Canapes and party nibbles shouldn’t be overly complicated, but they should involve more effort than emptying a bag of crisps into a bowl. By definition, finger food shouldn’t require cutlery and should disappear in no more than two clean bites, ideally accompanied by something cold and bubbly. They are tiny, bite-sized opportunities to thrill, so, where flavour is concerned, go big or call off the party and stay at home.
Prawn and yuzu mayo blinis (pictured top)
I’ve never met a blini I didn’t like, but I especially love these easy and refreshing prawn ones. The yuzu in the mayonnaise is zippy enough to add interest and cut through the rich, sweet prawns. You can find yuzu juice in some supermarkets, or online.
Prep 10 minCook 5 minMakes 20
20 cocktail blinis20 large cooked prawns20 picked coriander leaves1 small jar salmon roe (optional)1 long red chilli, very finely sliced on the diagonal2 tsp black sesame seeds
For the mayonnaise1 egg yolk20ml yuzu juice1 tsp finely grated ginger175ml rapeseed oilSea salt, to taste
Begin by making the yuzu mayonnaise. Put the egg yolk, yuzu juice and ginger in a small food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, pour in the oil in a slow, steady stream; the mixture should start to emulsify and turn into a mayonnaise. Add salt to taste, then refrigerate.
Warm the blinis according to the packet instructions and arrange them on a platter. Top each one with a little mayo, a prawn, a coriander leaf, a small spoon of salmon roe (if using), a piece of sliced chilli and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds, and serve.
Jerusalem artichoke jackets with mushrooms and parmesan cream
These dreamy, twice-baked jerusalem artichoke jackets can conveniently be stuffed well in advance and popped into the oven when your guests get peckish.
Prep 5 minCook 1 hrServes 6
500g jerusalem artichokes (look for small ones that aren’t too knobbly and that are good for stuffing)50g butter250g mixed mushrooms of your choice, finely chopped3 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped2 tbsp creme fraicheA few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to serveSea salt and pepper, to tasteA generous grating of nutmeg60g parmesan, grated
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Put the artichokes on a tray and roast for 30-40 minutes, until very soft inside.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt half the butter in a pan and fry the mushrooms for three to four minutes, until they are crisp and nutty. Add the garlic, fry briefly until fragrant, then take off the heat and stir in the creme fraiche and parsley. Season well and set aside.
Once the artichokes are cooked, leave them to cool a little, then cut in half and scoop out the flesh, taking care not to tear the delicate skins. Put the empty skins on the baking tray while you finish off the filling.
In a blender, blitz the remaining 25g butter, the warm jerusalem artichoke flesh, a good grating of nutmeg to taste and 40g of the parmesan, until smooth. Scrape this into a bowl, then fold in the mushroom mix.
Pile the filling into the empty jackets – use a piping bag or just a teaspoon. Sprinkle over the remaining grated parmesan, then bake for 15 minutes, until golden and crisp. Arrange on a platter, sprinkle over a little extra chopped parsley and serve.