These nibbles beat crisps into the back water any day and they can be used as an alternative to croutons in a Caesar salad.
Preheat the oven to 140°C
Day old baguette sliced ‘lace’ thin.*
clove of garlic, finely chopped
pepper & salt
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Spread the baguette slices on a baking tray and set to one side.
Warm a little olive oil and add the garlic, oregano, basil, pepper & salt, stir to blend and brush on bread slices.
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
*Try sour dough or ciabatta bread as an interesting substitute.
** The other day I made my Slow Peppers and used the left the over juice to brush over the baguette slices before baking. Yummy!
Quick and easy Hummus
4 cloves of garlic peeled and blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes
Can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1½ tablespoons water
½ teaspoon white wine
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro
Place the chick peas in a food processor. Add tahini & blanched garlic and pulse.
Add remaining ingredients and purée until smooth, then chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
Garnish with more paprika and Cilantro.
Kidney Bean Dip
This is a very quick dish to make using a food processor with a metal chopping blade.
1 x 425g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 slices of pancetta
Place the first four ingredients in the processor bowl and whizz until smooth, then transfer to a serving dish.
Grill the pancetta until crisp and golden, then cool and crumble over the top of the dip.
To serve: Crusty bread or julienne strips of carrots, cucumber and sweet peppers.
Elly shared this recipe with me a few weeks ago and I loved it. There is only one problem….
One taste and I keep coming back for more!
Caramelised Red Onion Hummus
2 medium red onions
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar (or any dark brown sugar)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 x 220g can of chickpeas
1 garlic clove
3tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tsp olive oil
Peel and thinly slice the red onions.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat and gently soften the onions for 10 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium and add in the balsamic vinegar and muscovado sugar, stir well and cook for 3 to 4 minutes and set aside.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place in a mini chopper or food processor.
Add the crushed garlic and 3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Add the red onion mixture in on top and blitz well until smooth.
One of the pleasures that Elly brought home from her year in France was the tradition to sit with an aperitif and appetizers before beginning or sometimes during the preparation of the evening meal. The variety of nibbles are endless: Saucisson, olives, roasted peppers, hummus, tapenades or dipping oils with chunks of French sticks, triangles of pitta bread, melba toasts or crisps.
Today I have two very different Dips for you. With a blender or food processor they are ready in seconds.
1 large aubergine
4 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons tahina (sesame seed paste)
Parsley sprigs to garnish
Prick the aubergine all over and grill, turning frequently, until the skin is charred all over. Remove the skin, rinsing in cold water.
Place the aubergine and all the other ingredients in a food processor and season to taste. Process until smooth, then transfer to a serving dish.
Garnish with parsley.
225g cream cheese
2 x 15ml spoons natural yoghurt
2 bananas, mashed
2 x 15ml spoons sweet brown chutney
1 x 5ml spoon lemon juice
twist of lemon to garnish
Place the cheese and yoghurt in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Add the mashed bananas, chutney and lemon juice and process until smooth. Spoon into a serving dish.
Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Cream Cheese Penguins
This is a recipe that I have been holding for some time. It came from Nancy.
She even sent a picture.
Don’t they look adorable?
18 jumbo black olives, pitted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
18 small black olives
Cut a slit from top to bottom, lengthwise, into the side of each jumbo olive. Carefully insert about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese into each olive. Slice the carrot into eighteen ¼ inch thick rounds; cut a small notch out of each carrot slice to form feet. Save the cut out piece and press into centre of small olive to form the beak. If necessary cut a small slit into each olive before inserting the beak.
Set a big olive, large hole side down, onto a carrot slice. Then, set a small olive onto the large olive, adjusting so that the beak, cream cheese chest and notch in the carrot slice line up. Secure with a toothpick.
You can add scarves and hats by using fresh red pepper strips, or canned pimentos cut into different shapes. Frilly toothpicks really finish them off.
Preheat the oven to 130°C
To ensure crispness, slice the apples as thinly as possible all around the apple. I like to use a potato peeler for this. Slice one side and then turn the apple 1⁄4 of the way and slice then keep going. The slices don’t have to be uniform. When did you last buy a bag of crisps to find they were all a uniform size?
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 Granny Smith or other tart apples, thinly sliced
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix well. Add the apple slices and toss until most of both sides of the apples are well coated. Place the apples, in a single layer, on to the baking sheets, transfer to the oven and bake until lightly browned and just crisp, about 2 hours. Set aside to cool and then transfer to a jar or plastic bag.
Preheat the oven to 200°C
For a really simple treat, slice it really thinly, brush with oil and roast in the hot oven until you get sweet beetroot crisps,
NB: Note the difference in the oven temperatures here Apples go in a cool oven and the beetroot needs a hot oven, so no chance of baking them at the same time.
Two for the price of one today.
Parsley Applewood Cheese Balls
100g Smoked Applewood cheese, grated
2 x 5ml spoons any relish
4-5 x 15ml spoons freshly chopped parsley
Mix the grated cheese and relish to make a thick paste. Spread the chopped parsley on a flat plate. Form the cheese mixture into 10-12 small balls. Roll in the chopped parsley, making sure that they are well coated. Place on a serving dish and spear with cocktail sticks.
100g peeled prawns
50g cream cheese
1 x 5ml spoon lemon juice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
50g walnuts, very finely chopped
Chop the prawns finely, then mix in the cream cheese and lemon juice. Season to taste. Place the chopped nuts on a flat plate. Shape the prawn mixture into 16 small balls, then roll in the chopped nuts, making sure that they are well coated. Place on the serving dish and spear with cocktail sticks.
Nibbles with a Cheesy Crunch
Preheat the oven to 180ºC
- 200g all plain flour
- ¼ level teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ level teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 150g butter, cut in cubes
- 100g Parmesan cheese, grated*
- 1 medium egg, separated
- Pinch of salt
- Poppy & sesame seeds
Sift the flour, cayenne, mustard & a good pinch of salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter and then mix in the cheese.Add the egg yolk & 2 tablespoons of water mix until it all comes together, and then knead by hand until smooth.Form into an oblong and cover with food wrap and chill for 30 minutes.Roll out about ⅓ of the dough to 3mm thick between two layers of food wrap.Using the wrap saves using extra flour for rolling.The extra flour prevents crispness.Use small pastry cutters to cut into stars, crescents or circles.Place on baking sheets.Lightly beat the egg white and coat the top of each biscuit.Sprinkle one third with poppy seeds, one third with sesame seeds and leave the remainder plain.**Bake for 12-14 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Store in an airtight container. Yield about 50 small biscuits
*If you prefer use half and half Extra Mature Cheddar & Parmesan cheese.
** As an alternative brush some with Bovril or Marmite instead of egg white.
Elly’s ‘It looks like Yeuk’! – Dip.
Preheat oven to 180 °C
- 1 bushbok sweet potato
- 1 decent-sized aubergine
- 1 red onion
- 1 garlic bulb
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar (optional)
- lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper and salt
Peel as much of the papery skin off a garlic bulb as possible while keeping it in one piece, and trim the top so that you open up the top of each clove.
Remove the top off a decent-sized aubergine, and cut in 2 lengthwise.
Peel the sweet potato and cut into roughly 1-inch cubes.
Peel a red onion, top and tail it and cut into 8 chunks.
Place everything in a roasting tray lined with foil and drizzle with olive oil and season well. You can put some balsamic vinegar on the sweet potato and the onion if you like.
Roast for 35-40 minutes, until everything is tender.
Place the sweet potato and onion in a blender, scoop the aubergine flesh out of the skin and push the soft centre from the roasted garlic out of it’s skin and add to the potato and onion. Add a good glug of olive oil and some lemon juice to everything in the blender, then pulverise it – dependant on the consistency you may want to add some water. Keep adding salt, lemon and olive oil to taste.
Best served hot, but can be frozen and defrosted and eaten cold or microwaved.
I have eaten it hot, cold and microwaved from frozen.It still looks like Yeuk, but tastes delicious!