10 October 2007

Blinis poivron rouge 

{BLINIS AU CAVIAR DE POIVRON ROUGE ET NOIX} With my recent engagement, and hence the beginning stages of wedding planning (wonderful but ever time consuming!) I have been MIA from Sweet Pea for the past 2 weeks. I thought what better for a welcome back than a recipe inspired from the night Olivier proposed to me. 

It was a warm mid August evening – we were in Monaco, at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant the ‘Bar & Boeuf’, at a table over looking the sea…. the dinner was exquisite, every detail perfect, including the lovely apératif they served us with a delicious red pepper coulis. As first impressions go – this coulis made a great one, and so when I passed the pile of plump garden peppers in the market this past weekend – there was only one thing that came to mind!

As I was having guests over that night and am always on the look out for a sumptuous while simple to prepare amuse bouche (meaning amuse your mouth, aka canapé or hors d’oeuvre), I decide to create a recipe inspired by the red pepper coulis I had in Monaco with a thicker consistency and the addition of the blinis. Topped with a drop of ricotta cream and sprinkled with sumac, these bit sized canapés were a welcomed treat.

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IMPORTANT :you can make the red pepper caviar & the blinis ahead of time, but only put the final canapé (hors d’oeuvres) together just before severing, so that the blinis do not become moist (see NOTES below)

Red Pepper Caviar preparation:

  • 3 large red bell peppers (capsicum)
  • 1 spring onion (white part only)
  • 4 teaspoons ground almonds
  • 4 teaspoons ground hazelnuts
  • 1/2 a small garlic clove
  • salt & black pepper to taste

For the garnish (topping): 

  • 3 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cream
  • sumac
  1. Preheat the oven to 230°C (446°F)
  2. Wash the whole peppers and place them in a baking dish. Cook for 30 minutes, turning the peppers occasionally so that they cook evenly. The skins can burn a little but not too much or they will affect the taste of the pepper.
  3. Remove from the oven and immediately place in a heat proof bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Leave to sit for at least 20 minutes. I use this time to prepare the blini batter.
  4. Once the 20 minutes is up, remove the plastic wrap, and prepare the peppers, by removing all the skin, tops and seeds. Gently dry the peppers with a paper towel to remove excess water and place in the blender.
  5. Now chop the white part of the spring onion and add to the blender along with the ground almonds, hazelnuts, garlic, salt and black pepper. Blend well, until you obtain a very smooth consistency.
  6. Set in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.

Blini preparation:

  • 100g white flour
  • 50g buckwheat flour (farine de sarrasin)
  • 1 egg
  • 25cl (1 cup) milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (ie sunflower)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the white + buckwheat (sarrasin) flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, and combine with the milk and vegetable oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well until you have a smooth uniform batter.
  2. Place a non-stick frying pan (skillet) on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add small tablespoons of batter, using the reverse side of the spoon to spread the batter into a circle. I usually make the blinis about 4 cm (2 inches) wide and quite thin.
  3. Let the blinis cook until the center of the side facing up is just a little bit wet with dry edges, and then flip them. Set on a cooling rack when done.

Final stage:

Finally, once the blinis are cooled, place a teaspoon of the red pepper caviar onto the center of each blini and finish with a drop of ricotta cream and a sprinkle of sumac

NOTES: drying the red peppers to remove excess water and then chilling the caviar is important to obtain the right consistency. If you want the caviar to be a little thicker add more ground almonds and hazelnuts. For more information on buckwheat(sarrasin)


  1. Wendy Says:

    How very elegant! Congratulations on the engagement. 🙂

  2. Erika (SWEET PEA) Says:

    hi Wendy, thanks for your message. The engagment was a complete surprise! We had talked about getting married of course, but the organisation, destination, ring etc was all planned in secret 🙂

  3. chocolateshavings Says:

    That recipe looks delicious, and yes, fancy! I often find inspiration in restaurant meals. Congratulations on the engagement.. ! I hope to hear all about the planning for the big day.


  4. ellaella Says:

    Anyone who proposes at one of Ducasse’s places is definitely a keeper! 🙂 Congratulations on your engagement and wishes for many wonderful years together.

  5. happygrub Says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! How wonderful, keep us updated on the plans and preparations! I thought the picture was a ripe peach on a blini, you’ve managed to shape such a lovely quenelle on it. Olivier is a lucky guy to get such a talented cook.
    Lots of love,

    PS. I found the tahini 🙂 Now for the soaking of those chickpeas..

  6. mel Says:

    Hi Erika! Firstly Congratulations on the engagement! May all your wedding preparation and efforts pay off on your big day! 🙂 I chanced upon your blog from Happygrub’s. And thank you for the comments you made there about my cards. Geneva sounds like an awesome place to market my cards; that’s almost half way round the world! hehe. Well, currently, I’m just making them as and when I get orders from family and friends…perhaps one day you will see Mel’s Inc in your local stores! 🙂

  7. Erika (SWEET PEA) Says:

    Chocolate Shavings : they may look fancy, but are easy to make which is great for entertaining! Will be posting more wedding planning drama… I haven’t even got to dress & cake yet 🙂

    Ella : He is a keeper I agree, but perhaps my story was misleading now that I reread it… as Olivier didn’t actually propose during dinner but afterwards, on the balcony behind th opera house over looking the ocean! Ducasse’s was the prelude

    Farhan (Happygrub) : Thanks you! I am in the beginning stages of planning but will update as things progress. As for the tahini… super new!!!! I bought a big bag of sesame seeds so will be soon trying to make it, will let you know if I have success.

    Mel : Thanks for your note. Geneva is a wonderful place and needs more artists like yourself. You never know where your business will take you 🙂 Please keep in touch.

  8. anjie joon Says:

    many congratulations erika!! getting engaged in monaco must be one of the most romantic things i’ve ever heard. and thanks for sharing the love with us in your fabulous recipe. i can’t wait to amuse my mouth with it ~ i think i’ll add it to the thanksgiving feast menu!

  9. Erika (SWEET PEA) Says:

    hi thanks for your note. Olivier put his whole heart into planning our engagement, and the fact that he was able to keep it a surprise from me until we arrived in Monaco was wonderful! I even made time to see the Grace Kelly exhibition, which I think you would love. So pleased you like the look of the blinis, love to hear how they turn out for your thanksgiving feast 🙂 Speak soon.

  10. Anh Says:

    This is wonderful! I have bookmarked it for my brunch tomorrow. 🙂

  11. Erika (SWEET PEA) Says:

    ANH: thanks for dropping by. Please let me know how the blinis turn out and if you guests liked them 🙂

  12. Aimee Says:

    That sounds like a meal to remember. Like you I am always looking out for new amuse’s. This one looks decadent and elegant: like a wedding Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials.

  13. Erika (SWEET PEA) Says:

    AIMEE : thanks for leaving a note. I just took a look at your blog, and love your ‘ABOUT’ description. I think we have similar taste (no pun intended haha) and look forward to exchanging recipes. Please keep in touch 🙂

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