Recipe: Baked prawn tortilla canapés

Today I’m back in the kitchen, at last! Hasn’t been enough creative cooking going on in my house recently, time to change that. Having just got back from Spain I’ve got tortilla on my mind and as we were having friends round for drinks I thought I’d experiment by trying a baked, herby sort of tortilla with the luxury of added prawns.

It’s a really easy recipe with few ingredients and very little work. And the outcome is delicious. The only slightly tricky bit is getting your tortilla out in one piece, take care and gently loosen it from the bowl using a knife and thin spatula if you need to.

You can serve these tasty bites warm or cold. And my soya and sesame sauce is delicious. Enjoy!

I served up my delicate canapés on my new Judge Slate platter. Love a bit of slate and this large platter (it’s 40cmx20cm) certainly showed them off beautifully. There was even room to fit my little bowls of dipping sauce on the side. Perfect.

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The baked tortilla with its pinks and greens

Makes about about 18 pieces

4 eggs

4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

2 handfuls of fresh coriander, chopped

1 tbsp sunflower oil

100g small, peeled, cooked prawns

For the dipping sauce

2 tbsps rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp soya sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 dried chilli, crumbled

A dash of fish sauce

Beat the eggs and stir the spring onion and coriander through the mixture.

Pour the sunflower oil into an oven proof baking dish and make sure it coats the bottom of the bowl.

Pour in the egg mixture.

Place the prawns evenly through the mixture.

Bake in the oven at 180C for about 20mins or until the omelette is set and cooked through. Stick a skewer through the middle to test, if it comes out clean your tortilla is ready.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Run a knife gently around the edges and under the tortilla to loosen. Place a plate on top of the dish and flip over, the tortilla should come out easily.

Turn it back over so the prawn side is up and slice into small wedges.

Serve with hot chilli sauce and my soya and sesame sauce as above.

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The perfect display on my new Judge Slate platter

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Close up to the tasty bites

To find out more about Judge’s great range visit www.judgecookware.co.uk

 

Recipes: Really easy ideas for canapes

I’m very partial to a canape! I even made them for about 40 people one Christmas…never again, I tell you, I think I spent about three days in the kitchen. And from that I learned (besides not to volunteer for doing mass catering on my own)…keep canapes simple! Which is what I’ve done here.

These delightful little snacks are quick to assemble, involve no cooking and they taste delicious. It’s all about ingredients and combinations.

As the base I’ve used tasty new seaweed water biscuits and seaweed oatcakes from a bakery called Stag. They’re made in Scotland and their special ingredient is Hebridean seaweed, which really transforms the flavour. The water biscuits are good enough to eat as snacks on their own and taste of the sea, yes really!

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A colourful plate to serve up to your guests

Prawn, mango, mint and lime

Mix cooked king prawns with chopped mango and chopped fresh mint. Squeeze over the juice of a fresh lime and leave for at least an hour.

Top each biscuit with a prawn, piece of mango and some mint.

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Smoked salmon with wasabi creme fraiche and chives

Add wasabi paste to the creme fraiche and mix well. Experiment with quantities until you get the right balance of heat and creaminess for you. Start with a little wasabi and increase as necessary – it’s very hot and you can’t take it out!

Snip the chives into pieces just less than the diameter of the biscuits.

Cut the smoked salmon up into pieces twice the size of the biscuit. I like to use kitchen scissors to do this.

Fold the smoked salmon in half and put on the biscuit. Add a dollop of wasabi creme fraiche and top with chives. I’ve made a cross with them here which made me think of kisses. Canapes with love!

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Cheddar, pear and mango & lime chutney

Slice the Cheddar and the pear into pieces just smaller than the biscuits.

Place the Cheddar on, add a dollop of chutney and top with the pear slices.

I used Khanum mango and lime chutney, but any chutney would work.

canapes3Parma ham and nectarine

Cut the Parma ham into generous slices and fold on top of the biscuit.

Slice the nectarine and place on top of the ham.

You could also add some Buffalo Mozzarella on top.

canapes4And here’s the main ingredient throughout, delicious seaweed biscuits.

biscuits1I  love my sunflower plates, which are from a company called www.miafleur.com. The canapes just look perfect on them!

The Cook with Biltong Club: Biltong, goat’s cheese and avocado bruschetta

It’s the beginning of August, where is 2014 going? It seems to be super-speedy. Anyway, a new month means it’s time for my monthly biltong recipe. I love this mix of creamy goats cheese and avocado, spicy biltong and refreshing mint.

Really quick and easy to prepare, these bruschettas make the perfect starter or wonderful snacks with those alfresco summer drinks. And I think they look stunning, too!

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A plateful of delectable bruschetta

1 loaf fresh ciabatta

i large clove of garlic, peeled

150g soft goat’s cheese

2 avocados

100g Chichester Biltong Company peri peri biltong

2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves, pulled from the stem

Slice the ciabatta and lightly toast it on one side.

Rub the garlic clove over the toasted side.

Spread generously with the goat’s cheese.

Peel and slice the avocado and place a couple of slices on top of the goat’s cheese.

Top with the biltong slices and mint and your bruschetta are ready to eat!

ingredient

All the ingredients ready to go

Join our club and get cooking with biltong

If you can’t find biltong in the shops near you, don’t despair. If you live in the UK you can order online from the Chichester Biltong Company. Their tasty biltong comes in different flavours and you can select how wet and fatty you’d like your meat to be, too.

Go to http://www.biltongcompany.co.uk and enter the code EATINGCOVENT when you order.

Do you have any inventive ideas for using biltong? I’d love to try them out, please get in touch.

Please also like our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CookWithBiltong

I love my sunflower plates which are from www.miafleur.com They’re just perfect for serving up summery snacks on a sunny day.

Recipes: Delish dishes using avocados

It’s time for more of my regular avo recipes. They’re delicious, good for you and so easy to prepare. Hass avos from Peru have been used in these recipes. Here’s why you should eat more avocados.

Avos contain 11 of the 13 known vitamins and minerals.

Half an avo counts as one of your 5-a-day.

Avos contain “good oils” (the same oil found in nuts and olive oil). These oils help you feel full longer.

Half a medium avocado (72 grams) has just 137 calories, 50% fewer than a plain bagel.

They are good for your eyes. An ounce of avo contains 81 micrograms of leutein; leutein can help protect against macular degeneration.

They’re really versatile, let your imagination go wild and come up with your own unique dish.

They’re easy to prepare.

What more can I say?

They are simply delicious!

 Avocado, chicken and rocket bruschetta

Bruschetta

Makes 4

2 Peruvian Hass avocados, halved, pitted and peeled

Squeeze of lemon juice

4 large slices of bread

2-3 handfuls rocket or salad leaves

120g roast chicken, sliced

50g sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

A few drops of olive oil

A few drops of balsamic vinegar

Parmesan cheese shavings

Mash the avocados with a fork, adding a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent them from browning.

Toast the bread slices, and spread thickly with the mashed avocado.

Top with rocket or salad leaves, sliced chicken and sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle each one with a few drops of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then finish off with Parmesan cheese shavings.

 Eggs Benedict with a difference

Eggs benedict

Serves 4

2 Peruvian Hass avocados, halved, pitted and peeled

4 bacon medallions

4 eggs

2 English muffins, split in two

Mash the avocados with a fork and set to one side.

Grill or fry the bacon medallions.

At the same time, gently poach the eggs in simmering water.

Toast the muffins and spread thickly with mashed avocado. Place a bacon medallion on each one, then top with the poached eggs. Serve immediately.

Avocado and spinach dip

Dip

1 Peruvian Hass avocado, halved, pitted and peeled

1 shallot, very finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

50g fresh young spinach

200g extra light garlic and herbs soft cheese

Vegetable crudités, such as cucumber, celery, cherry tomatoes, carrots and peppers

Cook the spinach in boiling water for 1 minute to wilt the leaves, then drain well and rinse with cold water. Squeeze the spinach to remove excess liquid, then chop finely.

Beat the soft cheese in a bowl until smooth, then stir in the spinach.

Mash the avocado with a fork and stir into the spinach mixture with the shallot. Season with salt and pepper, then serve with vegetable crudités.

For more avo ideas visit http://www.deliciousavocados.co.uk

Oh and I took some time to read up a bit about Peru and was astounded at its beauty. Yet another destination for the wishlist. In the meantime, how’s this for an avocado orchard?? Breathtaking.

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Recipes: Tasty ideas using Haas avocados

I love avos. I was lucky enough to grow up with an enormous tree in the garden that produced such a splendid crop it was impossible to eat them all, even though I come from a large family. Needless to say, we were always popular in avocado season, turning up at friend’s houses with fruity gifts.

Avos are amazingly versatile, they go with so many other ingredients, so it’s a good idea to experiment and find your own favourite combination. Or they’re just as good eaten on their own, cut in half, remove the pip, season and eat with a teaspoon (one of my favourite snacks) – and are delicious for breakfast mashed up on toast.

There are several different types of avocados that come from different countries. These recipes are made using Peruvian Haas avos which are widely available in the UK from now until December. It’s time to try some new flavour combinations! And maybe think about a trip to Peru?

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Peruvian Hass avocado, pink grapefruit, pomegranate and prawn salad

Refreshing, colourful and healthy, this is a wonderful salad that makes the most of creamy Peruvian Hass avocados.

Serves 4

2 Peruvian Hass avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
2 handfuls of rocket
2 pink or red grapefruit
200g peeled cooked prawns
100g pomegranate seeds

Dressing

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Share the rocket between 4 serving plates.

Peel the grapefruit with a sharp, serrated knife to remove all the pith, then slice into
segments. Arrange on the salads. Slice the Peruvian Hass avocados on top, then share the
prawns between the portions. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the top.

For the dressing, whisk together the pomegranate molasses and olive oil. Season with salt
and pepper, then spoon over the salads.

Cook’s tip

Pomegranate molasses is sold at most major supermarkets and delicatessens. It hasa fruity, zesty flavour.

A beautifully colourful and summery salad

A beautifully colourful and summery salad

Savoury Peruvian Hass muffins

Perfect for breakfast or brunch and great for packed lunches or picnics too.

Makes 8 muffins

For the muffins
200g self-raising flour
4 eggs
125ml whole milk
80ml vegetable oil
50g sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper
80g feta cheese, cut into 8 chunks

For the topping
3 Peruvian Hass avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
200g soft cheese
Squeeze of lemon or lime juice

Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan oven 180°C, Gas Mark 6. Line a muffin tin with 8 paper muffin cases.

In a large bowl, beat together the flour, eggs, milk and oil, using a hand whisk to give a smooth batter. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and season with
a pinch of salt and pepper.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, then push a feta cheese cube into each one, making sure the pieces are covered by the mixture.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until risen and golden brown. Cool.

Meanwhile, mash or blend 2 Peruvian Hass avocados to make a smooth purée, then beat in the soft cheese and lemon or lime juice until smooth and creamy. Spoon on top of the muffins and serve at once, garnished with thin slices of avocado.

Cook’s tip: If you’re making the muffins for a packed lunch or picnic, put the topping into aseparate container for spreading on top later

Muffins

Cheesy muffins topped with creamy avocado yumminess

 

The Cook with Biltong Club: Biltong, watermelon and Manchego canapes

Summer in England keeps threatening to arrive…a bit of warmer air, a bit of sunshine and your hopes rise! They’re usually dashed pretty quickly by a whole day of rain and cold wind, but in that sniff of summer I start dreaming about  long, lazy afternoons in the garden.

Which brought me on to thinking about summer snacks using my favourite ingredient: biltong. Okay, there’s no actual cooking involved in this tasty dish but you do have to chop and assemble. My inspiration came from the traditional Italian starter of Parma ham and melon which is such a delicious combination. It sometimes comes with a bit of grated parmesan, too.

So I decided to mix a bit of South Africa with a bit of Spain (as I did for my biltong tortilla) for these delightful mouthfuls.  Simply cut some watermelon into small wedges (removing all pips), place a slice of biltong on top and a slice of manchego to finish off. Hold together with a toothpick. (My 2014 version of cheese and pineapple on a stick)

The combination of colours, textures and flavours is lovely! My tasters gave them a firm thumbs up too. Bring on the summer!

Lovely summer snacks that you guests will love

Lovely summer snacks that you guests will love

Join our club

I’m regularly going to post a new recipe using biltong, so watch this space.

And if you want to order some yourself, I highly recommend the Chichester Biltong Company where you can choose the wetness and fattiness of your biltong too (it’s very personal, you know).

Go to http://www.biltongcompany.co.uk and enter the code EATINGCOVENT when you order.

Please also like our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CookWithBiltong