Appetizers that make you smile

Do you ever wake up startled?  i mean, as far as you are aware you are sound asleep, enjoying an awesome dream (hopefully) when suddenly you sit up and for want of a word shout Eureka! It happened to me recently I woke up with this crazy idea which, of course, I had to put into practice.

Guinea pigs are always fun and I was having some guests over for dinner; why not them?

The recipe was a play on something similar I had many years ago. The thing that got me was the brittleness of the filo pastry. How would it work? Would it be able to withstand the necessary manipulation?

Experiment accomplished – it was a resounding hit. Not only were the baskets spectacular to look at, but the flavor and the aroma – wow!

Here is what to expect: the zing of vinegar, the tartness of the pastry and jam, and the dryness of the cheese complement each other so well that this dish will be made again, and again.

It’s an easy dish to prepare and, I have to say, well worth it.

Blackcurrant and goat cheese baskets
1 packet goat cheese
1 Jar of blackcurrant jam
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
1 packet filo pastry
1 packet fresh arugula salad
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 small red onion
¼ cup of milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Open the filo pastry out and lie it flat on a clear dry surface. Being very careful, fold one sheet into four, then cut down the creases, ensuring that each piece is the same size. Carefully line a ramekin with each of the pieces, trying all the while to not tear each piece as you make your basket.

Once you have made the desired amount (I made 6 this time), place the filo-filled ramekins on a baking tray and bake for seven minutes or until you see the pastry start to color. At this stage, remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Once the baskets have cooled down, using a teaspoon, place a large scoop of the blackcurrant jam inside each.

Using a pastry brush, gently paint the milk onto the cool filo pastry. Be really careful here; the pastry is very delicate.

Open the packet of goat cheese and slicing a ¾-inch-thick piece off, place on top of the jam. Turn broiler on high and slide completed tray inside.

While the cheese is warming up, finely slice the red onion place in a soup bowl and pour over 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar to pickle the onion.

Dress serving plates with arugula, a couple of halved cherry tomatoes and a little of the pickled red onion.

Finally remove your baskets from the oven and place into position on each plate, with the arugula arranged around each basket. (When placing each basket, it is best to leave them inside the ramekins, remember these are hot and the pastry is now really fragile).

Have fun, and most of all enjoy.


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