Roasted Grape & Brie Crostini, with Honey Roasted Walnuts and Pumpkin Seeds

This is such an easy recipe for entertaining. You can make the roasted nuts in advance and just store them in an airtight container once they are completely cold. I also bought the baguette the night before and froze it. There is one really good French artisanal bakery here (it is called Le Fournil de Sebastien). Even though it is not very far from my home, it is out of my usual route and very often I just don’t have the time to go there. So now I just stock up when I am less busy, and keep it the freezer. I just sprinkle some water over the baguette. Then I bake it for about 15 minutes at 180C/350F and voilà, perfect baguette as it was just freshly made. For this recipe, I like the grapes to still keep their shape. So when you bite into them, they just burst open in your mouth. I roasted them in a bit of balsamic vinegar and port to add a bit more of a complex flavor to them. So good!

This recipe is for two medium baguettes.

Ingredients:
For the honey roasted walnuts & pumpkin seeds:
100grs of walnuts
60grs of pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of honey
Pinch of salt
For the roasted grapes:
500grs of red seedless grapes
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of port
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Sprinkle of salt
Extras:
2 baguettes, sliced
400grs of Brie
Fresh thyme leaves to decorate

Start by making the nuts. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the vegetable oil, a pinch of salt and honey in a bowl, mix well with a fork. Then add the walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Mix well until they are evenly coated.

Spread them in a single layer and bake them for about 15-18 minutes, stirring half way through. Check that they don’t burn. Once the nuts are done, set them aside to cool down.

Raise the oven temperature to 220C/420F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the grapes from the vine. Add the olive oil, port, balsamic vinegar, thyme and sprinkle of salt. Add the grapes and toss to coat them. Spread the grapes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Don’t forget to also pour the sauce.

Roast the grapes for 20-25 minutes until they begin to burst. You want them to still keep their shape.

To serve, place a slice of brie over each slice of bread. Top with some roasted grapes and a bit of the juice. Then add some of the honey roasted nuts and a few thyme leaves. Enjoy!

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Onion Jam Stuffed Buns with Baked Camembert

I finally got a chance to post this recipe. It is another take on the flavor combination of onion soup. It is perfect for a dinner party and the holiday season coming up. Baked cheese is always a winner in our house and with our guests. You can make the onion jam a few days in advance and just keep it covered in the fridge.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
7grs of dry yeast
1 cup of milk (lukewarm)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
5 tablespoons of melted butter
1 egg
For the onion jam:
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoon of olive oil
4 medium white onions, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of port
2 tablespoons of sugar
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

Extras:

1 Camembert

Fresh thyme leaves

1 egg for the egg wash

 

Start by making the dough. Place the yeast, the lukewarm milk and the sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Place the rest of the ingredients for the dough in the bowl with the yeast. Knead on low speed for 5 minutes, using the dough hook attachment.  If you knead it by hand, it will take about 10 minutes.

Then remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with a bit of vegetable oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the greased bowl. Cover with plastic film and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

While the dough is rising, start making the onion jam. Place a pan over medium-low heat. Add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. You want the onions to become translucent.

After the 10 minutes have passed, turn down the heat to the lowest. Then add the port, balsamic vinegar, sugar and thyme. Keep stirring and let it cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Taste for salt and blend it until smooth. Let it cool down.

Once the hour for the dough has passed, remove the dough from the bowl. Place it in your working area and punch it to remove the air. No need to use any extra flour. Divide the dough into 32 equal pieces.

Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Remove the cheese from its round cardboard casing and place the cheese back in the fridge. You are going to use the casing as a mold.

Place the cheese casing in the middle of your prepared baking tray.

Grab a piece of the dough, shape it into a ball and then flatten it with the palm of your hands. Add about a teaspoon of the onion jam in the middle of the dough. Then carefully close it and shape it into a ball again. Place the stuffed ball by the rim of the cheese casing. Repeat for all of the dough. I ended up only using 24 of the balls for this, just for aesthetics as it looked more even. But you can use them all.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for an extra hour to rise.

About 10 minutes before your bread is done rising, Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Once the hour is up, brush your stuffed rolls with egg wash. Remove the cheese casing from the tray and replace it with the camembert. Bake for 30 minutes till the rolls are golden and the cheese has melted.

Carefully slice off the top part of the rind to uncover the melted cheese. Sprinkle some fresh thyme leaves. Serve straight away and enjoy!

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Potato Cakes Stuffed with Lentil Coconut Curry (served with mango chutney)

These potato cakes are very easy to make. You can even make them with leftover mashed potatoes. For the filling I used beluga lentils since they hold their shape but you can use other kinds instead. I flavored them with curry spices and coconut milk. And because curry goes so well with mango chutney, I also made some to accompany these potato cakes. You can also make them smaller as an appetizer. They are great for a dinner party since they can be made in advance.

This recipe makes about 14 potato cakes.

Ingredients:

For the lentil coconut curry:

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

2 teaspoons of hot curry powder

½ teaspoon of ground coriander seeds

1 cup of tomato puree

400ml of coconut milk

750ml of vegetable stock

Pinch of salt

1 cup of beluga lentils

For the potato dough:

1 1/2 kilos of potatoes (the mashing kind)

Salt to taste

1 egg white

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

For the coating:

1 1/2 cups of flour

1 ½ cups of panko

3 eggs, beaten

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 cup of vegetable oil for pan-frying

For the Mango chutney:

250gr of diced mango (I used frozen mango, but you can also use fresh mango)

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

¼ cup white vinegar

¼ cup of sugar

½ cups of water

Pinch of salt

 

To make the curried lentils: Place the coconut oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Once the coconut oil has melted; add the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder and ground coriander seeds. Cook while stirring for about 2 minutes. Then add the lentils. Give it a good stir and then add the tomato puree, coconut milk, vegetable stock and a pinch of salt. Let it cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes till it becomes a creamy stew. Don’t forget to stir every couple of minutes so that it doesn’t burn in the bottom. Taste for salt and set it aside to cool down.

To make the mango chutney: Place all of the ingredients in a pot over medium-low heat. Let it cook for about 18 minutes, stirring from time to time until it has a chutney consistency. Midway through the cooking time, I like to mash the mango using a potato masher or a fork. Then transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down.

To make the potato cakes: Boil the potatoes till they are tender. Check with a knife. Then carefully peel them while they are still hot and mash them. Add salt to taste. Let it cool down a bit until you can handle touching the mash. Add the egg white and flour. Knead the dough with your hands making sure there are no lumps.

Take about 1/2 cup of the potato dough and flatten it with your hands, add about 1 tablespoon of the curried lentils in the middle and then shape it into a patty. Make sure the filling is not sticking out. Repeat for all.

Once all the potato cakes are done, have the coating ready. For the coating; mix the salt, onion and garlic powder with the panko. Coat each potato cake in the flour, then egg and finally in the seasoned panko. Set them aside.

Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the potato cakes in batches. Be careful when flipping them so they don’t break. Since they are already cooked, you just have to pan-fry them till they are evenly golden. This goes fast so keep an eye on them. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Serve them warm with the mango chutney.

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Summer Nachos with Mango & Nectarine salsa

I love fruity salsas and now that summer is in full swing, it is the perfect excuse to make it with all the wonderful produce out there. This is a vegetarian recipe which can easily be made vegan if you skip on the sour cream.  You can either fry or bake the tortilla chips. I ended up doing half of them baked and the other half of them fried, since I had a little problem with my oven.

For the tortillas:

About 12 tortillas (I used 3 different colors)

Vegetable oil

Pinch of salt

For the mango & nectarine salsa:

1 medium mango, very finely chopped

1 nectarine, very finely chopped

1 medium red onion, very finely chopped

1 medium jalapeño, very finely chopped (without seeds)

1 medium red chili, very finely chopped (without seeds)

Juice of 1 lime

1 ½ tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of white vinegar

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons of chopped coriander

Extra toppings:

The kernels of one ear of corn, cooked

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1 avocado, thinly sliced

Extra jalapeño slices

Extra red chili slices

125grs of sour cream

 

You can either bake or fry your tortilla chips.

If you bake them, preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush each tortilla with a bit of vegetable oil. Then using kitchen scissors or a knife, cut each tortilla into small triangles. Spread the small pieces of tortilla in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle a bit of salt. Bake them for about 10-12 minutes, till crispy. Repeat for the rest.

If you fry your tortilla chips, place about ½ cup of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Fry the pieces of tortilla till golden on both sides. Do it in batches without overcrowding the pan. This will only take about a minute or two, so keep an eye on them. Once fried, place them in a plate lined with some paper towels and sprinkle them with a bit of salt.

To make the salsa, just mix the finely chopped mango and nectarine with the remaining ingredients. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Set it aside.

To assemble the nachos, first place the tortillas in a sheet pan or plate. Add small dollops or quenelles of sour cream all over. Then spread the mango & nectarine salsa. Sprinkle the corn kernels over the chips. Top with some slices of radishes, avocado, jalapeño and chili. Serve right away and enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, travel & lifestyle; you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and Youtube channel.

Kimchi Loaded Hasselback Potatoes

Today is the first workday in weeks that I finally have our place all to myself. I could finally catch up on my own work which makes me super happy. The construction has finally ended and now we only need to work on minor details. Can’t wait to show you more once it is finished. I am also very excited about a  mini trip we are doing soon.

Going back to the recipe, I caramelized onions with kimchi and Gochujang paste to make the red sauce. Then added some shredded cheese, sriracha sour cream for a bit more extra heat and freshness. And finally some chives. Slicing the potatoes this way makes the edges quite crispy. A very easy and cheap party appetizer.

This recipe is for 1 kilo of potatoes.

Ingredients:

For the potatoes:

1 kilo of russet potatoes, I used medium-small potatoes

Olive oil for brushing the potatoes

Pinch of salt

For the caramelized kimchi and onion sauce:

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of salt

Pinch of garlic powder

½ cup of kimchi

1 teaspoon of Gochujang paste

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can find it, you can use honey with a teaspoon of minced ginger)

For the Sriracha sour cream:

125grs of sour cream

1 tabelspoon of sriracha

Juice of half a lime

Pinch of salt

For the extra toppings:

½ a cup of shredded cheese (I used Gouda but you can also use cheddar)

Chopped chives

 

Preheat your oven to 200C/390F. Line your baking tray with parchment paper.

Scrub, wash and dry the potatoes.

To make it a bit easier on yourself, place the potato on your cutting board in between the handles of two wooden spoons (you can also use chopsticks). This will help prevent that your knife cuts all the way through the potato. Just be patient and go slow as you slice each potato as thin as you can, without going all the way through. Repeat for all the potatoes.

Carefully place them on the prepared baking tray. Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt.

Bake them for 30 minutes. Then brush them with olive oil again and finish baking for 30 minutes. You can pinch the biggest potato in the middle to check if it is cooked or not. Keep the oven on afterwards.

While the potatoes are baking, start making the kimchi and onion sauce. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over low heat. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onion. Add a pinch of salt and garlic powder. Cook for about 6 min, while stirring from time to time.

Then add the kimchi, Gochujang paste, ginger syrup and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 3 minutes to caramelize the kimchi. Blend it until it becomes a paste. Set it aside.

To make the sriracha sour cream, mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Keep it in the fridge covered until ready to serve.

Using a spoon, spread some of the kimchi on top of each roasted potato. I used about 1 teaspoon per potato. A bit more for the bigger ones. Then sprinkle the shredded cheese over the kimchi layer.

Return the potatoes to the oven and bake them until the cheese has melted. About 5 minutes, check so that it doesn’t burn.

Drizzle some of the sriracha sour cream on top of each potato. Sprinkle some chives. Serve straight away and enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

Burrata with Balsamic & Honey Glazed Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Seeds

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When it comes to entertaining friends or family, my preference goes into making simple dishes so that I can also enjoy their company, instead of being fully occupied in the kitchen. This is a super easy appetizer that you can make in advance and just garnish before serving. I sliced the butternut into very small cubes and then glazed it in a pan with balsamic vinegar and honey. It goes so well with the creamy burrata and the slight tartness of the pomegranate seeds. This is a perfect use for burrata this fall/winter.

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This recipe is for one burrata, but you can always double or triple it if you are feeding a large crowd.

Ingredients:

For the glazed butternut squash:

2 cups of finely cubed butternut squash

1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cayenne

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons of honey

Extras:

1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds

1 baguette, sliced and toasted with olive oil

Chili flakes

Garden cress

A drizzle of olive oil

 

To make the glazed butternut squash, place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the diced butternut squash, salt and cayenne. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring from time to time. Then add the balsamic vinegar and cook for an extra 3 minutes until it has reduced, don’t forget to stir. Finally add the honey and cook for an extra 2 minutes. Taste it and adjust the salt and cayenne to your liking. Transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool down a bit.

In the meanwhile, toast the bread with some olive oil.

To serve, place about ¾ of the butternut squash on a plate. Place the burrata on top. Add the remaining butternut squash on top of the burrata. Finish with a sprinkle of chili flakes, garden cress and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with the toasted bread. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow my Instagram stories and my Snapchat: cravingsinams.

Mini Salmon Caesar Salad Cups

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Caesar salad has been a favorite of mine since I was a little kid. I slightly change the dressing recipe depending on what I feel at the time, using mayo or Greek yogurt. This time I went for half & half, and skipped on the Parmesan to make it a bit health“ish”. If you want to go all Greek yogurt, you need to adjust the seasoning a bit since it is not as flavorsome as mayo. Since they are mini portions, they are perfect for a BBQ or dinner party!

This recipe makes about 17 mini cups.

Ingredients:

For the Salmon:

450grs of salmon, minced with a knife

2 tablespoons of chopped coriander

½ teaspoon of celery salt

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

½ teaspoon of onion powder

Pinch of cayenne

1 ½ tablespoons of Greek yogurt

½ cup of breadcrumbs

Pinch of salt

1 egg yolk

1 egg

Zest of 1 lime

Pinch of black pepper

1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

For the dressing:

½ cup of mayonnaise

Juice of 1 lime

5 anchovy fillets, minced

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

Small pinch of garlic powder

½ cup of Greek yogurt

Pinch of salt

Extras:

4 mini little gem lettuce (cleaned, dried and leaves separated)

½ cup of olive oil for pan-frying the salmon

9 quail eggs

 

Start by making the dressing. Place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake it till it emulsifies. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

To make the salmon cakes, place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Then form small balls with about ¼ of a cup of the salmon mixture. Once all the salmon cakes are assembled, keep them in the fridge until ready to fry.

In the meanwhile cook the quail eggs. What I normally do is boil some water in a kettle, place the quail eggs in a saucepan and then carefully pour in the boiling water. Cook over medium heat for about 2 ½ minutes. Then rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking. Peel them, slice them in half and set them aside.

Pour the olive oil into a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the salmon cakes for about 2 minutes per side, pressing a bit with a spatula to flatten them. I did it in 2 batches.

To assemble the salad, place one salmon cake over each lettuce leave. Add half of a quail egg and drizzle some of the sauce. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook. For behind the scenes, more of Amsterdam and a peek of press events, you can follow me on Snapchat: cravingsinams.

Ficelle with Brie, Figs and blackberries

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This is more an idea than an actual recipe but it is great when you don´t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. It is perfect for a picnic or to serve at a dinner party. This is one of those things that I could eat at any time of the day. If you have never had ficelle before, it’s type of French bread. It is smaller than a baguette. If you can’t find it, just use one baguette instead.

Ingredients:

2 ficelles, sliced in half lengthwise (Similar to baguette, but smaller)

200gr of brie, sliced into pieces

4 figs, thinly sliced

1 cup of blackberries

¼ cup of pomegranate seeds

150grs of arugula

2 tablespoons of olive oil

About 3 tablespoons of balsamic reduction

Salt

 

If you have never made balsamic reduction, is it very easy to make. Get a small bottle of balsamic vinegar (about 250ml). Since you are going to reduce it, just get the cheap kind. Pour the balsamic in a saucepan over medium heat and let it reduce to about 1/3 of the original volume. Then pour it in a glass container and allow it to cool down. As it cools down, it will harden a bit. This is something I always have in the house since I love drizzling it over salads.

Mix the arugula with a pinch of salt and the olive oil. Spread it over the sliced ficelles. Top with the figs, blackberries, brie and pomegranate seeds. Finally drizzle some of the balsamic reduction and enjoy!

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Zucchini Waffle Dippers with Avocado Sour Cream

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I love finger food, especially on the weekends. These waffles are great for brunch or as an appetizer.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the zucchini waffles:

1 zucchini, shredded (not the seeds) and squeezed

1 egg

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of milk

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 teaspoons of baking powder

20grs of grated Parmesan cheese

Pinch of salt

Pinch of onion powder

Pinch of garlic powder

For the avocado sour cream:

1 avocado

125gr of sour cream

Juice of ½ a lime

Salt to taste

 

Blend all of the ingredients for the batter until smooth. Then add the squeezed zucchini and mix it with a spoon or spatula.

Brush your waffle iron with some vegetable oil or use cooking spray. Pour in some of the waffle batter. I made small waffles so each corner would be bite size. The cooking time will depend on your waffle iron. Mine takes 4 minutes per waffle.

To make the avocado sour cream, just blend all of the ingredients until smooth.

Slice the waffles into small pieces, serve with the avocado sour cream as the dipping.

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Beet & Potato “Tacos”

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Not too long ago I watched a video on The Feed Feed’s Snapchat where Kendra from Paleo Paparazzi used thinly sliced Jicama instead of tortillas to make healthier tacos. That inspired me to make these. My mom is a big potato salad fan and so am I. A potato salad at the Christmas table was always a must. She would make it with cooked beets, eggs and cornichons. When I was little I didn’t like beets that much but now I love them, raw or cooked. So this is my version of my mom’s salad in taco form. It makes a great appetizer for a party too. It doesn’t require a lot of time to make and it is budget friendly.

Ingredients:

700grs of potatoes (I used 4 large ones)

2 large beets, I used 1 candy cane and one golden beet

1/3 cup of finely chopped cornichons

1 cup of blanched peas

1 ½ tablespoons of finely chopped dill

For the dressing:

1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup of mayonnaise

½ teaspoon of celery salt

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of mustard

1 ½ teaspoons of honey

Salt to taste

 

Cook the potatoes in a pot with boiling salted water until tender.

Then drain them and allow them to cool down enough to handle. Peel them and chop them into small cubes. Remember the size of your beets; you don’t want huge cubes of potato as a filling to the tacos.

Peel the beets using a potato peeler and then with the help of a mandoline, thinly slice the beets so you get your raw “tortillas”.

To make the dressing, just add all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, cover it and shake it until it emulsifies.

In a large bowl, add the potatoes, cornichon, peas and dill. Add the dressing and mix well.

To assemble each taco, just grab about 2 tablespoons of the potato salad and use the raw beets as if you were using tortillas.

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