Garden parties & festivities 

It is the festive season when family and friends will be dropping by; what best than serve some delectable canapés. The French first started these mini bites and named them hors d’œuvres, while the British copied them and they call them canapés. They are small finger foods that are decorative and bite-sized, usually served with drinks. But now they are served even at kiddy parties too.

Some hors d’oeuvres are served sweet and savoury, some cold and some hot. In most households in India, drinks were accompanied with peanuts, paneer tikkas, masala papad or chips for vegetarians and the non-vegetarians gorged on kebabs, tandoori chicken or fish. But now times have changed and people relish their drinks with chic and stylish canapés.These mini bites are often served during cocktail hours, and most Indians desire spicy and savory nibbles with their drinks. There are a plethora of options for the toppings as well as the base. You can use any firm base such as potato, crackers small slices of bread, sweet potato, toast, puff pastry, fish or minced meat patties, suit yourself. You can cut an assortment of shapes and top them with a canopy of mushrooms, vegetables of your choice, peppers, chicken, meat, cheese, fish, egg or even fruits.

Traditionally, canapés are built on bread, cut into thin slices and then shaped with a cutter like I did. They are actually open faced sandwiches. Shapes again depend on your cutters and could be circles, rings, squares, hearts or triangles. Decorative garnishes make them more desirable and the ones that look good disappear first.

The canapés should be served on a salver or a fancy platter;even a cake stand would do.Each tray should have an assortment of flavors and textures with different tastes. Once you have the base you need to have a spread which is traditionally butter or cream cheese.  You can garnish with any vegetable, mint or basil leaves, chives, peppers or even a dot of ketchup.

Here are the quick and easy homemade, sweet and savory canapé recipes I have made to kick start my festive season;

These delicious canapés are really easy to make and are perfect for a kiddie party or even a drinks party. They should be small enough to be eaten in one mouthful and should not soil the fingers. If the canapés are soggy or oily then they should be served with individual picks.

Garden parties & festivities

How I made my easy peasy Canapes-

Ingredients:

Base

4 bread slices

Crackers

Boiled Potato

Boiled Sweet Potato

Bread, crackers, sweet and plain potato make a delicious base for any kind of canapés.

Cut the bread into different shapes with a cookie cutter. I made round, star, heart and flower-shaped ones today. The heart ones are especially for the love of my life; Arian, my grandson <3.

Cut the boiled sweet potato and potato into roundels.

The crackers I got were square and round. The square ones were already flavored and made a perfect base.

For the spread

Cheese slice

Greek Yoghurt

Little Mayo

The cheese slice does not need any flavoring.

Add a little pepper and salt in the Greek yoghurt and mayo mix. I could have used cream but I prefer Greek yoghurt as it is healthier.

Other spreads

Boiled sweet corn

Boiled peas

Boiled Mushroom

Boiled Egg

Boiled pieces of Farfalle

Chopped cucumber

Boil the corn and peas. Add finely chopped onion, salt, pepper and use it as a spread.

In a pan add 1 tsp of olive oil; add 1 tbsp of finely chopped onion, crushed garlic, chopped mushrooms and sauté. Add some salt, pepper and some mixed herbs. Once the mushrooms are done use this as a spread.

Garnish

Tomato chopped tiny pieces

Green Pepper chopped tiny pieces

Mint leaves 2

Basil Leaves 2

Ketchup

Now for the assembling

Spread some butter on a couple of bread slices and spread the mushroom mixture on top. Garnish with a green pepper.

Spread the Greek yoghurt and mayo mix on some more bread slices and top with the sweet corn mix and green peas mix. Garnish with the basil and mint leaves.

Take the potato roundels and place the green peas on them and garnish with a tomato piece.

On the sweet potato roundel, spoon the sweet corn and garnish with a mint leaf.

Butter the round bread slices and top with a boiled egg slice and dot some ketchup on it.

On other bread slices top with some tiny chopped cucumber that is flavored with salt, pepper and lime juice.

On a couple of bread slices place the boiled farfalle pasta that is flavored with salt and mixed herbs.

Tips

Keep them small simple.

Use strong flavors.

Assemble just before serving

Canapés are miniatures of beautiful colourful food and will be devoured easily so make a few batches so that you do not run out.

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