It appears I’ve put on half a stone over Christmas, mind you the expanding waistline comes as no surprise after the over indulgence of the festive period. It’s also a period when the world of blogging can, nay should, fall silent…family, friends and good food are replaced by the constant nagging of the blog-o-sphere. There comes a point when you have to stop thinking ‘Hey! I should be blogging this…’ and actually enjoy what you are doing rather than worrying about photographing it in the right light and documenting it for the world to see, hence two weeks of silence…
This little number here was a Christmas Eve special in the Weston household and it was so good I had to repeat it thrice over for a bunch of friends for New Year’s. My Brother is still bouncing between NYC and London and brought the best of the American Yuletide food glossies out to Switzerland. The trends and traditions stateside seem refreshing after the monotonous, repetitive drivel pumped out in the pages of our food magazines: Nigella and Delia both trying to out goddess each other with ‘naughty’ delights, Oliver being a little bit ‘Waaaaaayyy!’ with stuffing, Hugh putting the you in ‘Rustic’, Ramsay staining the TV with his scrotal features and Pierre-White keeping his eyes peeled for the next Bandwagon.
Strangely this recipe was an on an advert page for Pepperidge farm Brie and was so ludicrously simple it would have been foolish to not give it a try. Many of us have done the baked Camembert or Brie with some torn up bread as a hasty cant-really-be-bothered solution to an appetizer, but this takes it to a whole other level. The puff pastry provides the delicate crust and all you have to do is spoon out something to cut through the cheese, ideally a chutney or piccalilli or if you’re feeling particularly itchy fingered a quick, ‘cheaty’ coulis-chutney combo…
We used blueberries, but raspberries or cranberries will be equally inviting.
1 small punnet of blueberries
2 tbsp red wine or port
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Sweet chilli sauce
1tsp of honey
Put all ingredients in a pan and simmer for 30 minutes or so till the berries are well broken down- do NOT mash the berries- some things cannot be rushed!
The main event: (Serves 4 as a starter)
500g block of puff pastry
1 whole Brie or Camembert
1 egg (for brushing)
The main event is so easy to do: first, preheat the oven to 200C. Take the block of puff pastry and roll it out on a floured surface until 0.5cm thick and then place the Brie or Camembert in the centre.
The next stage involves a bit of nip & tuck: cut off whatever looks like excess and fold up the corners into the middle. You may have to do a little extra trimming, but remember this will be the underside.
Flip over the brie and you are ready to go, but if you wish to be super swanky, go for a little decoration, a simple over and under lattice work with slivers of pastry works a treat and looks like the business (I must admit, some of the folk at New years thought I really looked like I knew what I was doing!).
Break an egg in a bowl and whisk with a fork. Use a brush to coat the pastry with the egg and place the cheesy block on a baking tray and stick it in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry has turned a rich golden colour.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. I was hoping to serve this as part of a canapé selection- no chance. Once you have cut in to the pastry the cheese begins to ooze uncontrollably, cut the concoction into quarters and plate up with a generous dollop of the speedy coulis-chutney.
Warning: don’t even try to attempt eating a whole one yourself!
So begins 2010, I am back in Sussex after flying down the slopes with a plank of wood strapped to my feet, ready to get stuck into planning some new adventures for the summer months, one of which will probably involve a Donkey (much more innocent than it sounds, I can assure you). January looks as though it will be spent back and forth to London doing all the layouts and pictures for ‘The Treehouse diaries’, due to be published on May 4th. Incidentally you can pre-order it on Amazon here! Bit odd considering it doesn’t exist yet and has already been discounted by a few quid! But hey, I haven’t got a leg to stand on…I get all my books off Amazon. Time to start the shameless plugging!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and best of luck in whatever you have up your sleeve for the year ahead! At present, I need to find somewhere to live…
30 sec delay over the mountains on Christmas Eve.