broccoli and a cauliflower, cooks really fast, and goes well with most of the meats, especially steak. But this time “We” are not frying steaks, we making pasta.

Pasta always comes in handy, when you have not much time, or want to create something simple. However you make it, it`s going to be good. Sometimes I just look around what I have hidden at home, and a new recipe gets born every time..true story! :)So, last time I`ve been to the market, and spotted the romanesco I thought I come up with a pasta dish. It goes well with cream and garlic, so this was pretty much set. I had some spinach stuffed ravioli, and some mozzarella balls, so one part of the meal was covered.

With all of this I wanted something fresh and light. Bruschetta works all the time as well. I mean it`s one of the best meals ever. Just chop up some tomatoes with garlic and basil, and salt, put it over olive oil toast, and you have the perfect appetizer or party food. To make it look even better, try and pick up various cherry and regular tomatoes, red, yellow, green you name it, its going to look fantastic!

I also wanted to make some simple salad. I had some red wine seeded mustard at home, which I didn`t have the chance to try yet. My favourite lettuce is romaine lettuce, so most of the time I use that, and I juts love fresh cress. especially onion cress. So the salad was set as well.

When you get a meal ready, dont over think it. Just look around what you have at home, hiding in your fridge, pick up some things from the market or grocer which you fancy, and want to try, and even the smallest efforts go a long way.

Ingredients

Tortelloni with romanesco cream and mozzarella

A pack of fresh stuffed tortelloni for 2

half of a romanesco

100g of small mozzarella balls

100ml of creme

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

salt, white pepper

small slice of butter

Cook the tortelloni in hot boiling water, it gets ready just in a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, divide the romanesco in small roses, put it in boiling water, and cook just for a couple of minutes until soft. Don`t over cook it, when ready leave it under cold running water for a bit. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, add the garlic and creme, bring it to boil and watch not to burn it.  Add the romanesco, salt and pepper to taste, stir and add the pasta, make sure it all warms trough. Put it in a serving plate and put the mozzarella balls on top. Just let it melt a little over.

Ingredients

“Rainbow” bruscetta

2 ciabatta breads

a selection of fresh colourful tomatoes yellow, zebra, green, cherry, and red

3-4 cloves of garlic

pinch of pink Himalayan salt

4-5 leafs of fresh basil

Toast the bread slices in a frying pan over olive oil. Set aside. Slice and mix all ingredients together. Spread it over bread. YUM!!!!

April 12, 2011

Recipe: Ramson and shallot yoghurt dip, with Asparagus.

The days are getting longer, the sun is shining, and we know summer is approaching. Warm is coming, BBQ season is coming, fresh vegetables will blow our mind at markets, and now it`s time for some refreshing easy to digest foods.  Soon we can choose from plenty of beautiful green or white asparagus, in some countries and regions ramson is blooming, and people go crazy for it. If you don`t know ramson(or bear onion) is a herb most likely to b found growing in the wild, usually on woods. In Eastern-Europe it`s very common, also in some places in North-America. To be honest, for a decent price it can be found all over the world, I saw them at markets and delis in Australia, Singapore and England as well.  Ramson tastes a bit like leek, but much better, it`s something that must be tried out, not just for the taste, but it`s very healthy as well. Also, can be used in so many ways, you can easily slice it in your sandwich or salad, or make soup, or even bread with.


When summer comes I always think about yoghurt. It`s easy, and sour, and cold, which is the most refreshing dip or side for a nice BBQ. My all time favourites are tzatziki and labna cheese balls. But nowadays I like to experiment. One thing is sure, onions go well with yoghurt. I just love the nice crunchy chopped fresh shallots, and red onions in the creamy white dip. Other thing I love is dipping, garlic breads and fresh vegetables, me is crazy for that stuff 🙂 So eventually when I spotted the beautiful green bunch of fresh asparagus at the market today, I know I found my perfect companion for my dip.


 

Again, the recipe is easy. Cos I like sharing easy things 🙂 But yes, it shouldnt take you more than 10 minutes making it! So Enjoy!

Ingredients.

(for 3-4 people, as a starter or snack)

200g greek or turkish thick yoghurt.

1 bunch of fresh green Asparagus. About half a kg., mine was 700g. Washed, the bottom cut off.

2 spoons of white wine vinegar

8 big leafs of ramson, rolled up, shiffanade.

2 big shallots, brunoise

salt

white pepper


Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add some salt. Out in Asparagus and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Make sure you don`t overcook. We are trying to keep a nice green colour here, if you cook it for long asparagus will turn grey..not pretty!

immediately put in cold water, or ice. Will keep the colour, and the veg will be nice and crunchy.

Mix the yoghurt with brunoise shallots, shiffanade ramson, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Serve with asparagus!

 

Enjoy!

March 6, 2011

Recipe: Blueberry bomb!

I don`t know about you but I just can`t wait for spring to start! I wan`t fresh fruits and vegetables, and sunshine. Being a bit fed up with winter, I often daydream about nice cocktail in the sun! Or even about a nice fresh fruit salad. That`s why when I spotted the fresh blueberries at the local market this weekend I was so happy! Finally! For a few weeks now  strawberries appeared, but the taste was rather disappointing. And there were no raspberries or blueberries Fortunately this is about to change.


Also making a promise for myself, that I`m going to eat breakfast as much as I can, and try to bring healthier choices in my diet, including plenty of fresh raw fruits. I picked up a pack of cereal in the local supermarket, with some vanilla flavoured yoghurt. To be honest I never really eat cereal, I find them too flavorless for my taste. And thought trying something new, would be good for a change. This tasty breakfast treat is ready in no minute, and is really a good way to kick-start the day! Just add all ingredients in a bowl, and enjoy the fruity sweetness!

Ingredients

Fresh blueberry

Vanilla flavoured yoghurt

Cereal

 

February 27, 2011

Recipe: Sunday Brunch treat, poached egg with lemon spinach and fried bacon.

It`s sunday morning, maybe you just woke up, and a brunch would be just amazing? Too lazy to go out and spend your lunch with the noisy crowd? Brunch at home could just be as much fun, especially if you invite some guests. You really don`t need to do anything over the edge, some eggs, grilled vegetables, and maybe a fruit salad with yoghurt and you are done.

This recipe is one of the last stops of my spinach addiction. The idea came almost a year ago when I visited London`s “Bocca di lupo`s” where one of the side dishes was cold spinach with some lemons…that time it came with lentils and sausage, and i thought well, it could be amazing with poached eggs. From all the eggs, poached is my favourite, first of all they just look cool, and i do love the “traditional” asparagus and hollandaise combination, but I wanted to create something different.


When you go shopping for the bacon make sure you buy whole and not sliced ones, so you can slice it up yourself, into medium big cubes. And leave a bit of time for the spinach to cool. Also don`t worry if your poached egg doesn`t turn out to be perfect straight away, it needs some practice, also be patient with it, and follow the steps written.

Ingredients (2 person)

0.5 kgs of fresh spinach leafs

1 big ciabatta bread, cut 4 four triangles

8medium b cube slices of bacon

1 lemon

bit of chopped garlic

salt

white pepper

white vinegar

2 eggs(you can have more with bigger appetite of course)

Fry the well washed clean, and chopped spinach leafs over a little oil, and when almost ready add the juice from the lemon.  Add salt, and white pepper. Set aside in a colinder to cool and reduce the liquid.

Bring water to boil in a small saucepan. Add vinegar, and salt. Break the egg in, carefully, not far from the water and don`t drop it in too fast…be easy with it! With a wooden spoon start folding the whites over the yolk, untill it covers. Cook a little bit more until it gets a bit harder. Take it out carefully with a spoon.

Fry the bacon until crispy. Toast the ciabatta breads.

Serve the spinach on top of the bread, then the bacon and the egg. Enjoy your brunch!


February 23, 2011

Recipe: Mozzarella-Pesto-and tomato tart.

 

Well, to be honest there`s absolutely nothing simple about this recipe. But sometimes chefs, bloggers, food lovers forget about the most simple and delicious treats. Also if you don`t have time or enough patience to make a pizza dough you can still use the puff pastry sheet, and the snack/breakfast/brunch will be ready in no time. Seriously, no time:) If you wanna go a bit more gourmet or experimental, add some anchovies if you like, or artichokes and capers. Or even buffalo mozzarella but watch out, there might be a bit much liquid in it, so don`t put too much. Anyway, you can`t go wrong!


Ingredients

1 sheet of ready made rolled up puff pastry

1 ball of mozzarella cheese

3 spoons of pesto

1 tomato

olives

salt,white pepper, oregano, rosemary.

Preheat your oven to 180C. Spread the pesto on the puff pastry evenly, with a pastry brush. Top with other ingredients. Don`t overcrowd your pastry, it`s not going to rise/cook. Bake for about 20 minutes. Don`t open door while baking! Enjoy!

February 23, 2011

Recipe: Egg and feta cheese breakfast tortilla

Wraps are good, a bit healthier choise for a breakfast, can be made in a minute, and they just look good. Now I’m experimenting with breakfast rolls, for brunch etc, to see how can I come up with a good brunch idea or make a simple egg roll a bit more gourmet. Feta cheese goes well with eggs, so I found, so does tomato and olives. So pretty much imagine a mini greek salad in your tortilla wrap. The recipe is easy, and it`s perfect for breakfast/brunch. Enjoy wrapping!


Ingredients (for 1 tortilla)

1 tortilla

2 eggs

1dl cream

2 olives-sliced

half of a tomato, thinly sliced

2 lettuce leafs

a bit of feta cheese crumbles

 

Sprinkle some water on your tortilla and put it the microwave for 1 minute. Make omelette from egg, cream and a bit of salt. Thinly s;ice. Fill tortilla with ingredients, putting down the lettuce first. Don`t overfill, and make sure u well spread the ingredient`s. Fold. cut, enjoy the goodness!

February 21, 2011

Recipe: Dried appricot and double cheese pastry triangles.

 

I love puff pastry. Not as much making them but the result of hard work effort is always rewarding. In almost every supermarket, we can buy ready-made good quality puff pastry which can be used with almost anything. If you feel having some sweet or savoury treat, you`ll know within 30 minutes you can pick out something amazing tasting from our oven. It`s almost impossible to ruin them.


I had to cater a party not long ago, and the host asked me to make some snack from puff pastry, but something unique and gourmet. I was thinking how to fill them, to make them interesting and still tasty, and don`t go too much over the edge. Now that im re-living my gorgonzola period, I thought about cheese, but gorgonzola would have been a bit too strong by itself, so I mixed it with some grated swiss cheese. Still something was missing, when the idea of dried fruit came to mind. I mean who doesn’t like fruits with cheese? And yes it has been a success, since I can`t stop making them!

The recipe is very simple and the result is yummie!!!

Ingredients (for 8 triangles)

1 sheet of ready made rolled up puff pastry

5-6 pieces of dried apricots, sliced

gorgonzola and swiss cheese (not much)

1 egg

sesame seeds


Preheat your oven to 180 C. Put down baking paper on a baking tray. Mos rolled up puff pastry already come with a paper, so all you need to do is roll them out. Slice 8 square shaped slices. Fill one side with ingredients ( cheeses, and the dried apricots). And fold one side on to the other, into a triangle shape. Make sure you don`t over fill, and push the sides down good so they don`t open while baking. With a pastry brush apply egg wash on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes!

Important: Dont overfill your tray with the pastry, as they double their size while baking. Don`t op oven door while baking!


Enjoy!

February 17, 2011

Recipe: Butternut bread puffs

Here is an other vegetarian treat for you, and an other easy and yummi way to cook butternut. The idea came from a mexican corn puff my father used to make when I was a child. It was soooo easy and so tasty, as a child I loved it, and still, when I make a party at home it frequently comes up as a treat for my guests.

Again, the recipe is very easy. The fried dough is somewhere between a doughnut and fresh bread, it`s very easy to eat it without stopping it`s so delicious! You can also serve it with several dips, I found that some fresh greek yoghurt with dill and shallots are the perfect companions. Or you can try some pesto dip, or pretty much whatever you like! Ps…serve it with some crunchy fresh vegetables!

Ingredients

(As a starter or a snack for 5-6 people)

  • Half of a butternut, skin off, chopped i medium cubes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • salt, pepper,sumac,curry
  • 1kg of flour
  • 2 packs of dried yeast
  • 3 eggs

yoghurt dressing

  • 1 cup greek, thick yoghurt
  • 2 red shallots, finely chopped
  • handful of chopped fresh dill
  • 1 spoon white vine vinegar
  • salt, white pepper

 

First roast the butternut with the garlic, some olive oil and the spices in the oven, for about 20 minutes (or untill soft and easy to mash) on 180C.

Meanwhile mix the flour, egg, and the yeast. Set it aside and wait for the butternut to be ready. When soft, mash it and mix it together with the dough. If it’s too soft add some more flour. Set aside for about 30 minutes or until it starts to rise.

Chop some red shallots, fresh dill and mix with the yoghurt and the vinegar. Season. Keep in fridge.

When dough is ready, for small balls with your hands. About half a size of a golf ball. Deep fry. Make sure your oil isn`t too hot, as the dough rises for the double while frying, and the middle might end up raw.

Serve with the yoghurt and some fresh vegetables!

Enjoy!