Wednesday, December 30, 2009

To toast in the New Year

About this time of year I begin to contemplate what was .........

as I bid farwell to my three wise men ............

as I contemplate taking down the tree .........

Thoughts turn to festive fare and intrigue as to what the new year will hold . As New Years Eve is nearly upon us , I needed to think up something quick and festive to make as an appetiser for our fun filled night , to be spent with friends. It is the one day of the year when we all stay up - way past our bed time , when the girls have impressed me with their stamina - the record so far is 2.30am . Mum and Dad needed toothpicks to keep the eyelids open .

After much over indulgence in the past few weeks and way too many sweet things , I begin to crave something tangy and moorish to be enjoyed with some wonderful company and Pink Prosecco .

Behold, GG Green and Black Olive Tapenade , a sinch to put together and lots of wow factor .You can toast your own pita or naan bread as an accompaniment , serve it with fresh crunchy peppers, or celery sticks . Also, check out the Smitten Kitchen website ( one of my favourite blogs) and look at the yummy homemade cracker recipes.

GG Green Olive and Black Olive Tapenade
inspired by many recipes

1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 cup pitted green olives
1 small clove garlic
scant handful of flat leaf parsley - no stems
scant handful of walnuts , lightly oven roasted
juice of 1 lemon or to taste
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Lightly roast the walnuts in a 400F oven , until just toasted and allow to cool .

Place all the ingredients in a food processor except the olive oil and pulse a few times . Then add enough olive oil until it holds its shape .

Taste and adjust seasoning by adding some more lemon juice or olive oil .

Serve wither with some fresh vegetables or toasted pita/naan bread.

Allow flavours to develop in the fridge overnight .


Thursday, December 24, 2009

T'is the Season

It has been an interesting year .

I started my catering from home business in October of 2008, had a wonderful year ....... my sister visited during the summer , we enjoyed a wonderful time together . School started and before I knew it , my little gourmet just turned 10 years of age and my little little gourmet will be turning 7 years of age in a couple of weeks .

Then all of a sudden Christmas was staring me in the face .

I love Christmas , I love the fresh Christmas tree we put up every year , I love the collection of ornaments we have amassed over the years and above all I enjoy the anticipation of "what will Santa bring?" on the faces and minds of children . This year we were so busy that I did not even manage one Christmas dinner at home with friends and family ...... I always have a couple of get togethers - it is always an excuse to stop what we are doing , take some time out of our busy lives and have an enjoyable time.

This year the tree had been decorated with angels , tin ornaments and some very rustic looking ornaments - which I just love . As I started to put them on the tree - ably assisted by my little gourmets . I always stop and think about the year that has been , whenever I place the ornament above. This year it is in my kitchen , just above the sink and as I look into its face and the messages it holds - I say and truly believe the following :

"....... we must never lose hope "  AND  " ....... love always abounds" .

So Merry Christmas to my friendly readers and I wish everyone a wonderful New Year filled with "love and hope" .

............. and in closing I leave you with the Snowman my little little gourmet made at school , which she talked about for weeks , and which brought tears to my eyes when she he came home 


............... this is what Christmas is all about .

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Caremalised Onions and Grape Tomato Naan Flatbread

It snowed yesterday. It snowed again overnight , it is still snowing ..... apparently there is huge storm barreling across the plains heading straight this way .

It is also my day to make soup for clients. What a perfect backdrop , cold, lightly falling snow - enough for a quick shovel - but I will tackle that later .

Part of the soup menu was an accompaniment . It was meant to be Naan bread with Z'ataar - my source for Z'ataar mysteriously vanished and I has no time to seek this any further. GG always has plan B in the background .

So there I am staring at several packets of Naan Bread , thinking what to do ? I thought of it would be nice to add some caremilised red onions , grape tomatoes - just bursting , cheese and  a liberal sprinkling of Herbs de Provence . Voila ! in a matter of minutes this delicious Naan Flatbread was prepared and baked in the oven - filling the house with delicious aromas .

The perfect accompaniment to drinks for the holiday season , while enjoying a game of football ....  or savoured with a bowl of steaming soup .

Caremalised Onions and Grape Tomato Naan Flatbread
a Gourmet Goddess original recipe

1 pkt Naan Bread
1 small red onion , sliced medium
1 punnet grape tomatoes , cut in half lengthwise
olive oil
herbs de provence
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
monterey jack cheese

Heat oven to 400F - convection mode

Heat a saute pan , add a little olive oil , add the sliced onion stir until soften , reduce heat if it starts to burn . When the onion softens add the tomatoes and toss until just bursting- you want them to keep their shape.

Add a little salt and freshly ground pepper plus a pinch of herbs de provence . Combine and allow to cool slightly .

Place Naan bread bottom side up on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes - you need to do this step to take out the rawness of the bread .

Remove from oven , turn right side up , sprinkle a little bit of cheese on the bread and then place some of the onion tomato muxture on top . Sprinkle a small amount of cheese on top again - this is just the glue to keep everything from sliding off .

Sprinkle with liberally , or to taste with Herbs de Provence.

Bake for 5-8 minutes until slightly golden on top. Place on a cake rack to cool and then slice into wedges and enjoy .

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Countdown is on ......

We started a tradition several years ago , the Christmas tree is purchased the day after Thanksgiving . While people rush out to the stores for Black Friday shopping , myself and the girls are cooling our heels for Daddy to finish work and make our important purchase for the day . Once we get home , it is usually soup and then the decorations are hauled up from the basement ( ... thanks Deno ) and the countdown begins .

Unfortunately there is no time for the romantic trip to a Christmas tree farm , scouring the fields for the perfect tree, but rather a rendevous with Daddy  , at a big box hardware store ...... and the search begins .It is inevitably a cold night , several years it snowed as we searched for our tree. The girls now have input is the tree is the right shape , is it full enough in the body .... does it fit in our living room ? Is it going to be noble fir or balsam fir ... will the needles drop before Christmas day ? - flashback to  Christmas 4 years ago !!!

But the the most poignant event in the countdown to Christmas is the countdown itself . I purchased a blackboard  about 5 years ago , I did not think much of it , I indeed questioned if it would even be used . It has turned out to be the most anticipated "daily" event in the countdown.

Every morning as the girls come down for breakfast , I hear a pause in the hallway , the erasing of data from the blackboard and the scratchy noise of the chalk. Then the proud announcement ".... it is XX days until Christmas" .

The Christmas stockings will be hung over the coming weekend . The Santa lists have already been typed up - in very cute font - just incase Santa cannot read the writing of a 6 year old ...... I think all that is missing are the item numbers. They have upped the ante on what is to be prepared for Santa and the Reindeers come Christmas Eve .... mum is going to be busy cooking .

So create a tradition , be it ever so small ........I guarantee you it will be something they will remember for a long long time !!!