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.
Very recently I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful country of Costa Rica for a family holiday. We were celebrating big birthdays and new additions to the family and were all in need of a bit of R&R! Though, I must say that it looks like I got a bit more of the R&R than intended and forgot about my camera much of the time. However, when I could drag myself away from the beach, pool and the wildlife I managed to get some shots for you to see!
If you haven’t been before, you must add this country to the top of your list! The people are incredibly friendly, the country is very safe, the wildlife is amazing and all around you and the scenery is just beautiful. Though naively I thought that the whole country was somewhat of a rainforest, we ended up staying in a very dry part which looked a bit like Africa. However, closer to the coast things got a bit greener and we were able to make a couple trips out to the more rainforesty areas.
Waking up to the dawn chorus every morning was like nothing else. Parrots squawking away along with howler monkeys making prehistoric sounds make it hard not to wake up early. The jetlag definitely helped! Though I loathe waking up early while at home, it is my absolute favorite thing to do while on holiday. Who can resist a cup of tea and a good book in the early hours before the rest of the house is awake?
We did a little bit of everything while in Costa Rica, however most of it was centered around the wildlife. It was hard not to care about it when it is almost everywhere you look. The little white faced capuchin monkeys were my favorite, swinging from the trees right behind our house. However, when I think of Costa Rica, I think of colorful birds and I was hoping to see at least one toucan before I left. After a lovely rainforest hike with a few waterfalls to cool off in, we were able to a few toucans eating mangoes high upi in the trees and it was just amazing. Toucan Sam crossed off the list!
I feel like we were only about to scratch the surface of what Costa Rica has to offer and hope that I’ll be able to return again one day to see more!
Growing up in England, I had my fair share of deliciously airy chocolatey eclairs. Though the English have a well known hatred of all things French, it seems as though the decadent pastries passed the test and are beautifully displayed in most bakeries. Unlike other Brits, I have a soft spot for all things French and Paris is one of my absolute favorite destinations. There’s nothing like enjoying an eclair and a cafe au lait in a cute little Parisian cafe.
After a recent visit and being inspired by the delicious pastries Paris has to offer, I decided to try something a bit on the savory side with these parmesan eclairs. You get the eggy airy goodness of the eclair which everyone loves and the added benefit of some equally tasty fillings. The best part is you can mix and match as you please to your tastes. These are quite easy to make and can be made a day ahead of a brunch if need be. Sandwiches will never be the same again!
Get the recipe here at Sugar and Charm!