Creative canapes that are quick and easy to make

Impress your guests with these simple but stylish canapes

 

Canapes don’t have to be difficult to make and can look very impressive for a party. Preparation is the key, but there is so much scope for creativity. You can store canape bases and fillings in an airtight container until you are ready to use them. Always buy plenty of extra fresh herbs for garnish.

CROSTINI WITH WILD MUSHROOMS AND TRUFFLE MAYONNAISE

Makes 20

Ingredients

Crostini
• 1 small baguette (or ciabatta)
• 4tbsp olive oil
• Wild mushroom mix
• 2tbsp sunflower oil
• 1 shallot, chopped
• 200g mixed wild mushrooms
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 10g butter
• Splash white wine (optional)
• 10g fresh herbs (thyme, parsley or tarragon)
• Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Truffle mayonnaise
• 100g mayonnaise
• 2-3 drops truffle oil

Garnish
• Fresh herbs (micro cress, parsley)
• 20g Parmesan shavings

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC or equivalent. Cut the baguette into 3mm round slices. Brush the baguette slices with olive oil. Lay them on a baking sheet and bake until crisp and lightly golden, 10 minutes.

2. Heat the sunflower oil on the highest heat in a heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Add the shallots and mushrooms and sauté until nicely coloured. Add the crushed garlic and seasoning. Then add butter and a splash of wine (if using). Lastly, add half the chopped fresh herbs.

3. For the truffle mayonnaise, mix the mayonnaise with a few drops of truffle oil. Spread a little truffle mayonnaise over each crostini.

4. Warm the mushroom mixture slightly. Place a mound of mushroom mixture on top of each crostini and garnish with the herbs.

CROSTINI WITH HONEYED FIGS AND GOAT’S CHEESE MOUSSE

Makes 20

Ingredients

Crostini
• 1 small baguette (or ciabatta)
• 4tbsp olive oil
• 6 fresh figs, reserve for topping (plus extra for jam)

Fig jam
• 4 fresh figs
• 50ml honey
• 2tsp balsamic vinegar

Goat’s cheese mousse
• 250g goat’s cheese, room temperature
• 60ml cream
• Zest of 1 lemon and ½ tsp lemon juice
• 1tbsp tarragon, leaves chopped
• Sea salt and pinch of pepper

Garnish
• Fresh herbs (tarragon, chives, thyme)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC or equivalent. Cut the bread into 3mm round slices. Brush the slices with olive oil. Lay them on a baking sheet and bake until crisp and lightly golden, 10 minutes.

2. To make the fig jam: Chop four of the figs into small pieces and place in a saucepan with the honey and balsamic vinegar. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, then stop stirring and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. The jam will thicken slightly once it is removed from the heat and left to cool.

3. Using a hand whisk (or a handheld stick blender), whisk together the goat’s cheese, cream, lemon zest and juice. Loosen the consistency with more cream if you want it creamier. Season to your taste and add the chopped tarragon. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and refrigerate for an hour before piping.

4. Spread the fig jam onto the crostini. Pipe the goat’s cheese mousse on top. Place quartered or sliced fresh fig on top and garnish with the herbs.

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CHARRED BEEF SKEWERS WITH HORSERADISH CRÈME FRAÎCHE

Makes 15

• 2 thick sirloin steaks (200g each)
• 1tbsp olive oil
• Pinch of sea salt
• 1tbsp cracked black peppercorns

Horseradish crème fraîche dip
• 200g crème fraîche
• 3-4tbsp horseradish sauce

Garnish
• Gherkins, scallions, sunblush tomato, pepper, chives

Method

1. Make sure the beef is trimmed and free of sinew and fat. Season with olive oil, salt and peppercorns. Heat a cast-iron frying saucepan over a very high heat until very hot. Add the beef and cook for two-three minutes on each side for rare. When cooked, transfer the beef to a plate, and allow to cool.

2. For the horseradish dip: Add horseradish sauce to crème fraiche. Taste, season and place in a bowl.

3. Slice the beef very thinly into long strips. Weave onto skewers. Garnish and serve with horseradish dip.

PARMESAN SHORTBREAD, PARSLEY PESTO AND QUINCE

Makes 20

Ingredients
Parmesan shortbread
• 60g flour
• 60g Parmesan cheese, grated
• 30g butter
• ¼ tsp black pepper

Parsley pesto
• 400g flat leaf parsley leaves
• 100g Parmesan cheese
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 50g toasted pine nuts (or cashew nuts)
• 50ml olive oil

Garnish:
• Quince jelly (or plum jam)
• Micro herbs or chives

Method

1. Blitz all of the shortbread ingredients until it resembles breadcrumbs. Tip onto a work surface and work into a pliable dough. Roll out to a half centimetre thick and cut out shapes with a pastry cutter. Bake at 165ºC or equivalent, for 12-15 minutes, until golden.

2. Blitz all the pesto ingredients in a food processor to a coarse texture.

3. Put a small spoonful of the pesto onto the centre of each baked and cooled shortbread.

4. Cut a tiny square of the quince jelly and place on top of the pesto.

5. Garnish with the herbs.

BLINIS WITH LEMON CREAM, AVOCADO MOUSSE AND TROUT CAVIAR WITH DILL

Makes 20

Ingredients
• 300g smoked trout
• 1 jar Goatsbridge trout caviar

Blinis
• 60g plain flour
• ¼tsp baking powder
• ¼tsp salt
• 1 egg, beaten
• 50ml milk
• 1tbsp olive oil

Lemon cream
• 75g crème fraîche
• Half lemon, zest and juice of
• 1 sprig dill, chopped
• ½tsp sugar (optional)
• ½tsp mustard seed
• 1 garlic clove

Avocado purée
• 1 ripe avocado
• 1 orange, zest and juice
• 1tsp sugar
• Sea salt and white pepper

Garnish
• Dill sprigs

Method

1. For the blinis, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the centre. Add the egg and milk into well. Gradually draw in flour and mix to a smooth batter.

2. Brush a pancake pan with olive oil and preheat over a medium heat. Working in batches, drop heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture into the hot pan. Cook until bubbles appear and the underside is golden, two-three minutes. Turn and cook the other side for two minutes. Brush the pan with oil between each batch of pancakes. Cool the blini pancakes on a wire rack.

3. For the lemon cream: mix all ingredients together.

4. For the avocado purée: Blitz the avocado flesh, orange and sugar. Season and taste. Add a dash of water to achieve a smooth consistency.

5. To assemble, use a teaspoon to drop a ball of lemon cream, followed by a dollop of avocado purée, onto the centre of each blini.

6. Cut the smoked trout into two-inch long strips (cut away any waxy edges)

7. Wrap a rosette of smoked trout around the dollop of crème fraiche.

8. Garnish with Goatsbridge trout caviar and dill.

SALMON MOUSSE BARQUETTES WITH PICKLED CUCUMBER

Makes 20

Ingredients

• 20 pastry barquettes (or savoury pastry cases)

Salmon mousse
• 300g smoked salmon
• 75g crème fraiche
• 50g cream cheese
• Lemon zest and 1tbsp lemon juice
• 1tsp fresh horseradish, grated
• 10g fresh dill, leaves chopped

Pickled cucumber
• 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
• 200ml white wine vinegar
• 75g sugar
• ½ tsp turmeric

Garnish
• dill, pickled cucumber, lemon zest

Method

1. For the pickled cucumber: thinly slice the cucumber into rounds. Bring the vinegar and rest of ingredients up to a boil, pour over the cucumber and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least four hours.

2. Blitz together all the salmon mousse ingredients to a firm paste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up before serving.

3. Spoon a quenelle of salmon mousse into pastry boats. Decorate with a slice of pickled cucumber and garnish with dill sprig and lemon zest.

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