Tag Archives: Drinks

Savoury Sundried Tomato Pinwheels

Savoury Sundried Tomato Pinwheels

Savoury Sundried Tomato Pinwheels

There’s a balance to be struck when you’ve got people over for drinks and nibbles.  The thing is you don’t (or at least I don’t) want to give them stuff I’ve bought ready prepared – no matter how posh, it’s not the same as making the effort and never as tasty.  And those awful snacks from supermarkets – yuk!  Expensive and salty!  And the other side is, you don’t want to be in the kitchen for hour’s or worse, stuck melting your make-up off at a hot oven while your guests are enjoying drinks without you.  So, I normally keep it simple, maybe a nice cheeseboard, some brown shrimp in small glasses, some cured meats like salami etc. on a rustic wooden board, maybe an olive or two and then a couple of things I make myself, like a hummus dip or my red pepper dip,  (which I make in bulk and usually have in the freezer ready to go) and then a nice warm pastry that’s easy to make and can be prepared in advance – this one you can make a day early.  The only thing I feel I need to warn you about with this recipe is make sure you make enough.  These are a real crowd-pleaser, and the smell of them baking in the oven seems to get everybody a bit crazy – even with those people who always say ‘Oh, looks lovely but I won’t.’  This is the time when they definitely will.

The Recipe

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time:  20 to 25 minutes
Makes: About 22 pinwheels

Savoury Sundried Tomato Pinwheels

Ingredients

450gr / 16 oz. ready-made puff pastry
200gr / 7 oz. sundried tomatoes – drain the oil and pat them dry to remove excess
2 x large cloves of garlic, crushed
2 x tbsp of dried oregano
1 x tbsp of dried mint (or an extra oregano if you don’t have mint)
100gr / 3.5 oz.  grated parmesan cheese
A little plain flour to help you roll out the pastry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 x beaten egg to brush over the pinwheels before baking

Savoury Sundried Tomato Pinwheels

Method

  1. Set your oven to heat to 200°C/400°F and line a roasting tray (or two) with baking paper.
  2. Place the sundried tomatoes, garlic, a little salt and pepper into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt, or you may wish to add more garlic or pepper.
  3. Sprinkle a small handful of flour on a cool, dry, clean surface and roll out the pastry, turning it over occasionally until it measures about 46cm / 18in. x 35cm / 14in.
  4. Place spoonfuls of the sundried tomato mix at random intervals over the pastry and spread them together with the back of a metal spoon until evenly distributed – get the mix as close to the edge as you can.
  5. Sprinkle the herbs over evenly, then the cheese.
  6. Then it’s time to roll. Be quick, firm and smooth with your actions.  Roll from the longest side, make sure your pastry is even when you roll and not loose.
  7. Take a sharp knife and slice the pastry roll into 1cm pinwheels and lay on your baking trays – not too close together – this is puff pastry after all, about 3 to 4cm / 1.5in between each wheel should be enough.
  8. Brush each pinwheel with the egg wash and place in the oven, for about 20 to 25 minutes, but check after 15. They are ready when golden brown and crispy.

Savoury Sundried Tomato PInwheels

Tips and Variations

  • Keep the oil from the tomatoes, you can use it for lots of tasty pasta dishes.
  • The tomatoes need to be drained because if they are too wet the mix will be too moist and the pastry won’t crisp up.
  • You can prepare the pinwheels up to a day in advance, keep them in the fridge and bake them when you want them.
  • You can serve the pinwheels at room temperature, but they are really delicious fresh from the oven, and the smell of them baking gets everyone’s appetites going.
  • If the pastry has become warm whilst you’ve been working with it, it may be difficult to cut into nice slices so place the pastry ‘sausage’ in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.

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Savoury Sundried Tomato Pinwheels

Smokey Roast Red Pepper Dip

Smokey Roast Red Pepper Dip

Smokey Roast Red Pepper Dip:

This is a really simple and versatile little recipe.  It’s a new one for me, inspired by a terrific offer on red peppers that got me heading home with tones of them and set my imagination to work on new ideas.  Even although it’s only been a recent addition to my repertoire, it has already saved me a good few times over recent weeks.  You know what it’s like – people turning up without warning or much notice and you want to give them something that’s a little bit special, well, this has been my saviour for last minute guests.  Oh yeah, and for myself when I want t a little treat at the end of a busy day.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

8 x red peppers, seeds removed and cut into thick strips.
2 x tbsps of olive oil
8 x red chillies, de-seeded and cut in half
8 x cloves of garlic, peeled
8 x tsp of mild, smoked paprika powder – pimentón
Juice of one lemon
Salt to taste

Method 

  1. Heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F.
  2. Place the peppers in a roasting tray and drizzle over the olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft, but still retaining their shape.
  3. Wait until the peppers have cooled a little and then put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Check for your flavour balance as you go and adjust if need be.

Tips and Variations

  • Add the chillies, garlic and pepper in batches, just to be sure you don’t go overboard on your own taste.
  • You don’t have to use the smoked variety of paprika powder, if you don’t like it or can’t get a hold of it, you can use the standard variety.
  • This dip freezes really well, that’s why I tend to make a relatively big batch at any one time, then I freeze in portions.
  • Of course this is delicious with crisps or some raw vegetables for dipping, but if you add some chickpeas and whizz those up with it you’ll get a hummus style result or walnuts for tapenade.
  • I like to use the dip as a flavouring for soups and pasta sauces.

 

White Asparagus Parmesan Crisps

White Asparagus Parmesan Crisps

White Asparagus Parmesan Crisps:

Huge confession, I’m not really into white asparagus.  Eek!  I know, that makes me almost an outcast in the Netherlands – the Dutch are obsessed with it, but well, I can take it or leave it.  But, I don’t hate it and I’m always up for a challenge so when the short season comes around I normally have a go preparing and cooking it in a different way.  One of this years successes has been these little crisps – it’s a really tasty combination, but make sure you get a bit of both ingredients in every bite for maximum effect.

They’re a really nice canapé idea for any gathering, especially if you are going the whole hog and preparing a celebratory white asparagus menu.  Serve with a nice glass of Pinot auxerrois, a little sweet with a little bubble from the Alsace.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time: 7 minutes

Serves 4  to 6
6 x white asparagus, cleaned, peeled and the first 2.5cm/1in of the stalk removed (the woodiest part).
100gr /  3.5 oz. parmesan cheese, finely grated.
Some freshly ground black pepper.

Method

  1. Using the fine side of a box grater, grate the asparagus. Squeeze out excess liquid.  The best way to do this is to squeeze it through a clean tea towel.
  2. Heat your oven to 180°C/360°F.
  3. Combine the asparagus and the parmesan in a bowl – use a fork, with a spoon the mix will ball and clump.
  4. Line a large roasting tray or trays with baking paper.
  5. Place spoonfuls (about a tbsp) of the mix at about 2.5cm/1in apart on the tray.
  6. Give each little mound a sprinkle of pepper and place in the oven for about 7 minutes. Check after 5.  They are ready when the cheese is bubbling and melted and has taken a little colour.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before taking the crisps off the tray.

Tips and Variations

  • It is important to combine the asparagus and the cheese evenly so that each crisp tastes of both ingredients.
  • The crisps don’t keep very well, they will go soggy and so are best served within a couple of hours of being made.

Amsterdam Private Food Tours

If this has made you hungry for more, why not book one of my Private Amsterdam Food Tours?  Just you and your own party with some of the very best food the city has to offer.

White Asparagus Parmesan Crisps

Canapé Recipe: Roast Pepper with Halloumi Cheese

HalloumiPepper

I always do this, get myself lulled into a false sense of security by a little bit of January sunlight.  It gets me in the mood for spring evenings, more light, and some great snacks and drinks to share with friends.  So, I have decided I don’t care if it’s still winter, I’m going to make some sunny canapés!

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

 Ingredients for about 6 to 8 servings
2 x large red peppers, de-seeded and chopped into squares of about 5cm /2 in.  x 3 cm / 1.5 in.
1 x packet of halloumi cheese (about 250gr / ½ lb.) sliced quite thinly from the smallest edge
About 2 x tsps of dried chili flakes
About 2 x tsp of honey
1  tbsp of olive oil

Method

  1. Set your oven to heat to 200°C/400°F °C.
  2. Place the pieces of red pepper in a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil.
  3. When the oven has reached temperature, place your tray with the peppers in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Check after about 12 minutes, you want the peppers to have softened, the edges to have browned a little but for them to still retain a little bite.
  4. Whilst the peppers are cooking, place a griddle on the heat.  Once the pan is hot, place the slices of cheese in the pan.  Let them cook until you get those characteristic barbeque style stripes on each side.  You will have to do this on a hot heat otherwise it will not work.
  5. Remove the peppers from the oven, place them on your serving plate, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with chili flakes.  Serve immediately.

 Tips and Variations

  • This is great served as a snack with drinks or part of a tapas menu.
  • These are best served warm so that the cheese is crispy.  This means that you need to get your timing right with regards the peppers and the cheese being ready at the same time.  I would recommend giving yourself about 10 minutes to get the cheese ready.
  • Adjust the amount of honey and chili to suit your taste.  Fresh chili works too.

Karen

January 17, 2014

If it’s a real beer you need to keep out the cold this weekend, then it has to be Café Gollem.  With up to 20 beers on tap and 200 varieties available bottled, there really is something for everybody.  Be careful though, don’t try them all at once!

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