Festive Recipes for Appetizers and Drinks

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Cheese Stars

Ingredients:
  • 320 grams puff pastry sheet
  • Cup of grated cheese (60 grams cheddar and 25 grams parmesan)
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Dried oregano and sesame seeds for toppings (optional)
Directions:
  • Unroll the pastry and sprinkle most of the cheese over one half of the sheet.
  • Fold the pastry in half to cover the cheese and seal it in.
  • Dust your rolling pin and work surface with flour and place your pastry on it. Roll it out until doubled in size.
  • Heat oven to 200C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using cookie cutters, cut the pastry into shapes and put them on the baking sheets.
  • Brush with milk and add a pinch of cheese and a sprinkling of your chosen topping, if using.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until risen and golden.

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Creamy Potato and Roasted Red Pepper

Ingredients:
  • ½ kilogram potatoes, scrubbed
  • Salt
  • 6 medium cloves of garlic
  • ¾ cup whole blanched almonds
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 whole roasted red peppers
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
Directions:
  • Put the potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water then bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Add the garlic cloves to the water and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove the garlic, and when cool, coarsely chop it.
  • Add the garlic to a food processor along with the almonds and ½ cup of oil. Process until the mixture becomes a thick paste.
  • Transfer the paste to a large bowl and reserve.
  • Rinse out the food processor and add the roasted red peppers, parsley, pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons of the oil and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  • Process until the mixture is mostly smooth with some small chunks. Reserve.
  • When the potatoes are tender, drain them well then cool slightly.
  • Use a clean dishtowel to rub off the skins, discard, then coarsely chop the potatoes.
  • Run through a food mill and add them to the reserved almond mixture.
  • Add 2 teaspoons salt and gently stir the potato mixture until just combined.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, vinegar and ½ cup water.
  • Spoon the potato mixture into a baking dish and make a well in the middle. Fill it with the reserved pepper sauce and lightly drizzle with olive oil.

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Baked Coconut Shrimp

Ingredients:
Dipping Sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced

Shrimp

  • ½ cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 6 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ kilogram shrimp, peeled (tails left on), deveined, butterflied and patted dry
  • Salt and black pepper
Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 230C. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  • To make the dipping sauce: toast the curry and red pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium heat, about 1 minute.
  • Add the honey, vinegar and orange juice and zest.
  • Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • To make the shrimp: combine the coconut, breadcrumbs and flour in a bowl.
  • Beat the egg whites in a bowl until slightly frothy.
  • Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper.
  • Add to the egg whites and toss to coat.
  • Lift each shrimp from the egg whites, and then coat in the crumb mixture.
  • Place the shrimp on the baking sheet in a single layer and lightly spray with nonstick spray.
  • Bake until the shrimp are golden on the outside and opaque in the center, 8 to 10 minutes.

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Potato Gratin Stacks

Ingredients:
  • 1 kilogram peeled potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 slices beef bacon, fried and crumbled
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 175C and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  • Toss potatoes in milk, garlic powder, nutmeg, pepper, thyme, salt and Parmesan.
  • Divide the potato mixture between muffin tin cups to create 12 potato stacks.
  • Cover with foil and bake until tender, 40 minutes.
  • Uncover the muffin tin and top each potato stack with Swiss cheese and bacon.
  • Bake until cheese is melted and the sides are beginning to turn golden, 20 minutes more.
  • Garnish with parsley and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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Almond Churros

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups almonds
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • Melted white chocolate
Directions:
  • Combine sugars, cinnamon, salt and water in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • When the sugar has dissolved, stir in the almonds then stir constantly until they are completely coated and the sugar crystallizes, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and transfer almonds to parchment paper to cool.
  • Drizzle with melted white chocolate.
  • Let set for 10 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

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Double Chocolate Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:
  • 150 grams bittersweet chocolate
  • 50 grams milk chocolate
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Marshmallows
Directions:
  • In a medium bowl, combine the bittersweet chocolate with the milk chocolate.
  • Add the boiling water and let it stand for 1 minute.
  • Whisk the chocolate mixture until it is smooth.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the milk and heavy cream to a simmer.
  • Add the chocolate mixture and whisk over moderate heat until hot.
  • Pour the hot chocolate into mugs, garnish with marshmallows and serve.

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Herbal Sodas

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 25 grams fresh herbs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Sparkling water or club soda
Directions:
  • Put sugar and 1 cup water into a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Remove from heat; add herbs. Cover; let cool completely.
  • Pour syrup through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard herbs.
  • Stir in lemon juice and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Fill glasses with ice.
  • Add 2 to 4 tablespoons syrup; top with sparkling water or club soda and stir.

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