its the season of goodwill and sharing, and the language of love is food. I have no doubt: Whether religious or not; Festive or not; There is nothing like dedicated time set aside for sharing meals with the people we love.
In this last edition of the year, it seems fitting to share a selection of very simple festive canapés that can be put together easily and simply with basics we often have at home, and what’s best, at short notice.
Whether these canapés are served as a welcome nibble, a selection of starters, or a sharing platter for two, they are bound to be a hit.
A good place to start is a mini prawn cocktail. Prepared in seconds, a few prawns are mixed into mayonnaise, tomato puree, and tabasco, and presented in a small glass over a lettuce leaf with an unpeeled prawn, a boiled quail egg and a slice of lemon.
A delicious persimmon salmorejo, prepared in seconds, is next. A persimmon is chopped up into the blender with a garlic clove, half a green pepper, a slice of bread, salt, black pepper, olive oil and vinegar. Serve in shot glasses and garnish with slices of green pepper.
Hummus is always a hit and homemade is best. Blend a jar of chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice, a spoonful of tahini, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cumin. Lay out on small individual dishes, spreading out with a spoon and sprinkle with paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. Wonderful served with home fried tortilla chips.
Minced meat is so versatile that you can make a number of canapés. Add salt, pepper, garlic paste, cumin, coriander, and breadcrumbs to the minced meat and mix well. Use some of the mix to make meatballs and cook in a curried sauce, place some more on small bamboo skewers and grill, stuff some of the mix into small pastry discs and fry, and finally wrap boiled quail eggs with the mince, dip in beaten egg, then breadcrumbs, and deep fry in olive oil. Serve in separate dishes or together as part of a minced meat platter.
For those with a sweet tooth a very simple desert. Crumble 1-2 digestive biscuits per portion into a small glass. Add a layer of stewed fruit or jam over this. Mix creamed cheese with some honey and lay over the fruit/jam. Decorate with some fruit, add some fresh mint and sprinkle icing sugar over them.
And of course, it’s Christmas! Mince pies with a twist here are a must. Grab some more of the pastry discs and stuff some of the sweet mincemeat, sealing them well. Deep fry and sprinkle with icing sugar! Absolutely delicious hot or cold!
And to finish off. the most delicious festive cocktail ever; a Clover Club! For two people pour 60ml of your preferred gin, 40ml of Chambord, 2 egg whites, 40ml of lemon juice and shake for 45 seconds. Open the cocktail shaker and add a few ice cubes and shake for another 15 seconds. Pour gently into cocktail glasses so that the frothy egg white foams to the surface and decorate with berries and dried rose petals.
So I hope that you find some inspiration in these ideas and should you want to watch me making them, go to my YouTube Channel and subscribe to Dad’s Kitchen and watch the Christmas Special where I cook all these canapés for the lovely Sonia Golt.
I leave you now with thanks for reading my contributions each month and for commenting and sharing images of the dishes I write about, and I wish you all a wonderful festive period and a prosperous new year.
Text And Photography By Mark Montovio