Tomato Basil Bruschetta and Smoked Salmon Bruschetta

My body was aching after taking care of Jared and Jaden all by myself for the last 9 days. I was their driver, cook, cleaner, tutor, etc and it was just the 3 of us for more than a week, which was a record for me. Tough job, no wonder my body was aching terribly.

I made a massage appointment for 11am. Before left home for the appointment, I prepared and cooked meat sauce for spaghetti Bolognese for dinner tonight. Looking at the ingredients, suddenly bruschetta came to my mind. The thing about Italian food is all in few ingredients i.e. olive oil, garlic, tomato, salt and pepper. I decided to make Bruschetta as appetizer for dinner tonight which has been ages since I last made it.

I felt so good after a good 1.5 hours of warm oil massage with hot stone. I was served with ginger tea. While sipping the hot ginger tea, I admired these lanterns hanging at the massage place. Such a sweet colour and pretty lanterns.

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Sweet and pretty lanterns

There’s a nice Korean restaurant next to the massage place, owned by a Korean lady and have lots of Korean dine at the restaurant. I’ve been there several times and particularly like its kimchi pork stew.

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My favourite Kimchi pork stew

On the way home, I stopped by neighborhood café to buy baguette. The staff asked me “Do you want to cut the baguette into slices?” “Oh … yes please”. And that made my work even easier.

Bruschetta is another easy to prepare food. It’s just a mixture of chopped tomatoes, balsamic, basil and garlic, spooned over olive-oil brushed slices of toasted baguette. It is a perfect finger food for a party or as appetizer of Italian dinner.

We can prepare in advance a large bowl of bruschetta topping, cut baguette into slices (or asked shop assistant to cut for you) and toast them ahead of time. I remember preparing this and brought to friends house to eat and watch football match together. And it was a hit, especially we paired it with beer.

In this recipe, I’ve replaced balsamic vinegar with Maggie Beer’s Verjuice which we bought from Maggie’s Farm Shop in Barossa Valley.

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Simple ingredients for Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 8 plum ripe tomatoes (cut out stem base, remove seeds and diced).
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Verjuice (or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 baguette French bread, sliced diagonally 1 cm thick and toasted

Method

  1. In a bowl, mix together tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese and garlic.
  2. Mix in Verjuice (or balsamic vinegar), olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Brush one side of each slice of baguette with olive oil and place olive oil-side facing up on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Toast in toaster or on the top rack of oven at 230°C, for 5 minutes until bread lightly browned around the edges.
  4. Serve the toasted baguette slices plain with a bowl of the tomato bruschetta mixture on the side for guests to top their own, or use a spoon to gently top each toasted bread slice with some of the tomato mixture, right before serving.

If you do not like the sour taste of tomato, peel away the tomato skin.

  • Put water in a pot to boil.
  • Make shallow cuts in a cross pattern at the tip ends of tomatoes to peel tomatoes easily.
  • Once water boiled, remove the pot from heat.
  • Put tomatoes in the hot water and blanch for 1 minute.
  • Remove tomato from pot and once cool, gently peel off the tomato skins.

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I made these few for my photo taking. And my bruschetta didn’t make it to appetizer for spaghetti dinner as they were all consumed during tea time.

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We can also add slices of smoked salmon on top of the bruschetta topping to make smoked salmon bruschetta.

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Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

A few years ago, a friend asked me if I’ve baked chocolate chips cookies. I said yes and then, she asked me “was it crunchy”? I said “yes” and she asked from me for the recipe.

The following day, I received a message from her that she’ve tried baking the chocolate chips cookies based on my recipe and it was very successful. It was crunchy and crisp and her kids just love them.

I saw a new colleague of mine always buy chocolate chips cookies from Starbuck. He is the colleague who on board me into my new job and will be moving to work in Singapore office in end Nov 12. I wanted to bake this chocolate chips cookies for him before he leaves us.

This morning, after my usual cup of coffee, I started baking chocolate chip cookies. The following is the recipe and this cookies is very easy to bake.

  • 227g butter
  • 130g soft brown sugar
  • 65g Castor sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 big size egg, lightly beaten

Combine and sift:

  • 325g self-raising flour
  • 130g plain flour
  • 1/3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt

 

  •  1 1/3 tbsp milk
  • 130g chocolate chips
  • 100g pecans, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  2. Cream butter and sugar (brown and Castor) till creamy.
  3. Beat in vanilla essence and egg until mixture turns light.
  4. Stir in sifted dry ingredients.
  5. Add in milk, chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Fold in with a metal spoon.
  6. Drop half a tablespoon of mixture onto non-stick baking trays. Leave about 5-6cm between each tablespoon to allow space for spreading.
  7. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until firm to the touch.
  8. Let cookies cool completely before store them in air tight container.

Tips:

  1. We may substitute the pecan nuts with walnut. Pecan is more expensive than walnut but I like it with pecan better.
  2. Some chocolate chips are milk based ie sweeter; while some have the balance of chocolate and milk, or have higher content of chocolate. Do read and ask about the chocolate chips as it may affect the sweetness of the cookies.
  3. If the cookies are under-baked, they will be soft or not as crunchy.
  4. Cookies with chocolate chips will be harder when they cool completely. If cookies are not crisp and crunchy, bake for another few minutes in oven or toaster.

After making the cookies, I went to market for my groceries shopping to stock up food for the week.

After lunch, I went to Amante and had my favourite hot stone massage.

I needed this massage badly. Love my therapist for the day, Mariyah. She was really good and gave me a good massage that I fell asleep during the 1.5 hours of hot stone massage.

My sister came to our house with her 3 boys. We had the chocolate chip cookies for tea. I gave them 2 containers of cookies for them to enjoy at home.

Good thing is meant to be shared.