Tag Archives: starter

The Food of Love

Last week I cooked a special birthday dinner for Lewis, my boyfriend. It’s become a bit of a tradition that we cook each other a special meal on our birthdays and always try something a bit more excited and difficult than the time before. I already posted about the homemade crab ravioli he made me here.

I spent a whole day researching recipes looking for ideas and 3 hours actually making the meal. I cooked 3 things I’ve never cooked before: crab, monkfish, and meringues. I really enjoyed making it and luckily it went down a charm!

If you’d like any of the recipes please let me know and I’ll write them up!

The starter: Crab salad with avocado and prawns served with crostinis

The main: Monkfish tail with butter bean mash, sautéed fennel, grilled courgette and a roast cherry tomato sauce

Dessert: Rose water meringues in Eton mess

Here’s a few pics! Let me know what you think.

Crab salad starter

I roasted the cherry tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, dried chilli and parsley, and a pinch of sea salt

Monkfish tail with butter bean mash, sauteed fennel and grilled courgette, with a roasted cherry tomato sauce

Rose water meringue eton mess

Mozzarella and Pesto Puff Pastry Squares

I love puff pastry. It is so easy to cook with, you can do so much with it, and it’s tasty! Well, it’s not easy to actually make by yourself, but as I’ve said before, I’m not the amazing baker in the family! I’m the passionate amateur cook.

This is a really simple but tasty recipe for puff pastry squares with mozzarella and pesto. I  often make it with other toppings too, such as goat’s cheese and caramelised onion. You can serve it as a starter with a nice rocket salad, or as a part of a meal; a light lunch perhaps. Plus, it has that added bonus of being vegetarian, so a great dish to make for your veggie friends.

This has very few ingredients and takes hardly any time to cook. I recommend baking the pastry for about 10 mins before adding any heavy toppings, in order to let it puff properly! No one wants unpuffed puff!

Personally, I think it’s best served hot.

Mozzarella and Pesto Puff Pastry Squares

Start to finish time: 30 mins
Serves: up to 12 (as a starter)

Ready rolled puff pastry (if you can get the one on baking paper it’s easier)
Jar of pesto
1 big Mozzarella ball (or about 250g)
2 tomatoes on the vine
12 black olives
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or as per the instructions on the puff pastry. Cut the pastry into evenly sized squares, about 10x10cm. Spread the squares with pesto and place into the middle of the hot oven. While it’s cooking, cut the mozzarella and tomatoes into thin slices, and the olives into halves.

2. When the pastry has puffed and started to golden, take them out the oven and very quickly add the other toppings. 1 slice of tomato, a couple of slices of mozzarella and 2 olive halves to each square. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and put them back into the oven. The quicker you do this stage, the better.

3. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the pastry is perfectly puffed and golden and the cheese has melted. Serve with salad.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Any comments are very welcome, especially if you try out any of my recipes and have any feedback.