The thought of having to make canapés can leave even the most competent cook cowering in the corner. It looks fiddly and the thought of all those tiny neat ingredients waiting to be lined up and sent out Masterchef fashion, can be daunting. Be brave. Ditch the well fingered peanuts, the dodgy crisps and dips and become a canapé Queen.
- Don’t offer too many variations, three to four well chosen ones are fine.
- If you want to enjoy the party serve cold canapés.
- Choose easy bases, an oriental spoon, Blinis, Nigella suggests Tortilla chips, or as I’ve done – pile it on a pretty fork.
- Think of things that can be served as ‘Bundles’, parma ham wrapped fig quarters, smoked salmon wrapped dill cream cheese or Filo wrapped asparagus.
- Endive leaves make great containers for canapés, prawn and chopped chorizo; chopped tomato, spring onion and pepper; smoked salmon or mackerel pate with micro or finely chopped herbs.
- Use smaller plates to serve on. Then as the canapés make the rounds, the last two on the plate won’t look quite so much like leftovers.
- Serve 10 canapés per person if it’s a drinks party, 4-5 per person if you’re going on to a meal.
- If you’ve got a large crowd serve one type of canapé on each platter, so you’re not held up by guests making up their minds.
- Scatter the canapés with sesame seeds, chopped herbs, pomegranate seeds, whatever is appropriate. Allow a little to spill onto the plate, being a little casual is a good thing.
- Canapes aren’t necessarily about cooking. They can be about compiling, putting together your favourite wonderful ingredients you’ve bought at the supermarket.
Prawn Cocktail Canapé
A plump prawn, small leaves from the heart of a sweet Gem lettuce, a pitted black olive topped with Marie Rose sauce
Tricolore – Tomato, Avocado and Bocconcini ( baby mozzarella) Canapé
Bocconcini (a baby Mozzarella), half a cherry tomato and a piece of avocado. Squeeze lemon on the avocado to stop it going brown. Skewer with a fork and add micro or chopped herbs and a drizzle of pesto.
Caesar Salad canapé
Young small lettuce leaves or larger leaves torn up, a crouton, bought or homemade, speared onto a pretty fork and topped with caesar dressing.
For the Tricolore, see above.
Pear Taleggio And Parma Ham Canapé
Cut the pear into small slices and add a sliver of taleggio cheese or more if you love the creamy texture and wrap in salty parma ham. Serve on a fork or as a ‘Bundle’.
Asian Chilli Beef with noodles Canapé recipe below.
- 1 tbsp Wok oil
- 2 Red chillies finely chopped
- 1 Clove garlic
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce
- 3 tbs Ketchup Manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 250g Beef strips
- Juice from half a lime
- 2 tsp Sesame oil
- 275g bag Pre cooked noodles
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat. add half the chilli, the garlic, soy and ketchup manis. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the beef stirring, as you would for stir fry to stop the sauce burning. The beef takes about 5 mins to cook. Remove from the pan and, if you want to use the sauce, reduce to a thick consistency, about 6 mins.
- Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Put into a bowl add the sesame oil and the remainder of the chilli and mix well.
- Swirl the noodles onto a fork, like eating Bolognese and then spear 2 pieces of beef, drizzle with a little sauce if desired. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
These recipes are great for canapés too: