Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Goat’s Cheese, Dill and Peach Bites

My favorite restaurant in Atlanta has to be JCT Kitchen and Bar, owned by Chef Ford Fry, and last summer he served me an unforgettable appetizer with goat’s cheese and fresh Georgia peaches. So good it was, that it spurred me on to try my hand at a similar combination this summer.
Peaches and goats cheese really work together in my view, so, I decided to combine my love of quiche and pastry with local peaches, goat’s cheese and dill….and here’s the result. Light, crisp and very tasty…….

Invite some friends over, pull up a deck chair and enjoy this simple appetizer with the perfect glass of chilled chardonnay as we wave summer goodbye. Falling leaves will be here before we know it!

(makes 18 bites)

1 sheet frozen puff pastry

1 small Peach (stoned, peeled and chopped)
3oz goat’s cheese (chopped)
1 sprig of dill (stems removed and leaves chopped)
2 medium egg yolks
½ cup whipping cream
¼ tsp sea salt
pinch of ground pepper (1/8 tsp)
pinch of nutmeg (1/8 tsp)


Thaw pastry at room temperature. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease mini muffin pans with a little melted butter.

Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface. To make pastry cups roll pastry out thinly enough to cut 18 squares (about 14”x 7 ½” rectangle) and use a knife to cut in to 2 ½” squares. Place in to mini muffin pan. Refrigerate pastry while preparing filling.

Whisk the egg yolks with cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg. Cut up goat’s cheese and peaches and chop dill. Remove pastry from refrigerator and divide the goat’s cheese, peaches and dill between cases. Pour just enough egg mixture evenly over cheese to fill cups.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the custard is puffy and pastry crust is golden brown and puffed. Remove from muffin tins.
Best enjoyed warm from the oven.



Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Irish oatcakes..long, long ago!

OK, so how did your oatcakes turn out? The fun thing about these appetizers is that you can create a wide variety of toppings to suit any occasion. Next time I might post some oatcakes with smoked salmon ideas, just for fun…

Now, I did mention that I would add an entry about how old oatcakes really are…well, here it is. The photo above is one we took during a trip home a few years back of an Irish High cross. This wonderful monument was carved in the eighth century for an early Columban monastery in the heartland of Ireland, and can now be found near the village of Moone in County Kildare.

The simple carvings that cover the face of the cross on all sides depict various scenes from the old and new testaments, giving the cross the title of a ’Scripture Cross’. One of those scenes however really caught my eye as I gazed at those ancient carvings, namely the scene in the photo above.

Can you make out what it is?
Or can you tell which famous story it illustrates?
Do you see some fish? Round objects and two snake like creatures?

Well, in actual fact, the carvings illustrate two river trout, two eels and five oatcakes and they re-tell the famous story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Remember He took two fishes and five loaves?

To the Irish people of the eighth century fish and loaves meant brown trout and oatcakes. This remarkable carving gives us an insight into the diet of these Irish people, baking and eating oatcakes over a thousand years ago!

I told you it was a pretty old recipe!!

Have fun…next time I’ll post something that celebrates the coming of Autumn.
Something with apples perhaps? We’ll see.

Take care,