All posts tagged party food

Beet and Goat Cheese Tart

Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman-Author of  The Desk and The Stove

Beet & Goat Cheese Tartlets with Rosemary and Caramelized Shallot

I love being an ex-pat. The opportunity for kvetching is endless – both about my own country and my adopted one. Yet, I will remain resolutely patriotic when it comes to one vital ingredient: our food sense. Sure, we may have invented McDonalds, but, really, it is just a part of our continued legacy – transforming something from the old world into a tastier and more commercially viable product (hint, a dash of sarcasm).

That being said, my tasty beet and goat cheese tart is my response to the British affinity for pies. I think you will agree; this goat cheese and beet version is a bit more sophisticated than the quintessential steak and kidney (although, I have to say I am a HUGE fan of steak and ale pie for a proper Sunday lunch).  Despite its rather dainty appearance, it is still quite hearty and packs a punch with flavor.  The goat cheese melts into the filling and the truffle oil perfectly pairs with the earthiness of the beets. You can use ready-made pastry dough if you’re in a hurry, but the recipe given really complements the filling – and it can be used for a variety of other ones as well!

With the self-contained pastry case keeping the tarts a fun-size, I think it’s the prefect party canapé for an winter soiree. Just rock one of Jess’s amazing party frocks and you are set to go!!!!



125 g all purpose flour

75 g butter, room temperature and cut into smallish lumps, plus a bit extra for greasing

40 g parmesan, finely grated

Cayenne pepper

1 large egg, beaten



3 large shallots, chopped into thin slices (julienne)

2 beets, cooked and diced

2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped

110 g goat cheese

25 g butter

120 ml light cream

¼ tsp mustard powder (or ½ tsp mustard)

Truffle oil

Cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper


For the pastry dough:

1)   Sift the flour into a large bowl, then, using a knife, cut the butter into the flour until it is evenly distributed.

2)   Add the grated Parmesan, a pinch of cayenne pepper and about 1½ tablespoons of cold water.  Mix thoroughly using your fingertips until you have a smooth dough.

3)   Wrap the dough with saran wrap and rest in the fridge for at least 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

4)   Once the dough has rested, roll it out as thin as possible and use a cutter to cut 12 rounds.  Grease the tin trays (or cupcake holders!) with a bit of butter and line them with the dough, allowing it to stand a bit above the rims to allow for shrinkage.

5)   Prick the bases with a fork and brush a bit of beaten egg all over.  Cook for about 10 minutes (or until just cooked), rotating half way through. Set aside for later use.


For the filling:

1)   Sauté the shallots in a bit of butter on low heat for approx. 30 minutes. They should caramelize on their own, but add a bit of natural cane sugar to help the process along.

2)   In a separate pan, sauté the already cooked beets in the truffle oil, season with salt and pepper and add a bit of the chopped rosemary.

3)   Whisk the egg with the cream and mustard into a jug and season with salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne pepper.

4)   Mix together the shallots with the beets and rosemary in a separate bowl.  Spoon a bit of the mixture into each pastry case, spreading it out evenly.  Pour the egg mixture over it.

5)   Cut the cheese into thin slices, making a round with your fingers as the cheese will be soft. Put a slice on top of each tartlet and garnish with a bit more of the beet and rosemary and a dash of cayenne pepper.

6)   Bake for 20 minutes or puffy and golden, rotating the pan half way through.

7)   Let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove from tins/ cupcake holders but remember to serve them warm!!! Yummm.

Tasty Tip: Corn Fritters with Sweet Potato Puree & Stuffed Mushrooms

Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of The Desk and The Stove


Give thanks to the bounty of the harvest this November with two delicious party canapés: Corn Fritters and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. Served with sweet potato purée and crème fraîche, the delicious little fried corn fritter pancakes combines the crunch of corn with the heat of red chili, the richness of sweet potato and the acidity of crème fraîche for a bite-sized portion worthy of your deepest gratitude.

Stuffed mushrooms are a classic party canapé  – The Hostess Handbook suggests serving up yours with the unique combination of ginger and cheese – sounds weird but it’s absolutely delicious! The ginger gives a subtle heat that complements the strong earthiness of the mushrooms and the Gorgonzola. The Parmesan provides a nutty flavour and the herbs freshen it all up – this is one stuffing sure to impress!

The best thing about these two canapés? They serve as double-duty recipes – reuse the Sweet Potato Purée on your Thanksgiving table instead of the traditional mashed potatoes – it’ll be a sweet surprise for both you and your guests. Use a variation of the stuffing in the Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms for your Thanksgiving turkey – remove the cheeses and add some chestnuts and diced apples for a really tasty accompaniment to the bird. You’re welcome J

Sweet Potato Purée (Serves 6)

2 large sweet potatoes

4 sprigs of parsley, chopped

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 clove of garlic, de-peeled and crushed

2 tbl butter

20 g grated Gruyere cheese

1- Put the sweet potatoes in a pot and cover with cold, unsalted water.  Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.  Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and set aside.

2- Heat up 1 tbl of butter in a small saucepan.  Sauté the sliced shallot and garlic and season with salt and pepper.

3- Deglaze with a splash of white wine and add the chopped parsley.  Add the sweet potato chunks and puree with a hand blender or food processor.

4- Put the saucepan back on the stove at low heat.  Add 1 tbl of butter and the grated Gruyere cheese and mix together until melted throughout.  Set aside for garnish with the corn fritters or serve on its own as a side dish – perfect for Thanksgiving!

Corn Fritters (Makes 20-24)

1 corn on the cob

280 g self-rising flour

6 eggs, whites and yolks separated

2 fl oz milk

1 tsp salt

5 sprigs cilantro, chopped

Pinch of red chili flakes

Vegetable oil

Crème fraîche

1- Mix the flour, corn, egg yolks, salt, chopped cilantro and red chili flakes together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites into soft peaks.

2- Fold in the egg whites to the flour mixture.

3- Heat up the vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Drop tablespoon measurements of the dough into the frying pan and fry for 1-2 min on each side. Remove and drain off the excess oil on kitchen towel.

4- Serve with a drop of the sweet potato purée and crème fraîche on top.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (Makes 24)

24 small Portobello mushrooms

4 large shallots, finely chopped

100 g shitake or oyster mushrooms, finely chopped

2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped

6 sprigs of parsley, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ tsp grated ginger

40 g breadcrumbs

150 g Gorgonzola Dolce cheese, cut into small chunks

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 large egg

2 tbl butter

Salt and Pepper

1- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat up the butter in a small sauté pan and sauté the chopped shallots, garlic, ginger and chopped mushrooms together on medium heat until slightly translucent (approx 3-5 min). Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes in a medium bowl.

2- While the stuffing is cooling, clean the Portobello mushrooms and set them in a lightly oiled baking tray with the stem side up.

3- Once the stuffing has cooled down, mix in the cheeses, breadcrumbs and egg. Combine to create the stuffing.

3- Fill the mushrooms cavities with mounds of the stuffing, pressing to adhere and bake until the mushrooms are tender and the stuffing just begins to brown. (approx. 20-25 min).


Tasty Tip: Trio of Tapas with Saffron Aioli










Contributing Chef: Abby Reibman- The Cooking Queen!

For more recipes by Abby:

Trio of Tapas with Saffron Aioli (Serves 4-6)

After a week of soaking up the rays on the Costa del Sol and watching Flamenco dancing in Seville, back in London, I am definitely missing the heat. And not just the weather: ¿dónde están las tapas?!! From the spicy chorizo, shhh, don’t tell my Jewish parents I’m cooking pork, to the piquant sauce in the patatas bravas, these dishes are guaranteed to add fiery passion to any gathering. While I may not be eating my way through the tapas streets of Spain, I can certainly recreate the atmosphere at home. Great conversation pieces, the variety of dishes allows you to pick and choose while you sip your cerveza (or sangria!) These are the perfect party dishes, if you are like my sister, Rachel, sharing is a prerequisite.

Serve with bread, slices of Manchego cheese and Manzanilla olives, no tapas is complete without a bit of aioli – this saffron variety hits the spot! Don’t forget to soak the bread in the leftover sauces. ¡Buen apetito!


Patatas Bravas

1/2 pound of new potatoes

2 vine tomatoes, concasse and diced into small cubes

½ white onion, chopped into thin slices (julienne)

2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped

1 garlic clove, made into a paste with salt

Olive oil

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Pinch of paprika

Salt and pepper

Chopped parsley for garnish

1-    Sauté the garlic paste with olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat (1-2 minutes).

2-    Add the sliced onions and cook until translucent (3-5 minutes).

3-    Add the diced tomatoes and cook for about 7 minutes. Deglaze with a bit of water. Deglaze with water and season with pepper, red pepper flakes and a pinch of paprika.

4-    Cook for a further 5 minutes until you have a nice, thick sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside until needed.

5-    Wash and cut the potatoes into quarters.  Put them in a bowl and toss them with the chopped rosemary, olive oil and salt and pepper.

6-    Spread out the potatoes on a baking sheet and cook for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, turning them over half way through.

7-    Put the cooked potatoes in a tapa plate (they should be nice and crispy!) and pour the reheated sauce on top.  Garnish with the chopped parsley.


Saffron Aioli

 1 egg yolk

½  tbl Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, made into a paste with salt

4-5 threads of saffron

Olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice

Splash of red wine vinegar

1-    Put the saffron threads in a small bowl and cover with a bit of warm water.

2-    Blend the egg yolk, Dijon mustard and garlic paste in a food processor. Transfer to a small bowl.

3-    Gently whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream until you have a mayo-like consistency – but, be careful not to break it!!!

4-    Add in a squeeze of lemon juice and a small splash of red wine vinegar.

5-    Add in the water and saffron threads and continue to whisk to a smooth consistency.  Keep tasting and making sure that all the elements are balanced!!


Chorizo al Vino Rioja

½ cup of Rioja

4 inches of chorizo, cut into thin slices

1 sprig of cilantro, chopped for garnish

1-    Sear the chorizo in a sauté pan without oil (very important as the chorizo is super greasy and will release its own oils!)

2-    Pour off the excess fat and deglaze with the wine.

3-    Reduce to a saucy consistency and garnish with chopped cilantro


Pollo al Ajillo

2 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1½ -inch pieces

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 ½ garlic cloves, made into a paste with salt

2 sprig of thyme

1 bay leaves

¼  cup manzanilla sherry

¼ cup chicken broth


Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Chopped parsley for garnish

1-    Rub the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and paprika and the crushed garlic cloves.  Set aside in the fridge for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2-    Sear the chicken pieces on both sides in a large sauté pan with the crushed garlic cloves.  You want them golden (5-6 min per side) but not cooked through.  Set aside on a piece of paper towel to drain, then place in a baking tray.

3-    Remove the crushed garlic from the pan. Cook the garlic paste in a bit more olive oil with the thyme and bay leaf on med-low heat for 1-2 minutes.

4-    Deglaze with a splash of the sherry.  Once it has started to cook off, add the rest of the sherry and the chicken broth. Season with pepper and a bit more paprika.

5-    Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.

6-    Once it has started to boil, remove from the heat and pour over the chicken.

7-    Bake the chicken dish with the liquid sauce until cooked through (about 20-25min).  Remove from the oven, discarding the bay leaf and thyme.

8-    If the pan juices are too thin, transfer them to a sauté pan and reduce.

9-    Serve in a tapa plate and garnish with chopped parsley.