It’s actually a bright winter day here with no snow and quite a lot of sunshine. Though the sun makes me feel better, I’m so dreaming of the warm days of summer which at this point seem so so far away. We’re dreaming of parks and green grass and picnics in the sun. I’m dying to get out run around with the little one now that she is running around herself. I’m also craving all the summer fruits and veggies. I’m kinda getting bored of lackluster berries and endless pears. Anyone else? Corn is one of my favorites and I’ve been cheating a little in the past months by making the most of the frozen variety. Miura adores corn in any form especially on the cob so it’s always on offer in this household. Since we have like five more months of this dreadful cold then we’ll have to make do with yummy food that tastes of summer! Who doesn’t need a little bit of beautiful yellow to brighten up their day?
The curry leaves in this recipe give it such a unique flavor and they work surprisingly well with the peanuts and coconut. I’ve been in love with this filling for quite awhile now but have only recently started making tartlets with it! The fresh and super flavorful filling goes perfect with the crunchy filo pastry making this an easy option for appetizers.
Curried Corn Tartlets
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp curry leaves, julienned
- 1 cup cooked and small diced waxy potatoes
- 1/4 cup peanuts, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely grated dried coconut, plus extra for garnish
- 14 sheets pre-packaged filo pastry
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
Defrost the filo pastry according to package directions.
Heat a pan to medium heat and add olive oil. Heat until the oil is quite hot and then add the sesame seeds. Stir often until light brown, about 30 seconds – 1 minute. Add in the frozen corn, salt, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and curry leaves and allow to cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
Add in the cooked potatoes, peanuts and coconut and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, make the filo tart shells. Lay 1 sheet of filo pastry on a cutting board. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush with butter. Layer another sheet of filo pastry on top and brush with butter. Continue to do so with a total of 7 sheets. Repeat process with the remaining 7 sheets. Cut each layered sheet into 12 3 inch squares, resulting in a total of 24 squares. Using a mini muffin tin, fit each square into the rounds making sure to get the pastry into the edges. Brush the edges with the remaining butter and place into the oven. Cook for about 7-10 minutes until just golden brown. Place on a cooling rack until cool.
When ready to serve, fill each with about a teaspoon of filling. Top with a bit of grated coconut to finish. Serve immediately as they will soften with time. Makes 24 tarts.
After a few days of chilly fall weather, summer is definitely back with sweltering hot days and nights. So while it still lasts, I’m making the most of grilling and enjoying light easy dinners. No one likes to cook when it’s far too hot outside to think! I love all things Moroccan and though more often than not the dishes are better suited for cold weather, I love using the spices in marinades. Give these shrimp a try and enjoy while the weather lasts!
Moroccan Grilled Shrimp + Kale Quinoa Salad
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 10-12 deveined and unshelled shrimp
- 3 cups kale, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/8 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 salt
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cumin
In a medium bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and add shrimp. Stir to coat well. If you have the time, marinate for atleast 30 minutes, if not, you can leave to marinate until you’ve made the salad.
In a large bowl, combine the kale, carrot, quinoa, raisins, parsley and cilantro. In a smaller bowl, prepare the dressing. Combine together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, cinnamon and cumin. When ready to eat, toss the kale mixture with the dressing and coat evenly.
Heat a barbeque up to medium. Place shrimp on skewers and onto the grill. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side until they are bright pink and completely opaque.
Serve the shrimp with the salad and eat while warm. Serves 2.
Summer is coming to a close but it is definitely still hot enough for garden parties and barbeques! One of the things I will miss most about summer is the abundance of vibrant fruits. I love biting into a juicy nectarine or grabbing one of these delicious bite sized apricots when running out the door. The juiciness always seems to satisfy my cravings and keeps me hydrated too!
These apricot ricotta crostinis are the easiest thing to whip up to enjoy with a glass of wine or with friends. The ricotta is so creamy and goes perfect with fragrant apricots. Though the honey adds a little touch of sweetness, the salt and pepper really balances things out!
Apricot Ricotta Crostini
- 1 Baguette, sliced into twelve 1/2 inch slices
- olive oil for brushing
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2-3 apricots, thinly sliced
- honey to drizzle
- fresh ground salt and pepper
- basil to garnish
Preheat the oven to the grill function. Lightly brush the baguette slices on both sides with olive oil. Place under the grill for a couple minutes on each side until lightly browned and crispy.
In a small bowl combine the ricotta and zest of 1 lemon.
To assemble, spread a bit of ricotta on each of the toasted bread slices. Top with a few slices of apricot and then drizzle with a bit of honey. Grind a little bit of salt and pepper on top and garnish with the basil.
Eat immediately before they go soft! Makes 12
I’ve recently discovered how wonderfully versatile ricotta is and have been adding it to all sorts lately. I love how it can be equally as delicious both sweet and savory making the possibilities endless! I’ve been throwing it in my almond flax muffins to make them extra fluffy and moist and been enjoying them a top bruschetta and polenta for a touch of creaminess.
This time I’ve added ricotta to baked eggs to create the perfect brunchtime treat. Paired with crispy crunchy phyllo, the creamy eggs definitely stand out! This recipe is perfect to make when you have house guests or even when you’re in for an indulgent Sunday morning. Enjoy!
See them here on the beautiful Sugar and Charm!
Parmesan Ricotta Tarts + Tomato Salad
- 475g ricotta
- 40g parmesan
- 1/4 tsp rosemary
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 eggs
- salt and black pepper
- 8 sheets prepackaged phyllo pastry
- 2 tbsp olive oil for brushing
- 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3/4 cup arugula
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, 3/4 of the parmesan, rosemary, lemon zest, eggs, salt and pepper to taste. Mix till combined.
Remove the pastry from the fridge/freezer according to the package directions. Place 1 sheet on a cutting board and brush with oil and top with another sheet. Continue to brush each sheet with oil and layer new sheets. Cut into 6 squares. Place into a casserole dish so that each square creates a little well.
Divide the ricotta mixture between the 6 squares and top with remaining parmesan cheese. Brush the edges with the rest of the olive oil and bake for 20 minutes. Tops should be golden brown and everything should be cooked through.
Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes and arugula and toss with the olive oil and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with the tarts with the tomato salad. Serves 6.
Just made one of my favorite pasta dishes for Lark & Linen and will be posting every now and then over on her beautiful site giving my recommendation for quick weeknight dinners! Here’s my first one – enjoy!
Pasta in one form or another tends to make its way often into our dinner rotation. After a long week, I crave its comforting powers and the overload of carbs! It’s not often that I repeat recipes over long periods of time, but this one seems to keep making its way back into the kitchen.
One of my good friends was so kind to teach me this recipe from his hometown in the south of Italy. It’s a typical thrifty meal that was invented in the times of the war, making do with the little ingredients that were on hand at the time. The good thing with little ingredients is that this pasta dish is so quick and easy to whip up and has a surprising amount of flavor.
When there’s time, I love to make my own Orecchiette but in a pinch, either store bought fresh or dried will work perfectly fine. I prefer the sun dried tomatoes that are dried and preserved in salt rather than oil. Change up your weekday routine and give this pasta try!
Sun Dried Tomato and Chili Orecchiette
- 8 oz fresh or dried orecchiette
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp crushed red chilies
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 1/2 cups day old bread crumbled*
- handful of basil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When ready cook the orecchiette according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan on medium high. When shimmering, add the crushed red chilis and let cook for 30 seconds making sure not to let them burn. Add in the sliced sun dried tomatoes and cook for another minute stirring often. Then add in the bread crumbs and stir to coat. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes until a bit crispy. Add in the cooked orecchiette and a couple tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Allow to cook for about 3-4 minutes until everything is well coated and starting to get crispy. Toss with basil and serve immediately. Serves 2.
*I like to use a day old white bread loaf, the kind from the bakery not sliced bread. Cut off the crusts and just rub the bread between your fingertips to get large chunks of bread. Don’t worry about it being fine – the chunkiness adds texture!
If you haven’t already, check out the beautiful Lark and Linen and some of my favorite weeknight meals on the blog!
I love having people over to my home for drinks and often dinner and after flicking through magazines and browsing through blogs, I always have grand ideas of what new recipes to try. However, when it comes down to it, the last thing I want to do right before people come over is spend half the day in the kitchen. The evening is just not as fun when you’re exhausted and dreaming of your bed!
So I’m always excited when easy to prep recipes come about – especially appetizers. And no I’m not talking about the straight from the supermarket to oven type appetizers – though these take minimally more work. The salsa is lovely and tangy with a slight kick which goes great with all the herbs. It is the perfect accompaniment to cocktail shrimps which can be quite bland and boring. And best of all, you can make all the parts ahead of time and just assemble right before people come over! Just how I like it, quick and simple!
Cilantro Apple Salsa & Shrimp Squares
- 30 precooked cocktail shrimp
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- 1 beaten egg (optional)
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and quartered
- 1 orange segmented
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 long red chilies, deseeded and finely minced
- 4 tbsp lime juice
- 8 stalks of cilantro
- 8 stalks of mint
- salt to taste
- finely chopped cilantro to garnish
In a medium bowl, add the cocktail shrimp, lime juice, garlic, cumin and 1/4 tsp of salt and set aside to marinate for atleast 30 min.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (or according to package directions). Roll the puff pastry to about 10×12 in and cut into 2 inch squares. Score a slightly smaller square into into each one and prick the inner square with a fork to prevent it rising too much. Lightly brush with the egg wash if using and bake on a piece of parchment paper for about 7 minutes or until just golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, make the salsa. Place all remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until very fine.
To assemble, place a teaspoonful of salsa on top of the puff pastry square and top with a shrimp. Garnish with a bit of cilantro sprinkled on top. Serve immediately. Makes 30.