Lovely little treats, or ‘Monkeys-in-a-tin’

Canapés – we all love them, whether they’re with champagne, gin & tonic or just some fresh apple juice! It’s what most of us look forward to when we go to restaurants, or work parties, or any fancy dinner, or even just a cocktail evening! Cheeky little treats, that if done right, can have you grabbing the entire platter off the waitress and retreating into a little corner to munch them all by yourself! I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule as to the size of a canapé as long as it isn’t more than 2 bites, or one good mouthful! Some of the recipes here are a little bigger than others, but I don’t think someone’s going to mind eating a very tasty chicken wing in a few mouthfuls!
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Menu

Herbed Pitta Crisps ……………………………………………………………………….Dips

Ginger & Chilli Chicken Wings ………………………………………………. ………Romesco (Almond, Tomato, Garlic & Bread Dip)

Spiced Savoury Shortbread ………………………………………………………….  Roast Red Pepper, Feta & Mint

Beetroot Rosti, Smoked Trout & Ginger Mousse, Wasabi …………………….Avocado, Lime & Spring Onion

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..Sun-dried tomato & Cannellini Bean


Herbed Pitta Crisps

Makes 20

2 garlic cloves, crushed 
3 tbsp – Olive oil
2 – Pita breads
2 tbsp – Fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp  – salt
1 tsp  – black pepper
Method: Preheat oven to 180c

Heat the olive oil in a pan and stir garlic into it, and take off the heat.  Cut each pita into 5 strips.
Snip end of each strip and separate to make two single layer strips.
Place strips split side up in single layer on baking sheets.
Brush with garlic olive oil.  Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper.
Bake until crisp and golden brown – about 10 mins.
Cool and serve at room temperature.

To make spiced pita crisps, sprinkle pita with 2 tsp each cumin and sesame seeds instead of thyme leaves.

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Ginger & Chilli Chicken Wings

Makes 20

10 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves – Garlic, crushed
3 tbsp – Honey
2 – Red chilli, finely chopped (more if you like it spicy!)
2 tbsp – Soy sauce
1 tbsp – Sesame oil
1 tsp – Salt
1 tbsp – Granulated sugar
1 tbsp – Water
20 – Chicken wings

Method: Preheat oven to 180c

Combine ginger, garlic, honey, sugar, chilli and water in non-metallic bowl.

Add chicken and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Place the chicken wings on an oven tray and bake until well browned and cooked through – about 35 mins.
Stir them every 10 minutes or so to glaze them in the juices.

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Romesco Dip

Makes about 500ml

1-  Red pepper, quartered and seeded
1 tbsp  -olive oil
75g  – Skinned almonds
1 slices – bread, diced up
2 – Garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp – Cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
15g – Parsley, chopped
2 – Tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp  -Sherry vinegar
salt, black pepper

Method

Grill and peel pepper quarters.  Heat oil in pan and stir fry almonds and bread cubes for 5 mins until golden.  Drain.

Place pepper quarters, almonds, bread, garlic, spices, parsley, tomatoes and vinegar in a food processor or blender and pulse until blended, but still retaining some texture.  If necessary, add 1 tbsp water at a time.

If it’s a bit wet and runny, add a little more bread.

Salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 mins and serve chilled.

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Roasted Red Pepper, Feta & Mint Dip

Makes about 500ml

3 – Red peppers, quartered and seeded
200g – Feta
200g – Cream cheese
1 clove – Garlic, chopped
3 tbsp – Finely chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp –  Olive oil
1 tbsp – Lemon juice
salt and black pepper

Grill and peel pepper quarters.  Placed peeled pepper quarters, feta and cream cheese, garlic, mint, oil and lemon juice in food processor or blender and pulse until well blended, but retaining some consistency by gradually adding water 1 tbsp at a time.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve chilled.

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Avocado, Lime, Spring Onion dip

Makes about 500ml

2 – Medium avocados
4 – Spring onions, chopped
2 – Green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
3 tbsp – Coriander, chopped
juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp – Olive oil
150ml – Sour cream
1 tsp  – Salt

Method

Place all ingredients in a  food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.

Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes and serve chilled.

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Sun-dried Tomato & Cannellini  Bean Dip

Makes about 500ml

400g tinned – Cannellini beans (or any other beans if you like!), drained
8 – Sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 cloves – Garlic, chopped
1 tbsp – Chopped rosemary
4 tbsp – Olive oil
2 tbsp – Sherry vinegar
125ml – water
salt and black pepper

Method
Place beans, tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, oil, vinegar and water in food processor or blender and pulse to smooth puree.  If necessary, add more water 1 tbsp at a time.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes and served chilled.

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 Spiced Shortbreads

Makes about 40 small ones

60g – Plain flour
1 tsp – Cumin seeds
1 tsp – Salt
45g cold butter, diced
60g – Parmesan cheese

Method Preheat oven to 170c
Place flour, salt, pepper, butter, parmesan, cumin seeds in food processor.

Pulse to smooth dough. Take out of the bowl and knead gently into a ball. Flatten and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll out on floured surface to about .5 cm thick.

Stamp out 40 rounds (or however whatever shape you like)  and place on parchment lined baking sheets 2 cm apart.

Refrigerate for 30 mins and bake until golden brown – 8 mins.

Cool completely on wire rack before topping.

Variations: Teaspon of any of the following: Chopped Rosemary, Black Olives, Lemon Zest, Caraway seeds, Green Chilli, Smoked Paprika..

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Beetroot ‘rosti’, smoked trout and ginger mousse, wasabi

Mousse:
150g – Smoked trout, skinless (or smoked salmon, if you please!)
125g – Cream cheese
1 tbsp – Chopped ginger
1 tbsp – Lemon juice and
1 tbsp – Single cream
generous pinch – Cayenne pepper

,Zest of 1/2 lemon

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Rosti:
250g – Cooked beetroot, grated
250g – Potatoes, peeled, grated and squeezed dry
1 tbsp – Plain flour
1 – Beaten egg
3/4 tsp – Salt
1/2 tsp –  Black pepper
Wasabi paste. (to garnish)

Method:

For mousse, place trout, cream cheese, ginger, cayenne pepper and lemon juice in food processor or blender and pulse to smooth paste.

For rosti, mix beetroot, potato, flour, egg, salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in non-stick pan.  Spread half mixture 0.5cm thick across bottom of pan.  Reduce heat to low and cook until both sides are crisp and golden – about 10 mins each side.  Remove and cool on kitchen paper.

Cook and cool remaining mixture.

Stamp out 10 rounds from each rosti with 4.5cm fluted pastry cutter.

Cool completely before topping.  Spread a little wasabi paste on each rosti.

Fill piping bag with mousse and pipe onto rosti.  Sprinkle with paprika to garnish and a few flakes of lemon zest and serve at room temperature. An alternative garnish is a few toasted coriander and sesame seeds!

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