Hellooo All – as you might have noticed in my “about” section – a lot of things have been going on for me. I was meant to do a masters program in food management in the UK, but sadly my visa didn’t get processed in time. However, on the flip side – I am now engaged to the often mentioned British boyfriend (Chris). We’ve got loooads of planning to do etc, so hopefully at some point I’ll get back to blogging regularly. In the mean time I have a massive back log of photos to post about, so I may be doing more photo albums than posts. Either way – hope you enjoy!
First up – some nibbles..
This isn’t a sophisticated snack, but it’s creamy and healthy and completely satisfying! After being in the UK all summer, I was dying for some real, full-flavored California Hass avocado. To really taste the avocado, I like to make some toast, slice the avo on top, sprinkle some kosher or sea salt and instead of black pepper I like some dried red chili flakes. Mmm so so satisfying if you love avocado!
As you know I love canapés – as in I love bite-sized food. So when I’m in the mood and have a great baguette, I like to use whatever I can find. To start, I slice the bread fairly thin (just under 1 cm). Drizzle olive oil and toast until golden. Right after you take it out, season with kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
The two toppings you see above are:
- Creamy Brie with leek sausage and a drizzle of fig balsamic vinegar
- Avocado, lettuce, cherry tomato and sweetcorn sauteed with shallots and bacon
There really are so many possibilities – rubbing garlic on the toast right after you take it out of the oven is a classic. Top with ricotta, cherry tomato and a fresh basil leaf or drizzle of pesto. Will post more ideas as they come along.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not a dessert girl.. more a pasta girl than a chocolate one. I like warm pasta, cold pasta, egg pasta, rice pasta, creamy pasta or even just pasta with olive oil and garlic. I’ve experimented over the years with ingredients and pasta shapes. There are SO many different shapes, but sadly they’re not all easily accessible. One of my favorite shapes is the one above – orzo. At John Besh’s steakhouse in New Orleans, I had an incredible off-the-menu dish – orzo “risotto” with fresh corn, Louisana blue crab, parmesan cheese and large grilled shrimp on top. I’m guessing they made the orzo as if it were Arborio rice – slow cooking it with stock. It was creamy and perfectly cooked. But the secret on this one I think as was the freshness of the ingredients (pre-oil spill).
As for my favorite ingredients, I’m such a creature of habit. I really need to start experimenting more and being more seasonal.. Some of my favorites though are: feta cheese, zucchini/courgette, corn, bell pepper, black olives, sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, ricotta, spinach, bacon and sausage. I finally started using a classic “secret” ingredient – lemon. A bit of fresh juice and zest can add a whole lot of freshness and flavor without tasting ‘lemony’.
For my British friends – you might not know this white fish but it’s Tilapia. It’s a mild flavored fish and doesn’t take much cooking time. This time I just seasoned with some standard Cajun spices and pan fried the fillets. I ate it with some fresh lime juice and topped it with some mango, cherry tomato salsa. This type of topping is great with any mild fish. Serve with some plain white rice and that’s it!
And last but not least – back to my love of avocado. You can’t beat some classic guacamole. I like mine slightly chunky, cherry tomatoes (I like the sweetness), red onion, kosher/sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and cilantro/coriander. A nice addition is to toast store-bought tortilla chips in the oven. Yummy!