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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Quinoa, Broccoli & Chicken Enchiladas with Cheddar Beer Sauce

Inspired by the classic broccoli cheese soup, I made this enchilada recipe. It is stuffed with quinoa, broccoli and chicken. If you are vegetarian (or want to skip on the chicken), substitute it for 2 extra cups of finely chopped broccoli. For the sauce, I made a simple roux, then added grated Cheddar and some pale beer. I also added some sour cream to make it silkier. This is a very filling dish, perfect for this time of the year. I should have bought some Coronas and pretend it is Friday already.

This recipe makes 8 enchiladas.

Ingredients:

For the Filling:
1 cup of white quinoa (I prefer this type for this recipe, as it is fluffier and absorbs the sauce better)
225grs of chicken breast
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of celery salt
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon of chipotle powder
12 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup tomato puree
2 cups of finely chopped broccoli
Salt
1 cup shredded Gouda

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of pale beer, I used Heineken
300grs of Cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
125ml of sour cream
Salt to taste

For the tortillas:
8 large tortillas
1 cup of tomato puree
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of celery salt

Toppings:
125ml of sour cream
Chili Flakes
Garden cress (optional) or Fresh coriander leaves
Lime wedges
1 avocado, thinly sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped (I used red, yellow and orange)

 

First cook the quinoa. Rinse it under cold water and then boil it for 12 minutes. Drain it and set it aside.

While the quinoa is cooking, boil the chicken breast in another pot for about 10 minutes. I sliced it in half so that it cooks through quicker. Once the chicken is cooked, shred it with two forks. Set it aside.

In a large pan, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add the red onion. Cook while stirring for about 3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Then add the garlic, spices and cherry tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes while stirring.

Then add the tomato puree, shredded chicken, broccoli and quinoa. Don’t worry about the raw broccoli, it will finish cooking in the oven. Add a pinch of salt, the cooked quinoa and the shredded Gouda. Mix well and set it aside.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Start making the Cheddar beer sauce. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour. Stir for 2-3 minutes until it thickens and becomes a golden color. Then slowly add the beer while stirring. Stir for 3 minutes.

Then slowly add the grated cheddar while whisking. Keep whisking for about 6 minutes until it thickens.
Turn off the heat and add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, sour cream and salt to taste. Whisk until everything is well combined. Then set it aside.

Pour about ½ a cup of the cheddar beer sauce in your oven dish.

To assemble the enchilada, first place 1 cup of tomato puree in a small bowl. Add the onion powder, garlic powder and celery salt. Mix well. Place one tortilla on a cutting board. Brush both sides of the tortilla with the tomato sauce. Then stuff it with the quinoa filling and roll it tight. Place it in the prepared baking dish. Repeat for the rest.

Pour the remaining Cheddar beer sauce over the stuffed tortillas. Bake it for 20 minutes. Then broil it for about 5 minutes, keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.

To serve, spread some of the sour cream in the middle of the enchilada. Add the chopped cherry tomatoes in the middle, sprinkle some garden cress and chili flakes. Finally add the sliced avocado. Serve right away with lime wedges.

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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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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.

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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Celeriac, Beet & Potato Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette

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Today I felt like having a salad for dinner. I made this one with thinly sliced beets which I just pan-roasted, roasted baby potatoes, celeriac ribbons and arugula. A semi-warm salad perfect for the beginning of spring since it is still quite cold here.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

5 small beets (I used 3 yellow, 1 candy cane and 1 purple)

500grs of baby potatoes, washed and sliced in half

1/2 celeriac

100grs of arugula

Olive oil

Salt

For the horseradish vinaigrette:

1/3 of a cup of olive oil

1/3 of a cup of apple cider vinegar

1 ½ tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of horseradish

1 teaspoon of mustard

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the vinaigrette, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid, cover it and then shake it to emulsify it.

Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the baby potatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook while tossing from time to time until the potatoes are golden outside and fully cooked on the inside. The time will depend on the size of the potatoes. Set them aside.

Peel the beets and using a mandoline, finely slice them. Set them aside. I kept and cooked the different color of beets separate so that the purple beets wouldn’t stain the others but you don’t have to.

Add about 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil to the same pan where you cooked the potatoes, add the yellow beets and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes until they cooked but still have a crunch. If you sliced them paper thin they will take less time. Add some salt.

Do the same for the candy cane beet and for the purple beet. Set them aside

Once the beets are cooked, start prepping the celeriac. You only need half of it, the other half you can reserve for another recipe. Peel it and slice it into about 1 cm pieces. Then using a potato peeler just shave it to create ribbons.

Place the celeriac ribbons, potatoes, beets and arugula in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Serve among 3 plates and eat straight away.

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Elderflower & Grapefruit Gin Tonic Sorbet

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I know it’s not sorbet weather yet but since I was testing the New Magimix Gelato expert, I thought of making my drink of choice at the moment into a sorbet. It is fresh and not overly sweet. The sweetness of the elderflower cordial balances the tartness of the grapefruit. This is great if you have a dinner party and don’t feel like baking a dessert.

This recipe makes about 1 litter of sorbet.

Ingredients:

100ml of water

150grs of granulated sugar

100ml of gin

500ml of tonic water

1 shot of elderflower cordial

Juice and zest of 1 large grapefruit (I used ruby red)

Decoration:

Edible flowers

Grapefruit slices

 

Place the water, sugar and grapefruit zest in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook while stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then place it in the fridge until it is cold.

Once the syrup is cold, pass it through a sieve and discard of the zest. Then add the elderflower cordial, tonic water, gin and the grapefruit juice. Mix well. Pour it into your ice cream machine and let it churn according to its instructions. I used the manual mode on the Magimix Gelato Expert, you can see my review by clicking here. It took about 40 minutes of churning and it was firm enough to be scooped right away.

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You can serve it with edible flowers and grapefruit slices. If you are not going to eat it right away, just store it in an air tight container in the freezer.

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Beet & Pea Hummus Tart

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Beets have become one of my favorite vegetables. As a kid I would pick them out of my food and now you can find here many recipes which include this gorgeous produce. I’m already looking forward to spring and this dish reflects that. The golden and candy cane beets add bright colors to this tart. It is filling without being heavy, and great to share at any dinner party.

This recipe is for 1 sheet of puff pastry (40x24cms).

For the pea hummus:

1/3 cup of tahini

1 cup of frozen peas, blanched for 1 minute

1 cup of canned chickpeas, drained

Juice of 1 lime

4 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of celery salt

Salt to taste

For the beets:

1 medium golden beet

1 medium candy cane beet

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

5 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt to taste

Extras:

1 sheet of puff pastry (40x24cms)

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)

¼ cup of toasted slivered almonds

 

The night before, place the frozen puff pastry in the fridge to thaw overnight.

To make the pea hummus, place the tahini in the food processor and pulse for 2 minutes. Then add the blanched peas and pulse for 3 minutes. Add the chickpeas and pulse for another 3 minutes. This will result in a smooth hummus. Finally add the lime juice, olive oil, garlic powder, celery salt and salt to taste. Pulse until everything is mixed through. Then transfer it to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Once the oven is hot, take the puff pastry out of the fridge.

Roll out the puff pastry over a sheet of parchment paper. Fold the edges, making a 1 cm border and pinch to seal them. Using a fork, pinch the dough all over, except for the borders. Brush the whole pastry with the egg wash and bake it for 20 minutes till its golden. Then allow it to cool down.

While the puff pastry is cooling down, start making the beets. Peel them and with the help of a mandoline, slice them as thin as possible. Place the lime juice, vinegar, olive oil and some salt in a large bowl. Add the beet slices and mix well. Let them pickle for at least 5 minutes, and mix them halfway through.

Once the puff pastry has cooled down and the beets have sat in the vinaigrette for at least 5 minutes, start assembling the tart. Spread the hummus evenly all over the puff pastry. Then arrange the beet slices over the hummus. I folded each slice in half and tried to alternate the colors. Finally sprinkle the toasted almonds all over the beets. Enjoy!

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Beer Cheese Fondue

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I have not been shy about my love for cheese. If you look at my Instagram account, you can see that I cannot go too long without it.  But it is only since I moved to the Netherlands, that I started to make cheese fondue. Not being a cold weather person, cheese fondue is something I do look forward to in the winter. I finally got a Fondue set which means I can finally serve it properly. This Fondue Set Pro is by the Dutch brand Boska. It specializes in everything to serve cheese. I’ve been using their cheese boards since last year and I really love their products. They are aesthetically pleasing and functional. And of course, not just for cheese. This fondue set comes with a 1 litter pot made out of cast iron and a stove with a burner which helps keep the cheese warm. It is very easy to clean. As it is cast iron, I just used very hot water to rinse it off. The cheese just came off without any effort. You can make enough cheese fondue in this pan for 6 people as an appetizer. But if you are having it as dinner like we did, it serves about 4 people.  You can see the fondue set pro by clicking here.

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Back to the cheese fondue, I went for a more German approach here by adding beer. Since we are in the Netherlands I also used a young Gouda, which adds more flavor since Emmental is pretty bland. Once ingredient that you might find uncommon here is the use of lemon juice, I read here that it helps with the stability of the cheese, and it actually goes well with the cheese.

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With the dippers, you can be creative. This time I served it with a baguette, homemade soft pretzels, endive leaves (which I really enjoyed), sautéed asparagus and Brussels sprouts, Thinly sliced black radishes and pear. But you can also add some meat like sliced sausages if you like.

This recipe serves 4 as a main course.

Ingredients:

For the fondue:

350grs of Emmental, grated

170grs of Gruyere, grated

250grs of Young Gouda, grated

330mil of Pilsner beer, plus a bit more to loosen up the fondue if needed (I used Flensburger beer)

1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch

Juice of ½ a lemon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of white pepper

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon of mustard (optional)

1 clove of garlic, cut in half

For the dippers:

A baguette, sliced into cubes

Soft pretzels, you can find the recipe by clicking here.

Sautéed asparagus

Endive leaves

Sautéed Brussels sprouts

Pear, sliced

Black radish, thinly sliced

 

 

Before you start making the fondue, start prepping all your dippers.

To make the fondue, shred the cheeses and mix them with the cornstarch.

Rub the garlic clove all over the inside of a medium saucepan. Then add the beer and let it come to a simmer over medium heat. Then add 1 handful of the grated cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese has completely melted. Then add another handful of cheese and continue stirring. Repeat until you are done with the grated cheese. Then add the lemon juice and spices to taste.

I really enjoyed this cheese fondue with mustard. Since I only had whole grain mustard and for the pictures I wanted the cheese to be completely smooth, I only added it after taking the pictures.

If the cheese gets too thick, you can always add a bit more beer at a time to loosen it up a bit.

Transfer the fondue to a preheated fondue pan and enjoy.

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