3 Stress-free canapés

I did my first ever solo cookery demo last week which was very exciting indeed. Over 100 people. Oh my word. A festive themed event. Brilliant. Lots of lovely ladies who enjoy food and cooking. Fantastic. 40 minutes to demonstrate – good – not too much time to burn the place down. One catch – no cooker.

So what does one demonstrate to a crowd of foodies at a festive cookery demo? No-cook canapés of course. Win win for everyone and it made total sense. We are all time poor these days and with hectic queues in the shops, term exams, year end closing deadlines, getting the tree up, gifts to be wrapped, walking the dog, appointments, committee meetings, christmas parties, college reunions……it is a relief to know that you can entertain without too much fuss. I trawled the internet for some easy canapés that can be made in advance, that are so simple that you almost don’t even need a cooker. Stress-free – just like Christmas should be. The below three cater for the fish-eater, meat-eater and vegetarian.

Salmon Tartare Rolls 

These are fantastically fresh, full of flavour and a bit of fun. They are also low-fat, gluten-free and super healthy bites. Luckily for us they can be whipped up in minutes. Tip– use the best salmon you can afford, organic if possible.

The below recipes makes about 10 canapés.

  • Salmon :
    Salmon marinating in lime juice, spring onions, shallot, salt and pepper
  • 250g of salmon
  • Tbsp of finely diced shallot
  • tbsp of finely diced spring onion
  • Tbsp of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

Cut the salmon into small dices. Even better, save time and ask your fishmonger to do this for you. Mix the salmon and the onions in a bowl. Add the lime juice , salt and pepper and toss well.  Let the mixture sit, marinating for a few minutes before eating. The lime will ‘cook’ the salmon. You can enjoy these simply as is on chinese soup spoons for example or you can add an asian twist, see below.

  • Asian Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
  • 4 tablespoons nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon spring onions
  • 1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seed
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Combine all the ingredient for the dressing.

Serve as a canape or with 3 pieces as a starter

Cucumber: Using a wide vegetable peeler, peel a cucumber length ways. One cucumber should get 8-10 strips. If you want to prepare in advance these will hold in water 3-5 days although for the best freshness I would do 24 hours in advance.

Assemble: Spoon the approx 3 dices of the salmon tartar onto the cucumber. Roll up. Secure with a cocktail stick. Poor a teaspoon of the dressing over and serve.  Thanks to Claudia I found this great recipe.

Chorizo and Celeriac Remoulade Bites (makes 40) 

This recipe is from Neven Maguire and is so simple. All you need is a food processor or a good knife.

The remoulade can be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge and then all you have to do is roll a couple of hours before your guests arrive. If you don’t want to make 40 the celeriac remoulade is delicious served with a pork chops, chicken salad or in a roast pork sandwich the next day. Mmmmm!

  • 1 small celeriac
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp mild mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise or crème fraiche
  • 2 tbsp of chopped parsley (optional, but nice to add colour!)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 40 thin slices Gubbeen Smokehouse chorizo (rind removed)
    Celeriac Remoulade – a teaspoon into the slice of chorizo, roll and secure. Done!
  • Peel the celeriac and then coarsely grate in a food processor or shred into matchsticks on a mandolin. Place in a bowl and add the lemon juice and mustard with enough of the mayonnaise or crème fraiche to bind. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley.
  • To serve, spoon a teaspoon of the celeriac remoulade onto each slice of chorizo, then fold over to encase the remoulade and secure with a cocktail stick.

Gubbeen chorizo is so tasty and it is great to support Irish producers. Furthermore you know they were happy pigs with fresh air, being fed GM Free feed. If you can’t get your hands on gubbeen, use the best quality salami or chorizo you can find.

Roasted Balsamic Cranberry and Brie Crostini 

Brie topped with roasted balsamic cranberries

The cranberries and the crostini can be made in advance. All that has to be done is assemble before your guests arrive. More time to get the hair done or linger in the bath before the guests arrive.

I would like to emphasise that a good quality ciabatta or sourdough is the best type of bread to use. I was unfortunate enough to discover this after making 200 canapés with standard baguette bread which tasted stale and crumbly once baked and had to start over! Lesson learned.

Makes 30

  • 350g fresh cranberries
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 1 heaped tbsp  chopped rosemary
  • 100g Brie cheese – room temp
  • 1 sourdough, sliced thinly
  • Decorate with a sprig of thyme. (optional, but pretty!)
  1. Cranberries  Preheat the oven to 200°C . Stir cranberries, sugar, balsamic and rosemary together and pop into a parchment-lined tray (they get very sticky so avoid the big clean up!) Put into the oven for about 10-15 minutes. You are just looking for them to pop and slightly collapse but you do want the end result to resemble something like roast cranberries. Check out the before and after picture below to see what you are aiming for. These can be stored for about 2 weeks in the fridge and go great on pâté instead of cumberland sauce or with your roast turkey. P.S. Don’t freak out on the sugar content – it is only a taste per crostini.
  2. Crostini Thinly slice the bread on the diagonal. Lightly brush with olive oil on both sides. Place into a preheated oven (180c) for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye so they don’t burn. You just want them lightly coloured and not too crispy. They keep in an air-tight container overnight.

  3. Assemble by placing a slice of brie on the toasted crostini slices. Top with a teaspoon of cranberries and a little sprig of thyme. Serve.

Other delicious toppings that you could use for crostini: 

  • Thinly sliced pear, watercress, blue cheese & honey
  • Thinly sliced beef and horseradish sauce, topped with rocket
  • Chargrilled roasted veg with goats cheese
  • Smoked salmon with lemon and chive cream cheese
  • Smoked mackerel pâté with a pickled cucumber on top

The list is endless and you can be as creative as you like. Tip: Make any of the above with a slice of cucumber or gluten free crackers to make coeliac friendly.

Let me know if you make any of the recipes and I hope you enjoy the festivities!

2 thoughts on “3 Stress-free canapés

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s