Category Archives: Christmas

Appetizers: 4 amuses gueule

And then as the last part of my new years eve trilogy I am going to share with you my amuse gueule.
I know it’s a little funny to end with aperitif. But lets just say its because I love to have a good cocktail or a nice glass of wine with some amazing amuses gueules. I would rather skip dessert, then not to have an aperitif!
The most amazing part about these amuse gueule is the fact that they are just little meals, where you as a chef can place your whole heart and soul in. And above all… its mini. And everything that is mini I adore!

For my New Years eve feast I prepared the following quartet:

Black pudding with apple sauce
Steak tartare
Salmon mousse with marinated cucumber
Smoked duck with mango chutney

I served it with a mojito royal, which I decorated with a little bit of green sugar. It look so amazing for something so simple. Just mix in a little bit of food colouring into some granulated sugar and dip in your glass.

INGREDIENTS BLACK PUDDING WITH APPLE SAUCE

1 black pudding
250 grams soft sour apples
25 grams granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick

INGREDIENTS STEAK TARTARE

200 grams of minced beef meat
½ teaspoon Worchester sauce
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon ketchup
a few drops of Tabasco
1 egg

pickled onions
pickled gherkins
capers
pepper and salt

INGREDIENTS SALMON MOUSSE WITH MARINATED CUCUMBER

3 slices of smoked salmon
1/3 cucumber
½ finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon of mascarpone
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of xeres vinegar
a few pieces of dill
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Tabasco

INGREDIENTS SMOKED DUCK WITH MANGO CHUTNEY

100 grams of smoked duck breast
3 large mango’s
1 lime
25 gram of grated ginger
½ red hot chilli pepper
1 dl vinegar
125 grams sugar
1 teaspoon of Szechuan pepper
Salt

BLACK PUDDING WITH APPLE SAUCE

This dish is so easy to make and takes almost no time to prepare.
When you make the apple sauce in advance of the party, you just have to back the black pudding and assemble the dish.
Peel the apples and cut them into 8 equal large pieces.
Put the apples in a cooking pot and add a little bit of water and the cinnamon stick.
Now put this on a low fire and let it come to the boil gently. Stir regularly in the apple sauce. When the apples start to fall apart, you can add the sugar and stir it in.

Just before serving you bake small round pieces of the black pudding en you place them on top of the apple sauce.

STEAK TARTARE

Steak tartare is a dish made of finely chopped or minced raw beef meat. Steak tartare is a very popular dish in Belgium, but also in The Netherlands, Germany, France, Poland and Slovakia. It may not be know very well in other countries, although steak à la Americain maybe rings a bell?
Anyway my husband and father are huge fans of steak tartare, so they demand this as an amuse gueule.

Steak tartare is at its best when you use real steaks and chop the meat fine by hand. But because of the very small portions I needed I used grounded beef from the butcher.
Just mix the grounded beef with pepper, salt, mustard, Worchester sauce, ketchup and Tabasco. Combine this into a meaty paste. (Not sure what I should call this?)
Then add the egg, finely chopped pickled onions, gherkins and capers and mix well again.
Steak tartare is at his best (and at his safest, remember you are working with raw meat!) when you make it à la minute.

Tip: When you want to serve this as a large portion you can serve the egg yolk in the egg shell on top of the meat. You don’t mix in the onions, gherkins or capers, but you serve them separately so your guest can take them to your liking.

SALMON MOUSSE WITH MARINATED CUCUMBER

Peel the cucumber and slice it into small cubes. Now add the finely chopped red onion and the cucumber together and mix this with a few drops of olive oil, the vinegar and a few drops Tabasco. Let the cucumber marinated for about two hours in the fridge.
Mix the slices smoked salmon with the mascarpone and the heavy cream into a mousse. Season this with a little bit cayenne pepper.

Now assemble the dish in small glasses. Start with a bottom of cucumber, add the mousse and dress with some dill.

SMOKED DUCK WITH MANGO CHUTNEY

This little dish will ask some preparation in advance but don’t let that scare you. In return you get a wonderful mango chutney they stores in a for a couple of months and is divine with Indian curries and rice!

Peal 2 mangos and slice the meat into small cubes. Chop the lime (with peal and pits) fine and try to catch as much of the juice as possible.
Now take a little pan with a thick bottom and add the mango cubes, the chopped lime, the ginger, the finely chopped pepper, the vinegar, the sugar, pepper and salt to it. Place this on medium heat and let it boil for about 30 minutes. Stir it regulary.
After 30 minutes remove the pan from the fire and let the mixture cool/
When you put the chutney into jam jars, you can keep the chutney for months!

Now peel the third mango and slice the meat into thin pieces.
Now assemble the dish by place a piece of duck on your spoon, then a piece of mango, another piece of duck and another piece of mango. Top it of with a spoon of mango chutney.

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Dessert Pallet

Inspired by my previous post on my New Years Eve menu and my promise to share more recipes of that evening, I decided to share my dessert plate with you today.
I need to confess that I am a little dish person. I just love to make little dishes for the aperitif and dessert.
Why? I have no idea. Maybe because I think its cute? Maybe because I have a collection of tiny glasses, cups, spoons and plates where any restaurant would be jealous of.  I think it is meanly because I get bored easily. When we go out to eat I order “the walk trought the menu” every single time and as a dessert I want “a selection of…”
A one flavour dessert does not bring me the happiness 4 little nibbles give me. So when you come to my place for dinner, you can be sure of the fact that I serve you a dessert pallet.

This time my dessert pallet consisted of 3 white dessert, rice pudding, mojito cheesecake and mascarpone mousse.
Three very different flavours, but combined together a marvellous trio.
The rice pudding I used for this dessert was a white rice pudding, which means I did not add any saffron.

INGREDIENTS RICE PUDDING

1 l full fat milk
125 grams dessert rice
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 sack of vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon of custard powder
a little bit of butter

INGREDIENTS MOJITO CHEESECAKE

100 grams of biscuits
50 grams of melted butter
4 limes
120 grams sugar
4 tablespoons of white rum
1 hand of mint leaves
250 grams cream cheese
100 grams of cream
250 grams mascarpone

INGREDIENTS MASCARPONE MOUSSE

250 grams mascarpone
65 grams powder sugar
2 egg whites
50 grams cream
speculaas ( A dutch spiced biscuit)

RICE PUDDING

Set aside 25 centilitre milk and bring the rest of the milk to the boil together with a nut of butter.

When the milk starts to boil, add the dessert rice and let it simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes on medium heat. Stir regularly, so the rice does not get a chance to stick to the bottom of your cooking pot.
Mix the remaining milk with the custard powder. This should become a thick paste like mixture.
When the rice is almost ready add the custard mixture. Let this boil for a minute under constant stirring. While you stir you should feel the resistance building up, because the pudding starts to thicken.
Take the rice pudding of the fire and poor it into the little pots and put them for a couple hours in the fridge.
Just before serving you can decorate the pudding with a little bit of light brown sugar.

MOJITO CHEESECAKE

Take a cooking pot with a thick base (very, very, very important!) and heat in this pot the sugar with 5 tablespoons of water. You are actually making a thick sugar syrup. Let this boil for about 2 minutes without stirring. Now add the juice and the zest of 3 limes, the rum and the mint leaves to the syrup. Take this almost immediately of the stove, stir well and place the pot into a bad of cold water. This will make the syrup cool a lot faster.

Now add the biscuits to a Ziploc bag and bash them into crumps. (I used a bottle of wine to do this. One has got to help themselves with original kitchen tools!)
Now add the crumps to the melted butter and mix it together. Now fill the serving cups with a spoon of this mixture. The biscuit-butter mixture is mend as the bottom of your cake.

Poor the syrup through a sieve. (don’t forget to push the leaves and the zest, so you get all that jummie flavours out!) Now poor the syrup into a large bowl.
Beat the cream until it is stiff and has creamy peaks.
Now add the cream cheese and the mascarpone to the syrup and mix it all with a wooden spoon. Then add the beaten cream and mix carefully, you don’t want to loose the lightness in your paste.

Now poor in the cheese mixture on top of the biscuits and place the little cheesecakes into the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Just before serving you can decorate the cheesecakes with some fresh mint leaves.


Mascarpone Speculaas mousse

Speculaas is a sort of short crust biscuit that is very popular in The Netherlands and Belgium. The dough of the cookie combines lots of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper. Other ingredients are butter, flour and brown sugar. Gingerbread is not the same thing as speculaas, but could be used as a substituted.

Beat the egg whites until the are stiff and have high peaks like the snow-white alps! You should be able to hold the eggs above your head without any accidents happening!
Now mix the mascarpone cheese with the icing sugar.
Add the speculaas to a Ziploc and beat into crumps.
Now add with a wooden spoon the egg whites to the mascarpone mixture.

Now start building your dessert. Start with a layer of speculaas crumbs, then mascarpone, crumbs, mascarpone… always end with a layer of crumbs!