Tag: appetizer

Potted Cheese – Delicious Food, Impossible Ingredients

Hey there people of the internet! 

Take a look at this super delicious snack plate.  Good at any time – but my favourite? A snack plate, a sunny Sunday afternoon,sitting on my balcony with  a good book and a cheeky glass of wine =  heaven!

Potted Cheese 7

The star of this particular snack plate is some potted cheese.  .  

Which sadly relies on two ingredients that may as well be unicorn’s tears and dragon’s blood for the times they have ever been available in this kitchen.  Just one of them is nigh on a miracle and as for both, you had better go outside and look up because that moon out there will be bluer than Tobias Funke! 

So what are these two magical, nigh on mythical substances?

  • Leftover cheese
  • Leftover wine

Whoever has them?  No one I want as a friend!

My cheeses were the remnants….actually it even pains me to say that.  The cheeses were items from a cheese platter (probably the previous weeks snacking plate) that I had  just not got around to eating yet. And I cheated and opened a bottle of wine to make this.

Potted CheeseI used a goat’s cheese, a blue cheese, a pecorino pepato and some cheddar.  You can use any cheese you have. 

First up, place all your bits of cheese into a food processor and whiz it up!  Then add in your flavourings – I added port, a splash of red wine, Worchestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and then, because it was a little dry after the first whiz through, a little more port and a bit of cream.  My recipe is based on a classic one by Jane Grigson but you can play with the flavourings to suit your palate and your mix of cheese.

Potted Cheese2

Once you have whizzed it all up , pop it into a pot:

Potted Cheese3

The next step is optional but traditionally the pot was then sealed with a layer of clarified butter:

Potted Cheese 4Why Potted Cheese?

The idea behind potted cheese is simple.  Back in the day when refrigeration was not as it is today, cheese was far more perishable than now. Potting your ends of cheese prolonged it’s life – I’m guessing the booze helped to preserve it whilst the clarified butter seal stopped bacteria getting in. 

Nowadays, it is done more because it tastes delicious than for the preserving factor.

Potted Cheese 8

What Can You Do With Potted Cheese?

OMG, so much.  Have it on crackers with a glass of wine! Quick, easy, delicious.  

Potted Cheese 9

Replace regular cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich!  Here is my salami, potted cheese, red onion and tomato version. With a pickle to add some sharpness. 

So much oozy goodness!

Potted Cheese 5I haven’t made these next lot but I think potted cheese would be delicious used in the following ways:

  • Replace sour cream in a baked potato.  Or add it to chips and gravy for a take on a poutine. 
  • Saute some bacon or steam some broccoli (or do both), cook up some pasta, top with potted cheese and stir through the bacon or broccoli
  • Fill celery sticks, add a topping of chopped walnuts
  • Replace crackers on a snack plate with slices of apple or pear
  • Heat up a dollop, add some more cream if necesary and use as a mornay  or gratin sauce over anything you want to mornay or gratin
  • Spread it on bread, make up a savory custard and you have a super strata to go!

Potted Cheese
A delicious way to use up leftover cheese and wine! I
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Ingredients
  1. 250g cheese - whatever you have.
  2. 90g softened butter
  3. 2 generous Tablespoons Verdelho Madeira, tawny Port or Amontillado Sherry or wine
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or Tabasco)
  5. ¼ teaspoon mace, (optional)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon dry or prepared mustard
  7. A splash of Worcestershire
  8. Melted clarified butter (optional)
Instructions
  1. Whiz all the ingredients except the clarified butter in a food processor until it forms a thick paste.
  2. Place into small pots.
  3. Top with the clarified butter and place in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop
Notes
  1. I added a splash of cream because my mix was quite dry and I thought adding more wine or port would make it too boozy. (Yes, there is such a thing!).
Adapted from Jane Grigson
Adapted from Jane Grigson
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
So, it’s Sunday and whilst not balcony sitting weather at all, I’ve got the fire going and Hollow City, the second book of  Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children good to go, so excuse me, I have a potted cheese snack plate to prepare!  Dammit! Speaking of YA literature just made me realise  I should have saved this for when The Cursed Child, the new Harry Potter comes out.  I could have filled it with Harry Potter of cheese gags!  Stay tuned for the re-post!

Have a fab week! 

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Old Bay Horseradish Tomatoes

Okay November I know you’re here.  But I also need you to be really quiet for a couple more posts because I have two more things I made celebrating Old Bay October.  So, for now, we’re just going to pretend this is still October so I can talk about these Old Bay Horseradish Tomatoes.Old Bay Horseradish TomatoesI am very fond of a Bloody Mary and wanted to do something with Yinzerella’s Old Bay and Horseradish Bloody Mary which is a totally awesome BM in itself.  But I also wanted to put my own twist on it. 

My first thought was to make Bloody Mary Jello Shooters and serve them in tomatoes.  I had some leftover horseradish mascarpone from a braised beef dish I had made and my plan was to make the Bloody Mary Mix, add some gelatine and pour it into halves of Black Russian tomatoes. Then when nearly set to add a teeny dollop of the horseradish cream, right in the centre

In my mind, it looked beautiful, kind of like a target with the dark blackish green of the Black Russians, creating a rim around the bright red jelly which in turn surrounded a perfect circle of horseradish mascarpone. 

That we are not  talking about Old Bay Bloody Mary Jello Shots should give you some idea of how that idea turned out. 

Old Bay Horseradish Tomatoes2

Let’s’ just agree to never speak of them again. 

So there I was.  I hadn’t yet found what will now be the final Old Bay recipe so this was going to be my final post for Old Bay October and it was TERRIBLE.  I had run out of the Old Bay Yinzerella has sent me so I had even made some Old Bay specially for it.  (There are about a thousand recipes for Old Bay on the interwebs – I chose the one from Leite’s Culinaria.) I used my last bit of real Old Bay for a side by side taste test and it was pretty damn close so this will now be my go to recipe. 

Home Made Old BayHowever, I was now without a grand finale! 

But I had that horseradish mascarpone.  And some cherry tomatoes.  And I could make another Bloody Mary…..I thought at the very least I could make an unusual garnish for the Bloody Mary. 

Old Bay Horseradish Tomatoes3So I did.  And it was really nice – creamy, spicy and with a good kick of horseradish.  So I made some more. 

Old Bay Horseradish Tomatoes4They soon went from being a garnish to being a snack to munch on whilst sipping the Bloody Mary.   They worked really well with it but would be super as a tapas or amuse-bouche or a plain old snack  without a Bloody Mary. 

There are two tricky bits to make these.  The first is scooping the innards out of the cherry tomatoes which is fiddly and BOOOOOORING.  And you have to pay attention because they can split quite easily.  Some good background music is a must!

The second is that it is quite tempting to pop one (or two) into your mouth as you make them.  Just make sure that some make it to the serving plate!

Old Bay Horseradish Tomatoes5Have a great week  Next up, the Old Bay recipe the fussiest eater in the world declared “the best chicken ever”.  It’s quite a thing!  See you then!

Old Bay Horseradish Tomatoes

Old Bay Horseradish Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 115g Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tbsp horseradish (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Old Bay (or more to taste), plus a bit more to sprinkle
  • 1 tsp chopped chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cut the top off the cherry tomatoes and scoop out the insides. I used the very smallest setting on my melon baller to do this. Turn them upside down to drain any juice and/or wipe the inside with some paper towel. You need them quite dry.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the other ingredients and mix well.
  • Pipe or spoon into the tomato shells.
  • Sprinkle with additional Old Bay.
  • Serve with your favourite Bloody Mary or on their own.
  • Enjoy!
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2015/11/13/old-bay-horseradish-tomatoes/

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Old Bay Crab and Mushroom Vol Au Vents

 Is there anything more kitschy retro than a vol au vent?

Okay, I hear you Jello Salad.  Let me rephrase. 

Is there anything more kitschy retro and DELICIOUS than a vol au vent? 

No, there is not. 

And when you add some Old Bay into an already super tasty mix of crab, mushroom and watercress?  Oh boy, do you have something special happening both on your plate and in your mouth!

Crab Old Bay Vol Au Vents5I do not understand why vol au vents have fallen out of favour.  They’re so pretty.  Like little flowers of yumminess.   I think we should start a movement.  Viva La Vol Au Vent!

And hopefully this will be the recipe that will convince you to join in!

Let’s break it down shall we?

Lovely sweet crab meat, earthy mushrooms, peppery watercress, spicy Old Bay all wrapped in a lovely creamy, cheese sauce and baked in the lightest of light choux pastry.

It’s all good. 

It’s all sooooo good!

Crab Old Bay Vol Au Vents3These are perfect cocktail party food.  Make the filling in advance, then 15 minutes before serving pile into your vol au vent shells to heat through.  Quick, easy, pretty, tasty. 

What more could you want?  Here’s the recipe:

Old Bay Crab and Mushroom Vol Au Vents

Old Bay Crab and Mushroom Vol Au Vents

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 200g spanner crab meat
  • 1 bunch of watercress, leaves picked
  • 12 finely chopped button mushrooms
  • 12 vol au vent cases, I used the ones that are about 5cm across, for smaller or larger you will need to adjust cooking times
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 25g goats cheese, crumbled
  • 30g sharp Cheddar cheese grated
  • 25g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Dash of Tabasco (optional)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan. Cook the onion over medium heat until soft. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the watercress and stir until just wilted.
  • Take off the heat.
  • Mix the eggs with the cream and the Old Bay and the Tabasco sauce, if using. Add to the vegetable mixture and stir through.
  • Add the goats cheese and Cheddar and stir through.
  • Add the crab meat and stir to mix.
  • Season.
  • Fill each vol au vent with the crab mixture. Top with parmesan and place in the oven until the egg is set - around 15 minutes.
  • If the cheese is not golden and melty enough, heat your grill/broiler to 200C. Place the tray under the grill/broiler, checking every 30 seconds or so to ensure your pastry cases do not burn.
  • Sprinkle with additional Old Bay and serve.
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2015/10/22/old-bay-crab-and-mushroom-vol-au-vents/

I fear both that I am running out of month and Old Bay….I had two more posts planned and then, on the weekend I found another awesome Old Bay recipe…the Octoberfest may well spill into November!  I’m totally ok with that.  The Germans start their Octoberfest in September, why shouldn’t I end mine in November?

Old Bay Crab, Mushroom & Spinach Vol Au Vents

Have a great week.  And remember, viva la vol au vent!

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Century Scallop Ceviche with Ancho Chillies (Spice Peddler)

About a billion years ago, the wonderful team at the Spice Peddlers sent me some fabulous Ancho Chillies to have my evil way with.  I had never cooked with Ancho chillies before so this was a totally new and delicious experience for me.

I also have a new manifesto for my Spice Peddler treats – I’m going to try to cook one thing in the spirit of which it was intended and then I’m going to go kind of out there with the next one.  So, to familiarise myself with the anchos and also to push my own boundaries I decided to make a ceviche.    I have  always been terrified to make sashimi or any “raw” fish at home in case it killed me. And before you start shouting, I am aware that ceviche is technically cooked but it’s not like it’s been  crumbed, fried and coated with cheese is it? 

Ancho Scallop Ceviche3
Ancho Scallop Ceviche

 But I did it and hey, still alive!!! 

And it was super delish!!!!

So why the century ceviche I hear you ask?  First I am fond of alliteration but second…the last post I wrote was the hundredth for this blog!!! 

So let’s all raise a glass of something (Jenny, I hope it’s another of those Joan Crawford Cocktails) and join in as I do a little celebratory dance….

 It seems fitting to celebrate this milestone by showing off some of the ingredients from the amazing team at the Spice Peddlers.  They have been such big supporters of this blog and I, in turn adore them and their products!!!  The ancho chilles were a very dark blackish red colour, and quite fleshy.  They were not not very hot at all but were quite fruity and had a touch of sweetness ( this actually went really well with the scallops which are also slightly sweet.

Spice Peddler Ancho Chillies
Spice Peddler Ancho Chillies

The perceptive of you may have noticed from the photos that my ceviche is loaded onto a very un-Mexican pappadam.  I guess traditionally this should be a tortilla chip.  However, we had gobbled all of them with Joan Crawford Danti-Chips and I couldn’t be bothered going back to the shops so pappadams it was.  And in some weird Indo-Mexican affinity they actually worked quite well with the ceviche.

Ancho Scallop Ceviche
Ancho Scallop Ceviche

The last 100 posts have been super fun to do and I am really looking forward to the next 100.  In fact, I have so many ideas for posts at the moment, I feel like I have the next 100 already planned. 

I was going to end this with one of my favourite ever Blur songs “End of A Century” then I realised the key lyric  is “End of a century, it’s nothing special” which is completely wrong because whilst I love doing this you guys are what makes it special.  Thanks to you all for reading and your comments, it is always lovely to hear from you. 

You’re the best. 

Around. 

 So, as you wax on, wax off this week, make it fabulous!

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Ancho Scallop Ceviche

Ancho Scallop Ceviche

Ingredients

  • 12 scallops without the roe, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ancho chilli (seeds removed)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander (cilantro), plus extra to garnish
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced into 1 cm pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • salt
  • tabasco sauce, to taste
  • 12 tortilla chips or pappadams
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped to garnish

Instructions

  • Place the scallops in a bowl and cover with tequila and lime juice. Stand for two hours – the acid in the lime juice will 'cook' the scallops. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid.
  • Place the ancho chilli in a warm oven (150 C) for about 15 minutes to release it's oils.
  • Then soak in boiling water for about 1/2 an hour and chop finely.
  • Gently mix the red onion, tomatoes, avocado, ancho, chilli with the dressing liquid. Add salt and tabasco to taste.
  • Fry your pappadams and place on absorbent paper to drain the oil off. Or lay out your tortilla chips.
  • Just before serving lightly mix your scallops through the avocado mixture, place a spoonful of this mixture onto each pappadam or tortilla chip.
  • Garnish with additional coriander (cilantro).
  • Enjoy!
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/11/17/scallop-ceviche-ancho-chillies-spice-peddler/

Giddy-Up, It’s a Melbourne Cup Pineapple Double

Those of you who don’t live in Australia may be unaware that the Melbourne Cup is run on the first Tuesday in November.  The Melbourne Cup is our version of the Kentucky Derby  or Ascot or  the <<insert the biggest horse race from your country here>>.

Melbourne Cup Crab and Pineapple Appetizer
Melbourne Cup Crab and Pineapple Appetizer

They call it the race that stops a nation because, come tomorrow  at around 3:00pm, just about everyone in the country will stop what they are doing to watch, or listen to, the running of the Cup.  If you happen to live in Melbourne, you get to stop for a hell of a lot more than that.  We get the WHOLE day off work.  Seriously.  We don’t go to work all day because for about 5 minutes in the afternoon some horses run around a track.  It’s awesome, the most mad and random holiday ever!!! 

 And because we’re not working, if people aren’t actually going to the races, they have parties and bbq’s or set up parties in the car park at the track, kind of like tail gating but classier.  Every one dresses up and the weather is generally good – it’s party time here!!!    Apart from the hay fever.  That’s still sucking. 

Melbourne Cup Crab and Pineapple Appetizer
Melbourne Cup Crab and Pineapple Appetizer

And what better way to celebrate your Cup Day holiday, than this adorable vintage salad from Rosemary Mayne-Wilson’s Salads for All Seasons and the accompanying MC Cocktail which I made up to go along with it?

The unifying element between the two is pineapple.  And can I just say.  Forget Chanel #5.  Forget even this gorgeous Sohum Mint Tea perfume which is my current favourite perfume (Notice how even my perfume is named after food?)

Sohum Mint Tea

Pineapple has got to be the best smell in the world.  When I opened that can?  I  just wanted to take a big swim in that glorious scent.  Soooo good. And yes, I used pineapple from a can.  Fresh pineapple is great.  If you happen to live in Cambodia…OMG, the best, sweetest most heaven scented pineapple ever…or you have a couple of spare hours to pfaff about with peeling and coring and taking the eyes out and blah blah blah.  As far as I am concerned, canned pineapple is the way to go.

Melbourne Cup Appetiser 3
Melbourne Cup Appetiser 3

What was not so good was the tinned crab.  It was….fairly bland is a nice way of putting it.  Completely tasteless would be another.  Despite that, the pineapple was sweet and the dressing was surprisingly good.  I think that if you used fresh crab meat this would become super good.

RMW recommends decorating this with crab legs.  Even if I had made this using fresh crab I would find that a bit creepy.  I used some chopped up chives and mint (both can I add, fresh from my garden)!

Alternatively you could forgo piling the crab into and onto the pineapple rings and mix them together and serve in these amazing bits of crabby kitsch!

Crab Salad Bowls
Crab Salad Bowls

 I would still use the watercress to line the crab bowls.  That peppery goodness added a real bit of zing to this dish.

But I will tell you something totally weird.  As I was making it, I believed I had spotted a huge flaw in the logic of this salad.  Cos that’s the kind of thing I think about,  The logic of food.  As I may have said a couple of times before, it’s nice to see that Philosophy major isn’t going to waste!

So, here was my concern.  You pile your crab meat onto and into the hole of your pineapple ring.  However, the law of gravity would suggest that when you picked up your pineapple ring that the crab meat in the hole would not, should not lift with the ring….

Weird thing is?  It totally does.  Well nearly totally does.  A smidgeon of crab may remain on the plate but it will lift.  You need to pack it in fairly tight though.

I would definitely make this again.  But I would definitely use fresh crab meat. 

MC - Midori and Chartreuse Cocktail
MC – Midori and Chartreuse Cocktail

So, what do you do with the leftover juice from the can of pineapple?  Well, if life gives you pineapple juice, I say make a super refreshing and tasty as hell cocktail.  I also happened to have a bottle of Midori hanging about.  It was given to me as a housewarming present when I moved into my old apartment.  How on earth it managed to survive 13 years I have no idea.  Anyway on that bottle was a tag and on that tag was a recipe for a cocktail called a 24/7 which was Midori, Chartreuse, lime cordial and pineapple juice.  I made this and it was ok.  Then I made a second one where I subbed in some fresh lemon juice for the lime cordial and it was much better.  Then I made a third…(see what I mean about being surprised that bottle hadn’t been drained long ago?)  where I added a splash of ginger beer.  And ladies and gentlemen, we had a winner!

The MC Cocktail
The MC Cocktail

I’m calling my version the MC – Midori and Chartreuse, Melbourne Cup…

 Oh, and the left over salad dressing?  Was really good on some oysters the following day! It had that Bloody Mary Shot vibe about it.  Kind of retro in it’s own way!

Oysters with Tomato - Horseradish Dressing
Oysters with Tomato – Horseradish Dressing

 I will be spending Cup Day cooking up a Joan Crawford inspired Romantic dinner for two courtesy of Jenny at Silver Screen Suppers…stay tuned, I think it’s going to be awesome!  Whatever you do, I hope it’s fabulous!

Melbourne Cup Crab & Pineapple Appetizer and MC Cocktail

Melbourne Cup Crab & Pineapple Appetizer and MC Cocktail

Ingredients

    For the Appetizer
  • 6 pineapple rings
  • 400grams (14oz) crab meat (preferably fresh)
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • Mint and Chopped Chives to serve (optional)
  • For The Tomato Horseradish Dressing
  • 1 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • For the MC Cocktail
  • 30ml (1 oz) Midori
  • 15 ml (1/2 oz) green chartreuse
  • 15 ml (1/2 oz) lemon juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Ginger Beer
  • Ice

Instructions

    For the Tomato - Horseradish dressing (can be made in advance)
  • Mix all the ingredients together and chill
  • For the Melbourne Cup Crab and Pineapple Appetizer
  • Arrange the watercress on a large plate or six small plates.
  • Place the pineapple on top of the watercress.
  • Mix 1-2 tsp of the dressing through the crab -just enough to help it stick together. Pile the crab onto the pineapple rings
  • Spoon a little bit of the sauce over the crab (a little goes a long way, so go easy) or serve the dressing on the side. Sprinkle with the chives and mint.
  • For the MC Cocktail
  • Fill a long glass with ice. Add the Midori, Green Chartreuse and Lemon Juice. Add pineapple juice to about 2 cm below the rim of the glass.
  • Top with ginger beer.
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/11/03/giddy-melbourne-cup/

 

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