Category Archives: Appetizers

Spiced Roasted Eggplant

Spiced Roasted Eggplant

Spiced Roasted Eggplant

My love for roasted vegetables has grown over time. I have been trying different vegetables and so many of them roast so well. Here is one of my favorites. This one is spicy, if you do not want to have it spicy – you can reduce the amount of sambal olek. The brown sugar caramelizes really well and is a really nice balance to the spice.

In addition, you can roast other vegetables along with this – green beans, thinly sliced onions etc.

Ingredients

  • 4 Japanese eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons Sambal Olek (use less for a less spicy version)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Turn your oven to 350F. Line your baking tray with foil.

Wash and dry the eggplants. Cut the tops off and then split the eggplants in half. Using a sharp knife, make diagonal cuts in the inside of the eggplant. Do not cut all the way through.

Make a paste of the sambal olek, olive oil, brown sugar, olive oil and salt. Spread this paste on the eggplant.

Drizzle olive oil on the panko crumbs to moisten and then distribute evenly on the tops of the eggplants.

Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

 


Squash Latkes

Squash Latkes

Squash Latkes

Don’t you just love the summer. In addition to being wonderfully sunny – the garden is in full bloom and for those of us with vegetable gardens there is an abundance of produce. Well i do not have a vegetable garden – purely due to the lack of space, however, I do have friends who have gardens who are so nice to always share. I got these from my friend Sherry. I was so excited when she said she would bring me some. Look at them aren’t they simply gorgeous.

So I took them home and then was trying to think of what I could make with them (no bright spark at that moment). I was on flipboard reading the food section and came across kefedes and looking at the picture I thought Squash Latke’s – I can do those. So I did try them out and they were brillant. I think it would have helped if I had done the draining technique on them so they had less water in them. They would probably have cooked a lot quicker. I have made Latke’s out of sweet potatoes and the next one I am going to try it with is with Parsnips – I think those may come out a little on the sweeter side but I will let you know.

Ingredients

Serving : 6-8, Prep time : 15 minutes

Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons light sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Latke’s

  • 6 cups shredded Squash (4 medium squash)
  • 1 cup grated onion
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

 

Method

For the sauce

Mix the ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

For the Latke’s

Combine squash and onion in a mesh colander and press to drain excess water. Put into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Mix well. Your mixture will be moist and a wee bit sticky.

Heat some oil on a skillet. When hot pour about a 1/4 cup of the mixture on the pan and then press down to flatten. Repeat until you have filled your pan. My wide pan does about 3 at a time. Now let is sauté until it has browned and then turn it over and repeat on the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve with the sauce.


Strawberry Bruschetta

Strawberry Bruschetta

Strawberry Bruschetta

What could be more delightful to breakfast than sweet strawberries on a slice of cinnamon sugared toast – well crepes with strawberries and bananas to follow. I got this idea from a cooking  magazine I had (one of the many). Its pretty much prepared all in advance and then just put together before it is served.

Recipe

  • 8 strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped into tiny bits
  • 6 slices of white bread
  • 2 tsp sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 basil leaves chopped, (plus a few more for to garnish)
  • 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • honey to taste

Method

Mix strawberries, 2 tbsp sugar and basil in a bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator to macerate.

Mix 2 tsp sugar with the cinnamon. Sparingly butter the bread, then sprinkle with the sugar cinnamon mix. Bake in a toaster oven until browned. Cut into bite sized pieces.

When ready to serve, mix together honey and yoghurt. Top each bit of bread with about a spoonful of the strawberry mix, put a small dollop of the yoghurt honey mix and top with a basil leaf.


Herbed Cheese Crackers

Herbed Cheese Crackers

Herbed Cheese Crackers

These are quick and easy to make and are really delicious. You can make these any shape that you want. I used a pasty cutter to get square shapes. However, you do need to measure your squares with a ruler or else your cookies will not match up :-). Make sure you roll out your cookies thin as they do rise. Let them cool on the cookie tray for about 1-2 mins before you take them off. Put the spread on the crackers only before you serve them or otherwise they will soften.

Recipe

Prep Time : 40 min

Makes : 25 – 30 depending on how you cut them.

Biscuit

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 60 g butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh chives

Cheese filling

  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 20 g butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated pepper
  • 90 g cheddar cheese; grated

Method

Preheat oven to 375F. Line two cookie trays with parchment  paper

Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter. Rub between your hand until the mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Make a well in the center and pour in the egg,  cheese and chives. Mix with a butter knife using a cutting action until the mix comes together in beads

Mold into a ball and put it on a lightly flowered surface.

Roll the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper to about 3mm thickness. Remove top sheet and cut into 1 inch squares with a pastry cutter. Re-roll the remaining pastry ends and repeat cutting.

Bake for 9 mins or until lightly brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the filling, beat the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl until light and creamy.

Add the herb, pepper, cheese and beat till smooth. Spread a little on half of the biscuits and sandwich together with the remaining biscuits.


Tea Party Treats

Cucumber and cilantro sandwiches

Cucumber and cilantro sandwiches

I had some of my friends over for a little Tea Party. If you have been to jolly ole England and had high Tea it is quite the treat. When I lived in London we went to the Winter Garden at the Landmark hotel for High Tea. Everyone gets to choose their pot of tea (which to me was not the highlight). The pots are have about 3 cups of tea in them so you are really getting a fair bit of tea. However, the most exciting part for me was the sandwiches, scones and pastries that they had.

For my little Tea Party I went a little light leaving out the scones and clotted cream (which i promise to feature in the future) but did a little twist on the Cucumber sandwiches. I also made Herbed Cheddar Crackers with a cheddar cream cheese spread and for dessert I remade Sumier’s surprise (with a modification). Hope you enjoy them as much as my guests did – cause the treats were all gone.

Cucumber and Cilantro sandwiches

Recipe

Makes: 8 whole sandwiches
Prep time: 15 min

  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled and very thinly sliced with their skins, dried using paper towels
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, rinsed, patted dry with paper towels, and chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 6oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 slices good quality white bread (I used pepperidge farm)

Method

Mix cream cheese and cilantro.

Butter both sides of the bread. Spread the mix onto both slices.

Put a layer of cucumbers and then the slices together.

Cut off the crusts of the bread.

You can now cut the bread along the diagonals and then cut the triangles into halves to get mini-triangles.

Put them in a container with parchment paper on top and then a damp towel to keep them from hardening until you serve them. You can also put them into the refrigerator if you are making them early in the day.