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.
You’re probably familiar with Toast Skagen; the iconic Scandinavian starter consisting of butter-fried bread (oh yeah!) topped with a mixture of prawns and dill in mayonnaise?! It’s a true classic that will never go out of style. And so very delicious. My mother serves it at dinner parties and so do I, and sometimes I make one for myself just because I feel like it.
But this thing of placing things on top of butter-fried bread is bigger than just this one dish. It’s a whole food category. And I’m pleased to say I have discovered yet another recipe to add to my repertoire; this wonderful Toast Lingström with ham, named after its inventor, chef Christer Lingström.
The combination of smoked (or cooked) ham, creamy mayonnaise and a little tartness from the creme fraiche really works with the heat from the horseradish. It’s such a great little starter. Or nibble, in which case the recipe below is enough for 8 nibbles. Just cut the bread slices in half.
Toast Lingström, serves 4
Adapted from Christer Lingström’s recipe.
150 g cooked or smoked ham
100 ml crème fraiche
50 ml mayonnaise
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tbsp grated horseradish
salt and pepper
4 slices white tin loaf
3 tbsp butter
Slice or dice the ham and mix with creme fraiche, mayo, chives and horseradish. Season to taste. Cut the crusts off the bread slices and fry in butter until golden. Drain the excess fat on kitchen towel. Divide the mixture between the four bread slices, garnish with some more chopped chives, if you like, and serve.
This creamy and amazingly delicious (I dare you to step away from the dip before it’s finished!) is so incredibly easy to make you have your pre-dinner party snack sorted in minutes. But obviously it’s just as nice in front of a film or a football game on the television.
I first encountered this lovely dip at Laura and Tim’s house warming when my friend Amy and I did our best to finish the dip between the two of us. It’s just SO good!
Creamy spinach dip, serves 4-6 as a snack (or maybe just 2)
Adapted from The Food Network’s recipe.
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
225 g full-fat cream cheese
280 g frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
salt and white pepper
Melt the butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the onions and soften without browning, for approx 5-8 minutes. Add the cream cheese and stir to melt and combine. Add the spinach and reduce any water. Season to taste with grated nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Serve warm with salted tortilla chips.