Parmesan cheese hearts for Valentine's Day

Parmesan cheese hearts for Valentine’s Day

Parmesan Cheese Sablés

To make about 30, using a 5cm round cutter, slightly less using a heart shaped cutter

These are extremely easy to make, and well worth the effort. It takes no time to make a large batch and keep in the deep freeze until needed. They are perfect with pre-dinner drinks.For a Valentine’s Day celebration, cut the cheese pastry into heart shapes. These are the ideal nibble to go with Champagne, so they make the perfect wedding canapé. I also love them with a good dry Martini http://cookupaparty.co.uk/how-to-make-the-perfect-martini. Bliss. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

100g plain flour

Pinch each of salt, black pepper and cayenne

1/2 tsp dry mustard powder

90g unsalted butter

90g grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

1 egg beaten to glaze Small handful of poppy seeds or sesame seeds

 Method

1. Sift flour into a bowl or food processor and add the salt, pepper, cayenne and mustard powder.

2. Add the butter and rub in or blend until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Add the cheese and mix the dough together until smooth. If should be soft and pliable.

4. Chill for 30 minutes, and then turn out onto a floured surface.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/385F/Gas 5. Gently roll out to a thickness of 1cm. Using a round or heart-shaped cutter, press out the shapes and brush with the egg glaze.

6. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds and place on a flat baking sheet. Bake for approx 12-15 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown, and cool on a wire rack

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Rosemary Focaccia 

This is a very easy bread to make and is ideal party food. Serve with some good quality Italian meats and cheeses as party grazing food. You can get lovely Bresaola beautifully sliced from http://www.vallebona.co.uk . It is also very good with a substantial home made soup for weekend lunch or supper. The dough is wetter than your usual loaf, so add the water gradually if making by hand. You can also use the food processor for mixing and for the first rise. See Tips, below. Happy Baking!

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Ingredients

500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour

2 tsp salt

2 sachets dried easy blend yeast

2 tbsp olive oil

400ml/14fl oz cold water

olive oil, for drizzling

sea salt crystals

fresh rosemary

Equipment – I use a  23 x 33cm (9″ x 13″) Swiss roll tin for my loaves. It needs to be at least 2cm deep.

Method

  1. Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml/10½fl oz of the water into a large bowl. Gently stir with your hand or a wooden spoon to form a dough then knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes, gradually adding the remaining water.
  2. Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, tuck the sides into the centre for about five minutes.
  3. Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size. This would normally take an hour in a warm place, or longer if you put it a cold area.
  4. Tip the dough out of the bowl and spread onto the baking sheet, pushing to the corners, then leave to prove for one hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Press your fingers into the dough to create little hollows. Drizzle the loaves with oil, sprinkle with the sea salt crystals, and put small sprigs of rosemary into the holes you have created. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

TIPS:

  • I find half a loaf does a dinner party for six, so I cut it in half and freeze half of the loaf for another time.
  • It is quite a wet dough, so if you have a Magimix or food processor, you can make the dough in the bowl with the dough blade. Whizz for about a minute. Switch off and leave the dough to rise for an hour in the bowl. Then once it has rise to twice it’s size, whizz again with the dough blade for another minute or so to “knock down”. Once the dough has been knocked back, you can tip it into the baking tin to rise again. Continue as per the recipe above.

 

I devised a couple of new cocktails for the recent Hollywood Christmas Party. The White Liz was named for the hostess who loved it as it is stylish, tasty and packs a punch! The quantities are per cocktail and both designed to be served in a martini glass. Quantities for larger numbers are given on my White Christmas Cocktail post  http://cookupaparty.co.uk/white-christmas-cocktails/

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THE WHITE LIZ

2oz Gin

1oz Cointreau

1/4 oz Velvet Falernum

1/4 oz lime juice

1 x fresh lime leaf finely chopped

Mix in chilled cocktail shaker with finely chopped lime leaves and crushed ice. Shake and serve in a Martini glass.

Garnish – glace cherry on cocktail stick

 

THE RED CARPET

This is a beautiful raspberry red colour and dangerously delicious!

2oz White rum

1oz raspberry puree

1/4 oz lemon juice

1/4 oz raspberry liqueur

Fresh lime for garnish

Mix in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake and pour into a Martini glass

Garnish – thin slice of lime on side of the glass

Bars Open!