Pickle Skewers

pickle skewers - trust in kim

Here’s a yummy, pretty and easy party appetizer.  There’s a mixture of sweet and salty pickles and olives, and a sweet grape to finish it off.

What you need:

pitted olives

sweet pickled onions

dill pickles, sliced into rounds

sweet grapes

wooden skewers

What you do:

Skewer everything starting with the grape.  That way the last flavour will be  sweet one.

Spanish Salad

This isn’t an authentic Spanish recipe; instead I was inspired by the amazing vegetables I found in the markets of Barcelona.  Was it because I was on holiday, or did these veggies truly have more flavour than the ones at home?  I’m not sure, but since they were bursting with flavour, they didn’t need much doctoring up with dressing.  I just drizzled on a little extra-virgin olive oil and cracked some salt on top.  Simple and amazing.

What you need:

a few tomatoes – I used cherry tomatoes

a few mini cucumbers

an avocado

olives with the pits in them

What you do:

1.  Chop the veggies up and put them into a bowl.

2.  Drizzle with the best quality olive oil you have.

3.  Crack on a little salt.

I served mine with some chorizo, flatbread and a glass of red wine.  Buon provecho!












Charcuterie dans Paris

After a visit to the Castle of Saint-Germain0en Laye, just outside of Paris, I went with my hosts Julie and Jeremy to gather supplies for our charcuterie.  We visited a fromagerie, boulangerie, cave aux vins, le marche plein air, et le Monoprix to find what we need.

Here’s what we had:

cheeses: a brie, de melun lait cru

a chèvre, cabri cendré fermier

a tantation lait cru from St. Félicen

a Tomme de Savoie from Abondance Fermiere

The meats: jambon cru fumé de la forêt noire

jambon cru Espangnol

jamón serrano

salame di milano

chorizo Espangnol

We also had: pimento olives

olives stuffed with almonds

apple , figs and melon to wrap the meat around

dried strawberries

The wine was a Chateau Chavrignac Bordeaux 2009

and a fabulous baguette from the Boulangerie au Petit Duc!

We ended with a decadent chocolate treat called a Royale, chocolate mousse decorated with some praline and topped with chocolate ganache.

Alleosse Affineur Maitre Artisan dans rue Poncelet, Paris

Beef and Chorizo Empanadas

If you’re looking for a savoury appetizer that you can make ahead, you might want to give this a try.   This recipe is an amalgamation of the empanada recipes I found on the internet – I put together all the elements that I thought would work well together.  And how can you go wrong with flavourful meat-filled pastry?

You can make the filling and pastry ahead of time, then assemble and bake them right before you need them.  Alternately, you can make them days or weeks ahead of time, then pop them in the oven right out of the freezer .  This is great for the times when you suddenly need something the serve and don’t have time to do any cooking.

What you need:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 onion, diced finely

1 clove garlic, diced finely

1 carrot, diced finely

1/2 red bell pepper, diced finely

500 g extra lean ground beef

500 g uncooked chorizo, with casings removed

1/4 cup red wine, optional

1 teaspoon cumin

1 & 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 cup chopped green olives

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 teaspoons honey



hot sauce

1 egg

lime wedges to serve

For the pastry:

2 & 1/4 cups flour

1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 large egg

1/3 cup ice water

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

What you do:
1.  To make the pastry, blend the cold butter into the flour and salt with a pastry blender or your fingers.  Mix the egg, water and vinegar, and add them to the flour mixture.  Mix with a wooden spoon until combined, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

2.  Cook onion in oil until slightly browned, then add peppers, carrots and garlic, cooking for a few minutes.

3.  Cook the beef along with the chorizo, in another pan.  Break it up as it cooks so the meat is in fine pieces.  Drain excess fat, then add to the vegetable mixture.

4.  Add optional wine and simmer  for a few minutes.  Then add cumin, paprika, olives, raisins, honey, pepper and a few dashes of hot sauce.  Simmer until very little liquid remains.

5.  Season to taste – you may want to add more hot sauce, depending on how spicy the chorizo.   Remove from heat to cool before filling pastries. (I cool the filling the day before)

6.  Roll out dough to about half a centimetre thick.  Cut into circles with a cutter or bowl.

7.  Using your finger tip dab a little water along one edge of the rounds.  This will help the pastry stay sealed.

8.  Place the pastry in the palm of one hand, fill it, then lightly pinch it shut.  To  seal you can make a folded edge or close with a fork.

9.  Combine the egg with a little water, then brush onto each pastry.  Poke a few holes with a fork into the top of each pastry.

10.  Bake at 400C for 20-25 minutes, until golden.

11.  Serve hot with lime wedges.  Squeeze a little lime juice on top right before it goes into your mouth!