Surrey Street treats: Christmas canapés


By - Thursday 24th December, 2015

It’s Christmas time in Surrey Street! Jess Bashford has some great ideas from Croydon’s historic street market to keep your party food fresh, local and delicious


This year I decided that I’d think up some canapés for any Christmas party, making the most of three of the market’s ingredients for three very different experiences. I’ve used potatoes for a traditional English idea, tomatoes for an Italian-inspired bite and pears for a slightly French nibble.

Since every party’s different, I’m not going to be giving you quantities with this recipe; you can prepare as many or as few of these as you need for the number of people that you’re feeding, and you’ll know their appetites much better than I do.

Mini Italian mouthfuls

These are really easy, little skewers of Italian-style flavour. So you’re going to need some cocktail sticks.

Ingredients from the market:

Tomatoes, garlic, basil leaves.

Ingredients from the kitchen:

Mozzarella pearls (or small, torn-up pieces of a ball of mozzarella), black olives (sliced in half), salt, pepper, olive oil.

1) Chop your tomato into bitesize pieces (small enough to fit on a cocktail stick with a small bit of everything else). Then add them to a small amount of olive oil, seasoned with a little bit of crushed garlic, salt and pepper. You can cover them and put them to one side to absorb some of the flavour.

2) Now you can start assembling your skewers. On each cocktail stick you’ll need to skewer a mozzarella pearl, a basil leaf (I usually fold them in half and thread them on), half a black olive, and a piece of your seasoned tomato.

3) Then you’re good to go. I like to serve mine all spread out on a big plate. The good thing about these is that people can eat them with one hand, in one mouthful, with no napkin, so that their other hand can keep holding onto their cocktail.

French flavours toast

These are another quick assembly job really, but they pack a punch of flavour.

Ingredients from the market:

Pears.

Ingredients from the kitchen:

Bread (I use normal, sliced brown bread), some Roquefort.

1) Cut your bread into small disks that’d only take one mouthful to eat. (I use a small biscuit cutter, or I cut out the size of circle that I want from some baking paper, pop it on top of the bread, and cut round it with a knife.)

2) Stick your bread disks under the grill for a couple of minutes so that they get crispy, but keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t burn.

3) When they’re ready, take them out. Then all you have to do is to top them with a small bit of Roquefort and some sliced pear, but make sure that both of them are at room temperature. Again, depending on the size of disks that you cut, people should be able to pop these in in one mouthful so that they can keep their hands free.

The main event morsels

Christmas dinner canapés! This is your favourite bits of the seasonal feast in one stacked-up mouthful, so this canapé needs a little bit of planning ahead.

It’ll be a stack of potato, stuffing, then whatever festive food you’d like to top it with, and so on – all the way to Boxing Day.

Ingredients from the market:

Potatoes.

Ingredients from the kitchen

Vegetable oil, butter, salt, pepper, stuffing, then it’s up to you.

1) You’re going to need to get big enough potatoes to cook like jacket potatoes. So the day before you need your canapés, stick your potatoes in the oven for around an hour at 220 degrees. When they’re at the point where you’d eat them as jacket potatoes, take them out and let them cool. Then put them in the fridge until tomorrow.

2) The next day choose whatever stuffing you like best (sage and onion for me every time). Mix it up how the pack says, lay it out flat on a baking tray and use the pack again to see how long and at what temperature you should cook it. When it’s done, take it out and cut it into disks. (It’s up to you if you let it get cold for your canapé or if you put it back into the oven at a low temperature to keep it warm until you’re ready to start stacking.)

3) Take your potatoes out of the fridge and slice them into disks. (Just make sure that they’re big enough to fit your stuffing disks on top.) Then season them with a bit of salt and pepper.

4) Get a pan on the hob and heat up some oil. Then you can lay your potato disks down and let them start to turn golden. When one side has turned golden, flip it and do the same on the other side. When both sides are almost done, I like to add a little bit of butter to the pan, just for some extra Christmas indulgence.

5) When your potatoes are golden, take them out of the pan and pat them with some kitchen towel to soak up a little bit of the oil. Once you’ve done that, you can start stacking.

6) Lay your stuffing circles on top of your potato disks, then top them with whatever bit of the main event you fancy. I go for a mix of chopped up chestnuts, bacon and Brussels sprouts. (Because, controversially, that combination is up there as my favourite bit of Christmas dinner.) Then I top it with a blob of bread sauce. (If you’re not sure how to make bread sauce, here’s my recipe from last Christmas).

You could top it with turkey, or cranberry sauce, or some pigs in blankets. Pick whatever thing you like best.

7) Once everything’s stacked up, you can serve them. As long as your stack hasn’t got too high, they’re another canapé that your guests should be able to fit in in one mouthful.

So all that’s left is to eat all three of your festive Surrey Street treats and for me to wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Jess Bashford

Jess Bashford

Jess Bashford is a writer at a brand language consultancy and an English literature and creative writing graduate. She’s passionate about showing that Croydon is a great place to live and excited to delve into Croydon’s cultural side. She loves all things wordy and foody.

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