Tag Archives: Rosemary

Fig, goat’s cheese & chocolate tartlets

This month’s We Should Cocoa challenge ingredient, hosted by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog, is “cheese.”  That’s right, we’re supposed to make something involving cheese… and chocolate.  I think the most obvious way of combining the two would be in the form of a cheesecake, but I’m not a fan of cheesecake (to put it mildly).  I have made cheesecake a grand total of once in my entire life, as a birthday gift for somebody who absolutely adored cheesecake.  However, the cheesecake, which, by the way, was delicious – and I know that for a fact because Kat and Craig tested the trial run for me, and I definitely trust them to tell me the truth, especially in this particular situation – suffered a terrible fate which I’m just going to refer to as the “cheesecake incident” (but if you desperately want to know what happened, I’ll refer you to point number 4 in this post) and move on, because the incident still irks me, over a year later (in case you couldn’t tell).  Somewhat ironically, the white chocolate and lime cheesecake in question was my entry for the We Should Cocoa challenge back in March 2011.

Since it’ll clearly be a while before I ever attempt another cheesecake, I had to come up with some other way of combining cheese and chocolate.  I’ve just remembered the cream cheese Kahlúa brownies that I made a few months ago – they would also have been perfect for this challenge (a bit late to think of that now though!).  Now I must admit that I’m what can only be described as a cheese fiend, but I have never considered combining cheese (proper cheese, not cream cheese) with chocolate and I was at a bit of a loss.  For inspiration, I looked the combination up in the Flavour Thesaurus, which only had an entry for chocolate and goat’s cheese, but said that they went surprisingly well together.  Initially I wasn’t sure how I could combine the chocolate and goat’s cheese, but then I hit upon the idea of a chocolate pastry case and a goat’s cheese filling of some sort.  My inspiration sort of stopped there though, and it wasn’t until a few days later that somebody mentioned something about figs and I suddenly thought of the roast figs with honey and goat’s cheese that I’ve previously posted, and wondered if I could do something similar… but in a chocolate pastry case.  There was only one way to find out…

I picked up some delicious figs at the Farmers’ Market this morning, headed home, dug out a chocolate shortcrust pastry recipe, and gave it a go.  Conveniently, the pastry requires some resting time, so I got some reading done (though unfortunately it was really boring – the biochemical workings of elasmobranch electroreceptors anyone…?  No?  You surprise me.).  I’d never tried the pastry recipe before – it tasted good, but it was very fragile, possibly because I might have rolled it a little too thinly, so I had difficulties getting a couple of the tartlets out of their tins in one piece.  I’ll have to try it again but not rolled as thinly to see if it’s a problem with the pastry in general or just this particular attempt.  The chocolate isn’t an overpowering flavour in the tartlets, but you can definitely taste it, and it goes wonderfully with the fig and goat’s cheese filling.  All in all, except for the pastry, I’m really pleased with how these turned out!  And they would definitely make an unusual but super-tasty dessert.  Since figs are in season here (did you know that they grow figs in NZ?  I didn’t!), I’m also submitting this to the Simple and in Season blog event over at Fabulicious Food – although the pastry is a bit of a faff, they’re actually super simple to throw together.

Fig, goat’s cheese & chocolate tartlets

Makes 6 tartlets
Pastry recipe from Petits plats entre amis
Filling recipe from my imagination

The number of figs required may differ depending on the size of the figs that you are using.  The rosemary is totally optional, but it adds a subtle flavour that’s a little different and unexpected.  For the chocolate pastry, make sure not to roll it too thin as I found that it’s very fragile and quite difficult to get out of the tins without breaking.  Mini springform pans would be ideal, or silicone bakeware that can easily be “peeled off” the tartlets.  The pastry needs to rest for 2h before being used, so remember to plan accordingly!  The pastry recipe makes twice the amount required for the recipe, so either double the filling ingredients or make something else with it (it works for biscuits).  These tartlets won’t keep very well, so they are best eaten the day they are made.

Ingredients

For the pastry (makes double the amount required):
250g all-purpose flour
200g unsalted butter
120g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp cold water

For the filling:
12 medium-sized figs
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)
100g crumbly creamy goat’s cheese
6 tbsp walnut pieces
6 tbsp honey

Directions

For the pastry:
1.  Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the middle.  Add the rest of the pastry ingredients, and mix together with a fork.  Then, knead together until the pastry comes together and is well incorporated (don’t worry if this seems to be taking a while – it does come together eventually).  Form into a ball, wrap in cling-film and rest for 2h in the fridge.

Assembling the tartlets:
2.  Remove the pastry from the fridge, and allow to acclimatise a little for about 10-15 mins.  Meanwhile butter six 10cm tartlet tins and pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

3.  Split the pastry into six even pieces, and roll each one out individually to fit a tartlet tin.  Make sure not to roll it too thinly (no less than about 6mm).  Line the tins with the pastry, and prick it with a fork.  Line each pastry case with a piece of baking paper and some baking beans, and bake blind for 12 mins.

4.  Meanwhile, quarter the figs.  When the tartlets have been blind-baked, remove from the oven, and remove the baking beans.  Make sure that the pastry case loosens from the tin.  Arrange the fig quarters in the pastry cases (8 quarters per tartlet).  Strip the sprigs of rosemary and sprinkle the leaves evenly between the tartlets, followed by the crumbled goat’s cheese and walnut pieces.  Drizzle 1 tbsp of honey over each tartlet and bake for 15-20 mins.

5.  Once baked, allow the tartlets to cool a little in their tins (the liquid will bubble down a bit and become a little less liquid-y) before turning out onto a wire rack.  Eat warm or cooled.

Enjoy!

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World Domination vs. mini-croissants

For this month’s Random Recipe challenge, Dom banked on the high likelihood that food bloggers received at least one recipe book for Christmas.  The theme is “new year, new book“, which I think is pretty self explanatory – this month’s recipe had to be chosen from our newest book.  As correctly predicted by Dom, my newest recipe book was, indeed, a gift for Christmas.  It was a wonderful gift from my friend Emma, whom I went to visit in Paris to bring in the New Year.  It wasn’t just a recipe book, it was a recipe gift set.  Although I didn’t immediately realise that.  On opening the gift, my eyes were drawn to the shiny part and I thought she’d given me some sort of torture implement to help me on my way with my (not so) secret plan for World Domination.  I then saw the accompanying book entitled Mini-croissants pour l’apéritif, and realised that it wasn’t a torture implement at all but a mini-croissant cutter.  Uhm, hello amazing idea (the croissant cutter, not torture.  Obviously.).

The random number generator on my trusty calculator directed me to a recipe for goat’s cheese and rosemary mini-croissants.  How yummy do those sound?!  So with the deadline for the challenge rapidly approaching (not that it’s today or anything, ahem) I put my plans for World Domination on the back-burner (for now) and decided to give these mini-croissants a go.  I wasn’t dreading making them or anything, I just haven’t been organised enough.  Speaking of lack of organisation, I totally failed to take part in last month’s Random Recipe challenge.  And you know why?  Because we left for France a whole two days earlier than I was expecting, and when I realised this it was too late because the recipe required overnight soaking.  I will eventually make that recipe though.  I might need to work on my planning skills before World Domination becomes a reality.

In the meantime, I’m all about the mini-croissants.  They are so cute!!  And delicious!!  I clearly need to work on my croissant-rolling skills, but I’ll let myself off since these were my first try.  I didn’t make the puff pastry, so these were super-quick and easy to prepare.  Which is always a good thing.  The original recipe called for pine nuts rather than walnuts, but guess who forgot to check whether we had any pine nuts?  Ya, me.  How did you guess?  The walnuts worked perfectly with the goat’s cheese and rosemary though, so potential disaster was averted.  I wasn’t sure whether these would come out a bit dry, but they came out perfect.  If I didn’t have to share them with my mum, I could easily have inhaled the whole batch!

Goat’s cheese, walnut & rosemary mini-croissants

Makes 16-18 mini-croissants
Adapted from Mini-croissants pour l’apéritif

These are perfect to serve as little appetisers, or as a savoury snack, and are delicious whether served warm or cold.  Using shop-bought puff pastry is absolutely fine (I usually do), though do make sure that it’s good quality butter-based pastry (rather than margarine or something).  For the goat’s cheese, I used a soft and crumbly cheese, but I’m sure a grated hard goat’s cheese or even a creamy goat’s cheese would work, although the flavours and texture would change a little.

Ingredients

200g puff pastry
3 sprigs rosemary
80g fresh goat’s cheese
20g chopped walnuts
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 egg yolk

Directions

1.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2.  Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thickness.  Use the roller to cut out 18 little triangles.  If you don’t have a mini-croissant roller, use a knife to cut strips of pastry of about 8cm in width.  Then divide these strips into triangles (the base should be about 9.5 cm wide).

3.  Strip the rosemary leaves from the sprigs, chop and set aside.  In a small bowl, mix the goat’s cheese, chopped walnuts and some freshly ground black pepper (add to taste) together.  Deposit about ½ a teaspoon of the cheese mixture at the base of each triangle, and sprinkle with a small pinch of the chopped rosemary (there should still be some rosemary left over once all the triangles are done).

4.  Starting from the base of the triangle, roll the triangle up towards the tip to form a croissant, sealing them as best as possible (to prevent the filling from leaking out whist baking).  Place the mini-croissants on the baking tray.

5.  Brush the croissants with the egg yolk (add a couple of drops of water if the egg yolk is too thick) and sprinkle with the remaining chopped rosemary.  Bake for 20 mins, until golden.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Recipes, Savoury Foods

Breakfast Club #11: Goat’s cheese & rosemary muffins

This month’s Breakfast Club challenge is hosted by Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe, and the theme is “Savoury vegetarian.”  Sounds straightforward enough, but it was actually a real challenge for me, because I’m not really a savoury breakfast person – sweet breakfasts all the way, thanks very much.  Still, that’s the whole point of a challenge, so time to bite the bullet and come up with something savoury (I wasn’t too worried about the vegetarian thing – I’m not a fan of meat in the morning anyway, so that was unlikely to be an issue).

So, a savoury breakfast.  Gosh.  I’m a total cheese fiend I quite like cheese, and will happily eat it at pretty much any time of day, and I absolutely love muffins, so I decided to go down the cheesy muffin route.  I had some goat’s cheese in the fridge that conveniently needed using up, and some rosemary in the freezer that also needed using up, and they happen to make a lovely combination, so I decided to give goat’s cheese and rosemary muffins a go for breakfast this morning.

The problem with making muffins for breakfast is that they take forever to make.  Well, ok, not forever, but I’m a pretty impatient person, especially in the morning.  But oh they are so worth it.  Yummy.  They’re tasty both warm or cold, and whilst lovely for breakfast, they would also work wonderfully as picnic food, or an afternoon snack (I might be munching on one as I write this).  I have to admit though, I’m still firmly in the sweet breakfast camp.

Goat’s cheese & rosemary muffins

Makes 16 muffins
Adapted from Mad About Muffins

These are lovely warm, but are also super tasty when cool, which makes them great for picnic food.  The original recipe calls for thyme rather than rosemary, and I’ve made both versions, and they’re both yummy, so really just use whatever you’ve got to hand (assuming it will go with goat’s cheese).  Using a goat’s cheese log with a soft rind means that you don’t have to remove the rind and it will melt into the muffins.  Also, using a cheese that hasn’t matured too much means that it will be easier to cut and separate.  If you’re making these for vegetarians, do make sure you choose a goat’s cheese suitable for vegetarians.

Ingredients

200g goat’s cheese
100g butter
300g all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
15g caster sugar
Pinch salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5g fresh rosemary (about 5-6 sprigs) + extra for topping
2 eggs
185ml milk

Directions

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C.  Grease and flour 16 muffin tins sections, or line with paper liners or set out silicone moulds.  Roughly chop the goat’s cheese into 1cm dice.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan.

2.  Sift the flour, baking powder, caster sugar, salt and pepper into a large bowl.  Tip any bits of black pepper that haven’t gone through the sieve.  Strip the leaves from the rosemary and roughly chop them, before adding to the dry ingredients, stirring well.

3.  In another bowl, beat the eggs and milk together with a fork.

4.  Pour the egg and milk mixture and the melted butter to the dry ingredients, and fold together with a metal spoon until just combined.  Then add the diced goat’s cheese, and fold in gently (try not to over-mix).  Spoon the batter into the muffin tin sections/liners/moulds.  Top each muffin with a small sprig of rosemary to decorate (optional).

5.  Bake for 22-25 mins until golden and well risen and the tops spring back when gently pressed (watch for hot cheese).  Transfer to a wire rack to cool before eating (though they are also tasty warm).

Enjoy!

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Filed under Recipes, Savoury Foods