Norfolk food hacks: cracking Christmas canapés

PUBLISHED: 12:37 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:07 03 December 2018

Canapes - they're just grown-up party food (photo: Getty Images)

Canapes - they're just grown-up party food (photo: Getty Images)

Ryzhkov

'Tis the season to party! So to get you in the mood follow Andrew Jones' festive guide to presenting canapés to be proud of

What you should keep in mind when planning your seasonal shindig is that canapés are just party food for grown-ups. They should be fun for everybody; there’s no point throwing a party where you don’t have time to hang out with your friends.

They can be prepared in advance and pulled out as your guests arrive. You can add a final flourish at the last minute to your trays of bite-sized deliciousness to really add the wow factor and make it look like you’ve hired in professional caterers. Or me.

Just enough is plenty

No one will be expecting a full three courses, but unless you’re hoping for a Christmas miracle, a single bag of Wotsits won’t cover it. As a rule of thumb I would reckon on producing about

seven times the number of canapés in total as bodies. This should allow between one and two of each type of canapé for each guest.

Spread the love

Consider making between four and six different types of canapé, with at least one meaty, one fishy and one veggie/vegan to cover all the bases. Sweet canapés also work really well.

It’s party food, remember?

Almost anything can be turned into a mini-morsel with a little imagination. Mini cheese board – what about a nugget of cheddar, a dollop of chutney and a celery leaf on a cracker? One bite Sunday roast – cook some Yorkshire puddings in a mini muffin tray and fill with a slice of steak and a blob of horseradish.

All the gear, no idea

You don’t need to invest in loads of kitchen gadgets, but a few key tools of the trade will give your creations a much more professional look. There’s almost no limit to what you can achieve with a couple of cutters and a squeezy bottle.

You can use fun-shaped cutters to create toasted croutons, puff pastry or potato bases. Squeezy bottles will help you decorate or sauce your canapés accurately. Grab one at your local cookshop. It’ll be your new best friend this Christmas.

Here are two rock-solid but simple crowd-pleasers that will leave you free to bask in the praise of your Christmas party guests:

Mini chicken Caesars

Chop cooked chicken and bind with mayo, finely grated parmesan, a good dash of Worcestershire sauce and a few grinds of black pepper. Load into individual baby gem leaves and top with a few croutons and a couple of curls of parmesan made with a vegetable peeler.

Mini sherry trifles

Make a packet of raspberry jelly with half the water recommended in the recipe. Soak half an amoretti biscuit in sherry and place in the bottom of a shot glass.

Pour the jelly on top to the depth of half an inch and chill to set. Make up some custard and allow to go cold. Pipe on top of the jelly in the glass. Top with whipped cream. Finish with popping candy.

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Andrew Jones, executive chef and joint owner of The Dial House, Reepham and Farmyard, Norwich

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