Thanksgiving is all about decadence and so much about eating! As the holidays roll around, it’s hard not to indulge in all the good food that is on offer. These amazingly jewel toned appetizers are definitely indulging to the eyes and taste yummy too! A perfect bit of pop color for your thanksgiving spread and light enough to nibble on before the big meal.
The cheesy crackers are melt in your mouth lovely and the compote adds a bit of contrast for a delicious duo. The best part is that they’re so easy to make and you can make everything in advance. Because I’d much rather spend time eating than in the kitchen!
Parmesan Crackers with Cranberry Plum Compote
- 4 oz unsalted butter
- 4 oz finely grated parmesan
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for a couple minutes. Then add the parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Add the flour and again mix until combined.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a log. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for atleast 1 hour.
When ready to make, preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the log into 1/4 inch thick slices and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet. They can be quite close together as they won’t expand. Bake for about 15 minutes until the crackers are a light golden brown. Let cool for a couple minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.
While the crackers are baking, you can get started with the compote.
Cranberry Plum Compote
- 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup plum preserves
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 small star anise
Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cranberries should be softened and all come together into a thick consistency. Let cool. You can also make this in advance and refrigerate until ready to use.
Once the crackers and the compote are cooled you can assemble. Just add a dollop of compote on to each cracker and garnish with a little sprig of thyme if you have it! Makes 20-25.
Happy Wednesday! I know everyone is back to school and the weather is actually getting colder but I’m not quite ready to give up summer yet. This year didn’t feel quite long enough at all! One of my favorite summer eats is crostini. There are so many different combinations to put on a toasted slice of bread, but this happens to be one of my favorites. Though it’s perfectly enjoyed at any time of the year, I like it best when it’s hot out and with a glass of bubbly in hand! I’m most definitely going to make the most of these while the weather lasts, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some trees already changing their colors!
Pour a glass of champs or prosecco and enjoy the creaminess of white beans and salty proscuitto!
White Bean and Prosciutto Crostini
- 1 baguette or Italian loaf sliced into 1/2 in slices
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp shallot, finely chopped
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp capers
- 2 tsp basil, freshly chopped
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 can (15oz) cannellini beans, drained
- 6 oz slices proscuitto
- basil chiffonade to garnish
Preheat the oven to the grill at 550°F. 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 medium bowl, combine the olive oil, shallots, red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, capers, basil, salt and pepper. Using a small whisk to combine. Add the cannellini beans and using a large spoon, toss all the ingredients together.
Place a slice of prosciutto on each crostini and top with a spoonful of the white beans. Garnish with basil and eat immediately. Makes 15-20.
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.