eat in my kitchen

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Tag: feta cheese

Spicy Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

A bag of sun-dried tomatoes fell into my hands while I looked through my pantry shelves and it reminded me of the good times I had with them in summer. With Mr. Cini at his salt pans in Gozo, in my pesto that I used as a spread on a sandwich, mixed with sage and chèvre on juicy zucchini steaks or in my spaghetti with broccoli pesto – so many nice memories! I still put them on my pizza sometimes which we bake every Sunday, but recently I’ve been neglecting this salty concentrate of the summer sun, until today!

A few days ago my Maltese mother Jenny sent me a picture of my favourite snorkeling spot at Dwejra in Gozo and all the nice memories were back in my head. Our summer in Malta, the food, the sea, the hot sun, the salty smell of the air and with these feelings came the urge for a Mediterranean snack! Crunchy ciabatta bread roasted with a little olive oil under the grill, fresh rucola (arugula) leaves, a dip made of feta cheese mixed with sun-dried tomatoes topped with red hot chili peppers – and here it is, summer is back, at least for a few bites!

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

 

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

 Spicy Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

I like to cook the sun-dried tomatoes in a little water for 1 minute to wash of excess salt.

For 6-8 crostini you need

ciabatta bread 6-8 slices
olive oil
feta cheese 200g / 7 ounces
sun-dried tomatoes 5 around 40g / 1.5 ounces
rucola (arugula) leaves a small handful
fresh red hot chili pepper, cut into thin slices, with or without seeds, 1

Sprinkle the slices of bread with a little olive oil and put them under the grill for a few minutes until golden brown and crunchy.

In a small sauce pan, bring the dried tomatoes to the boil in a little water and cook for 1 minute. Take the pot off the heat, rinse the tomatoes and dry them well between kitchen paper. Purée the feta and the dried tomatoes in a blender until well combined.

Spread some rucola leaves on the crostini and top with the tomato-feta dip and a few chili slices (to taste and according to their spiciness).

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

 

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

 

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Rucola Crostini

A Greek Feta Dip with Harissa and Cayenne Pepper on Saffron Bread

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

The Greek stand at the market pokes my weak spot for spreads and nibbles. Bowls full of stuffed vine leaves, bean salad, olives, dips and feta cheese in all kinds of variations, I could always buy a box of each of these delicacies and line them up on my long dining table. Together with some fluffy flatbread and a glass of red wine, this is as good as a holiday!

As much as I enjoy the convenience of just going there and choosing whatever my taste buds feel like, I also like to make my own feta dip with herbs, spices or olives. This time I go for a spicy spread with harissa, cayenne pepper and some fresh red chili peppers. It’s accompanied by my wonderful loaf of saffron bread which I baked especially for this dip as I know and love its sandwich qualities. This yellow spice is strong but not overpowering and always manages to bring in its special flavour. The bread is very aromatic, spongy, juicy, it’s so good that it doesn’t really need a topping, some olive oil sprinkled on top is already heavenly. I could have left it at that but I like the combination of saffron and harissa, there wouldn’t be a better bread for my dip, not even a greek flatbread from the market.

Tomorrow I will share the recipe for the saffron bread with you but here’s my Greek feta dip with harissa and cayenne pepper (which tastes as good on any other tasty, fresh bread):

Mix 200g / 7 ounces of Greek feta cheese crumbled with a fork with 100g / 3.5 ounces of cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. Add 2 teaspoons of dry harissa spice mix and a pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot and spicy) and whip with a fork. I didn’t add any salt as the cheese makes it salty enough. Sprinkle with finely chopped fresh red chili pepper and some olive oil and spread voluptuously on a thick slice of bread. This dip is enough for 4 people as a starter, the 2 of us emptied the bowl in 2 days. It would be great for a picnic or barbecue as well!

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

 

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

 

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

 

Spicy Feta Sandwich with Harissa + Cayenne Pepper

Crisp Golden Rosemary Potatoes with Feta Cheese

Rosemary Potatoes with Feta Cheese

Some days call for a quick lunch or dinner and potatoes are often my solution – apart from pasta, of course. Mashed, fried, baked or in salads, preparations never take too long to create a satisfying meal which won’t leave me hungry. Sometimes when I know that stressful days are ahead, I put a big pot of potatoes on the cooker, enough to be turned into a few delicious meals in the following days. This is perfect when there are fried potatoes on my cooking plan as they should always cool and dry after cooking before you throw them into the hot pan, that way they turn nice and crisp and won’t become mushy. My favourites are the classic version with bacon and onions or a bit lighter and Mediterranean, golden fried potatoes with rosemary. I could leave it at that, good potatoes fried in olive oil with some herbs, sea salt and pepper don’t really ask for more but I’m in the mood for cheese at the moment. I could throw it into anything, like last week’s rocket salad with goat cheese, my Bavarian Obatzda sandwich with camembert or the gnocchi with blue cheese sauce.

So my potatoes get a cheesy add-on as well, in the form of Greek Feta cheese. I cut 500g / 1 pound of small cooked and cold potatoes in half and fry them in olive oil on medium heat until golden on all sides. For the last 2-3 minutes I add the needles of 3 small sprigs of rosemary, they become bitter when fried too long. When the potatoes are nice and crisp I season them with crushed black pepper and coarse sea salt and crumble 150g / 5.5 ounces of Feta cheese on top. A ripe goat cheese would work as well, or an aromatic French cheese like Comté grated and melted on the hot potatoes, so many options!

Rosemary Potatoes with Feta Cheese

 

Rosemary Potatoes with Feta Cheese