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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Brie & Butternut Squash Chocolate Cake

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I’ve been teasing you guys with this cake on Instagram for over a week now. I made it for the watch giveaway and for a small tea party that I hosted for some blogger friends. I know that the initial thought of brie, squash and chocolate might sound a bit weird, but it works. Think of it as a kind of cheesecake. I keep it in the fridge because of the cheese, but I prefer to eat it at room temperature. So you can just take it out 20-30 minutes before serving if you have time. I prefer it this way because you can taste the spices a bit better. It’s a very simple but rich fall cake.

This recipe is for a 19cm cake mold.

Ingredients:

For the chocolate part:

120grs of dark chocolate, chopped

57grs of butter

½ cup of sugar

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of cacao powder

Pinch of salt

1 ½ teaspoons of ginger powder

1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

½ teaspoon of cardamom powder

For the brie & butternut squash part:

100grs of brie, weighted without the rind

1/3 cup of butternut squash puree

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it, use honey instead)

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of powdered sugar

½ teaspoon of ginger powder

½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder

 

For the butternut squash puree, just chop 1 small butternut squash and place it on a microwave safe bowl. Cover it tight with plastic film and microwave it for about 7-10 minutes, till it becomes soft.  Let it cool down. You can do this the day before and just keep it in the fridge.

Line the bottom of your cake mold with parchment paper. Grease and flour the edges of the mold.

Melt the butter with the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until it has completely melted. Then allow it to cool down for a few minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

While the chocolate-butter mixture is cooling down, start making the brie-butternut squash part. Place the brie in a bowl and microwave it for about 1 minute until it becomes very soft and melts a bit. Then add the butternut squash puree and blend it until smooth. Then add the ginger syrup, flour, powdered sugar, ginger and cinnamon powder. Blend it again. Finally add the egg yolk and blend until everything is well combined. Set it aside.

Then continue making the chocolate part. Place eggs and egg yolk in a large bowl, add the sugar and whisk until well combined. Then slowly whisk in the cooled down chocolate-butter mixture. Then add the vanilla, flour, cocoa powder, salt, ginger powder, cinnamon powder and cardamom powder. Whisk until everything is well combined.

Reserve about 1/3 of a cup of the butternut and chocolate mixture, to make the top swirl.

Pour the butternut mixture into the bowl of the chocolate mixture. With a spatula fold the mixture in. Then carefully pour it into the prepared cake mold.

Use a spoon to drizzle the reserved chocolate mixture over the top. Then drizzle the remaining butternut squash part. Using the back of a spoon of knife, swirl it around a bit.

Bake it for 25 minutes. Then set it aside to cool down in the mold.

Once the cake has cooled down, carefully remove it from the mold. Because of the cheese, store it in the fridge. Enjoy!

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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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