Monday, May 2, 2011

a couple of tasty appetizers

Pea and Basil Crostini

It's 5pm; I love nothing better than sitting my children down to eat together at the kitchen island while my husband (and guests) relax with a drink and an appetizer. I'm not a "sit down at the table" type for appetizers; I like us to hang around our kitchen island sharing the drinks, food and chat.

Then we pack the kids off to bed; mine go super early, then sit down dinner without them. Bliss...
So in that vein, I'd like to share a couple of my recent appetizers. We had invited a bunch of friends to dinner a couple of weekends ago but babysitters and circumstances meant we ended up having "date night" at home together. I had planned a nice meal nevertheless, and it all started with a little pea and basil crostini. So incredibly simple and yet immensely tasty. I love bread in any way shape or form so a crostini appeals to me endlessly.

Sundried tomato and Artichoke Crostini

Staying in that mode, we had friends to stay with us over the Easter weekend, so another excuse for a bread topped appetizer. I trotted out one of my tried and true creations; based on a whole living recipe. Sundried tomato and artichoke spread. It has feta and toasted pine nuts in it which combined with the other ingredients in the food processor make for a completely delicious crostini.

Sorry I'm only getting around to writing these up today; it's been a very busy time here and I'm heading home to Ireland with the kids on wednesday. Watch this space for inspiring menus from our visit; the last time we visited home, my creative cooking got a major boost by having a break from cooking everyday. We stay with family when we're at home and most are excellent cooks, so I find it very inspiring for my own cooking.

The kids and I will be over there for almost a month and my husband will bring up the rear in a couple of weeks time. Then we'll all head to Scotland to see his family and attend his sister's wedding. All good! I hope to post some interesting bits, here and there, from our travels and give a few plugs for my favorite eateries along the way.

In the meantime try these out.

I make my costini with whatever bread I have on hand. I tend to buy and freeze french breads and ciabattas with these in mind. Then I slice the bread approx 1/2 thick, brush a little olive oil on both sides and toast in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes, turning the toasts over halfway.

Pea and Basil Crostini

Pea and Basil Crostini (a big hit with my kids)


1 bag of frozen peas
a handful of basil (or mint) leaves
a small glug of olive oil (approx 2 teaspoons)
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and cook the peas for approx 2 minutes
  2. Drain the peas and place in the food processor with the basil and olive oil
  3. Pulse until almost smooth
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Smear on the crostinis

Sundried Tomato and Artichoke Crostini

Sundried tomato and Artichoke Crostini


1 9 oz box of frozen artichokes (defrosted)
1/2 cup low fat feta
1 garlic clove
the zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (oil packed)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place everything except the pine nuts in the food processor and pulse until still a bit lumpy; it's nice the be able to distinguish the different ingredients in each bite.
  2. Stir in the pine nuts and season.
  3. Smear on the crostini
I have made this a day ahead of time for a party and it worked out perfectly


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