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2018 is all about the canapes. When I have a dinner party now, I don’t do a starter or an entree: I do a canape or two. So refined 😉

…even vegetarians can have a yorkshire pudding canape

I’ve been on a quest to redeem myself since I first tried to make Yorkshire puddings: they ended up being more like Yorkshire pikelets. They were still delicious…but they definitely didn’t pud.

I had my first Yorkshire pudding in 1996 (yes I am very old), when I visited the UK. Yorkshire puddings were the responsibility and specialty of my English grandpa (who otherwise didn’t actually cook). And boy did he make a good Yorkshire Pudding: it’s probably a good thing I didn’t have a working oven and the idea of heating oil scared me, because these are not low cal delights!

So I know I have the Yorkshire Pudding Making gene in my family, even though my first attempt was…flat. Very, very flat:

You can see them trying desperately to curl themselves up into proper Yorkie shape, bless their flat little souls

No amount of filtering can change the fact that they were disappointingly flat. Disappointingly albeit deliciously flat:

Yorkshire Pikelets, a new food trend?

I did some investigating, and decided that where I went wrong was following the oven temperature instructions for the recipe I’d found. All ovens are different, so rather than choosing a temperature, the rule of thumb with yorkies is to turn it up as high as it will go (turn it up to 11). That and weighing all your ingredients. Those are the two secrets!

Armed with this new knowledge, I attempted to make them again. I did a first test run of 12 (apparently if I had a mini muffin tin, I could have made 24…but a muffin tin still gives a good size):

Victory at last

I was so successful, that I may have accidentally eaten the Yorkshire puddings I was planning on using as canapes in the evening…as both breakfast and lunch. So I had to make a second batch #oops.

Ingredients

For puddings

You’ll need a muffin pan.

  • 115gm plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 145mL (I actually weight 145gm) milk
  • Olive oil

Pop your flour, salt and eggs into a bowl and stir to combine. Add in the milk and stir until the batter is smooth. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes on your counter (you can make the toppings while you wait), then pour it into a measuring jug.

Preheat your oven as hot as it will go (mine goes to 260°C).

Pop about 2-3mm of olive oil in each muffin hole. When the oven is hot, pop the tin in the oven and heat for about 5 minutes (the tin will be smoking hot). Carefully take out the tin (you do not want to spill smoking boiling oil anywhere) and pop it on a counter (I put mine on a chopping board so I don’t burn the laminate). Working quickly, pour equal amounts of your batter into each muffin hole. There should be enough to mostly cover the bottom of each muffin hole.

Carefully manoeuvre the muffin tin back into the oven, and cook until puffed and golden (about 12-20 minutes). Leave to cool in the tin.

So beautiful

You can make these ahead and reheat later in the day (just pop them back into the muffin tin, at the bottom of the oven for about 5-10 minutes tops).

For toppings

  • 3 button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig rosemary, chopped finely
  • 1 small piece of fillet beef
  • Creamy Dijon mustard
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper for seasoning

In one frypan, melt butter. Add clove of garlic and rosemary, when fragrant add in the mushrooms. Stir to coat with butter, fry until soft. Set aside.

In another frypan, pop some olive oil and heat. Add your small piece of fillet steak, and cook until rare/medium rare. Let rest and then slice into thin strips.

To assemble: put about a tsp of dijon mustard into each Yorkie, then top with either the beef or the mushrooms.

Serves 6 (or 4 very hungry people).

Delicious, delicious, delicious.

An alternative topping:

  • Mix 1 tsp horseradish with 2-3 tbsp thickened cream and season with salt and pepper. Dollop that into the Yorkie pudding, then top with slices of fillet steak. Then sprinkle with chopped chives, because you’re fancy.

 

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Canape close up

For those days when you don’t have a baguette handy, so you can’t make crostini canapes with cottage cheese, how about cucumber canapes with cottage cheese? This one is a cold recipe, so great for spring and summer. It’s also very quick to assemble, but looks very impressive! You could assemble it 5 minutes before your guests arrive!

Ingredients

  • 12 slices of continental cucumber
  • 5 tbsp of cottage cheese (say about 100mL of your 500mL cottage cheese tub)
  • the green parts of 2 small spring onions, finely cliced
  • 2 sprigs of dill, finely sliced
  • 2 slices smoked salmon
  • 2 radishes, top and tail them then finely slice them
  • Salt and pepper to season

Pop your cottage cheese in a bowl, mix in the dill and spring onion. Season with salt and pepper, then pop in the fridge to infuse until you’re ready to serve.

When you are ready to plate up, slice one side of the radishes off to give you a base to stand each slice up and tear up your smoked salmon into 6 strips that you can artfully place on your canape.

Pop your slices of cucumber on a platter and dollop a high teaspoon of the cottage cheese mix onto each. For the salmon ones: arrange the pieces of salmon on top of 6 of the dollop of cheese. For the radish ones: stand the radish up, cut side down, in the dollop of cheese.

Et voila! Serves 4 people, or 3 very hungry people.

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Mushrooms to the left, tomatoes to the right…stuck on a platter for you

I have to confess that I am one of those people who can’t be trusted with a tub of plain cottage cheese: I like it. No: I really like it.

Cottage cheese is more savoury than ricotta (which I also like, but not quite as much). You can eat it straight from the tub, have it on salada crackers for lunch (when your boss might ask you if you are dieting, to which you reply: no I just like cottage cheese), you can add it in place of ricotta to many savoury things….and I have started using it in place of cream cheese (contentious I know) when I make canapes.

There are a couple of rules around cottage cheese:

  • Never, ever, ever buy pre-flavoured cottage cheese. Buy it unadulterated and add any flavourings you want after the fact…if there is any cottage cheese left over once you’ve attacked the tub with a spoon.
  • Always buy 500mL, never the 250mL. You will always be able to eat more of it than you think
  • Don’t leave me alone with a tub of it, if there is a spoon in easy reach

Beginnings of a nice high tea

I invented this recipe when I had Les Chicas over for high tea: it’s a great one for vegetarians and very cheap and simple to make.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices of baguette bread
  • Spray olive oil
  • 8 tbsp cottage cheese (let’s say about 150mL of your 500mL tub)
  • a selection of fresh herbs, finely sliced: I went with parsley and chives from my garden
  • 6 cherry tomatoes sliced in two
  • 3 button mushrooms sliced thinly
  • sprig of rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Pop the cottage cheese in a bowl, mix through your finely sliced fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. Pop in the fridge to infuse until you are ready.

Spray olive oil onto each side of your baguette slices, and toast until both sides are golden under your grill, leave to cool.

Oil a small baking dish, place your cherry tomato halves in it and pop in the oven to bake until they are slightly dried and charred (takes about 15-20 minutes at the most). While the tomatoes are baking, heat olive oil and rosemary in a small frypan and fry your button mushroom slices until they are luscious and softened.

To serve: top each crostini with a tbsp of the cottage cheese mix, then place either mushrooms or cherry tomato halves on each crostini. You will end up with 4 of each type of crostini. Grate some salt and pepper over your crostini and challenge anyone who says cottage cheese is only a diet food.

Serves 4 🙂

Artful crostini

 

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Recipe: Easy peasy canape

Sliced roast beef on those nice crispbread wafers you usually have with good cheese, with a horseradish cream and chives.

Like little soldiers lined up on a plate

I once spent a lot of time to make something very similar involving beef fillet and crusty bread. I cooked the beef fillet myself and the crusty bread needed to be warmed, have garlic rubbed onto it and then assembled. It was very very very nice, but it was alot of effort.

This is great too, for alot less time, trouble, effort and dirty dishes. It’s more assembling than cooking too.

Ingredients

  • Pack of gourmet crisp bread wafers
  • 2/3 slices of roast beef from the deli section of a good supermarket or continental delicatessen
  • Horseradish creme (pure horseradish)
  • Thick cream
  • Fresh chives (from my garden ;)) finely sliced

Mix about 2-3 tbsp of the thick cream with 1-2 tsp of the horseradish creme. Stir well, season with salt and pepper and return to the fridge until needed.

Lay out your wafers on a platter and tear the roast beef into strips and lay a bit on each wafer. Dollop with the cream/horseradish mixture and sprinkle over the chives.

I finish with some freshly ground pepper and salt, so I looks like I went to alot of effort…except I didn’t.

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