When I think of dinners, I think of my cheeseboard. I love pulling it out and getting creative when we invite people over for drinks and dinner. Creating the right balance is so important in a good cheeseboard. That saltiness of the cheese with the tartness of a fruit. That flavourful spiciness from a good dip or the sweetness from a flavoured honey is just the perfect treat with a glass of wine! You can’t get more extra or indulgent!
For this version, I decided to have a play on the flavours of a traditional cheeseboard. The crispy texture of the crispbread is perfect to play with. The pickled blackberries are the perfect balance of sweet and tart. The whipped feta adds a gorgeous salty and rich velvety creaminess to the dish. The leaves and herbs tease the palate with their peppery, herby flavours and a drizzle of the blackberry honey vinaigrette adds just the extra flourish of sweetness and acidity that we need to call this dish pure luxury.
You could make larger versions of these and can break up and share or for a more formal setting, you could make smaller, individual versions of these.
Carta da Musica
Whole wheat flour- 160g
Semolina – 50g
Salt- 3/4 teaspoon
Olive oil- 20g
Blackberries – 145g
Apple Cider Vinegar- 125g
Honey/Maple Syrup- 8g
Salt – a dash
Pepper- 8-10 peppercorns
Feta – 112g at room temp
Greek Yogurt – 42g at room temp
Lemon zest- 1 lemon
Pepper- a dash
Blackberry Honey Vinaigrette
Pickling liquid – 4 tablespoons
Honey- 2 and a half tablespoons
Olive oil- 1 tablespoon
Salt- a dash
Pepper- a dash
Leaves and herbs
Arugula – 4-5 leaves medium sized
Basil – 6-8 leaves smaller sized
Mint – 6-8 leaves smaller sized
Amaranth Microgreens- to garnish
For the crispbread.
Preheat your oven to 230 C (450 F) and let it heat with a baking tray or a pizza stone inside.
Mix in the wholewheat and semolina flour. Add salt. Add in the water and olive oil slowly mixing it well together, making sure to hydrate all dry parts. Knead till it comes together well and forms a smooth ball just a couple of minutes. You want to achieve a soft dough.
Divide into 6, shape them into balls with the palm of your hand. Move it in circles on your work surface till it forms a smooth ball. Cover to prevent them from drying out.
Take 2 parchment sheets and roll one of the dough balls between the two. Press the ball and roll it thin. It should be an even thickness. Go as thin as you can. It is okay if they are irregularly shaped, that’s the beauty of this bread.
Place the rolled out carta on a parchment paper and place on the baking tray. Bake until it browns well. It starts to puff up in places and creates blisters. It might take 3-4 mins. Keep an eye on it. Flip it over and bake so that it browns well at the bottom as well. Once done let it cool on a cooling rack.
For the pickled blackberries.
Take the vinegar and water in a saucepan. Add in the honey, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Let this pickling mixture cool down. Take a clean jar and sterilise with boiling water. Let it dry well. Put in the blackberries and pour in the cool pickling liquid. Place the jar in the fridge for about an hour at least. You could pickle it overnight, depending on how firm the berries are. If they’re nice and soft, an hour or so is enough.
For the whipped feta.
Take the feta and greek yogurt into a mixer. Blend well. Add in the lemon zest and pepper. Keep blending till it forms a smooth mixture and whips up well. It should have a consistency like whipped cream.
For the blackberry honey vinaigrette.
Take the pickling liquid, to it add the honey and mix well. Add in the olive oil and whisk with a balloon whisk till it forms an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper, taste to see if it is well balanced.
Wash the leaves and herbs, place in an ice bath right before serving, so that they stay crisp. Drain well and dry them right before serving.
Take a crispbread, spread a thin-ish layer of the whipped feta on it. Place the leaves on top, here and there. Place the pickled blackberries over it randomly. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, garnish with the micro greens and finish off with some freshly crushed black pepper. Dive in for a bite that’ll take you right up to heaven!