Tag Archives: spread

Easy Peasy Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip

4 Oct

Five ingredients and done in practically no time. Here’s a great dip to pep up your evening meal.

Was looking around for something quick to make to go with bread (that’s low carb please!) and salad for a light dinner this evening and stumbled on this easy recipe. Continue reading

Homemade Butter

6 Dec

Homemade Butter

I would never have thought that you could make butter at home until DH asked me what kinds of plain butter you could buy. He needs some for an upcoming seminar. Well, I know that there’s salted butter but that’s not easy to come by here (Germans prefer the unsalted variety) although there is a french brand called President which makes butter with sea salt. I bought it once and it was well.. what do you expect – salty. Then I bought some handmade butter from a market stand but that tasted a bit rancid. It was also more expensive than the stuff from the supermarkets.

I then had the idea of looking on the internet and quickly found a recipe with video here. This is a very informative tutorial. Do take a look. Continue reading

Fig and Anchovy Spread (Fig Anchoiade)

28 Sep

Oh goodness! I found this unposted blog entry sitting in my draft box. I had meant to post it before leaving on vacation but my computer crashed and I never got around to finishing it. Not going to waste sharing a good recipe so here it is, a couple of months late.

Since I was having guests over for dinner some time in July this year and wanted to serve an appetizer platter, I needed another ‘dip thing’ to go with the tapenade I had already made. After searching around, I settled on a fig and anchovy spread which I found in a blog called Jakob’s Bowl. Interesting combination!

One site I googled said that figs ‘contain good levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. Dried figs contain an impressive 250mg of calcium per 100g, compared to whole milk with only 118mg.’ Another site mentioned anti-cancer properties. About.com says that ‘anchovies are often that secret ingredient that you just can’t put your finger on, the one that really makes the recipe pop.’

Furthermore, the blog entry sounded so convincing, it won me over. The recipe looked easy enough – it was a one-piece-of-equipment job and I like recipes which do not require using a lot of equipment. I went out and bought everything except the orange water as I wasn’t about to buy a bottle just to use 1 teaspoon!

I then set about making the anchoïade about two days before the dinner. While puréeing everything, the consistency didn’t look right and on tasting the purée, I found it salty – my anchovies were veeery saaaaalty – so I added another 2 figs. Phew, I didn’t have to throw it all away. Michael, the author of Jakob’s Bowl was right. This spread gets better every day it stands so it is a must that you make it in advance and leave it in the fridge for the flavours to develop. Sweet and salty at the same time. Spread on little pieces of toasted low carb bread or toasted baguette slices. My guests were very impressed.

Following is the recipe from Jakob’s Bowl which was adapted from one by Austin de Croze of Le Trésor Gastronomique de la France. I found the recipe somewhere else as well, using fresh figs, and the ingredients had again been adapted. I’m listing Jakob’s Bowl’s version, halved and free for you to adapt further to suit your taste. It made quite a bit, especially after I dumped in another two dried figs. These extra figs are not included below. I would suggest you add the anchovies bit-by-bit, tasting as you go.

Update 7/11/2011 – I mentioned above that I found another recipe using fresh figs. A couple of days ago, I saw some fresh figs in the supermarket and I thought, it’s now or never, buy them and try out the anchoïade using fresh figs to compare both recipes! Now let me make it clear that I am not a fig fan. In fact, I have never bought a fresh fig in my life especially since they don’t grow where I come from and are expensive. So to start off, the pureed fresh fig taste, didn’t gel with me at all. Anyway, I followed the recipe to the T. The result – hmmm, both my husband and I both said – this doesn’t taste good at all. I thought the spread would taste better a few days later, just like the version below made with dried figs but no, it didn’t get any better. It was also pink in colour – of course, fresh figs are pink inside. Texture-wise the whole spread was too ‘wet’ for my liking. Since no one wanted to eat the dip, I dumped the whole thing after 3 days. Definitely, anchoïade made with dried figs tastes a lot better. I know I didn’t make a mistake following the recipe because the end result looked like the photo in the recipe I used. Conclusion – unless you really like fresh figs, make your anchoïde using dried figs – the end result will taste better.

Fig  and Anchovy Spread (Fig Anchoïade)

3 dried figs (white, black or mixed), soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and drained

1/2 red bell pepper, roasted and skin removed

2 oz anchovy fillets packed in oil

1 clove garlic

9 blanched almonds

small handful flat leafed parsley

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

black pepper to taste

juice of quarter lemon

2 1/2 oz extra virgin olive oil (add bit-by-bit)

Put everything in a food processor except for the anchovies and oil. Put in only half the anchovies first. Turn on the food processor and add the oil in a slow steady stream. I only used half the oil. Watch the purée. It should be of a spreadable consistency. Taste the purée and if you think you can still add more anchovies, then go ahead. Otherwise, put the anchoïade into a glass jar and let it stand in the fridge till ready to use.

My nutritional info calculator says that this recipe contains 35gr of net carbs. You can spread quite a lot of little pieces of bread with this.

Print this recipe – Fig and Anchovy Spread

A Taste of Provence – Tapenade

4 Jul

Fresh back from our holiday in France, I am trying to prolong the holiday mood by cooking southern French food. We had two weeks of pure sunshine in Antibes and we’ve been back a week now – what have we had? Two days of light rain, two days of sun, one bad storm followed by occasional showers and cloudy skies. So we really need something to bridge the time till the next vacation.

Having visited the Provencal market several times in Antibes, I noticed that there were many stalls selling appetizers like olives, sundried tomatoes, herbs and tapenades. The market wasn’t very big but there were at least 5 stalls selling the same sort of thing. The place was teeming with tourists. I quite doubt that very many locals do their shopping there, preferring to go to the big Hypermarché’s where you can spend hours and get everything under the sun.

There are people who like olives and those who don’t and I belong to those who don’t. I’ve seen recipes for tapenades and have often steered clear of them until one day, I was served an amuse-bouche in a restaurant which consisted of a tiny slice of baguette with the infamous tapenade. It was actually quite delicious. So when I saw these stalls selling tapenade, I stopped to examine what was on offer. I noticed that there were three varieties  – the dark olive one, one made with green olives and a red one made with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes. I made a note to go back on the last day of our holiday to get some but as luck would have it, we were caught up with other things and I sadly never made it back to the market before it closed that day. So that left me no choice but to google for a recipe and make my own. In doing so, I also learnt a bit about what a tapenade is.

The name tapenade stems from the provençal word for capers, tapenas (Occitan pronunciation: [taˈpenɔ]). It is eaten as a dip with raw cut vegetables called crudités or as a spread on toasted slices of baguette or just on bread. Sometimes it is stuffed in or spread over meat and fish before cooking. The base of the tapenade is olives, usually black ones. It is puréed to a paste with olive oil. To vary the flavours other ingredients may be added such as capers, sundried tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, herbs or lemon juice. Some people like to purée it to a smooth paste while others like a slightly coarser texture.

I made this version below today and it was delicious. Serving it on a slice of toasted baguette would be great but since we are low carbing here, I’ve spread them on little slices of a bread roll I made out of my Low Carb Sunflower Seed Loaf dough, recipe found here.

This version has the addition of capers. Capers can sometimes be quite salty so I decided to start with one tablespoon first before proceeding further. I found that one tablespoon was sufficient and so omitted adding the second tablespoon called for below.

Black Olive and Sundried Tomato Tapenade

1/2 cup pitted black olives

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)

a large bunch fresh basil leaves

2 Tbsp capers

4 Tbsp good olive oil, plus more if necessary

Chop the olives and sundried tomatoes a little and place them in a blender. Add the rest of the ingredients. Purée until smooth. If the paste is too thick, add a bit more olive oil and purée till coarse or fine. Spread on bread, garnish with a basil leaf and enjoy! Don’t forget to enjoy this with a small glass of red wine!

Print this recipe – Black Olive and Sundried Tomato Tapenade

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