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!

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Honey Afternoon Tea (Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam)

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Last week, I went to the Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam to try their Honey Afternoon Tea. When the name Waldorf Astoria comes to mind, I think of opulence and grandeur. And with a 2 Michelin-starred restaurant under its belt, I knew I was in for a treat. This was a especial afternoon tea, since we got to visit the beehives located on the roof of the restaurant Librije’s Zusje.

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The declining bee population is nothing new. Honeybee pollination plays an important role in the environment and our food supply. Their loss of habitat, climate change and use of pesticides are weakening their population. The hard working bees fly 150,000 kilometers and visit about 50,000 flowers in order to make one dessert spoon of honey. By having these beehives, the Waldorf Astoria supports the foundation Beelease.

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During the month of June, the afternoon tea gets a touch of honey. It includes a madeleine with honey & pecans, a honey canelé, a macaron with honey & lemon thyme, a pofiterol filled with swiss cream, strawberry, lavender & honey and a mini tart of raspberry, honey & caramel.

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Among the savory treats were a duck liver lollypop, a quiche with pine nuts, blue cheese, leek & smoked chicken, a cucumber wrapped sandwich with goat cheese, honey & walnuts, a cracker with smoked salmon, cream cheese and chives.

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Every treat was a pleasure to eat and the service was outstanding. To spend the afternoon enjoying some delicious tea and treats, while overlooking the garden on a beautiful spring day. That is hard to beat!

You can enjoy the Afternoon Tea daily from 15:00 to 17:00.

The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

Herengracht 542-556, Amsterdam

Panko Crusted Cauliflower Steaks with Greek Yogurt & Sriracha sauce

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The cauliflowers were calling my name at the market. I got one and I made it into “steaks”. But instead of roasting them in the oven, I covered them in a panko-cornmeal mixture, and then pan-fried them. To feel a bit less guilty about frying them, I made a sriracha sauce with Greek yogurt instead of mayo. The result is crunchy goodness drizzled with a cool, zesty, sweet and spicy sauce.

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower

4 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups of panko

1 ½ cups of cornmeal

1 cup of flour

1 teaspoon of paprika

½ teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of salt

Vegetable oil for pan-frying

For the sauce:

1 cup of Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon of sriracha, or more to taste

Juice of 1 lime

1 ½ tablespoons of honey

Salt

Topping:

Chives for decoration

 

To make the sauce, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Trim the leaves from the cauliflower and trim the end of the stem but leave the core intact.

Slice the cauliflower from the center into 4 “steaks” of about 1 to 1 ½ cm thick.

Mix the panko, cornmeal, paprika, onion powder & salt in one plate. Place the flour on another plate and the beaten eggs on a separate plate.

Coat each cauliflower in the flour, then the egg and finally in the panko mixture.

Add some vegetable oil to a pan over medium heat. You’ll need a bit more than ¼ of a cup.

Once the pan is hot, add the cauliflower steaks. Cook until they are golden on both sides. This will take about 3 minutes per side. Place the steaks on a cutting board lined with paper towels to absorb some of the oil.

Serve the steaks with a drizzle of the sriracha sauce and some chopped chives.

Buckwheat Crepes with Roasted Figs & Gorgonzola (Gluten-free)

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I have been seeing figs at the market lately and had to get some. I love to eat them with gorgonzola. Fig season is so short that I try to eat as many of them as I can before they are gone. I remember when I was a little kid in Lima and we would drive to the beach outside of the city. On our way back home, we would stop and buy a box or two of fresh figs that they would sell by the side of the road. For me that was the best part of the day. The beaches near Lima are very cold so that was never my thing. But getting my hands sticky, by peeling the skin off fresh figs because I couldn’t wait till we were home to wash them and eat them, sure was. I remember them always being so sweet. Figs are one of those things that, if they are in season while we are on holiday in Lima, I always stuff myself with until I cannot see them anymore.

It has been a while since I have eaten crepes so I combined the two in one dish. This time I used buckwheat flour to make gluten free crepes. It is also nice to drizzle some balsamic reduction over the finished dish. I always have some in my pantry. But when I went to grab it, I realized it was pretty much empty so I didn’t add it. You can make it by just reducing a bottle of balsamic vinegar in a pan over medium heat until it becomes a syrup and just store it in an airtight container.

This recipe makes 6 crepes.

Ingredients:

For the crepes:

2/3 cup of buckwheat flour

1 cup of milk (I use semi-skimmed milk, but you can also use whole milk)

3 ½ tablespoons of butter, melted (plus a bit more for the pan)

3 eggs

1 teaspoon of sugar

Pinch of salt

For the roasted figs:

9 fresh figs

150gr of gorgonzola

2 shots of port

Honey

Salt

Pepper

For the toppings:

1/3 cup of pistachios, chopped

Honey

Start by making the crepe batter. You can whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl, or you can just use a blender. I used a blender. Cover the bowl with the batter with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

To roast the figs, line a baking tray with parchment paper. Slice the figs making a cross in the middle and stuff them with a piece of gorgonzola. Drizzle some port and honey on top of each stuffed fig. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in a pre-heated oven at 180C/350F for 10 to 15 minutes.

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Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add a bit of butter to the pan. Once the butter has melted, add about 1/6 of the crepe batter and swirl it around the pan. Once bubbles start to form on the top, loosen the edges with a spatula. Then gently flip it using the same spatula. Once it is golden on both sides, transfer it to a plate and keep it in a warm oven while you make the remaining crepes.

To plate up, fold each crepe in half, and then fold it in half again. Serve with the stuffed figs, drizzle extra honey on top and add some of the chopped pistachios.