After spending the day outside in the winter weather, I built up a good hunger and I knew I would have company in the evening. Continue reading
My boyfriend would come and it was a few days since we had seen each other; I wanted to make a nice dinner. With my belly grumbling I got to the kitchen and began cooking; if I would have to wait for dinner, I could at least taste. I grabbed an old cooking magazine with a recipe I had planned to make and adapt to my taste and got down to cutting the cheese. The first recipe is fortunately something easy to make ahead. Once the cheese was on the sticks and in the freezer I was ready to make the caramel. I reached to grab the box where the sugar is only to see that I was out of white sugar. I only had the brown one and resorted to using it. I put the sugar and the water in the pan and I was happy to see the caramel taking. My phone rang and by the time went to pick it up and came back to the kitchen the sugar had crystallized. I washed the pan and gave it a second try which failed again and on the third try the result was not great but at least it had not crystallized. Now, I knew you are supposed to use white sugar for caramel but didn’t know why. I went on the internet and learned that brown sugar contains impurities which make the sugar form those crystals without turning into caramel. Lesson learned.
Double Cheese Appetizer
For the cheese lollipops :
Makes about 15 pieces
Prep time: 15-20 min
Cook time: 5-7 min
150 g Gruyère
3 tbsp dry roasted hazelnuts
30 g breadcrumbs
¼ tsp chilli flakes
¼ tsp five spice
20 g white sugar
1 small tsp water
Chop the hazelnuts (whether you like them chunky or finely minced is up to you) and place in a bowl. In another bowl mix the breadcrumbs the chilli flakes, the five spice and a pinch of pepper. Set aside.
Cut he cheese in roughly 3 cm cubes. Delicately pike the cheese cubes onto skewer sticks (the cheese will break less if at room temperature). Wrap them in cellophane and place in the freezer for ten minutes.
For the caramel, on a medium heat in a non-stick pan put the sugar and water. Mix until the sugar has dissolved and after that wait for it to colour. Remove from the fire before the caramel is too brown, it should still be a bit runny.
First dip the tip of a Gruyère cube into the caramel and after in either the hazelnuts or the breadcrumb mix. To serve, place the sticks with the cheese in a glass.
For the pear, celery and Vacherin crostini
Makes 12 pieces
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
12 slices baguette bread (about 1-1.5 cm thick)
1 small celery stalk
1 small pear
100 g Vacherin Mont d’Or (or another washed-rind cheese)
6 dry roasted walnut kernels
Heat oven at 190°C.
Butter the bread slices on one side and place in the oven. Remove when nicely browned, about 5 minutes.
Julienne the celery. Peel the pear and cut it in half. Core it and cut into thin slices. Half or chop the walnut kernels.
Place a couple pear slices on a slice of bread, top with celery, a bit of Vacherin and finally the walnut kernels. Place in the oven again for another 5 minutes. Serve.