Tag Archives: Starters

Jalapeno Cheese Balls

These are super easy and quick and perfect for drinks with friends or snacks while watching sports. They’re delish and pop into your mouth releasing spicy, cheesy, crunchy goodness.

In a bowl mix: finely minced onion, chopped jalapenos, chopped coriander. Season with salt, pepper, tabasco, chili powder (I used ancho chili powder), a little olive oil, and a little of the jalapeno juice. Taste to see that you like it.

Then grate some mozzarella and red leicester (or cheddar). Mix the cheese into the jalapeno mixture. Then add in flour. You basically want to form a slightly goopy dough. Add milk as you need to achieve this.

By goopy dough, I mean the mixture should all form together and be able to tear apart and form into balls… but you still want the mixture to be a little sticky / wet.

The pull off and form in your hands little bite size balls and roll in bread crumbs. Shallow fry until golden brown and cooked through. Then drain on some paper towel. Eat with a little fresh salsa.

Fresh Salsa 

In a blender toss in some fresh tomatoes, a little onion, a few jalapenos and green chilies, some coriander, salt, pepper and olive oil. Tomatoes should make up the majority of the mixture. Blend. Taste and season a bit more if you need to.

 

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Masala salmon

I’m hoping this counts as healthy, yummy, food. Fish is excellent for you, but I can be pretty picky about fish. One of the weirdest things I find about my own fish tastes… is that I like raw fish way more than cooked (monkfish aside — which is just delish). I’m not entirely sure why… but it probably has to do with the texture between cooked and raw.

Anyways this recipe is a little compromise on the above, as the salmon is smoked. Basically go and buy a fillet of smoked salmon and cut it into large-ish pieces. I took a 200g piece (sliced off the bottom) and then cut into 4. Let sit until it reaches room temperature and in the mean time occupy yourself with the masala.

 

Masala ingredients

  • black peppercorns
  • cumin
  • cloves
  • sea salt
  • paprika
  • nutmeg
  • cardamom

Adjust quantities to suit your and crush them all together until a fine dust.

Back to the salmon

Heat up a little oil in a wok. Take one side of each salmon piece and press into the spices dust. Cover the whole side. Once each salmon peice is coated on one side, place gently, spices side down into the hot wok (if you threw in a little of the spice dust it would immediately start sizzling). Cook the spices v. quickly and after about 40 secs remove from the wok.

Plate up and enjoy x


 


Quesadillas

Quesadillas

Yummy, yummy! One of the greatest combinations of cheese and carbs out there! lol.

Dead simple too. In a bowl mix the grated cheese of your choice (I chose Edam in this case) with some chopped coriander and chillies. Season with salt and pepper and mix all together. Spread mixture onto a tortilla, splash a little olive oil, and top with other tortilla. Grill on a pan, until outside is browned and insides are gooey.

Eat with a little salsa, guacamole, or just as is. Enjoy! x


Merry Christmas Brunch

Yesterday we had a Christmas Eve dinner/brunch of sorts. The menu was as follows:

– Smoked salmon tartare on melba toast (great substitute for blinis!)

– Baked camembert (left) with a wholegrain mustard dressing

– Baked mediterranean feta on flat bread

– Cheese and meats platter

– Pesto bread, halloumi, and chorizo skewers (not mine. SO delicious!)

and an assortment of drinkies! Sitting in a jacuzzi, drinking champagne whilst watching the world go by is definitely NOT a bad way to spend Christmas Eve and I had a great time. The recipes for the starters are below and they are SUPER easy, no fuss, and tasty!

Baked Camembert

Remove the paper from the box and then place the camembert back inside. Cut slits into the cheese and stuff  some with slices of garlic. Then make a dressing with equal parts (about 2 tbls) white wine, wholegrain mustard, and honey. Drizzle over the camembert and then bake in the oven (in the box). The top will have beautiful grill marks on top and the cheese will be oooozy and warm underneath. Dip with bread.

Smoked Salmon Tartare

Chop up your smoked salmon and place in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add in some finely chopped shallot and then mix it all together with sour cream. Spoon onto the melba toast.

We were supposed to use blinis but the store didn’t have any. Turns out really well because honestly melba toast works perfectly with this recipe.

Baked Feta

Cut red and yellow peppers into thin strips and dump into a roasting pan together with a pack of cherry tomatoes. Chop up your feta into largeish squares and add to pan. Liberally pour in some good olive oil and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, bay, lemon peel, and lots of chopped fresh basil. Mix it all together and then bake in oven for about 20 mins. Serve with flat breads.

Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!! xx

 

 


Home-made Gnocchi with Herb Oil

This is one of my favourite dinners because it is cheap, easy to make, tastes delish and is fresh! Honestly in the amount of time it would take to run to the store and buy rubbery, preservative filled gnocchi or order in you could make these yourself.

The gnocchi

Peel a potato and cut into small pieces. Then chuck into boiling salted water and boil away until the potato is very soft. You need it to be soft as you will pass it through a sieve (or potato ricer if you have one). Once cooked, push the potato through a sieve. Season. The add a bit of water and enough flour to form a dough. The dough should hold together and not stick to a surface. Divide the dough into pieces and roll into an inch thick sausage shape. Then cut into pieces. And you have gnocchi! Easy as that. Can either boil your gnocchi (wait until the gnocchi rise to the top) or pan fry. I pan-fry mine as it gives a really nice texture. Crisp on the outside and pillow soft on the inside. Plus looks prettier and is not sticky.

Herb Oil

In a small blender add chives, lemon juice (only a teeny bit), basil, garlic and good quality olive oil. Pour into a squeezy bottle and done.

Drizzle oil over gnocchi. Plate up! Enjoy x


Leek and Mushroom Strudel

I’m in Dubai this Christmas and thinking about a dinner party for the few (of my friends) that are also staying in town. This recipe is a bit of dry run to work out some of my thoughts for what to make. I’m thinking of this as a starter with a red wine glaze. However, the recipe works pretty much for any occasion! Great for a brunch or lunch. Maybe with a glass of something sparkly?! ;-p

Leek and Mushroom Strudel

the mushrooms…

First roughly chop your mushrooms (I used button and brown mushrooms) toss into the pan with butter and some finely chopped red chilli and smashed garlic. Cook it off and toss in some herbs and seasoning (I used chives, rosemary, a little lemon peel,  salt and pepper). Then once cooked (and this is important) drain. It’s important to drain because you don’t want the filling to be soggy.

the leeks…

Clean (thoroughly) the leek. I put one slit all the way through the leek so that I check for dirt as I chop. Once washed chop finely. Easiest way to do this is to cut semi-large pieces of the leeks and dump them into a food processor. Let the machine do all the work! Saute in a pan with salt, pepper, and butter. Again set aside and drain. Now to make the filling come together

the filling…

In a bowl combine ricotta cheese and some low-fat herbed cream cheese. Season well. I used chives, salt, pepper, and a little English mustard. Then add in some grated smoked mozzarella and the mushrooms and leek mixtures. Stir and taste. Season until you are happy with the taste. Set aside and melt some butter in a bowl.

to bring it all together and make the strudel…

Lay three sheets of filo pastry on top of each other and  cut into halves. Separate the sheets. Take one sheet and brush with the melted butter. Layer another sheet on top of that sheet and brush more butter over it. Layer a third and fourth sheet and repeat. Then spoon the mixture onto the filo sheet. Fill it in a sausage or rectangle shape near the edges of the filo but leave a little space (especially at the top and bottom). Then roll the sheet into a cylinder (of sorts) starting at the filled end. Tuck the edges in and bake in an oven until the filo is browned and crispy (but not burned).

In this case I just used a balsamic glaze as my sauce. Plate up and enjoy! x