some easy starters..

This pumpkin salad is dedicated to a dear friend who loves pumpkin so SO much.  Every time we have potluck at hers or her boyfriend's place, she would ask me to make something with pumpkin.  I know it's not exactly the pumpkin season right now but we are fortunate to have the luxury to get them from a few local farms here in Yuen Long.  I especially like the mini squash because they give off a much sweeter flavor.  

Another starter that I always make is bruschetta.  There are many different ways to make bruschetta.  I usually make it according to what I have in my fridge or what I can get in the nearest supermarket.  There are times when I can't find mozzarella cheese (like today) and if it happens, I usually just skip it.  And sometime if I happen to pass by Il Bel Paese, I would grab a small bowl of fresh olives in oil to add to my bruschetta.  Just be flexible and creative.  Our imagination is unlimited.  :) 

Have a good week ahead! x

some easy starters for a mini gathering.

Servings: 4 persons 

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients: 

1 mini pumpkin, deseeded & skin removed, chopped in wedges

1 large bowl arugula or mixed greens

1-2 sprig sage leaves

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 chili, seeded, finely chopped

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Preheat the oven at 180ºC.  Get a baking tray, drizzle a little oil, add pumpkin, sage, garlic, and chili.*  

2) Roast the pumpkin for about 15-20 minutes.  Try to stir and flip the pumpkins in midway.  

3) Once the pumpkins are ready, mix them with the greens.  Season, add more oil, and ready to serve! Simple!! 

* If you don't like your garlic, chili, and sage a little burnt, add them to the pumpkin a few minutes after roasting.  

Servings: 4 persons

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 1-2 minutes for toasting the bread

Ingredients: 

1 small loaf baguette

1 garlic clove, minced half garlic and leave the other half to brush the bread's surface

200g - 250g cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced or chopped according to the size that you like

2 tbsp basil pesto*

1 tbsp pine nuts

1 tsp caper, finely chopped

extra-virgin olive oil

*Remark: To make the basil pesto, simply blend a bunch of fresh basil leaves, 1/2 garlic clove, 1 tsp of roasted pine nuts, and sprinkle a bit of grated parmesan, season and add oil.  

Instructions: 

1) Slice the baguette into 6-8 pieces and toast the bread.  

2) Get the halved garlic and rub against each bread's surface.  

3) Get a small bowl, mix pesto, tomato, minced garlic, and caper.  Season.  

4) Transfer the tomato mixture to each slice of bread and sprinkle some pine nuts on top.  Garnish with some basil leaves if you like.  I ran out of basil leaves so I couldn't do it. ;)