30 July 2011

Starting with gorgonzola

Last night we went to a little dinner party. Since I really enjoy cooking with friends, we came early to help the hosts. We prepared mainly some fingerfood, because the idea was not to be sitting down, but rather standing up and chatting and moving around. My contribution was some gorgonzola toasts in two flavours: one sort with caramelised onion and walnuts, and another one with red-pepper jam.

Gorgonzola, caramelised onions and walnuts toast

We begin preparing the caramelised onion. For this we need an onion. We will peel it and cut it in julienne strips: we will cut the onion in half and slice it very thinly to obtain curved sections. Put it in a frying pan with a little olive oil, cover it with a lid, and let it cook slowly for 20-25 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the onion has softened and looks transparent. Then add a bit of salt, a teaspoon of brown sugar, 150 mL of white wine, and 50 mL of balsamic vineger. Remove the lid now and turn the heat up for 5-10 more minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Once the onion has cooled down we can proceed to prepare the toasts.

Take about 100 g of gorgonzola cheese (I used the piccante variety and liked the result, but next time I will try with gorgonzola dolce), put it on a plate, and smash it with a fork to blend it down.

Now spread a fine layer of gorgonzola on the bread (I recommend some slices of slightly toasted brioche). Using a fork, take a little bit of the onions, and let them fall gently on the cheese, so that they do not scatter on the toast, but take a form similar to a nest. On top of the onions, place some walnuts. Ready!

Gorgonzola and red-pepper jam

For these I simply spread some gorgonzola on the toast and added some of my sweet-and-sour red-pepper jam on top. The combination is both colorful and delicious!

29 July 2011

Sweet-and-sour red-pepper jam

My mother is always researching and trying new recipes. She found this one somewhere in the web, or in one of the multitude of cooking books and magazines that she owns, who knows, and since then it has been almost a constant in her fridge. I love its sweet and sour taste, its gorgeous shiny red color, and it fits perfectly with cheese, of which I am a huge fan. So I have decided it should definitely appear in this blog.

You will need:

  • Two large, very-red peppers
  • A bit less than one glass of apple vinegar
  • One glass of white sugar

How to make this red-pepper jam:

Wash the peppers and chop them into very small pieces. Put them in a saucepan, add the vinegar and the sugar, and stir to mix well all the ingredients.

If chopping the pepper feels like a tedious process to you, think about using your blender instead. In that case, break the peppers into pieces, add the vinegar and blend-blend-blend until you obtain a mixture with the desired texture. I prefer to see small pieces in the jam, completely homogeneous jams seem artificial to me, but I guess this is a matter of taste. Afterwards, just bring the mixture to the saucepan, add the sugar, and stir together.

Let the jam cook very slowly for a couple of hours, stirring every now and then to check that it is not sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Do not use a lid, since we want the vinegar to evaporate. In order to know when you can stop cooking, you can check that the mixture has the consistency of any jam that you have seen before (although you should keep in mind that a warm jam is somewhat more liquid-ish than a cold jam). A second test is trying a little bit to see if it still tastes too much like vinegar. If it does, let it cook a bit longer.

As I said, this jam fits perfectly with cheese. You can use some creamy cheese, for example. In the picture above, I am combining it with some old goat cheese, which makes a very good companion. But you can also simply spread it on plain bread, on butter, or on some liver pate.


28 July 2011

Filet Stück's Window

For all those meat lovers, Filet Stück might be the place to go. Midway between a butcher's shop and a restaurant, it offers a picturesque location for having a steak. I cannot speak for the quality of its food, since I have not eaten there yet. What I really love from this place is the combination of big, crystal lamps with the cabinet displaying raw meat in the back. I was walking by its window one evening and could not help taking a photo.