We are all about easy entertaining. We're about making your life easier, while still giving your guests that wow factor. A big wow. Here’s some ideas for canapés that will tickle taste buds without tiring you out.
We love bringing back old school canapés and giving them a new twist. Our secret is Welshman's Caviar. Made by a very charming Pembrokeshire outfit, the Beach Food Company. This little jar is packed with wondrous flavour. Like the tardis, it contains so much more than it seems. A little goes a long way – and it adds a unique umami tang to the eggs.
If you’re trying to work out what to do the rest of it, try sprinkling it over scrambled eggs, in miso broth based soups or cooked low and slow with bacon lardons, cider and snails to serve over hot buttered toast. This little jar will intrigue and delight any inquisitive foodie.
Devilled eggs are a buffet table staple around the world, especially Italy and America, but you don't see them much here. I don't know why. I've always found them to be a crowd pleaser and they are incredibly versatile. You can top them with almost anything you can think of, and they are great made in advance. A perfect canapé.
Eggs are a natural pair with salmon roe, or caviar if the budget allows, which is why they work so well with the Welshman's caviar. It adds interest to the creamy eggs, and a welcome slightly crunchy texture. Pair them with the fishy whack of a good anchovy and it's a match made in heaven. The warming chilli comes in later to round it all off. More-ish and super easy. Check out the simple recipe. The traditional way to add fire to devilled eggs is simple cayenne pepper, but I like to add a suggestion of sriracha chilli sauce too, and anyone who has read my 3 ingredients I can’t live without blog will know how emotionally attached to this sauce I am. I even have a miniature key chain sized bottle with me at all times. I kid you not. An easy way to spice up your life!
2. Figs in blankets
Pigs in blankets are something we are all familiar with. In fact they come from a long list of canapés of the old school. To get the list I had to dig out my old faded copy of Le repertoire de la cuisine, which is a tiny pocket sized tome that my catering college made you buy before starting the course. It is a reference guide to the cuisine of Escoffier. Yawn. I hope it's been dumped from the lists now. Browsing through it now it seems more history than recipe book. On the list though are some fabulous little hors-d'oeuvre and canapés. My favourites being canapé Diane, which is chicken livers wrapped in bacon. There is also Derby which is ham purée on toast topped with pickled walnuts (actually they very strictly specify half a pickled walnut. Singular, no deviation thank you). Also the fabulously named Lucifer which is poached oysters rolled in English mustard, egg and breadcrumbs and then deep fried. Yummy. I might revive that one.
A well known variant of the pig in blanket is the devil or angel on horseback. Devils being stoned prunes and angels being oysters. So figs were a natural progression. The problem with using fresh figs is that they are mainly sold under ripe and there is nothing much sadder than a tough, chewy green under ripe fig. The Bay Tree’s marinated miniature figs are my find of the year.These jars solve that problem. With their hints of spice they are perfect for Christmas too. Little flavour bombs, all sealed up in a convenient jar waiting to be unleashed from your cupboard to dinner party stardom.
The fab figs are easy to get as well - get them now in one of our gorgeous gourmet kits. Here’s some more tasty ideas to give you your excuse to eat more of them:
- Go all simple and serve them up alongside some cheeses and crackers to posh-up a cheese platter.
- Figgy pudding: chop them roughly and fold through whipped cream, flavoured with vanilla and sugar and made tart by a few blobs of Greek yoghurt, and serve piled in meringue nests for the quickest dessert I can think of.
My personal favourite has got to be figs in blankets. The mini figs are sweet and tender and fruity without being sour. The main advantage is of course that you can keep a jar of these on hand in the cupboard for many eventualities.It's so simple you can even get the kids rolling these whilst you supervise over a well earned sherry or something.
You need some slices of pancetta or a good cured ham, like Parma or Serrano. Lay them out on a board and cut each in half to make 2 shorter strips (wider hams will need cutting lengthways to about 2cm wide). Roll up a mini fig in each strip. Grill or bake in the oven or gently pan fry in a dry pan to brown all over. Serve warm. Serve in little bowls with some cocktail sticks for spearing on the side.
Gravadlax doesn't sound quick does it? But I promise you that this version takes minutes to prepare. Then all you do is leave it to get happy in the fridge for 2-3 days and it's good to go.
All I do with it is slice it thin as I can and then pile strips of it onto little pieces of buttered rye bread (which is also wheat free by the way), topped off with some sour cream or horseradish and some pieces of Welshman’s caviar. Impressive and way cheaper than buying ready-cured salmon. Do the work yourself, look smug and save the pennies. Result!