Brie and chilli jam parcels

I made this little gem of a dish a while ago and thought it was about time that I posted it. A lovely friend of our who is very creative with artwork and in the kitchen gave us a bottle of home-made chilli jam at Christmas time. This jam is lovely – sweet at first but definitely with a bite and just my kind of things. We have had it with cheese and biscuits and the combination works really well.

The evening that I made these parcels, I thought I’d be a little more creative with the chilli jam. It was on a night that I go to pottery class which meant I had about a 30min window between when I returned from work to prepare for this dish. I decided I’d have the parcels on a bed of roast vegetables so I chopped and prepared them.  I also made the parcels ready to bake. The cooking of the dish I left in the hands of my darling husband. I trust him a lot more than myself not to burn stuff in the oven and sure enough, he delivered and they were the most delicious roast vegetables I’ve ever had. The parcels, of course, were the icing on top of the roast vegetable cake. As an added bonus, I didn’t have to scrape any black bits off my food – hooray !

I was so hungry when I returned from pottery that I didn’t stop to take a picture of the finished item when it was nicely plated. Instead, I have one of the lunch I took to work the next day. Do try it and let me know what you think at canwehavesomerasam@gmail.com

Chilli jam and brie parcels on roast vegetables

Chilli jam and brie parcels on roast vegetables: Lunch box version

Ingredients:

For the parcels

375gm (1 pack) of ready-rolled puff-patry sheet (use “light” sheets if you can find them, they are not as greasy)

4 tablespoons of chilli jam

50-80 gms of brie  or more if you like it (I used a French brie I got from the deli counter at Sainsbury’s)

 

For the roast veggies

2 medium sized potatoes, chopped into 2.5 cms chunks

1 sweet potato, chopped into 2.5 cm chunks

2 medium carrots, chopped into 2.5 cms chunks

1 large zucchini/courgette, chopped into 2.5 cms chunks

1 yellow pepper/capsicum, chopped into 2.5 cms chunks

1 red capsicum, chopped into 2.5 cms chunks

1 large red onion, chopped into 2.5 cms chunks

springs of fresh rosemary

3-4 cloves of garlic, still in their skins

4 tablespoons of oil

 

To serve

handful of salad leaves (I used baby spinach)

cracked pepper

feta (optional)

 

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Instructions that still remain on the kitchen board

Method:

1. It says it all in the picture above ;). Start by preheating the oven to 180ºC.

2. Toss the root vegetables – potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes and garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons of oil. Place them on a tray and bake for 20mins until they start to sweat. Turn the vegetables so that their undersides are now facing up.

3. Add the soft vegetables – capsicum/peppers, onions, zucchini/courgettes to the vegetable mix along with the rosemary and remaining oil to the tray in step 2. Cook for 35-45 mins until the root vegetables have gone brown and the soft veggies are sweating.

4. While the veggies are cooking, prepare the pastry. Cut the ready rolled puff pastry sheet into 4. Spread a tablespoon of chilli jam across the pastry sheet so it reaches all the edges (Picture 1 below).

5. In the centre of each rectangles, place 3-4 pieces of brie (or more if you like it – Picture 1 below).

6. Fold each parcel like an envelope using the steps shown in pictures 2 & 3 below. If it is easier, place the rectangle in front of you such that one of the corners is pointing at your belly button. Start with that corner and fold it upwards and away from you. Then, fold in the left and right hand corners over the first fold. Finally, tuck the remaining corner into the centre to form and envelope like shape (Picture 4). I think I even cut some leaf-shaped bits of pastry and stuck them on top as decoration though the baking process hid them in the rest of the layers of puff pastry (they are just about visible in pictures 4 & 5 below).

7. Place the parcels on a separate tray in the oven while the vegetables are about 15 mins from being done. This will ensure that the veggies and pastry are ready at the same time.

8. To serve, place salad leaves on your dinner plate. On the leaves, plate a generous serving of roast veggies and grind some black pepper onto them. If you like feta, you can add this to the roast veggies too. Place one or two chilli and brie parcels on top of the veggies and dive right in.

Well that’s what I did!

Tips:If you’d like to make a gluten free version of this dish, try toasting brie and chilli jam  (until bubbly and melting) between some gluten-free English muffins or gluten-free tortillas and serve them on top of the roast vegetables!

Pictures :

Brie-chilli-jam-method_mod

Brie and chilli jam parcels – method

Asparagus and potato bake

It is amazing what one can find in a fridge if one looks hard enough. I have been on a mission to empty the contents of my fridge ever since my return from a conference trip. This task seems never ending and the more I take out, the more there seems to be. Since Sunday the 5th of May Friday the 10th of May, I have made (1) brie and chive biscuits (2) gouda, chilli and rosemary biscuits (3) a banana raspberry cake (4) a flan aux speculoos (gingerbread flan) (5) fresh yoghurt (6) a yoghurt based curry with spinach (7) eggplant with miso glaze (8) chickpea bread (9) asparagus and potato bake (10) sautéed okra and the fridge is still not empty. You must imagine that I am a veritable fatty eating all this food but I’m not doing too badly….right now at least. In my defence, I shared pretty much all the snack-like/sweet things with friends and colleagues.

Where does the asparagus and potato bake come into this ? Well as you might have guess, I had asparagus and potato – check! On Tuesday night, I went to a friend’s for dinner and she made this amazing eggplant parmigiana with a beautiful tomato sauce (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2876664/roast-aubergine-parmigiana). I also had mozzarella that needed to be used soon. So I decided to put all these things together and make an asparagus-potato “parmigiana” if you will. I then wondered what I’d like to eat it with and bread seemed an ideal candidate. Since our local Sainsbury’s (and most English supermarkets) stock nothing but crap bread, I decided I’d make my own. For bread recipes, I trust a fellow-blogger  Silvia (http://silviascucina.net/) where I came across an interesting take on bread involving chickpea (http://silviascucina.net/2011/10/08/chickpea-garbanzo-beans-bread/). I took it one step further and made it with some chickpea flour and fine cornmeal. The overall result was quite exciting. I was quite pleased with myself before the realisation hit me that there was no way I could eat 2 small loaves of bread and a baking dish full of “parmigiana”. So off it went to the neighbours and they thought it was decent so here I am talking about it.

Do give this recipe a try and tell me what you think! I still can’t get over the fact that everything I put in this dish was in my fridge/pantry/herb garden 🙂

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Asparagus-potato-bake-with-chickpea-bread

Ingredients (Picture 1 below):

15-20 spears of baby asparagus

1/2 a large potato , sliced into 3mm thick slices

400 gms (1 can) of chopped Roma or cherry tomatoes

125 gm ball of mozzarella, halved and then cut into 3mm thick slices

5 pieces of sun-dried tomato, finely chopped

1/2 cup of grated smoked cheddar or grated parmesan

1/2 cup of stuffing mix (I used a toasted chestnut, roasted hazelnut and thyme one)

1 tablespoon of honey

2 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 hot red chilli, finely chopped (optional)

1 tablespoon of thyme, finely chopped

a handful of mint, coarsely chopped (substituted for basil so use basil if you have some)

2 tablespoons of oil

salt to suit your taste

pepper to suit your taste

Method:

1. Grease a baking dish with oil/butter and preheat the oven to 180ºC.

2. Heat the oil in a deep pot and when hot, throw in the asparagus spears. Cook the spears until you see a bit of brown blistering on their skin.

3. Remove the asparagus from the pot and arrange them to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Grind some sea salt over them (Picture 2).

4. Add the potato the the same pot, add a pinch of salt and cook until the pieces of potato start to blister and go brown (Picture 3).

5. Remove the potato slices from the pot and arrange them on top of the asparagus (Picture 4).

6. Sprinkle the potato with the chopped mint and some freshly ground pepper (Picture 4).

7. Top the pot with a tablespoon of oil if required and add the thyme, chilli and garlic to the pot (Picture 5). Cook them until the raw smell of garlic no longer lingers. Don’t let the chilli burn or you will go into a coughing fit.

8. To the chilli/garlic mixture, add the canned tomatoes, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and honey. Season with enough salt to suit your taste (Picture 6).

9. Bring the sauce to a boil and take the sauce off the heat.

10. Arrange pieces of mozzarella on top of the potato layer in the baking dish. Sprinkle half the cheddar/parmesan on top of the mozzarella and grind some more pepper onto the cheese (Picture 7).

11. Pour the tomato sauce on the cheese layer and spread it so that it covers the entire dish (Picture 8).

12. Cover the dish with silver foil and bake for 30-40 mins in the oven (Picture 9).

13. During this time, mix the remaining cheddar/parmesan with the stuffing mix to use as a crunchy topping (Pictures 10 & 11).

14. After 30-40 minutes, remove the silver foil from the dish and check that the potatoes are soft and your knife/skewer should go right through it.

15. Sprinkle the cheddar-stuffing mixture on top of the tomato sauce and bake for another 10-12 minutes until the cheese has melted into a golden brown colour (Picture 12).

16. Serve while warm with some fresh bread (Pictures 13-15) or couscous (Picture 16 and main picture above).

Tips:

1. I find stuffing a more exciting substitute for a breadcrumb topping. Keep a box of it in your pantry and stock up after Christmas when it is usually on sale 🙂

2. After all that, I don’t think I liked the asparagus in the dish so much. I would make it again just with the potato or some other vegetable.

3. If you want to make it a vegan dish, leave the cheese out and use a mixture of breadcrumbs, herbs and olive-spread to make the crunchy topping.

Pictures:

Method for asparagus-potato bake

Method for asparagus-potato bake