Category Archives: Starters

Sandwich cake

One of my favourite French blog, Amuses bouche, is a treasure trove of beautiful cakes and pastries. This lady has a real talent for creating culinary enchantment and if you browse through her blog, you will surely find lots of ideas for birthday or celebration cakes as well as how to turn the most mondane dish into a creative and enticing marvel. This is the case for this sandwich cake. She has successfully turned the sandwich into a feast for the eye! For this cake, she uses Swedish bread and because I can’t find them easily in Ireland, I decided to opt for my friend Carine’s “Pain polaire” (recipe here). If you are going to make the bread from scratch, then start this recipe the day before. You can assemble the cake in the morning and keep in the fridge until serving but bear in mind that it would be best to eat the same day to avoid soggy cucumbers…

SandwichCake_004

 

SandwichCut

Source: Amuses bouche

Ingredients
Serves 6

4 Swedish breads

Filling:
1/2 cucumber
6 slices of smoked salmon (about 200g)
180g Philadelphia or cream cheese
Minced dill
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt

Topping:
200g Philadephia or cream cheese
Cherry tomatoes
Chives, cut into different lengths
Radishes, sliced

Method

  1. Mix the Philadelphia, salt, lemon juice and minced dill together in a bowl.
  2. Thinly slice the cucumber.
  3.  Place one slice of Swedish bread on the serving plate.
  4. Spread with some of the cream cheese mixture. Add smoked salmon slices to cover neatly the bread.SandwichCake_001
  5. Spread some cream cheese mixture underneath the second slice of bread and place on top of the salmon.
  6. Spread more cream cheese and add neatly the cucumber slices.SandwichCake_002
  7. Repeat step 5 and 6 with smoked salmon instead of cucumber.
  8. Finish with a slice of bread.
  9. Mix the cream cheese of the topping to make it smooth and ice the whole cake with it.    SandwichCake_003
  10. Finally decorate with the chive around the cake, cherry tomatoes and slices of radishes.

SandwichCake_005

Feta Filo cakes

The weather is getting summery again so it’s time for some light salads and Mediterranean dishes. This Greek inspired dish is using filo pastry as a case for the Feta filling. It’s easy to make and delicious with a green salad.

FetaFiloCakes_001 FetaFiloCakes_002

Source: Cuisine A á Z

Ingredients

Filo pastry
150g Feta cheese
150g Philadelphia
3 eggs
30g butter
25g pine nuts
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 200C
  2. Place the eggs, Feta, Philadelphia or cream cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper in the TM bowl. Mix 15 sec/speed 6.
  3. Add the pine nuts and mix 5 sec/speed 3.
  4. Melt the butter (in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove).
  5. Butter a muffin tray(I used a silicone muffins sheet)
  6. Take out a sheet of filo pastry and brush it with some melted butter. Cut out bands of filo the width of 1 muffin case.
  7. Line each muffin with the bands of filo, changing the angle with each band to fill the whole muffin case.
  8. Do the same with the remaining filo pastry and muffin cases.
  9. Pour the content of the TM bowl in each muffin until filled almost to the top.
  10. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  11. Serve hot or warm with a salad and extra Feta.

 

Goats cheese mousse and tomato purée on spice bread

I have had this idea for a while now to match goats cheese with spice bread. I imagined the combination to be an interesting one with flavours that complemented each other. A bit like brioche and foie gras. I liked it a lot, although the tomato purée might have been a little too overpowering. Next time, I’ll try with some fig chutney to balance the flavours better. Still, it was a very elegant starter and very easy to make.

GoatsAndSpiceBrd_002

GoatsAndSpiceBrd_003

Ingredients

Serves 4

4 slices of spice bread (pain d’épices)
100g fresh goats cheese
200g single cream
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100g cherry tomatoes
2 small garlic cloves
Dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Material: 4 small pastry rings.

GoatsAndSpiceBrd_004

Method

  1. Make the tomato purée: drop the peeled garlic on running blades at speed 8. Scrape down and add the olive oil.
  2. Sauté 3 min/100C/speed 1.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes and chop 4 sec/speed 5.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the dried oregano and reduce 7 min/Varoma/speed 1, measuring cup OFF.
  5. Tip out and reserve.
  6. Clean and dry the bowl and place the butterfly whisk inside.
  7. Add the goats cheese and cream with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix on speed 3 measuring cup OFF until the mixture thickens like whipped cream.
  8. Using a cookie cutter or pastry ring, cut out a round piece of spice bread. Leave the ring on and spoon in some of the goats cheese mousse and level with a teaspoon. Finish with a little bit of the tomato purée, spreading evenly on top.
  9. Do likewise with the other 3 slices of spice bread and the remaining goats cheese mousse and tomato purée.
  10. Refrigerate 1 hour before removing the ring delicately. Serve with a salad for a nice starter.

Roulés au fromage (cheese puff rolls)

I have seen the recipe in my friend Caty from A 2 mains Cap délice and it reminded me how I loved eating these when I was a teenager. They are the kind of hot food to go you’d buy at the boulangerie at lunch time. They are really tasty and not so hard to make though they need a little bit of prep’ time.

CheeseRolls_006

Source: A 2 mains cap délice

CheeseRolls_007

Ingredients
Serves 4

200g puff pastry, rolled in a rectangle of 20x35cm
500g cheese sauce (made with 50g butter, 50g flour, 90g cheddar/Emmenthal, 500g milk)
Ham, cooked chicken or cooked mushrooms for filling
1 egg yolk + milk for the glaze

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 180C.
  2. Cut the rolled puff pastry across the longer side into 16 strip about 1 inch wide.CheeseRolls_002
  3. Make tubes with kitchen foil (don’t make them too thick) and brush with melted butter all over. Pinch each end to make it narrower.CheeseRolls_001
  4. Take 2 strips of dough and join them together by pinching one extremity to the other.
  5. Roll that strip of dough by overlapping slightly so it looks like a sea shell over one end of the foil tube. Use the other end of the tube to roll another 2 strips.CheeseRolls_003
  6. Glaze the rolls with a mixture of milk and egg yolk using a brush (I used only milk so my glaze wasn’t as golden after cooking).
  7. Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden.
  8. Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Add the chicken/ham cut in strips or the mushrooms cut in quarters if using and stir into the sauce. Set aside.
  9. Take out the rolls from the oven and remove carefully the kitchen foil. That’s when you’ll be glad you used butter to grease them!CheeseRolls_004
  10. Leave them to cool down so they are not so brittle.
  11. Use a spoon to fill them with cheese sauce (the sauce should be almost cold at this stage so it’s not too runny).CheeseRolls_005
  12. Bake again for 10 minutes at 180C.
  13. Serve immediately with a salad.

 

Gazpacho

Now that the summer has finally set in and the temperatures are soaring, what would be more tempting than a tasty and refreshing Gazpacho soup? Gazpacho originated from the southern Spanish region of Andalucia where it is regularly consumed during the hot summer months and is usually made of fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, stale bread, garlic, water and vinegar. In the traditional method, all the ingredients are pounded using a pestle and mortar but with powerful blenders nowadays, it is made much easier and quicker.

Gaspacho_001

Source: Les soupes en quatre saisons – Vorwerk recipe book for Thermomix France

Ingredients
Serves 4 to 6 people

1kg fresh tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 garlic clove
1 onion
1 piece of cucumber (about 6cm in length)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 slice of stale bread
1 measuring cup full of Extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper and vinegar to taste
6 ice cubes
For the garnish:
2 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and diced finely
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced finely
1/2 cucumber, deseeded and diced finely
Slices of toasted bread
Method
  1. Place all the gaspacho ingredients in the bowl and mix 2min from speed 5 to speed 9 progressively.
  2. Add more water and ice cubes if it’s too thick and mix until you reach the desired consistency. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Serve cold with the garnish on top and a few slices of toasted bread.

Gaspacho_002

 

Antipasti platter

With the glorious weather we’ve had recently in Dublin, cooking a dinner is not always on my priority list. I had a pack of delicious Blazques cured ham waiting to be eaten in my fridge so I decided to make a cold platter of antipasti. I arranged the cured ham, some salami, green olives and smoked chicken slices on a plate and made some goats cheese balls and roasted artichokes tossed in balsamic vinegar. A few red roasted peppers from a jar and voilá! A simple and tasty platter, served with Italian breadsticks that left us perfectly contented without me breaking a sweat!

AntipastiPlatter_001

To make the goats cheese balls:

  1. take some fresh goats cheese and crumble into a plate.
  2. Dry toast some pine nuts and walnuts on a fry pan.
  3. When golden, take out to cool and chop roughly the walnuts.
  4. Mix with the goats cheese and form into balls.

AntipastiPlatter_003

Special Mention

MargaretBrioche

Margaret, a Thermomix consultant in Australia has made my brioche Nanterre and sent me her picture. You’ll agree with me that her brioche looks fantastic! Well done Margaret and thank you for sending me your photo. If you too have made one of the recipes on this blog and want to share your results, please send me your pic and I’ll post it here 🙂

Courgette salad

This month Supertoinette challenge was presented by Christine and perfectly suited the beautiful weather we are finally having: a salad. Not just any salad, a steamed courgette salad and with a sauce that makes all the difference. Indeed, it is using strong mustard and boiled eggs, the mustard bringing a powerful taste to the dressing and the eggs adding texture. I really enjoyed eating this salad (who would have thought about using courgettes in a salad?) and it looked just wonderful. I’ll be making this again for sure!

SaladeCourgettes_001

Source: Christine_43

Ingredients

Serves 2 people as a starter or 1 as a main dish

1 courgette
2 eggs
1 tbsp strong Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small shallot
Mini roasted peppers from a jar or black olives to add colour
Salt and pepper

 

Method

  1. Thermomix:
    1. Place 500g water in the TM bowl.
    2. Place the 2 eggs in the internal basket and fit in the bowl.
    3. Cook 10 min/Varoma/speed 1.
    4. Meanwhile, wash the courgette and slice it thinly with a mandoline.
    5. Place in the Varoma and when the 10 minutes cooking are over, place the Varoma on the lid (leave the eggs in the basket) and cook for 5 min/Varoma/speed 1.
    6. Carefully remove the Varoma and set aside to cool.
    7. Lift the internal basket using the spatula hook and place in cold water to cool down.
  2. Non Thermomix:
    1. Boil the 2 eggs in a saucepan filled with cold water. When the water is boiling, count 7 minutes while continuing to boil and take out of the heat.
    2. Quickly dip the eggs in cold water to cool.
    3. While the eggs are boiling, thinly slice the courgettes with a mandoline if steaming. Steam until the courgettes are just softened but still bright green.
    4. If you don’t have a steamer, plunge the courgette in cold water and bring to the boil. Leave to boil for 8 to 10 minutes or until the courgette is soft when pricking with a knife.
    5. Take out of the water and leave to cool before cutting with a knife into slices.
  3. To make the dressing: peel and finely chop the shallot and place in cold water to soften the taste. Set aside.
  4. Take one boiled eggs, remove the shell and chop it finely with a knife.
  5. Mix the mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil together. Add the chopped egg and the drained shallot. Mix well. You can add chopped herbs if you like.
  6. Arrange the courgette slices on a serving plate. Peel the other eggs and arrange on the courgettes.
  7. Sprinkle with the dressing and some piquillos peppers or black olives if you wish.

SaladeCourgettes_002

 

Hearts of palm salad

If you haven’t had hearts of palm before, you must try this as it is delicious. The taste of hearts of palm is very delicate and the texture is soft and juicy. A good dressing will exalt its flavour and the tomatoes and parsley add a splash of colour. A very nice and simple salad, done super fast with the Thermomix.

SaladePalmier_002

Ingredients

serves 2

1 can of hearts of palm (400g)
A few cherry tomatoes on the vine
2 sprigs of fresh parsley

Dressing
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp oil (I used rapeseed oil, but you can use any oil you like)
1/2 tsp mustard
1 celery stick, cut in chunks
1 shallot
Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Place all the dressing ingredients in the TM bowl and mix 3 sec/speed 5.
  2. Cut the hearts of palm into thick slices and the cherry tomatoes in half.
  3. Pour the dressing over and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

SaladePalmier_001

No base quiche

Stuck with ideas for a quick and tasty lunch? Why not try this beautiful, quick and easy quiche sans pate, i.e.: quiche with no pastry base? It needs very few ingredients, which you almost surely have in your fridge and cupboards, is good to use up leftovers and, cherry on the cake, it’s done in a very speedy time.

QuicheSansPate_001

Source: A table avec Thermomix (cookbook sold with every Thermomix in France)

Ingredients

Serves 3 to 4 as a light lunch or 6 as a starter

3 eggs
500g milk
100g plain flour
100g emmenthal cheese (you can substitute with cheddar, in which case, omit the salt)
4 slices of ham, cut into dices or 100g lardons or any filling you like (cherry tomatoes, mushrooms…)
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven at 210C (fan 200C)
  2. Place the cheese in the bowl and chop 8 sec/speed 7. Reserve a handful in a bowl.
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the ham and mix 30sec/speed 5.
  4. Butter a tart tin (or a round cake tin about 26cm, or individual ramequins). Place the ham or any of the filling you chose on the bottom of the tin.
  5. Pour over the mixture and sprinkle with the reserved handful of cheese.
  6. Bake 40 minutes (20 minutes for individual portions). Serve with a salad and enjoy!

Beetroot, orange and goats cheese salad

Beetroots are underappreciated root vegetables. I remember bringing a beetroot salad in my lunchbox at work a few years back and this lovely colleague of mine looked at it horrified and muttered in her best Irish accent “Whats za???”.

I don’t know if she has brought herself to try eating beetroot since but this salad has such beautiful colours and flavours that maybe she would have had a taste and changed her mind… Just maybe. In the meantime, I dedicate this recipe to her, wherever she might be.

Ingredients
For 2 servings as a starter

1 orange, segmented (collect the juices for the dressing)
4 to 6 uncooked beetroots
100g creamy goat cheese (I used St Tola), in chunks
1 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 tbsp rapeseed oil (extra virgin olive oil would work well too)
Seasoning and parsley for decoration

Method

  1. Peel the beetroots (use rubber gloves if you don’t want to stain your hands), cut into wedges and place them on a large baking tray so they don’t overlap.
  2. Sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt and bake at 200C for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the dressing: mix together the raspberry vinegar, rapeseed oil, salt and pepper and add any juice from the segment orange.
  4. Turn the beetroots on the other side and bake for another 20 minutes. Check for tenderness and if some are done at this stage, take them out and toss into the dressing
  5. As soon as the beetroots are cooked, toss them in the dressing, add the orange segments and goats cheese and sprinkle with parsley. It’s better eaten warm.