Classic Bruschetta

Bruschetta

I do love Bruschetta, in fact anything Italian, it has to be my 2nd favourite cuisine, next to Scottish Cooking, of course!

This is a classic recipe that never fails to satisfy the taste buds. Bruschetta is an antipasto starter consisting of toasted bread with oil and garlic, topped with tomatoes & basil. It’s light & refreshing, a perfect snack, starter or party food dish.

Serves 10-12

1 Baguette or any crusty bread- sliced diagonally (try Tiger bread, its delicious too)

250g Cherry Tomatoes – sliced into quarters

1-2 Garlic Cloves – crushed

Fresh Basil leaves – chopped or 2 tsp dried basil

30ml Balsamic Vinegar (use a good quality one – you’ll taste the difference)

60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use a good quality one)

1/2 Small red onion – chopped finely

1 Tsp Sea salt

1 Tsp Cracked Rainbow Pepper

  1. Place the diced tomatoes, red onion, garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar & olive oil into a bowl & mix through. Season with salt & pepper. Cover & refrigerate for 1 hour to allow flavours to infuse.
  2. When ready to serve, brush the bread with a little olive oil & garlic, grill lightly under a medium grill heat until lightly toasted.
  3. Spoon mixture onto the bread, sprinkle a little basil & serve. Enjoy!


Braided Pizza Wrap

Pizza Wrap

I do Love Pizza! Pizza originated from Italy and is usually a round or flattened wheat base with cheese and tomatoes. Through the years pizza has had many a different toppings, such as onions, olives, mushrooms, meat and dare I say Pineapple even! Pineapple in our house is very debatable whether it is a good topping or not what’s your take on it? Lol!

I just found out that the term PIZZA was first recorded in the 10th Century in a Latin manuscript from the Italian town of Gaeta, Lazio. Pizza has became one of the most popular foods in the world, especially in Europe and North America. The Baking/Cooking of Pizza varies around the world, with the most popular being a wood fired oven. Unfortunately, I don’t have one of these….yet! lol! I did invest in a Pizza Stone which to me is the next best thing for that perfect crusty base.

Although I am a fan of Traditional Foods, I also do like to experiment and decided to take a look at how I could make Pizza a bit different. Taking the traditional shape dough and filling only the middle then bringing up the sides and over like a calzone almost, this was my creation…..a Braided Style Pizza Wrap.

Makes enough for 2

For the Dough:-

400g Strong Bread Flour

1 Packet of Dried Yeast 7g

Pinch Salt

1 tsp Caster Sugar

1 tbsp Olive Oil

200ml Lukewarm Water

For the Sauce:-

1 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes

1 Tsp Dried Garlic Granules or 2 Finely Minced Garlic Cloves

2 Tsp Dried Basil

For the Filling:-

To be honest this is entirely up to your own tastes, this is what I used:-

1 Ball Mozzarella, sliced

100g Grated Cheddar Cheese

Mushrooms, washed, sliced

125g Sliced Hungarian Smoked Sausage (or any smoked sausage) I love the Gyulai Kolbasz as it has a lovely smoked paprika flavour. I recently purchased from the Transylvania Shop in Glasgow, they have amazing foodie finds. https://www.transylvaniashopandcoffee.co.uk/

  1. To prepare the dough, sift flour into a mixer bowl with sugar and salt. Put the lukewarm water into a measuring jug and add the dried yeast, allow the yeast to start to bubble and react, approx 5-10 minutes.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and add in the olive oil and the yeast mixture and slowly using a dough hook bring the dough together and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough bounces back when pressed. (alternatively use your hands in a bowl and knead on a floured work surface) Allow to rise at room temperature or in your oven and 40 deg C until it doubles in size, approx 1-2 hours. Once doubled in size, punch back air and shape.
  3. If you have a pizza stone, place on the oven rack and preheat your oven to its highest temperature, usually 250deg C. If not, preheat a baking tray or pizza tray in oven at 220 deg C.
  4. To make the sauce put everything into a pot and heat through for about 5 minutes, using a blender blitz into a smooth sauce.
  5. Meanwhile prepare your pizza wrap. Roll out the dough into a rough rectangle shape.
  6. Spoon some of the pizza sauce down the middle, I measured dough into 3 equal sections. Then add your toppings onto the sauce, starting with the mozzarella first, then the rest.
  7. With a sharp knife make horizontal cuts at either side in the pastry, then one by one and alternating each side, wrap up the pizza, securing the ends.
  8. Reduce your oven temperature to 220 deg C before putting pizza in, slide onto pizza stone or tray and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove and serve. This is also a good sharing idea as you can cut each section into pieces for everyone, great for parties.

Timbale of Avocado, Crab & Caviar

Timbale of Avocado, Crabmeat & Caviar

I was lucky recently to have meet Duncan Smith from Duncans Caviar https://www.instagram.com/duncanscaviar/ , who is the Exclusive Scottish Distributor for Royal Belgian Caviar https://royalbelgiancaviar.be/en/caviar. The Royal Belgian Caviar are based in Belgium and home farm their sturgeon for the best quality product. It is a firm favourite with all the Top Chefs. Click link for more information.

I used the Beluga Caviar which leaves a lovely after taste with its rich, Buttery and Creamy notes. Holiday season is fast approaching, so why not treat yourself and indulge, you only live once!

Makes 4

1 Ripe Avocado, peeled and mashed

1 small Red Onion, minced finely

2 tbsp lemon juice

Salt & Pepper to taste

100g Crabmeat

2 tsp Caviar

  1. Mix together the crab meat, seasoning and 1 tbsp lemon juice, set aside
  2. In a separate bowl mix the mashed avocado with the red onion, 1 tbsp lemon juice and seasoning.
  3. For each serving take 1 tbsp of the avocado mix and fill a 1.5″ cookie round, then top with 1 tbsp of the crabmeat mixture, smoothing the surface as you go. Ensure your plate has been refrigerated before hand. Put back into the fridge for 10 minutes, this makes it easier to remove the cutter and stay in tact when removed.
  4. When ready to serve, remove the cutter and finish off with a little Caviar.

These little bitesize timbales are great for a party or get together, the avocado and crabmeat give the creamy base some texture and the delicate topping of the Caviar makes these super decadent. Serve with a glass of Champagne for ultimate taste sensation.


Beetroot & Goats Cheese Bites

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Bites

I recently visited Transylvania Shop & Coffee in Glasgow, https://www.transylvaniashopandcoffee.co.uk/, the shop opened this year and they are so passionate about their home produce and Country. Everything that you could wish for from Transylvania, Romania, they have it. Their selection is vast and all excellent quality produce, from grocery store to a cake store to even coffee, yes they have it all. If you are a foodie and love seeking out new products then this shop is for you. If you are a massive Dracula fan, like me, and just love everything Transylvanian then you must visit this shop, you will not be disappointed.

Transylvania Shop & Coffee

On my visit I decided to try out some Romanian Meats, Cheeses, Coffee and of course their awesome selection of cakes, honestly, I have never seen anything like it……mouth watering flavours and designs that just take your breath away.

Coming soon is a season of get togethers and this gives us the opportunity to share all things food. I believe food brings people together, whether it’s just around the table in your home or different families & friends coming together for a celebration, there is always food around. With the recent Lockdown situations this year it has definitely given people more time to spend at home and to find their new love of food, be it baking with the kids or experimenting on using up store cupboard essentials to create new recipes, we have all tried something new. I would like to help with this journey and give you some new ideas. Please have a look around my blog, hopefully you will find your inner chef too!

This recipe brings both of the above together, I used a fabulous Romania Goats Cheese from the Transylvania shop and harvested some Beetroot from my garden to make these little bites, they are perfect for that get together event, or even just a simple snack for something different with the family in your home.

Makes about 20

About 4 Medium Sized Beetroots – Pre cooked

100g Goats Cheese (preferably the LaColline)

Handful of Pistachio’s or Walnuts, chopped

Cocktails sticks to hold together and a choice of your cutter shape (I used a star from my cookie cutter selection)

  1. Using a cutter, cut out the beetroot and goats cheese into your desired shape. Make sure the Beetroot is slightly bigger than the goats cheese. Stack the goats cheese on top of the beetroot, sprinkle your choice of nuts/seeds and secure with a cocktail stick. Refrigerate until ready to serve.