A cheese-laden birthday feast!

Happy birthday to us!

We’ve been cheesing it for a year now, and we have been celebrating.

With cheese.

Of course.

So today we bring to you not one, not two, not three, but four recipes to put together an entire scrumptious meal orbiting around cheese.

We begin with an appetiser, featuring Feta cheese and ground walnuts, which technically make these little taste-bomb healthy. Almost. Be that as it may, these were absolutely, totally, like, awesome.

Our first course starred creamy pasta with Ricotta, paired with the freshness of lemon. The sheer simplicity of this dish belies the wonderful taste, which manages to transport you straight back into summer.

We chose chicken for our main course, and of course Parmesan, which simply had to make the cut. Dried tomatoes and basil rounded up this lovely, comforting one-skillet dish. We do, however, apologise for the pictures, but this was so good we literally forgot to take any more… You’ll just have to trust us on this one. Have we ever led you astray? 🙂

And last, but indeed not least, you cannot have a birthday without a cake. A cheesecake, of course. Scroll down and find out more about this little crowning jewel of today’s feast…

How can you say no?

Walnut Feta Cookies

Walnut Feta Cookies 6

Servings: about 40 cookies

Prep time: 20 minutes

You will need:

  • 40 g ground or chopped walnuts
  • 120 g, or 1/2 cup flour
  • 120 g butter
  • 120 g feta cheese
  • salt and pepper

Walnut Feta Cookies 7

Let’s start out with the walnut. If you couldn’t find them ground, you can use a pestle and mortar to do the job. (We did 🙂 )

Walnut Feta Cookies 1

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients until you obtain a homogeneous dough, then roll it out to a thickness of roughly 1,5 cm.

Walnut Feta Cookies 2

Cut them out in any desired shape. We used a round cutter, but any shape will do, really.

Walnut Feta Cookies 3

Place on a greased or lined cookie sheet. Leave a little space between them, but not much is needed, since they really don’t grow at all. You can brush them them with a slightly beaten egg, or even milk, at this point, but this really isn’t necessary.

Walnut Feta Cookies 4

Place in a low oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until light golden.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 5

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 5

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes (seriously)

You will need:

  • 350gr short pasta
  • 200gr fresh Ricotta cheese
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons dried, or 10 leaves fresh basil
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to garnish

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 3

Cook the pasta as per package instructions.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Reserve two cups of pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, beat together the cheese, lemon zest and basil until thoroughly combined.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 2

Thin out with pasta water until fairly liquid, but still creamy. Return the drained pasta to the pot and mix in the Ricotta mixture.

Serve garnished with Parmesan and a few basil leaves.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta 6

Creamy Parmesan Basil Chicken

Creamy Parmesan Basil Chicken 2

Servings: 4

Prep time: 30 mintues

You will need:

  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 bread crumbs
  • olive oil to cook the chicken
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup minced dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a large skillet on low heat with the olive oil. Salt and pepper both side of the chicken breasts. Dip in the milk, then coat with bread crumbs and place in the pan. Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until cooked through (times may vary here depending on the thickness of the breast).

Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken 1

Remove from the pan, and add the broth to the same pan. When it boils, stir in cream and tomatoes and give it a good stir. Add the remaining ingredients and give it a few minutes to cook through.

Return the chicken to the pan.

Eat up. 🙂

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 10

Servings: 8

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 50 minutes baking time, plus 2 hours chilling

You will need:

For the cheesecake:

  • 1 cup shortbread cookies, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate, cut into squares and melted
  • 2/3 cup sugar (optional; I didn’t think it was necessary)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs

For the raspberry sauce:

  • 1 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 8

Combine the crushed cookies with the ground almonds.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 11-side

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 13

Mix in the melted butter until it forms a crumbly paste. Press into the bottom of a greased pan.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 16

Combine the cream cheese with the melted chocolate.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 15

Add the sour cream, sugar and eggs. Pour on top of the cookie crust.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 14-side

Bake on medium high for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and centre is still slightly wobbly, but set. It will firm up as it cools.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 1

Place in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 4-side

Meanwhile, place the raspberry jam in a small sauce pan over medium heat until it melts down. Add the raspberries and bring to a simmer. Cover and chill until serving time.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 7

Spoon the raspberry sauce over the cheesecake slices as you serve.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 9

Enjoy! 🙂

Advertisements

Baked Cherry Brie Bites

Cherry Brie Bites 14

As is probably the case with most of you, I am in full post-Christmas hangover mode. I’ve had about 10 large family meals in the last week, and still have a few to go. Christmas season doesn’t end until January 7 over here, so I have to save my strength. No, seriously, we take our German, American and Catalan Christmas and New Year’s traditions very seriously.

Cherry Brie Bites 8

That’s why today’s recipe is fast and easy, but no less good and cheesy. I served these on New Year’s Eve, and they were a hit. They’ll work as an appetizer, or even as dessert. They’ll save your life if you need to serve something nice, quick and with little to no fuss. You can use any type of jam, and even a different type of creamy cheese (Camembert and raspberry jam, anyone?). Personally, I’ll use more cheese and less jam next time, but, you know, whatever rocks your boat.

For more bite-sized appetiser, check out these recipes:

Veggi Mozzarella Turnovers

Feta Bites

Or if it’s Brie you crave, we have more recipes here:

Chips del Diamant

Strawberry-Almond-Brie Salad

Now let’s get straight down to business.

Cherry Brie Bites 11

Baked Cherry Brie Bites

Inspiration snatched from the wonderful Joy the Baker.

Servings: depends on size

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus another 10 minutes baking time

You will need:

  • Brie cheese
  • cherry jam
  • two sheets of puff pastry (preferably rectangular)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat your oven to medium-high.

Place one puff pastry sheet on top of the other, and cut through both to form squares or rectangles. The size is entirely up to you, although the smaller ones are usually more popular. I recommend rectangular puff pastry sheets because you will end up with less, or actually no, leftover bits and pieces.

Separate the matching squares or rectangles.

Cherry Brie Bites-side

 

Next, cut your Brie into piece that fit into the centre of your squares or rectangles, but still allow for some space around it to crimp the edges shut.

Cherry Brie Bites 9

Add a dollop of jam on top of the cheese…

Cherry Brie Bites 7

 

…and cover with the matching puff pastry square or rectangles. Crimp the edges with a fork, pressing down tightly to seal the edges.

Cherry Brie Bites 3

Here’s the process again:

Cherry Brie Bites 6

 

You’ll notice I used very small pieces of cheese.

I won’t be making that mistake again.

Finally, paint the tops of the Brie Bites with the egg.

Cherry Brie Bites 5

 

Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned.

Cherry Brie Bites 10

Enjoy!

Clara

Chips del Diamant

Chips del Diamant 20

There is one ingredient we have sadly neglected to feature in this blog, and I believe it is high time we did. Like, way beyond time. Queen of her kind, mistress of versatility (versatileness? Am I making these up?), and, let’s face it, deserving of a whole food category all to herself. I am talking, of course, of the potato chip. And in case you were wondering, yes, she is a girl. Nay, not a girl, a goddess. An ancient fertility goddess. Those would be the chubby, stone age ones. I was totally born in the wrong age.

Chips del Diamant 3

Also, I am completely, utterly, undeniably, incontestably, irrefutably, redundantly addicted to them.

Which is why I never buy any. You see, when I do, I quite forcibly tear open the bag, bury my head in it, and keep munching until it comes out the other end. I then proceed to wear the empty bag around my neck like a hunting trophy. Eating potato chips brings out my inner caveman. My primitive, hairy inner caveman. For all these reasons, I don’t often eat potato chips, but when I do, I do so in a horrifyingly violent manner.

Consequently, only one thing remains to be done: create the mystical bridge between worlds, unleashing a magic of unspeakable power. This is what alchemists hunter after for centuries on end. This is what they were really doing on Atlantis. This is the missing link in the evolutionary theory of cooking. What am I saying? This is the crowining glory of culinary evolution.

I give you, potato chips and cheese.

Let me rephrase that.

Airy, crispy, salty potato chips, and creamy, melty brie. And just in case this isn’t enough to have ya’ll drooling all over your keyboard as you read, we’ve added a finishing flourish of olive tapenade.

Chips del Diamant 9

One last confession before we delve into the depths of this magnificent appetizer: I am not, sadly, the inventor of this brilliant combination. This is a copycat version of a dish they serve at a lovely little place at the heart of my favourite ‘hood in town. They have no webpage, but you can find them here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caf%C3%A8-Restaurant-Diamant/135003486558228.

Now get yourself in the kitchen and start cooking. I promise you won’t regret it.

Chips del Diamant 18

Chips del Diamant

Servings: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 bag of your favourite neutral potato chips
  • 200 gr Brie, sliced, and cut into large squares (it is best to slice the cheese when just out of the fridge, as it tends to get sticky)
  • 1 jar olive tapenade
  • pepper, optional

We’ll start with the chips.

Chips del Diamant 1

Wait, wait, here is another picture. They’re just so pretty.

Chips del Diamant 2

Olive tapenade, on the other hand, does not photohraph well. Not at all. It looks disgusting, no matter what you do. But it isn’t. Do not be fooled. It looks like a little bird regurgitated it onto the spoon, but it tastes like the very essence of the Mediterranean, blended to perfection.

Chips del Diamant 6-vert

And then there’s Brie. Brie is a total babe. Brie is ridiculously photogenic.

Chips del Diamant 7-horz

Now, to the actual recipe.

First, you place a layer of potato chips on an oven-safe platter. Then you top that with a layer of cheese.

Chips del Diamant 12

Now sprinkle some olive tapenade over the cheese, then repeat the procedure: Potatoes, cheese…

Chips del Diamant 11

…and tapenade. Here you can see the first and second layers:

Chips del Diamant 14-horz

Now, you can repeat this as often as you like, but I found that two layers did just fine.

If you’d like to add a little extra kick, you can sprinkle some freshly ground pepper over the whole creation at this point.

Chips del Diamant 16

Finally, place the platter in a preheated oven (on high) and leave in until the cheese is nice and melty and the chips begin to brown just a little bit around the edges.

Chips del Diamant 17

I am toying with the thought of turning this whole dish into a dip for potato chips… I’ll get back to you on that. Pinky promise.

These taste best when still warm, but not too hot.

Enjoy!

Chips del Diamant 19