CANAPÉS

This weekend I was asked to make a selection of canapés for a Drinks party. With Christmas coming up (yes, we cannot ignore it any longer!) it seemed the right time to pass on three canapé ideas that work and are very popular.

Remember, canapés need to be easy to prepare and assemble in a short period of time.  If it’s your party and you are the host, prepare ahead and avoid canapés that need a lot of work at the last minute.  It won’t be much fun if you are in the kitchen all the time! So, I freeze ahead and have fillings ready in the fridge.

As ever, the correct equipment is a must and this is where I introduce you to the mini muffin tin.  If you like this type of entertaining, you will use this tin again and again so invest in a good quality, non-stick version that holds 24.  You will also need a plastic squirty bottle and piping bag and I recommend disposable ones.  I buy all this type of kitchen equipment from Biggers in Lincoln.  Biggers offer the best retail experience in Lincoln and supply absolutely everything a professional or keen amateur cook would want.  Contact details below.

My three Canapes are:

  •  Mini Yorkshire puddings with fillet of beef and horseradish and mustard sauce
  • Lincolnshire sausages stuffed with mustard mash
  • Herb omelettes stuffed with ricotta

To get ahead, freeze the prepared sausages and Yorkshire puddings and assemble the omelettes on the day and store in the fridge.

Mini Yorkshire puddings with fillet of beef and horseradish and mustard sauce (for 24 pieces):

Ingredients:
200g piece trimmed fillet of British beef
170g plain flour
2 large eggs
175 ml full fat milk mixed with 120 ml water
2 rounded tablespoons hot horseradish sauce
2 level teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1 heaped tablespoon creme fraiche
24 sprigs fresh watercress

Preheat the oven to 220 C and pre-heat a sturdy flat baking tray.

Method:
Sift the flour into a bowl, add salt and pepper, add the eggs and whisk together.  The mixture will be stiff.  Incorporate the milk/water gradually to make a smooth batter.  If you have a Magimix, you can do this in a few minutes.  Decant the batter mixture into the squirty bottle.

Place the muffin tin on the baking tray and brush the cups generously with the beef dripping.  Preheat the tin for 10 mins.

Carefully place the baking tray and tin over direct heat and squirt a tablespoon of batter mixture into each cup.  Aim for the centre and you will get a little dimple in the Yorkshire pudding which helps to hold the beef and sauce in place.  Immediately return to the oven and bake for 12-15 mins.  They should be well risen and crispy.  Cool on a wire rack.  At this point you could freeze the Yorkshires but be sure to re-crisp in a hot oven for a few minutes before serving.

To cook the beef, turn the oven up to 230C.  Pre-heat a frying pan and brush with a little dripping.  Seal the beef on all sides.  Don’t move it round until it’s sealed properly.  This
will take a few minutes. Season, then transfer to the oven and roast for 18 minutes (for rare beef).  Trust me, this recipe calls for rare beef!  Allow to cool then wrap in cling film and chill.  I take it back to my friendly local butcher who kindly slices it for me on his professional slicer.  If you can’t do this, carve on the day as thinly as you can. You will need 24 slices.

When you are ready to serve, arrange a fold of sliced beef on each Yorkshire. Mix together all the sauce ingredients, then add a teaspoon of the sauce and sprig of watercress on top of the beef.  It looks tidier to pipe the sauce.

These canapés are so popular.  Every one will go !

Lincolnshire Sausages stuffed with Mustard Mash (for 24 pieces):

Ingredients:
24 Lincolnshire cocktail sausages
120g mashed potato
wholegrain mustard
Parmesan cheese
chilli jam and tomato ketchup

A quick word about sausages.  They are a very personal taste and I only buy them from my local butcher, Topliss in Kirton Lindsey.  You will have your own favourite type.  If you can’t find cocktail size ones you like, buy the chipolatas and neatly cut them in half.  Or, your butcher may make them in cocktail size to order.

Method:
Grill the sausages so they are cooked evenly and nicely brown.  Cool completely.

Warm the mashed potato in a microwave until it is just soft.  Add enough mustard to taste and to loosen the mixture.  Season with salt and black pepper.  Transfer to the piping bag, snip the end and to be efficient, stand the bag in a container such as a measuring jug.

When the sausages are cold, cut half way through lengthways and gently push open.  Take the piping bag and neatly pipe into the opening.  By the time you have done 10, you will be an expert and will be able to make a pretty pattern!

Store in the fridge until you need them or freeze them at this stage.

When you are ready to serve, pre-heat the oven to 200C.  Arrange on a baking tray and sprinkle with Parmesan. Heat through for 7-10 minutes. Transfer to your serving dish with shot glasses full of chilli jam and tomato ketchup.  Keep back in the kitchen until they are not mouth burning hot.

These simple canapés are so popular.  Serve full sized chipolatas to teenagers/bonfire night/carol singing etc.

Herb omelettes stuffed with ricotta (for 24 pieces)

Now for something completely different……  These canapés are elegant and sophisticated but not complicated to make.  They cover off the vegetarian option and look beautiful served on a platter scattered with chives or parmesan.

For the recipe I go back to Orlando Murrin’s wonderful book A Table in the Tarn – Living, Eating and Cooking in South-West France

Ingredients:
For the filling:
A handful of basil and parsley, roughly chopped
250g tub ricotta
3 tablespoons Parmesan

For the omelettes:
1 clove of garlic
A handful of chives, chopped
4 large free range eggs
3 tablespoons Parmesan grated
Oil for frying

To serve:
A few snippings of chive and a scattering of Parmesan

Method:
Using a Magimix, mix all the filling ingredients first.  Add plenty of seasoning so it’s not bland.  Transfer to a bowl.  It will be a beautiful pale green.

Without washing the processor bowl, mix together the omelette ingredients. Transfer to a measuring jug.  Check where your one-third measure is.  You will be making 3 omelettes.

Heat the oil in a medium sized non-stick frying pan and when hot, add third of the mixture. Quickly spread out so it is thin (like a thick pancake).  When it is set slide onto a flat board covered with greaseproof paper.  Repeat to make 3 omelettes with the paper in between.

When they are completely cold, spread with an even amount of the filling (to the edges).  Roll up neatly into a sausage shape using the paper to help you. Refridgerate until ready to serve.  Slice on the diagonal and sprinkle with snippings of chive and a little Parmesan.

You may want to eat the end bits yourself.  I do. Cook’s benefits!

Acknowledgements:
For great canapes in Norfolk – Fi Bullen – info@fibullen.co.uk or call 07796 854 103

Useful Contacts:
Bigger Of Bailgate Ltd. 48 BAILGATE, LINCOLN. 01522 525536. www.biggerofbailgate.com.
Topliss Butchers. 24 High St, Kirton Lindsey, Lincs. 01652 648230

I would love to hear from anyone who would like to make a comment.

Next time – Chocolate Brownies