Crack­ing canapés

‘Tis the sea­son to party! So to get you in the mood fol­low An­drew’s fes­tive guide to pre­sent­ing canapés to be proud of

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What you should keep in mind when plan­ning your sea­sonal shindig is that canapés are just party food for grown-ups. They should be fun for every­body; there’s no point throw­ing a party where you don’t have time to hang out with your friends.

They can be pre­pared in ad­vance and pulled out as your guests ar­rive. You can add a fi­nal flour­ish at the last minute to your trays of bite-sized de­li­cious­ness to re­ally add the wow fac­tor and make it look like you’ve hired in pro­fes­sional cater­ers. Or me.

Just enough is plenty.

No one will be ex­pect­ing a full three cour­ses, but un­less you’re hop­ing for a Christ­mas mir­a­cle, a sin­gle bag of Wot­sits won’t cover it. As a rule of thumb I would reckon on pro­duc­ing about seven times the num­ber of canapés in to­tal as bod­ies. This should al­low be­tween one and two of each type of canapé for each guest.

Spread the love

Con­sider mak­ing be­tween four and six dif­fer­ent types of canapé, with at least one meaty, one fishy and one veg­gie/ve­gan to cover all the bases. Sweet canapés also work re­ally well.

It’s party food, re­mem­ber?

Al­most any­thing can be turned into a mini-morsel with a lit­tle imag­i­na­tion. Mini cheese board – what about a nugget of ched­dar, a dol­lop of chut­ney and a cel­ery leaf on a cracker? One bite Sun­day roast – cook some York­shire pud­dings in a mini muf­fin tray and fill with a slice of steak and a blob of horse­rad­ish.

All the gear, no idea

You don’t need to in­vest in loads of kitchen gad­gets, but a few key tools of the trade will give your cre­ations a much more pro­fes­sional look. There’s al­most no limit to what you can achieve with a cou­ple of cut­ters and a squeezy bot­tle.

You can use fun-shaped cut­ters to cre­ate toasted crou­tons, puff pas­try or potato bases. Squeezy bot­tles will help you dec­o­rate or sauce your canapés ac­cu­rately. Grab one at your lo­cal cook­shop. It’ll be your new best friend this Christ­mas.

Here are two rock-solid but sim­ple crowd-pleasers that will leave you free to bask in the praise of your Christ­mas party guests: MINI CHICKEN CAE­SARS

Chop cooked chicken and bind with mayo, finely grated parme­san, a good dash of Worces­ter­shire sauce and a few grinds of black pep­per. Load into in­di­vid­ual baby gem leaves and top with a few crou­tons and a cou­ple of curls of parme­san made with a veg­etable peeler.


Make a packet of rasp­berry jelly with half the wa­ter rec­om­mended in the recipe. Soak half an amoretti bis­cuit in sherry and place in the bot­tom of a shot glass.

Pour the jelly on top to the depth of half an inch and chill to set. Make up some cus­tard and al­low to go cold. Pipe on top of the jelly in the glass. Top with whipped cream. Fin­ish with pop­ping candy. N

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