Quick chile-cheese and caraway-cheese bites

by Jeanne on January 25, 2008

in Recipes - gluten-free, Recipes - vegetarian, Starters & canapés

20071215_lunchathome_cheesechilebit The starter is chilling in the fridge, the mains are bubbling away on the hob and the dessert is prepared and ready to be popped in the oven.  The wine is chilled, the table is laid and the guests are about to arrive. 

All is perfect… except for the fact that you forgot to buy the olives and marinated artichokes that you had planned to serve with pre-lunch drinks. 

Panic. 

Say bad words.

Take deep breaths, a swig of whisky and stop panicking.  Open fridge door, spot large chunk of cheddar.  Glance across at spice rack and see chile flakes and caraway seeds. 

Remember something seen on the lovely Pille’s blog last year.

Spirits lift (and I don’t mean the whisky). Slow smile spreads across face.  Springs into action like well-oiled machine (pun fully intended!).

CHILE-CHEESE AND CARAWAY-CHEESE BITES (makes about 30)

Ingredients

about two cups of grated full-flavoured semi-hard cheese (I used mature cheddar but would like to try pecorino!)
chile flakes and/or caraway seeds

Method

Cover a large baking sheet with baking paper.  Make small heaps of about a tablespoon each of grated cheese, spaced evenly across the sheet.  Make sure to leave about 5cm space betwen the heaps (and from the edge of the sheet!) as these babies spread like crazy.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 5-7 minutes.  Keep an eye on them and try to take them out only when the cheese is fully melted and is going a dark gold colour along the edges.  Leave them in for too short and they won’t harden; leave them in for too long and they will have the unpleasant bitter taste of overbaked cheese.  It’s a fine line.

While they are still hot and melty, sprinkle a pinch of caraway seeds or chile flakes in the centre of each bite – I did half with chile and half with caraway.

Allow to cool and when cool enough to handle (and slightly hardened), peel carefully off the baking paper.  Serve with drinks – ours paired very nicely thank you with hot mulled wine!

20071215_lunchathome_cheesecarawayb

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Suganya January 26, 2008 at 1:19 am

Looks gorgeous!

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Alejandra January 26, 2008 at 7:16 am

What a great idea! I learned a similar recipe when I was in culinary school. They were called Parmeggiano crackers. We mixed the grated cheese with a bit of flour and dropped a puddle on a hot skillet. Using a spatula we formed them into long narrow shapes about an inch wide. They bubbled and crackled then we pulled them out and let them dry on oiled baking sheets. They look fantastic stacked poking out of a salad or little mound of mashed potato—they make everythign suddenly seem fancy!

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Nicisme January 26, 2008 at 9:23 am

Welcome back Jeanne, nice to see you posting again!
These cheese bites look delectable, perfect shapes too, great idea to serve with drinks.

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Pille January 26, 2008 at 9:39 am

Did you prefer one over the other? I’m really keen on the caraway and cheese combination myself. (Attended the Estonian Gastronomy Awards 2007 gala dinner last night, and caraway seeds featured in two courses – a true local favourite).

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african vanielje January 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Deliciously quick and easy. a definite must do.

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Bellini Valli January 28, 2008 at 12:17 am

What an inspiration on the fly!!!

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nikki van der rijn January 28, 2008 at 1:18 pm

looks divine!
can i ask though, why you always spell CHILLI as CHILE?
chilli is food, chile is a country – well actually Chile (with a capital c) is a country.
minor quibble, the recipe still looks delicious.

Reply

Jeanne January 28, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Hi Suganya
Glad you like them! Trust me, they tasted as good as they looked :)
Hi Alejandra
Ooooh, your Parmiggiano crackers sound fantastic! I once had a Caesar salad that was served in a Parmiggiana “basket” – must have been done in a similar way but draped over something while still hot and then allowed to harden into a small basket. Yum!
Hi Nic
DO try them – they are soooo easy and the perfect nibble with drinks!
Hi Pille
I must be part Estonian because I LOVE caraway seeds ;-) I did prefer the caraway ones, but Nick who loves hot stuff adored the chili ones. Been wondering what else yuo could sprinkle on them… Very finely diced sun-dried tomatoes??
Hi Inge
Oh do yourself a favour and make them, sommer tonight, with a glass of wine while you cook! They are so easy but very hard to resist :)
Hi Bellini
I sometimes think that’s the only way to cook – working under pressure with the ingredients you happen to have at hand – it certainly works wonders on my creativity (and my powers of recollecting what I read on my friends’ blogs!)
Hi Nikki
Thanks for your comment on Cooksister and I hope you enjoyed your visit. The spelling possibilites are explained in the link below. Although there are three accepted spellings in English, I usually go with chile as it is the correct Spanish spelling, as in chiles rellenos.
http://mexicanfood.about.com/od/mexicancookingfaqs/f/chileorchili.htm
Hope all is now clear!

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ilingc January 28, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Hey Jeanne, this looks really easy. I think I like the sound of the chile ones. :)

Reply

Nilmandra January 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm

These look really yummy and will be great with drinks either before or after food. Definitely bookmarking this for later. Thanks for posting it! The husband loves cheese so I’m sure he’ll be thanking you haha.

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