For our early family Christmas dinner, I was responsible for starters and desserts. For starters I decided to do canapés, so people could eat as much/little as they liked, and still leave space for a huge turkey dinner.
Of course, stupidly I decided to make everything from scratch, rather than buying some from M&S!
Whilst each individual canapé was easy to make, it did end up being very time consuming. Most of them had aspects that could be made ahead, leaving just simple assembly on the day, so that helped. And I know that I’m biased, but they were delicious.
Our menu was:
- Beetroot and goats cheese napoleons
- Pears with blue cheese and prosciutto
- Goats cheese and asparagus frittata
- Scotch quails eggs
- Caprese bites
In terms of make-ahead, I did the following:
Bake beetroot, Boil and peel quails eggs (fiddly!), Make frittata (but leave whole, and cut up on the day). I also made the scotch eggs the night before, but didn’t bake them until the next day.
All of the recipes are online, and I’ve just given my tips/thoughts below.
Beetroot and goats cheese napoleons
These went down an absolute storm, with adults and children alike. They are so delicious! I made them a little too ahead of time, so the goats cheese filling went a bit pink too. When they are freshly made the white goats cheese contrasts beautifully with the beetroot. I am definitely going to make these again with beetroot from my allotment, where I grow a range of different types of beetroot.
For speed you could make them with those packets of pre-cooked beetroot. I also used whatever vinegar I had in the cupboard as I didn’t have rice vinegar. I also didn’t bother with the dressing. And I put skewers in the stacks to help with eating.
Recipe from Saveur.com – check it out here
Pears with blue cheese and prosciutto
These are very simple, and lovely and fresh. I used dolcelatte cheese, which is quite mild, and I didn’t bother adding in the rocket. I also didn’t bother with the lemon juice because I was serving them straight away.
Recipe from Realsimple.com – you can find it here
Goats cheese and asparagus frittata
Super simple and quick to make. I didn’t have as many eggs as the recipe said, so I just used what I had and made it in a small pan. I added random herbs from my garden. You could add any veg or cheese you like.
Recipe from thecooks pyjamas.com – see here
Scotch quails eggs
No photo for these – I forgot to take one, and they had disappeared by the time I remembered!
It’s nice to have a hot canapé as well as the cold ones. And these are perfect two bite scotch eggs. The recipe is for 12 eggs, but I used a pack of 6 sausages, and managed to make 20 scotch eggs.
I made them up to the point of frying, and then baked them just before we needed them.
A top tip when putting the flour, egg and breadcrumbs onto the sausage covered eggs is to have one hand for wet and one hand for dry. So (for example), with your left hand toss the egg in the flour, then pick it up with your left hand and drop it into the egg. Pick it up and toss it with your right hand, then pick it up with your right and drop it into the breadcrumbs. Toss it with your left hand and then pick it up with your left and drop it into the frying pan.
I used a frying pan and a small amount of fat. I do think it would be better to deep fry them to get a more even colour.
Recipe from Good Housekeeping. Recipe here
Super simple, super quick and popular! Just thread a cherry tomato, a bocconcini (tiny mozzarella ball) and a basil leaf onto a skewer.
I served them on a large wooden platter, and bought some nice bamboo cocktail sticks from Amazon to make them look a little more special. They disappeared in no time, and I was really pleased with how they looked and tasted.