Posts Tagged ‘ appetizer ’

Peppadews!

Peppadews made their debut in my house back in March. A family friend came to visit us and decided to show us something new. Until previously, peppadews to me were just those red mini pepper thingies that were next to the olives, and it had never occurred to me to try them.

This one’s pretty simple, and pleasing to the eye which is why I love it. Stuffed peppadews offer all sorts of contrast—both in the way they look, and the way they taste, as they have a nice combination of sweet and spicy. I’ve made them so far on three different occasions and each time they’ve been quite a hit.

All you’ll need is a jar of mild peppadews (they pack a bite that is pretty palatable for most people), block cream cheese (spreadable is too runny), and a jar of lemon curd (basically the filling of a lemon meringue pie).

Unfortunately, I did a terrible job of writing down the quantities, but I’ll do my best to guide you. Try starting with 200g of cream cheese and a 1/3 cup of lemon curd. Blend the cheese and the curd in a bowl with a hand mixer, fork, or potato masher. If you plan on using a fork or a potato masher, it might be wise to let the cream cheese stand outside of the fridge for about 30 minutes.

When you’ve blended the cream cheese and the curd, have a taste. You may want to add more curd to make the mixture a little sweeter. I suggest stuffing one peppadew, and eating that, to try and get a better gauge as to how the flavours taste together.

You can stuff the peppadews with a spoon if you don’t have many to do, or you can use a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, take a Ziploc bag and cut a small hole in one corner and you’re good to go.

Enjoy!

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Stuffed Mushrooms…

This is the first of a series of foods that myself or some other member of my family made for our open house on June 5. Unfortunately, many of the recipe books with the instructions are now inside a container on their way to Cambodia… so I will give a basic overview of the recipe now and post some pictures, and when I am reunited with the cookbooks, I’ll update the entries and include the recipes, for those who were curious about all the goodies we made.

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This entry is dedicated to stuffed mushrooms. While there are many ways to stuff mushrooms, one of our favourites comes from the Australian version of the magazine delicious. While the proportions of the ingredients have escaped me for now, I know that this recipe involves mushrooms, ricotta cheese, pesto, basil, and parmesan cheese (we used peco romano).

As you can see by the photo of the cooked mushrooms, they are a family favourite, and very popular with our guests. By the time I got the right lens on my camera, half of the mushrooms were gone!

Caesar Salad Supreme

I’m sure many North American expats can agree on one thing: a good Caesar salad dressing is really hard to find in the rest of the world. Whether it’s too sweet, too flat, too oily, too watery or too much like Ranch, they all seem to taste pretty terrible.

Now when we lived in New Brunswick, Caesar salad meant some romaine lettuce (if we were lucky) tossed with Kraft Caesar dressing. Special occasions meant that maybe we’d get a salad kit with powdered, dandruffy parmesan, and bacon bits (facon, really, they’re made from soy). Caesar Cardini was far from our minds.

Fortunately for us, a good family friend of ours exposed us to the wonders of a home-made Caesar dressing. The only downside to her dressing was that it was the real deal (ha!)… meaning it had anchovies and raw egg in it. Try as I might, I don’t think I’ll ever become a fan of dried anchovies.

After moving to the Netherlands and suffering through brand after brand of crappy Caesar dressing (Remia and Calve), not to mention terrible house dressings in restaurants (I remember a particularly scarring experience in London), we gave up on Caesar salads completely for at least a year. It was a bleak time.

Then I found this recipe. Great stuff really–the use of mayo eliminated the need for raw egg, and even though it called for anchovies, the recipe still tasted good without it. Best of all, for those watching their waist lines, you can still indulge in a Caesar salad–just use light mayo, and go easy on the cheese and bacon, and skip the croutons.

This dressing’s been a family favourite for a few years now, because it’s so easy to throw together and tweak until it’s just right. 

Deviled eggs, revisited.

So I’ve made deviled eggs a couple times in the past few weeks since I first posted about them. The second time around, I thought I’d make them with quail eggs, for a nice twist. My cousin brought a ton (ok, maybe just a few kilos) of quail eggs from Cameroon, and so I decided I’d make them for an appetizer one day. It was probably the least enjoyable cooking experience I’ve had in a while.

Quail eggs have a high yolk-to-white ratio, meaning the egg white is super thin and fragile. Add to that a tough, tiny shell, and they are hell to peel. Even moreso, they are hell to work with once peeled, and it takes a lot of time and patience not to mangle them to bits.

The second time I made them was on Monday. They were really great, owing to the fact that for once, I actually had fresh chives, thyme and parsley in the house. The only thing I ended up substituting was white wine vinegar for sherry vinegar, but otherwise, they were tip top! They also gave me a chance to try out my new piping bag. I’m a long way from being a Cake Boss piping pro, but I’m trying.

Cold Soup.

A couple weeks ago, Mother Nature decided to play a cruel trick on us here in the Lowlands and made us think it was summer. Since we had a string of days where the temperature was in the 20s, I decided to try my hand at cold soup. Pretty simple stuff, actually. The family said it was a bit too spicy… an indiscretion which I blamed on my tenure in Korea. Otherwise, the only other improvement I could’ve made with this recipe was to have had tomatoes that were in season. I look forward to making this again in Cambodia with fresh, rich produce.