Canapés are a great way of offering delicious food at a cocktail party or informal gathering. Canapés are meant to be no more than a mouthful and are generally served from silver or decorated trays. The trick to success is to keep the canapés coming and provide plenty of napkins for sticky fingers, and forks where necessary.

Usually cold canapés are served first and then followed by hot canapés. If you allow between 8 and 12 canapés per person you won’t go far wrong. Listed below are some classic and innovative recipes for canapés.


HOT CANAPÉS

CARAMELIZED ONION QUICHES – makes 20

Variations:

Filling: Sundried Tomato – use only 1 onion, together with 4 chopped sundried tomatoes
Or Bake as Large 8” pastry lined quiche – bake case blind, then fill and bake 25-30 minutes

8oz shortcrust pastry
3 onions
2 medium eggs
¼ pt single cream
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme
salt/ground pepper

Preheat oven to 200oC/Gas Mk 6
Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface and use 3” fluted cutter to make 20 rounds
Line patty tins and chill in fridge for about 10 minutes
Bake pastry cases blind for about 5 minutes
Finely chop onions and fry with the oil and sugar for about 15 minutes in a covered pan over a gentle heat until golden. Stir frequently to prevent sticking
Spoon onion mixture into pastry cases
Beat eggs, cream and seasoning and pour over the onion quiches
Sprinkle them with a little thyme
Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffy and set and serve immediately

CROSTINI – makes 36

(see various toppings below – they can be frozen or kept for up to 8 hours in a refrigerator)

2 large baguettes – cut each into 18 slices, ½” thick
9 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
(2 cloves of garlic – optional)

Preheat oven to 220o/Gas Mk7
Brush each side of each slice of bread with oil (rub with garlic if using) and sprinkle with salt
Place on baking tray and bake for 7 minutes until crisp and golden
Pile on topping and serve immediately

TOMATO & BASIL TOPPING – for 12 Crostini

1lb fresh plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt
12 fresh basil leaves, and
4 fresh basil leaves finely chopped
2 tablespoons of lightly toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 200oC/Gas Mk 6
Line baking sheet with greaseproof paper
Halve tomatoes lengthways and place on lined baking tray
Brush surfaces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
Bake for 1 hour
Place a basil leaf on crostini base, top with baked tomato and sprinkle with chopped basil and pine nuts. Serve

MUSHROOM TOPPING – for 12 Crostini

8oz sliced shitake mushrooms
7 fl oz red wine
¼ pt double cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 oz lightly toasted pecan halves

Heat oil in frying pan, add mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften
Add the red wine and reduce until it has almost evaporated
Stir in cream and reduce until it has disappeared, but mixture is not too dry
Remove from heat and sprinkle with nutmeg
Spread onto crostinis and top with nuts. Serve

MEDITERRANEAN TOPPING – for 12 Crostini

3 oz sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 red pepper – deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped capers
1 finely chopped clove of garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
3oz pitted green olives
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sprigs of oregano

Heat oil in frying pan and add tomatoes, red pepper, chopped oregano, capers and garlic, vinegar, sugar and olives
Cook over gentle heat for 7 minutes
Spread onto crostini bases and garnish each with a sprig of oregano. Serve.

MUSHROOM BUNDLES – makes 24

Can be assembled in advance, chilled overnight (or frozen for up to 1 week) Cook just before serving

5 oz button mushrooms
3 oz cream cheese with herbs
3 ½ oz filo pastry
2 tablespoons olive oil

Remove stalk from mushrooms
Place spoonful of cream cheese in centre of each mushroom
Cut each sheet of filo pastry in half and brush with oil
Place a mushroom in centre
Draw up pastry corners over mushrooms to make a ‘bundle’, pinch to seal
Bake in preheated oven 200oC/Gas Mk 6 for 5 minutes until golden
Serve

PUFF PASTRY PIZZAS – makes 20 small

Pastry discs can be frozen in advance(when using fresh not frozen pastry) and topped and baked when required

13 oz puff pastry
8 sliced tomatoes
3 cloves of sliced garlic
2 teaspoons sea salt
2fl oz olive oil
2oz parmesan cheese shavings
20 black olives, stoned and halved
Fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 220oC/Gas Mk 7
Roll out pastry on a floured surface until thin
Use 3” cutter and cut 20 circles – place them on greased baking sheet
Arrange slices of tomatoes and garlic on top of each
Sprinkle them with sea salt and olive oil
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden
Garnish with parmesan shavings, basil leaves and black olives and serve warm

PRAWN DUMPLINGS – makes 30

30 x 3 ½” white dumpling wrappers

Filling:

12 ½ oz peeled fresh prawns
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
¼ tea cup coriander roots – washed & finely chopped
1 oz finely chopped water chestnuts
1 oz finely chopped bamboo shoots
1 tablespoon each of:-
- light soy sauce
- soya bean sauce
- caster sugar
- potato flour
- light sesame oil
1 egg white
salt and ground black pepper
½ red pepper cut into small diamond shapes to garnish.

Prepare the filling

Using a food processor mince the prawns and transfer to mixing bowl
Add the remaining ingredients and seasoning. Mix well
Cover and refrigerate

Fill the dumplings

Lay the dumpling wrapper on a cool surface
Place 1 teaspoon of filling in centre of each wrapper
Moisten the edges of wrapper with water
Pinch each wrapper into 8 and make into a little round with the filling just showing
Top with red pepper diamond
Place on tray, cover and refrigerate

To cook and serve

Half fill pan with water and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer
Using a steamer basket that fits the pan brush it with a little oil
Put dumplings in the steamer, cover and steam for 4-5 minutes
Remove pan from heat and transfer dumplings to serving platter

COLD CANAPÉS

CHEESE TWISTS – makes 40

Make and chill these for up to 24 hours in advance or freeze for a month
Variations – instead of cheese use pesto or sundried tomato paste or marmite

13oz puff pastry
3 ½ oz mature cheddar or parmesan
1 medium egg – beaten
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Preheat over to 220oC/Gas Mk 7
Finely grate the cheese
On lightly floured surface roll pastry to thin large rectangle
Brush with beaten egg leaving a ½” border all around
Sprinkle with cheese
Fold pastry in half and roll gently
Sprinkle half the pastry with sesame seeds
Sprinkle the other half of the pastry with poppy seeds
Use a sharp knife to cut the pastry into thin fingers (about 40)
Twist each finger at both ends
Arrange on baking sheet(s) and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden

FRUITS WITH PARMA HAM – makes 24

Variations can be made using a variety of fruits and hams

24 cocktail sticks
1 ripe mango
½ small melon – deseeded
2 figs
12 thin slices of Parma ham – cut in half

Peel mango and remove the flesh, cut into 8 large chunks
Cut melon into 8 large chunks (or make 8 melon balls)
Cut figs into quarters
Wrap a slice of Parma ham around each melon chunk, secure with stick
Wrap a slice of Parma ham around each quarter of fig, secure with stick
Secure a stick into each mango chunk and add a folded piece of ham onto the stick

GOATS’ CHEESE & ROCKET WRAPS – makes 30

3 spinach tortilla – 12” round
7 oz log of goat’s cheese – cut into ½” rounds
7 oz sour cream
1 oz washed rocket
5 tablespoons red onion marmalade or jam
salt and ground pepper
Spread sour cream evenly over tortillas

Cover first quarter of each wrap with rocket and top it with onion jam
Top that with goat’s cheese and seasoning
Roll up the wraps
Seal them in clingfilm and chill
When ready to serve slice the wraps at an angle

PARMESAN TUILES – makes 30

11ozs Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 190oC/Gas Mk5
Finely grate the cheese
Line tray with greaseproof or baking parchment
Using a ring cutter for guidance sprinkle small rounds of the cheese on the tray
Bake for 4 minutes or until slightly bubbly and golden
Remove from the oven and using a palette knife transfer the tuiles to a cooling rack
When cooled store layered in greaseproof paper in an airtight container until required

QUAILS’ EGGS WITH CAVIAR – makes 30

15 quails eggs
4 ½ oz caviar
snipped chives
Hard boil eggs and peel (store in water in the fridge until required)

When ready to serve drain and dry them on a clean towel
Use a sharp knife to halve each egg lengthways and cut off a thin slice from the base of each so that they lie flat
Place on serving platter and top each egg with a little caviar garnished with chives

SALMON PINWHEELS – makes 30

Can be made up to 24 hours in advance and chilled. Slice just before serving
Variation – can use smoked trout instead of salmon

7 ½ oz sliced smoked salmon
7oz full-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons snipped chives
grated zest of lemon
freshly ground pepper

Beat together cream cheese, snipped chives, lemon zest and black pepper till smooth
Lay out strips of smoked salmon (or trout) and spread with cheese mixture
Roll up and slice thinly into pinwheels

SAVOURY SCONES – makes 18

Variation can make as sweet scones, omit cheese and add 1 oz each of sugar and mixed dried fruit. Top with jam and cream.

10oz self-raising flour
3 ½ oz diced butter
3 ½ oz grated cheese
1 medium egg
¼ pt milk

Toppings:

7 fl oz crème fraiche
6 slices salami
6 slices prosciutto
6 slices smoked salmon
fresh herbs to garnish – dill, thyme, marjoram etc

Preheat oven to 220oC/Gas Mk 7
Sift flour into bowl and rub in the butter
Finely grate cheese and add it to the bowl with the egg and milk
Mix to soft – not sticky – dough
Roll on a floured surface until about 1” thick
Cut out 18 rounds
Put onto a greased baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden
Leave to cool
When ready to serve halve the scones and top with a little crème fraiche and half a slice of selected topping
Garnish with herb.