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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Lyonnaise Salad Crostini

salad

This is another take on the classic French salad. If you’ve never had a Lyonnaise salad, it is just a poached egg, bacon and frisee lettuce. The simple things are often the best. Instead of using poached eggs; I fried them, and I used quail eggs instead so they would fit into small toasts. I turned the bacon into crumbs, and made an onion-white wine vinaigrette. It works great for a dinner party and as a light lunch. I love frisee; I really enjoy the bite that it gives. I have a beet tartare recipe which also has it, and you can check it out by clicking here.

friseee

Summer seems to come and go here, some days it feels like summer and others like early autumn. Today is the latter one, rainy and a bit chilly.  Yesterday wasn’t very nice either, but we had a great lunch at the Pure Markt in the Amstel Park. We arrived starving and wanted to eat everything in sight! We went for some steamed buns, duck banh mi, a donut and a delicious pulled pork cheeseburger topped with fried onions. We left the market with very happy bellies.

pulled pork cheeseburger

Ingredients:

1 baguette, sliced and toasted

3 cups of frisee, washed and torn into pieces

12 quail eggs, or more depending on the amount of bread slices that you have

140gr smoked bacon slices

For the vinaigrette:

1 medium white onion, chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 shot of white wine

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

1/3 of a cup of white vinegar

1/3 of a cup of olive oil

1 tablespoon of honey

Salt

Pepper

 

Cook the bacon in a pan until crispy. Then place it in the food processor and pulse until you get crumbs. To get it a bit crunchier again, I spread it over a baking tray lined with parchment paper and baked it for about 10 minutes at 180C/350F. But you can skip this step.

Cook the onion with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then add the white wine. Stir for a few seconds until the liquid evaporates a bit. Place the onions with the liquid in a jar, add the remaining ingredients for the vinaigrette. Cover with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies. Set aside.

Fry the quail eggs.

To plate up, place a bit of frisee on top of each toast. Then add the fried egg, spoon some of the vinaigrette and finish it by sprinkling some of the bacon crumbs.