I love to make mini bruschettas for a pre dinner nibble or even as a starter if you are cooking an Italian themed meal. They are really easy to do and you can vary them a bit if you like with different toppings.
-To make the bruschetta bread-
You'll need a baguette. Depending on whether you want to make canapes or starters will dictate on what size of baguette you get. if you want to make a starter I'd get a nice thick one. If you want canapes, a long thin one is better. Either way, cut the baguette into strips and very lightly toast on either side. You can do this well in advance of serving if you like because it doesn't need to be warm and it doesn't matter if the bread goes hard because it will soften up when you put the toppings on.
-For the toppings-
My favourite topping is a simple tomato and onion one. Get some good quality, ripened but firm tomatoes. I think baby vine tomatoes work best. Chop them into fairly small chunks and place into a bowl. Chop up a red onion into really small chunks and add to the tomatoes. Then drizzle some olive oil over them and add chopped chilli and garlic (I use the lazy versions in both cases and it works just as well). Add plenty of salt and pepper and stir well. I find that this tastes better if you make it well in advance and leave in the fridge to chill for a few hours and soack up the flavour.
-Other topping ideas-
If you want a bit of variation, you can use the same recipe but with sweet peppers. Grill the sweet peppers early on and let them go cold before adding to the same mix. Grilling them really brings out the flavour. You can use different colour peppers to make it look pretty.
Adding mushrooms also works although I'd leave out the onions and chilli and try to find some different kinds of mushrooms to add flavour.
CHEESE AND GHERKIN BALLS - makes about 28
You cannot beat cheese and gherkins in my opinion (go together like bread and butter??!!)
200g (8 oz cream cheese)
2 tbsp fresh double cream
2 level tsp finely chopped gherkins
1/2 level tsp paprika
100g (4 oz) of finely grated Cheddar cheese
seasoning to taste
about 50g (2 oz) salted and chopped peanuts
1. Beat the cheese and cream together until smooth. Stir in the gherkins, paprika and grated cheese.
2. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Divide into 28 equal-sized pieces and shape into balls.
4. Roll in the chopped peanuts and chill.
5. Spear onto cocktail sticks just before serving.
I love doing these because you can make them in advance - just find a friend or helpful child to help pop the cocktail sticks on!
If you garnish the plate with little pieces of salad it will add colour.
You can replace the cream and both cheeses with a low fat variety but hey - this is party food!
This is for a snack its not a recipe as such just a nibble idea.
Well I dont know how or quite why but collegues of my father from Norway managed to bring an entire smoked salmon into the country and we have found that on the whole it works really well with creme fresh and Philadelphia type spreads.
Ok bagels with Philadelphia and smoked salmon, for lunch, I would say a plain bagel would be the best but my mother said that this worked best with the cinnamon and raisin bagel. I suppose you could try my mums option if you are feeling adventurous .
Also wheaten bread with creme fresh and smoked salmon with fresh lemon juice tastes great and is easy thrown together but looks fancy if you are having a dinner party. Or just a snack if you have a group of people over you want to impress.
At around the time we got this fish we did have a lot of birthdays and things so we got through the fish fairly quickly considering its size.
If you're having people over for drinks and want to be a bit flash then these canapes are definitely the way forward. They're also great as a mixed assortment type of starter if you're having people ovr for dinner. They're all cold, so it's quite easy to assemble them, chuck them on trays then keep in the fridge until you want to serve them.
Smoked salmon parcels
Thin-cut smoked salmon
Cut sheets of salmon about 10cm square and spoon on a dollop of cream cheese. Wrap the salmon round the cream cheese so that the join is on the bottom. Top with a tiny bit of caviare if you're out to impress!
Chicken satay skewers
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves crushed, peeled
2 chicken breasts, skinned and cut into bite-size pieces
2 dessert spoons of peanut butter
1 green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sweet soy sauce
Heat the oil in a frying pan, and sauté the garlic. Take a bowl and put into it the chicken, nuts, fried garlic, pepper, chilli, lemon juice, soy sauce and salt.
Cover and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Skewer the meat onto cockail sticks and grill under a hot grill for about 10 minutes.
Chill before serving.
Panchetta and mozzarella wraps
10 slices panchetta
Cut the mozzarella into 2cm cubes. Cut the pancetta into 10cm squares. Wrap the pancetta slices round the mozzarella to form parcels with the join on the bottom.
Cherry tomato skewers
Mozzarella, cut into 2cm cubes
Marinated red peppers, cut into 2cm squares
Thread a tomato, a piece of mozzarella, a piece of pepper and a basil leaf onto cocktail sticks.