Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

Well its almost here. Without realizing it. The party season is almost upon us, friends pop in for a drink, those other friends ask you over to see their tree and the new puppy, that ghastly cousin Evelyn,who´s views you dislike, must be seen before christmas, Uncle Donald can´t come because he´s in quarantine. God help us and spare us o micron? Despite all those fail safe store cupboard solutions, including dairy free puff pastry for cousin Campbell because he´s gone veggie, there's one thing everybody at any party can agree upon: Cheeeeeeeese.!!!! But it's time to go beyond a basic cheese plate, peeps (yawn). Instead, serve one (or several) of these drool-worthy cheese appetizers. I´m talking up decadent baked Brie, and fresh goats cheese festooned with caramelised onion and bacon and plenty  more. I've tasted many baked Bries in my day, but none compares to this recipe. And despite how fancy it looks, it only takes 30 minutes to cook to molten melty perfection .Nothing brings a crowd together like a warm and melty baked Brie straight from the oven, right? And let me fill you in on a little secret: This sweet and savoury baked cheese recipe looks fancy, but it couldn't be easier to make. It also just goes to prove that a flourish of pomegranate arils and crumbed pistachio can make any dish look sophisticated (even one that only takes a few minutes to bake). Any round cheese would work well here and if you can stretch to a Vacherin Mont d´or please do, otherwise camembert would be equally good.

Baked Brie with, Cranberry, Pistachio crumbs, Pomegranate and Orange
6 to 8 servings
1/4 cranberry jam
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
½ cup pistachios, broken up
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Flaky sea salt
One 250g round Brie
½ cup pomegranate arils
Rosemary sprigs, for serving
Baguette and Crackers, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the Brie in a small oven-safe dish not much larger than the brie itself, and place  on a baking sheet.spread the the jam over the top of the Brie.
Garnish with black pepper and then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the cheese is heated through, 15 to 17 minutes.Remove  from the oven and garnish with the rosemary, pistachios, orange zest and pomegranate arils. Serve immediately with bread or crackers.
When is a fresh cheese no longer just a fresh cheese? When you garnish it with a luscious topping of caramelised onion and bacon jam.This seasonal appetizer recipe couldn't be any simpler. All you have to do  is buy the cheese and whip up the easy topping: zingy balsamic onions and shatteringly crisp bacon.Start with creamy fresh cheese, and then make the most delicious topping ever (crispy bacon + caramelized onions). That's it. I guarantee all of your friends will be asking for the recipe.If you make too much jam it has many other applications as a burger relish or jacket potato topping for starters.
Fresh goats cheese with caramelised onion and bacon jam
4  servings
4 strips bacon, cut into thin strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
One 120g fresh cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Bread or crackers,  for serving
In a frying pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until it is crisp and golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the onion and shallot to the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Sauté until the onion is caramelized and soft, 25 to 30 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute more. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and then the reserved bacon to combine. Season the mixture generously with pepper.
Place the Boursin on a serving plate. Pour the hot onion-bacon mixture over the cheese.
Garnish with chives. Serve immediately with bread or crackers.


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