Parmesan Biscuits with Pesto Cream

“As a caterer I’m always looking for new tasty treats that are easy to prepare but pack a punch in the taste department.  These tasty little morsels certainly do that! The Parmesan biscuits are based on a recipe from a book called “Canape” by Victoria Blashford-Snell and Eric Treuille and the pesto cream was a combination of a few leftover ingredients I had in my fridge.  The combination of the salty richness of the biscuits and the creamy pesto topping is quite addictive and we ended up polishing off all of them in one sitting.  These will definitely become a staple on my catering menu from now on.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients

For the biscuits

  • 120g finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 tsp Keens curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 90g chilled butter

For the pesto cream

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Juice and rind of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • 200g cream cheese
  • Extra shaved Parmesan to garnish
  • Italian Parsley

Method

  1. Put the Parmesan cheese, flour, curry powder and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
  2. Remove to a bowl and knead together until all the ingredients have come together into a ball.
  3. Roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 5mm and cut out small biscuits using a cookie cutter.
  4. Place on a lined baking tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 180 degrees C then leave to cool on a wire rack.
  6. For the pesto combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
  7. Remove pesto from the food processor and add the cream cheese with 2-3 tbsp of the pesto mixture.  (You can freeze the remaining pesto for a later date)
  8. Put pesto cream in a piping bag and pipe a small mound onto each biscuit.
  9. Top with a small sprig of parsley and shaved Parmesan.

Pink Salmon Profiteroles

“Sometimes I try new things on my catering menu that look fabulous on the plate but are time-consuming to produce and hard to get out to the public quickly.  That’s when I fall back on old standards that have worked for years but add a small twist.  This recipe has been made by my mum for years as a filling for vol au vents.  We always loved it and she could never make enough of them to satisfy us.  With a couple of small twists I’ve turned it into a bite-size canape that looks great and tastes fabulous.  For this recipe I buy a bag of 20 small profiteroles for about $4.50.  (No point making them for that price!) Here’s to those retro recipes that never go out of fashion.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • butter
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 3 tbsn plain flour
  • 1 tbsn Keens curry powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 x 400g tin red or pink tuna
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbpn baby capers
  • Fresh dill
  • 20 small profiteroles
  • Watercress

Method

  1. Finely dice the onion and garlic and cook in a small amount of butter until soft.
  2. Heat the milk.
  3. Melt 2 tbsn butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour cooking off for a minute.
  4. Slowly add warm milk to butter and flour, whisking constantly to remove lumps.  Keep stirring over a low heat until the sauce thickens.
  5. Add salt pepper and the curry powder then remove from the heat.
  6. Crumble the salmon and remove any skin and bones.  Add to the white sauce and stir through with the lemon zest, finely diced dill and capers.
  7. Refrigerate until needed.
  8. To serve warm the filling slightly and cut the tops off the profiteroles.
  9. Spoon the mixture into the profiteroles and garnish with watercress and dill.

 

Peppered Beef and Horseradish Cream Toasts

“I’ve had this recipe on my catering menu for a while now and always get great comments about the brilliant combination of flavours.  We all know that beef and horseradish are a match made in heaven but with the addition of the roast capsicum sauce and cucumber it becomes a party in your mouth with every bite!  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 50g Horseradish cream
  • 100g Sour cream
  • 2 Capsicums
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 4 tbsp Kecap Manis
  • Semi-dried tomatoes
  • Lebanese cucumber
  • 600g Rump steak
  • Ground black pepper
  • French bread stick
  • Olive oil spray
  • Sprigs of tarragon

Method

  1. Combine horseradish cream with sour cream.  Set aside.
  2. Cut and de-seed capsicums, drizzle with olive oil and salt and roast in a hot oven until flesh is soft and skin is starting to blacken.
  3. Place cooked capsicums and any juice from the pan in a sealed container and when cool enough to handle peel the skins off.
  4. Place capsicums and juices in a blender with kecap manis and blend until smooth.  Season to taste and set aside.
  5. Peel and de-seed the cucumber and cut into 5cm battens.  Set aside.
  6. Cut the bread stick into 1cm slices, spray with olive oil and bake in a moderate oven for 3 minutes each side.  Set aside.
  7. Grind pepper and salt onto one side of the beef and cook in a griddle pan until medium rare.  Repeat with the other side and leave to rest.  When cool cut into 1cm strips.
  8. Assemble by spreading the French stick slices with the horseradish mixture.  Wrap some cucumber and semi-dried tomato in a beef strip and place on top.  Finish with a dollop of the roast capsicum sauce and a sprig of tarragon.

Mushroom Pate

“This is such a useful recipe to have in your repertoire.  I use it when catering either on olive bread (as shown) or in pastry cups served with port caramelised onions.  You can also use it to stuff inside chicken breasts or in a beef Wellington.  Or just eat it by the spoonful!  The earthy flavour of the mushrooms complement the sweetness of the onions perfectly and is a great addition to any cheese platter.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 100g eschalots (or red onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 700g Swiss brown mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup port
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • 150g butter
  1. Pour hot water over the porcini mushrooms to rehydrate them.
  2. Finely dice the eschalots and cook until translucent in a small amount of butter.
  3. Add the finely chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Chop the porcini and Swiss brown mushrooms into small pieces and add to the pan.  Once they have softened add the thyme, port and lemon juice and simmer until most of the liquid have evaporated.
  5. Transfer mixture to a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Chop the butter into small chunks and add to the pate until incorporated.
  6. Transfer to 2 ramekins and cover with clarified butter.

Port Caramelised Onions

  • 4 red onions
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Port
  1. Dice onions and cook in a pan with a small amount of olive oil.
  2. Stir in sugar and cook on medium heat until onions have softened and taken on some colour.
  3. Add half the Port and stir occasionally until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Repeat with the remaining Port and cook until the onions are dark shiny, adding more Port if necessary.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and serve with mushroom pate and Olive bread

Salmon Roulade

“This recipe is a little bit fiddly to put together but always impresses with its delicate look and classic combination of flavours.  Even though it takes a little longer to assemble at a catering event it’s well worth the wait.  Enjoy!”

Crepes

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  1. Beat together the milk and eggs.
  2. Add flour and salt and mix until combined.
  3. Stir in melted butter and chopped dill and let rest for an hour.
  4. Lightly butter a crepe pan and pour batter into the center, swirling until it fills the pan.  Turn crepe before it gets too much colour and cook the other side.  Should make up to 6 crepes.  Leave to cool.

Filling

  • 80g Crème fraiche
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g smoked salmon
  • Baby capers
  • Dill sprigs
  • Monkfish caviar
  1. Cut 2 ends of the crepes so you’re left with 2 flat sides and 2 round sides.
  2. Mix the crème fraiche, lemon zest and salt together and spread a thin layer over the cooled crepe.
  3. Top with smoked salmon until it comes 3/4 of the way up the crepe.
  4. Lay a row of baby capers at the bottom end and tightly roll the crepe up.  Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. To serve unwrap the roulade and cut into 1.5cm rounds.  Top with a small dollop of crème fraiche, 2 baby capers, a sprig of dill and a small amount of the monkfish caviar.

 

Chicken and Leek Pies

“This is my partner’s favourite item off my catering menu.  For most events I make a huge batch of them and they fly off the plate.  I also do different fillings including Moroccan Lamb, Massaman Beef Curry and Mushroom for my vegetarian clients.  Having a pie maker makes life much easier as long as I can stop people from eating them before they make it to the venue.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 2 large leeks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 500g chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups diced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 100g Parmesan cheese
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsn plain flour
  • 3 sheets short crust pastry
  • 3 sheets puff pastry (egg wash optional)

Method

  1. Rinse and dice leeks, dice garlic and fry in a pan with olive oil until soft.
  2. Add diced chicken thighs and simmer until meat is cooked through.
  3. De-glaze with white wine and add diced mushrooms.
  4. When wine has been cooked off add stock, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and simmer for 15 minutes.  Season to taste.
  5. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to incorporate.  Let mixture cool completely.
  6. If using a pie maker cut round out of the shortcrust pastry for the base and puff pastry for the tops.  Spoon filling in and cook to manufacturers instructions (usually about 7 minutes)
  7. If cooking in the oven line the base of a pie tin with short crust pastry, spoon filling in and top with puff pastry.  Brush egg wash over the top and cook until pie is golden brown.