13 Jan winter party canapés
Christmas has arrived. It’s truly the cook’s season; it’s a time when our loved ones completely indulge us in our love of feeding them. This week, we’ve started thinking about what kinds of treats will be on our Christmas party table. Here are two of our favourites.
Teacup Beetroot Soup (serves a crowd)
These little teacup soups make a really handy party snack. They’re easy to eat standing up and your guests will be delighted to have a hot cup of soup handed to them as they come through your threshold.
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
500g raw beetroot
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of caraway seeds
1 teaspoon of sugar
750ml vegetable stock
Pinch of salt and pepper
Crème fraîche, smoked salmon and chives, to serve
1. Pre-heat the sunflower oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat.
2. Peel and roughly chop the beetroot, carrot, onion, potato and garlic. Gently fry in the oil for 10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the caraway seeds and sugar, frying for another minute.
3. Pour in the stock and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Use a hand-held blender to blitz until smooth.
4. Serve in teacups topped with a dollop of crème fraîche, a few cubes of sliced smoked salmon and a sprinkling of freshly chopped chives.
Honeyed Fig Tartlets (serves a crowd)
If you can’t get your hands on fresh figs, replace them with finely sliced pear. Add some Parma ham too for extra saltiness.
1 x 375g shop-bought puff pastry
1 beaten egg
About 50g of blue cheese (you can use soft goat cheese too if you prefer)
4 fresh figs
2 tablespoons of honey
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180c/160c fan/Gas Mark 4. Thinly roll out the puff pastry and use a small scone cutter to cut out your bite-sized pastry bases. You should get about 20 pastry bases. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and arrange the puff pastry bases on it.
2. Brush each pastry base with beaten egg. Crumble a little blue cheese on top of the pastry base. Finely slice the figs and arrange one fig on top of each pastry base, pushing it gently into the pastry so that it won’t fall off. Drizzle with honey, scatter with the thyme and add a pinch of salt and pepper before baking in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
3. Serve these warm or cold, with an extra drizzling of honey. They will keep for a few hours but are best served within an hour of coming out of the oven.
These recipes first appeared in The Irish Independent’s INSIDER magazine on December 4th 2014