Recipe: The Easiest Nibbles

If you’ve followed me for a while you probably already know that a) I love nibbles, and b) I don’t like to waste food.

So when I emptied my London cupboards before going to the countryside in lockdown, I encountered a packet of breadsticks (probably from a Christmas party more than a year earlier, but if sealed these things don’t really go off) that I thought would be good for a little nibble.

About six week later I still hadn’t figured out what to do with it. Usually I have it with taramasalata but I didn’t think the others would be too happy with this suggestion, so I consulted the internet. (Honestly, a lockdown without the internet would have been so scary!). And I found a recipe so easy and yummy I made it twice in two weeks.

It’s just an assembly job really, but it looks impressive and is utterly delicious with a pre-dinner glass of white wine.

Prosciuttowrapped grissini with pesto cream cheese dip, serves 8

Adapted from BBC Good Food’s recipe.

1 large tub of Philadelphia (full fat)

2-3 tbsp basil or wild garlic pesto (if using store-bought I recommend a fresh one from the deli section)

1 pack grissini

1 packet prosciutto (you want the soft kind)

If the grissini are really long then break them in half. Cut each prosciutto slice into four stripes (cut in half lengthways and then halve them) and wrap each around the end of a grissini.

Spoon out the cream cheese into a bowl. Add the pesto and stir it into a swirl (i.e. don’t mix it all that well). Place everything on a platter and serve.

Recipe: Roasted Cherry Tomato Caprese

As the tomato season is almost here (hurrah!) this post might be slightly redundant, but the tomato season is short and if you can’t get hold of really good tomatoes just yet, then this is a great way to get them to taste more.

I would make this dish with really good tomatoes too though, especially on a colder overcast summer’s day when all you need is something summery and warming.

Although you let the tomatoes cool a little after they’ve been roasted to sweet perfection in the oven I like them to be warm enough to make the mozzarella melt a little, so you can scoop it all up on some crusty bread.

Roasted Cherry Tomato Caprese, serves 2

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe.

approx 200 g cherry tomatoes

2 sprigs thyme

2 garlic cloves, smashed

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

125 g good quality buffalo mozzarella, at room temperature, torn into large pieces

crusty bread

Preheat oven to 180C. Toss tomatoes, garlic, thyme and oil in a rimmed oven-proof dish and season with a little salt. Spread out in a single layer and roast until tomatoes are bursting and lightly browned, 40-45 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Arrange mozzarella on a platter and spoon warm tomato mixture with juices over. Sprinkle with salt and peppar. Drizzle with more oil if needed. Serve with crusty (preferably still warm) bread.

Recipe: Fried Prinskorv in Brioche Buns with Truffle Mayonnaise and Crispy Onions

One of the more substantial canapés at the Christmas party were these yummy little hotdogs! Fried mini pork sausages (prinskorv in Swedish, we use them mainly for special occasions, like holidays) served in pillowy brioche buns with truffle mayonnaise and crispy onions! They’re so good! But if you don’t like truffle, just flavour the mayonnaise differently or use ketchup instead.

But I highly recommend trying to use these sausages. They’re similar to frankfurters in the way that they are smoked but so much better. I got mine from Scandinavian Kitchen but I believe Ocado (in normal times) also carry similar sausages.

Fried prinskorv in brioche buns with truffle mayonnaise and crispy onions, makes 8

Translated from and adapted after Jessica Frej’s recipe.

8 prinskorv (or 4 regular sized sausages – preferably smoked ones)

4 brioche hot dog buns, cut in half

150 ml Hellman’s mayonnaise

3 tsp good quality truffle oil

approx 100 ml crispy onions

salt and pepper

more truffle oil for serving

Fry the sausages in a frying pan or in the oven. Mix mayonnaise with truffle oil, salt and pepper. Place a sausage in each (halved) brioche bun. Top with a tbsp mayonnaise and some crispy onions. Add a few drops of oil on top and serve.

Recipe: Mini Dauphinoise Potatoes with Roast Beef and Crispy Onions

These mini dauphinoise potatoes topped with roast beef and crispy onions have become (one of) my signature party dish!

As you know, I like to feed people, and even if I host a party with only canapés they will be substantial enough for you not to stop my the kebab shop on your way home. At this party I had some lighter canapés mixed with some more filling little dishes like these. I usually stagger the canapés from light to filling and then the sweets to finish. But I also like to have put out bowls of nuts and crisps and sweets on tables, so there is something to munch on at all times. I can easily get hangry at parties (how often do we rush straight from work to a party without having eaten since lunch time?) so want there to be plenty of food so my guests can relax, have fun and know that they will get fed.

Mini Dauphinoise Potatoes with Roast Beef and Crispy Onions, makes 20

20 aluminium baking cases (or ramekins)

10-15 medium sized firm potatoes, peeled if you have the time

600 ml double cream (at least)

grated cheddar

salt and pepper

1 topside of beef (approx 800 g)

2 tbsp salted butter + 1 tbsp oil for frying

salt and pepper

1 tub crispy onions

Start with the beef as it can rest while the potatoes finish cooking. It doesn’t have to be warm, but don’t put it in the fridge.

Remove the meat from the fridge an hour ahead of cooking. Brown all around on high heat with butter and oil in the pan. Season well and place in a roasting tin. Place in a 180 C oven for approx 10-15 minutes depending on thickness (I like mine quite rare). Remove and place on a plate and let it rest for ten minutes. If the potatoes need longer cover with tin foil after it’s rested and keep warmish. Slice thinly just before serving.

Place the baking cases on a foil-lined baking tray. Slice the potatoes (I use a rotating grater for this, but you can use a regular grater or a knife too) thinly and fill the cases. Add salt and pepper. Pour cream almost to edge of each case. Top with a pinch of grated cheese and bake for 40-50 minutes on 180C fan or until soft (pierce the potatoes with pairing knife to check) and golden brown.

Place a slice of beef on top of each potato case and add a teaspoon of crispy onions. Add sea salt and serve with small forks.

Recipe: Cured Salmon Canapés with Dill Cream Cheese and Lemon

These little canapés went down really well at our Christmas party. They’re really easy to make but will impress your guests. Why? For a number of reasons. 1. Not many people cure their own salmon, but they should as both the flavour and texture is so different from what one can buy. 2. It’s delicious. Salmon, cream cheese and dill go so well together and here they are in the purest form, i.e. without anything else (like bread) competing for their attention. 3. They look pretty. Yes, we eat with our eyes too and although these are so easy to throw together they look really delicious.

If you prefer, you could of course put the salmon and cream cheese on top of a cracker or piece of rye bread, but I had quite a lot of nibbles and some were very filling so wanted some lighter options for balance. Plus eating them like this they just melt in your mouth and that’s a rather nice experience!

Cured Salmon Canapés with Dill Cream Cheese and Lemon, makes about 30-35

Cured salmon

500 g salmon fillet

3 tbsp salt

1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Cure the salmon 48 hours before you intend to eat it. Place the salmon in a deep glass or china dish. Sprinkle the salt and sugar evenly on top of the salmon and pat it in. Add roughly chopped dill and cover with clingfilm. Put it in the fridge and place something heavy on top of the salmon (to help squeeze out the water in the fish) and leave it for 48 hours.

Once cured, pour away the water, rinse quickly in cold water and pat dry with kitchen towel. Cut into thin slices.

Dill cream cheese

340 g (large packet) full fat Philadelphia

6 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

1 lemon, the juice

salt and pepper

Mix Philadelphia with dill in a bowl. Add lemon juice to taste. Season and mix again.

To assemble:

cured salmon

dill cream cheese

cocktail sticks

3 tbsp chopped dill

1/2 lemon, the juice

Take a slice of salmon and place a teaspoon sized dollop of the dill cream cheese in the middle. Roll it up and fasten with a cocktail stick. Place on a platter, squeeze with lemon and scatter with dill.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Canapés with Persian Pesto and Pomegranate Seeds

Do you guys remember this lovely recipe? I’ve made it many times, and for our Christmas party I made it into bite size canapés, and it worked really well so of course I wanted to share with you what I did differently. Loved these as canapés! They’re a bit fun and different, refreshing amid meaty or heavy canapés and of course perfect for vegetarians. Plus they look gorgeous!

Instead of large wedges I cut the butternut squash into little triangles that I then topped with feta, pesto and pomegranate seeds.

Butternut squash canapés with Persian pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds, makes about 30

Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s recipe

1 large butternut squash, quartered lengthways (skin-on), and seeds removed 

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

150 g feta

100 g pomegranate seeds

For the pesto:

100 g pistachios

70 g parmesan

100 ml olive oil

1 small bunch coriander

1 small bunch parsley

1 small bunch dill

1 red chilli

1 lemon, juice only

2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Cut each wedge into 1 cm thick slices and place on lined baking trays, evenly spread out. Drizzle with oil, add salt and pepper and roast the squash for about 30-40 minutes, just until the edges have begun to brown slightly and they’re soft.

For the pesto, add the pistachios and cheese to a food processor. Pulse to break them into small pieces and add enough olive oil to slacken the mixture to your desired consistency (you may not need all the oil). Add all the herbs and a little more olive oil. Season generously with sea salt and give the mixture one last pulse. Taste the pesto, to make sure it has enough salt and acidity, and allow it to rest in the fridge until you need it. 

To serve, place the butternut squash pieces on a platter, spoon a little pesto on each and top with crumbled feta and pomegranate seeds.

Recipe: Mini Rösti with Smetana, Bleak Roe and Chopped Red Onions

In Sweden we love our own version of caviar; the bleak roe. It’s orange instead of black and the eggs are a lot smaller, and although quite different in taste than sturgeon caviar it’s just as delicious! And it’s native, so not as expensive and easier to get hold of.

But it’s still very much a special occasion type of food (even if that occasion is just a Friday night); we typically don’t eat it for breakfast on a Tuesday. As I (and I think every single Swede) love it so much, I often eat it when I’m home in Sweden, and always on New Year’s Eve. It’s perfect for nibbles and I love it on a little toast or on pizza (!) but this time I put it on little crispy röstis to avoid having too much bread (we also had the girolle toast so that was enough bread).

Rösti might seem daunting to make but it couldn’t be easier. All you need is a firm potato variety like Maris Piper, a grater and plenty of butter. And you know, salt and pepper and a nice topping.

Mini rösti with smetana, bleak roe and chopped red onions, serves 4 as a canapé

3-4 medium sized firm potatoes, peeled

3 tbsp salted butter

1 msk neutral oil for cooking

salt and pepper

To serve:

1 tub smetana or French full fat creme fraiche

1 tub bleak roe

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 bunch dill, finely chopped

1/4 lemon, the juice

Grate the potatoes on the coarse side of a grater. Gather the grated potatoes into little rounds, approx 1,5 inches in diameter. Heat up half the butter in a (preferably non-stick) frying pan on medium-high heat. Add a splash of oil to the pan. Once the butter has melted and the pan is hot, place the little röstis in the pan with some space in between (you will need to fry a second and maybe a third batch depending on the size of the frying pan). Flatten the potato rounds with a spatula and let it sit undisturbed until golden underneath. Add salt and pepper and turn over, fry undisturbed until golden on both sides. Season on top and remove to a plate covered with kitchen towel to drain. Repeat with another batch or two.

Put some of the rösti on a plate or platter and top with smetana, bleak roe, chopped onions and dill. Add a little squeeze of lemon and serve straight away.

Recipe: Bruschetta Bar Winter Edition

When we were tired of heavy Christmas food on Christmas Day (we celebrate on Christmas Eve in Sweden) I threw together this Winter Edition Bruschetta Bar with various goodies we had at home.

A mix of reinvented leftovers, charcuterie and cheese. We had thinly sliced venison with remoulade and crispy onions, sun blush tomato cream cheese spread, olives, pata negra ham, homemade mayonnaise, saucisson, cured salmon and dill cream cheese. As well as cheeses, crackers and sliced pear.

It was the perfect antidote to heavy Christmas food as well as a really good way of using up leftovers. In summer I love tomatoes and burrata for the bruschetta bar, but in winter I think a spread such as this is better (tomatoes are a bit dull in winter), so I hope this could serve as some inspiration.

Recipe: Puff Pastry Squares with Speck, Cream Cheese, Tomato and Chives

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I’m so pleased with these nibbles! They went down extremely well at our Christmas party. Some even claimed them their favourite canapé of the evening! Which is great because they are ridiculously easy to make, yet a real crowd pleaser.

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The base is store bought ALL BUTTER puff pastry covered with creme fraiche and grated cheese and then baked until golden and flaky.

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The combination of salty speck (or any other cured ham) with the cream cheese and sun blush tomato mixture works really well with the buttery puff and a sprinkling of chopped chives makes it look pretty while also giving it a little flavour.

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Puff pastry squares with speck, cream cheese, tomato and chives, makes 20

The base:

1 roll all butter puff pastry 

100 ml creme fraiche

2 handfuls grated cheddar

salt and pepper

Topping:

180 g (small tub) Philadelphia cheese

3/4 tub sun blush tomatoes in oil

salt and pepper

5 slices speck, each torn into 4

bunch of chives, finely chopped

Place the puff pastry on top of a parchment paper covered baking tray. Spread a layer of creme fraiche on top. Scatter with grated cheese. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake in 200C oven until crispy and golden. 

Remove the tomatoes from the oil and chop finely. Mix with cream cheese and season well. 

Cut the puff pastry into 20 squares and place on a serving platter. Add a piece of ham to each, then a dollop of the cream cheese mixture on top and top with chopped chives. 

 

 

Recipe: Parma Ham-Wrapped Dates with Balsamic and Honey

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Here’s another winner of a canapé! Also from the Christmas party. These parma ham-wrapped dates with balsamic and honey are a more sophisticated version than the bacon-wrapped dates, and therefore so much better.

The idea is the same; sweet meets salty but with less punchy flavours (i.e. ham instead of bacon) and a little depth from the vinegar and honey. It truly is a winning flavour combination and one of the easiest nibbles you can make, so keep it in mind for the festive season of 2020!

Parma Ham-Wrapped dates with balsamic and honey, makes 20

With inspiration from Sophie Conran’s recipe.

10 dates, stones removed and cut in half lengthways

10 slices Parma Ham or prosciutto, cut in half lengthways 

20 cocktail sticks

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp runny honey

salt and pepper

Wrap each date halve in a thin slice of ham and secure with the cocktail sticks. Place in an ovenproof dish and drizzle with vinegar and honey. Add salt and pepper. Bake in 200C oven for approx 10 minutes. Leave to cool and serve at room temperature.