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Tag Archives: appetizer

Bruschetta with Marinated Feta

After school snack time is taken quite seriously in our household.

The first question Adi asks as he enters the house is ‘what’s for snack’? And I know he is expecting something hearty and delicious.

Usually it’s something homemade, but I have my days when I am more than happy to open a frozen packet. But what I generally tend to do is prepare snacks in bulk and freeze in portions or have veggies/meat prepped ahead so that a quick snack can be put together.

One such ingredient that I have been lately having in my refrigerator is Marinated Feta. It’s such a versatile ingredient that can be used in a zillion ways and each one different from the other. It’s great in salads; replace regular feta with the marinated one in your next Greek salad and you will know the difference.

Bruschetta with Marinated Feta - thespiceadventuress.com

I have adapted this marinated feta recipe from Bon Appetit. What I loved most about this is the addition of roasted lemon slices and dried chillies that lends such a delicious citrusy flavour with that hint of smoky heat in the background, subtle yet there to boost the overall flavour of the feta.

And even when you are done using the feta, the lemon slices, chillies and oil can be used in different ways so that nothing really goes to waste. Though I love to use the marinated feta in salads, this time I used it as a spread for a Bruschetta.

Bruschetta with Marinated Feta - thespiceadventuress.com

Bruschetta with Marinated Feta - thespiceadventuress.com

Bruschetta is another favourite of ours. It’s a snack I make at home often but we also love to order it while dining out at really good Italian restaurants. The quality of the tomatoes makes a huge difference to the taste of a Bruschetta so many restaurants do not really do justice to this simple classic dish.

In today’s recipe, I have used the marinated feta as a spread and then topped it with the tomato mixture. The background flavours of citrus, salt and cheese lend a delicious creaminess and it works as a wonderful base for the sweet tomatoes.

I always use sour dough or ciabatta for making a Bruschetta. The bread must be toasted lightly on both sides so that it does not go soggy and provides that crunchy texture to the soft tomatoes and feta. As for tomatoes, use sweet vine ripened tomatoes whenever possible. Most people tend to leave out the tomato flesh while making a Bruschetta. While I am making it as a quick snack at home, I use the tomatoes whole and the bruschetta is consumed shortly after making. But if I am prepping a larger quantity for a party, then I omit the flesh so that the tomatoes do not go too soft.

For making the marinated feta, I used Danish feta as it has less salt content when compared to other types. But really, any variety should do.

Bruschetta with Marinated Feta - thespiceadventuress.com

So let’s get to the recipe for this flavourful Marinated Feta and an equally delicious Bruschetta using this. And if you would like to get more snack ideas, check out the category ‘Appetizers’ on the blog.

Ingredients:

For making marinated feta:

  1. 200gms feta; cut into large cubes
  2. 1 lemon; sliced and seeds removed
  3. 2 dried red chillies
  4. 2 dried bay leaf
  5. Freshly ground black pepper
  6. Olive oil; enough to cover the feta.

For the bruschetta:

  1. 1 medium sized sourdough; sliced
  2. 2-3 vine ripened tomatoes; chopped (remove flesh if you wish to)
  3. Freshly ground black pepper
  4. A pinch of sugar
  5. A couple of fresh basil leaves; torn into small pieces
  6. 1 tsp olive oil (from the marinated feta)
  7. 1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Method:

Marinated Feta:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200°C. Line an oven proof tray with baking paper, arrange the lemon slices on top and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Roast till lightly caramelized and charred at the edges (roughly 10-12 minutes, but depends on the size and thickness of the slices so keep a close eye).
  2. Once the roasted lemon slices have cooled, place it in a clean jar along with the feta, bay leaves and chillies. Season with black pepper and pour enough olive oil to cover the feta.
  3. Marinate overnight for best results.

Bruschetta:

  1. In a bowl, add the chopped tomatoes and basil. Add sugar, pepper and a dash of olive oil; mix well.
  2. Smash 2-3 cubes of the marinated feta in a separate bowl using the back of a spoon and spread this on top of the sourdough slices.
  3. Then top each slice with the tomato mixture and drizzle lightly with balsamic.
  4. Serve immediately

Bruschetta with Marinated Feta - thespiceadventuress.com

Bruschetta with Marinated Feta - thespiceadventuress.com

 

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Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill

Christmas in July! A few weeks ago I had posted my thoughts on this on Instagram and the special dinner I made for my family.

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - thespiceadventuress.com

Initially I had no plans of posting the recipes here. But I had taken a lot of photographs as it was also part of a social media collaboration with ALDI Australia. The food turned out amazing and I got a lot of requests for the recipes so eventually I decided to jot it down here too. I am sure it’s gonna come handy when we all celebrate the traditional Christmas season.

Pan roasted potatoes with smoked salmon, red onion, capers, dill and drizzled with olive oil; this was the appetizer that I served for our celebratory dinner. And paired it with the Blue Pyrenees Midnight Cuvee (2014).

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - thespiceadventuress.com

The smoked salmon/caper/red onion pairing is a classic one, traditionally enjoyed with bagels and cream cheese. Today, there are all sorts of variations to this and this potato version is one of them.

Using potatoes instead of bagel keeps it lighter and bite sized, which makes it perfect to be served as an appetizer or canapé. Cream cheese can be avoided too. It’s important to use even, medium sized potatoes to get the perfect shape (and also to get maximum slices from a single potato).

As I mentioned, the flavours are still classic with smoked salmon, capers, red onion and dill. It’s easy to make ahead; only the potatoes need to be parboiled and then finished off in a pan at the time of serving. The rest of the components can be prepped ahead too which makes it an excellent choice to serve at parties even when there are many guests.

And if you try out this recipe, do tag me #thespiceadventuress in your post, so that I can see it too.

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe adapted from Coles Magazine

Ingredients:

  1. 2-3 even medium sized potatoes
  2. 100gms smoked salmon
  3. ½ red onion; thinly sliced
  4. 2 tbsp capers
  5. Fresh dill
  6. Extra virgin olive oil
  7. ½ lemon
  8. 2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  9. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 – 1 ½ inch slices
  2. Parboil the potato slices in slightly salted water; drain and keep aside.
  3. Heat the cooking oil in a pan; fry the potatoes on both sides just enough to get some colour and crisp up the outside.
  4. Remove and arrange on a platter.
  5. Top each potato slice with smoked salmon, red onion slices, capers and dill. Squeeze lemon on top and drizzle a little olive oil just before serving.

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Baked Brie (with Sundried Tomatoes, Parsley, Dukkah)

I am a total cheese platter freak.

And that’s ironic coming from someone who absolutely hated cheese till about ten years ago. I remember my mom used to force me to eat cheese when I was a little girl. I was rather thin and scrawny (still am!) so she thought that she can get some more meat on my bones by feeding me all the high calorie stuff. And I used to detest it so much.

I started enjoying the taste of cheese around the time I was doing Masters. There was a local sandwich shop which sold cheese toasties of all kinds, and the cheese and chilli one really bowled me over. The sharp pungent heat of the chopped green chillies against the gooey creaminess of the cheese somehow won my tastebuds over.

There’s no way you can avoid cheese platters if you live in Australia. It is ‘quintessential’ at almost every kind of party and my world suddenly opened up to the world of cheese.

Slowly, I began to learn more about cheese, the different varieties, textures, and the right way of using each cheese. And that’s when the love affair with the cheese platter began…..

This time, I wanted to try out a baked cheese recipe for the platter, especially after coming across absolutely delicious images on Pinterest. In fact, I have a whole board dedicated to just cheese on my Pinterest page, so if you are a fellow cheese lover, do check it out.

Baked Brie (with Sundried Tomatoes, Parsley, Dukkah) - thespiceadventuress.com

A recipe from ‘Taste and Tell’ really stood out to me; and my version today is simply an adaptation of that.

What I really loved about this recipe is the intense savoury notes from the sun dried tomatoes, parsley and that generous sprinkle of Egyptian dukkah. Think of an extremely creamy cheese topped with a hint of tangy sweetness from the tomatoes, freshness from the parsley and that hint of spice from the dukkah.

Perfect when paired with crackers or toasted sourdough as I did.

Baked Brie (with Sundried Tomatoes, Parsley, Dukkah) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 wheel Brie (choose a good quality brand, makes all the difference)
  2. ½ cup sundried tomatoes (with oil); chopped into smaller bits
  3. ½ cup flat leaf parsley; finely chopped
  4. 1 ½ tbsp Egyptian dukkah

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven (fan forced) to 170°C
  2. Line baking/parchment paper in an oven proof dish.
  3. Top the brie with the sundried tomatoes, parsley and half of the dukkah. Drizzle with some of the oil from the tomatoes.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes (in most cases, the cheese will start to ooze out from the sides but not necessary as it depends on the rind).
  5. Remove and sprinkle with more dukkah
  6. Serve warm with crackers or crusty/toasted bread.

Baked Brie (with Sundried Tomatoes, Parsley, Dukkah) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Indian style Chana Tikki (Chickpea Patties)

Snacks are a big thing in our home, not store bought but homemade ones that are devoured with much gusto after the boys get back home from school and work.

Snacks are also an important part of every party we hold at home, because we really love the sit down, relaxed, course by course dinner over the buffet style anyday. Hence there are plenty of recipes on my blog for this category but I realised that somehow there aren’t many vegetarian options in the list.

And I often get requests from friends asking for vegetarian snack or appetizer recipes which got me thinking that I need to make more of these. And that’s how these chickpea tikkis happened.

Indian style Chana Tikki (Chickpea Patties) - thespiceadventuress.com

Chickpea is a popular ingredient worldwide, amongst all cuisines, vegetarians and nonvegetarians alike. We also know that it is a really good source of protein which makes it a pretty healthy option too. I love using chickpeas in curries, rice dishes, salads, dips etc…. but this is the first time I have tried out a tikki using it.

This recipe is actually an adaptation of several kebab and tikki recipes that I have made before or read in books. I didn’t want to use potatoes as the binding agent, so instead used soft white bread and flour. Since the latter are in small amounts, the taste and texture of the chickpeas really shines through. And these are grilled with very less oil on a flat nonstick or cast iron pan because it has a crumbly texture.

So let’s get on to making these delicious, super moreish chickpea or chana tikkis/patties, best paired with this mint coriander chutney. And if you try it out, do tag me in your photograph (#thespiceadventuress) so that I can see it too.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups chickpeas; cooked in salted boiling water till mushy
  2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  3. 2-3 medium garlic cloves; grated
  4. ½ inch ginger; grated
  5. 1 medium red onion; finely chopped
  6. 1 tsp chaat masala
  7. 1 tsp coriander powder
  8. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  9. A pinch of asafoetida/hing
  10. 2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs (more if necessary)
  11. 1-2 tbsp white flour
  12. Vegetable oil
  13. 1 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  14. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight; cook in salted boiling water till soft and mushy. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Add 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and allow to crackle. Then add the chopped onions, garlic paste and ginger paste. Sauté till the onions are softened and light brown.
  3. Next add the cooked chickpeas, coriander powder, red chilli powder, chaat masala and asafoetida. Season with salt (remember the chickpeas already has salt) and cook on low heat for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped coriander leaves and remove from heat. Allow to cool well before grinding.
  5. Once cooled, grind the chickpea mixture without water. Then add the flour and breadcrumbs and knead to dough like consistency. Add more breadcrumbs till you get the desired consistency.
  6. Slightly grease your palms using oil and shape the chickpea mixture into round patties/tikkis. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes just to firm up but bring back to room temperature before grilling.
  7. Heat oil in a nonstick pan, just enough to coat the surface as we need to lightly grill the patties and not shallow fry. Place the tikkis on the pan and cook well on one side before flipping over. Take care as you flip over as the tikkis have a crumbly texture or it will break.
  8. Serve warm with mint coriander chutney.

Note – Another way of enjoying these tikkis or patties is by crushing it between a pav; add a dollop of chutney and you have another version of your favourite vada pav. Or go Western by crushing it lightly between a slider bun and add some greens and your favourite mayo for a vegetarian slider.

Indian style Chana Tikki (Chickpea Patties) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster

I have a very vivid memory of the first time I tasted lobster.

Must have been about eight or nine years old, I was living in Dubai at that time. One of my dad’s friends who worked in the Merchant Navy had gifted him some as a Christmas present.

Lobsters were literally unheard of, at least in my home. But I could sense the excitement as if something expensive was bought home. Little did I know that it was indeed super expensive and quite an out-of-reach ingredient for most people.

Lobster - thespiceadventuress.com

I don’t remember clearly what was the exact dish my mom cooked but it was a South Indian one, pretty much like how she would cook prawns. The lobster meat tasted sweet and plump, and I couldn’t really see the comparison with prawns. And that taste remained a memory for so many years till I moved to Australia.

While it is still expensive, lobster is no longer an out of reach ingredient. It is available easily at leading seafood stores, and very common during the summer months.

Lobster always evokes a sense of indulgence and that makes it the ideal choice during the festive season. The lobster meat is so succulent, juicy and sweet that it needs very little accompanying flavours.

But today I am going a bit heavy handed with the flavours.

Indo Chinese is one of our favourite cuisines and thus came the idea of putting a spin on a much loved classic. Chilli Lobster – a true indulgence for the taste buds!

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster - thespiceadventuress.com

An excellent starter to serve at your parties and its fingerlickin good with sweet, spicy flavours coating the lobster pieces. You could serve it on a beautiful platter as shown or serve it inside the shell of the lobster if kept intact.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 Lobster tails
  2. 1 medium red onion; diced

Find the full recipe here.

Indo Chinese style Chilli Lobster- thespiceadventuress.com

 

Disclaimer – Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood

 

 

Salmon Kebabs

Today’s recipe was the result of a happy accident.

Salmon Kebabs - thespiceadventuress.com

I had actually set out to make salmon cutlets or croquettes for a client. And the plan was to make a version similar to these Kerala style beef cutlets. So I minced the salmon, added the sautéed onion spice mixture and rolled it into round balls before doing the customary egg breadcrumb routine. But something important came up and I had to go out only to return late,  just in time for dinner. There was not enough time to coat and crumb and then deep fry; and I needed to make something quick with the salmon mixture for dinner.

While shaping the mixture, I realised that since salmon is an oily fish, it held shape pretty well and didn’t really need any other binding agent. So I flattened out the prepared balls into small patties and shallow fried in a pan. The result was these delicious Salmon kebabs. I had struck gold!

Salmon Kebabs - thespiceadventuress.com

And ofcourse, I had to share the recipe with all of you. Because these kebabs are delicious, really simple to make and can grace your dinner tables in so many different ways. Have it as a starter/appetizer, serve it as a canapé topped with relish or chutney or serve it on a bed of salad for a simple light lunch. You can also make slightly bigger patties and have a salmon burger or slider.

The salmon mixture is great for making croquettes too just as I had initially intended.

So let’s get cooking these delicious Salmon Kebabs which is best paired with this tangy mint coriander chutney.

Ingredients:

  1. 1-2 salmon fillets; skinless (weighing approximately 300gms)
  2. 1 red onion; finely chopped

Click here for the full recipe….

Salmon Kebabs - thespiceadventuress.com

Spicy Tuna Croquettes

Eat, drink and make merry! The season of festivals, summer barbeques, potlucks and parties are upon us. I even know a few of my friends who are already preparing lists and planning for Christmas and New Year.

I am not doing anything of that sort because the maximum I can plan ahead is for a week. So I tend to go with the flow figuring out things as and when it happens. And this weekend, I get to enjoy the liberty of ‘being fed’ rather than cooking and feeding others which I am doing all the time. The break is much anticipated….

So keeping in mind the mood of the upcoming season, I am planning on adding recipes that are perfect for entertaining. Most of these are dishes that feature highly every time I entertain at home; simple, delicious and can be prepped ahead. And I am starting the series with these delicious Spicy Tuna Croquettes.

Spicy Tuna Croquettes - perfect for the party season - thespiceadventuress.com

There is nothing novel about tuna croquettes; it is one of the most common seafood snacks that you are likely to find across the globe. The flavours are often different depending on the cuisine and almost always made using canned tuna.

But today, we have some deliciously spicy tuna croquettes that have been made from fresh tuna fillets. The texture is different to what you would get with canned tuna; I find these croquettes lighter and melt in the mouth.

I learnt to make these from my mom and all those who hail from Kerala (especially if you have lived in Middle East) would identify with this. Nothing’s changed except that I used fresh tuna which actually makes a bit of a difference. If Panko breadcrumbs are available, do use it instead of regular breadcrumbs; you get a much crunchier coating.

Fresh Tuna fillet - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Spicy Tuna Croquettes - perfect for the party season - thespiceadventuress.com

The croquettes can be prepped ahead and frozen if you are making a large batch. Make sure to roll in breadcrumbs and then freeze to avoid it from sticking to each other. You could also use the same mixture to make tuna burgers; just make patties instead of croquettes. In fact I do this all the time; reserve one half of the mixture for patties which makes delicious lunch boxes the next day.

And the perfect accompaniment for these crunchy delights is some pickled red onions and mint coriander chutney.

Do try it out and hope you enjoy it as much as we do. And if you make it, please do tag me on your social media posts #thespiceadventuress so that I could see it too.

Ingredients:

(Makes approximately 30 croquettes)

  1. 500gm fresh tuna fillet
  2. 1 large potato (approximately 300gm)
  3. 1 medium red onion; finely chopped

This post is bought to you in collaboration with Supreme Seafood, so please do check out the full recipe here.

Spicy Tuna Croquettes - perfect for the party season - thespiceadventuress.com

Spicy Tuna Croquettes - perfect for the party season - thespiceadventuress.com

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