The Christmas party season is nearly upon us. If you’re thinking of picking up your buffet food at Marks & Spencers, Tesco or Sainsbury’s think again! Try whipping your own selection of scrumptious party treats for a more authentic taste at half the price. The following selection of finger food recipes will impress your family and friends, getting their taste buds tingling. Enjoy the festive season with KAE.
Sausage and Marmalade Vol-au-vents
An alternative to the classic prawn cocktail, this combination of sausage, marmalade and pastry gives this vol-au-vent a heart-warming flavour. By merging two finger food favourites of sausage rolls and vol-au-vents, this will soon become your Christmas party favourite.
For the Vol-au-vents:
• 375g of sheet of puff pastry
• 375g of sausage meat
• 1 large egg, lightly whisked
• 1 tsp fennel seeds
For the Chutney:
• 3 onions, roughly chopped
• 1 apple, roughly chopped
• 100ml of white wine vinegar
• 275g of caster sugar
• 1 tsp fennel seeds
• 2 tbsp of marmalade
• 1 tbsp of olive oil
• 1 pinch of salt
• 1 pinch of black pepper
1. For the chutney, place a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and add olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft.
2. Add the chopped apple and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then, add the white wine vinegar, caster sugar and fennel seeds, leave to gently simmer for 40 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat, stir through the marmalade and leave to cool, seasoning with a pinch of salt and pepper.
4. Preheat the oven to 175˚C/gas mark 3. Using a 6cm cutter, cut out 24 puff pastry circles and place on a baking tray. Cook for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Remove and keep in a warm, dry place.
5. To finish the vol-au-vents, hollow out the centre of the puff pastry circles by gently breaking through with a spoon. Turn up the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Combine the sausage meat, egg and fennel seeds in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Divide the mix into 15g portions and roll into meatballs.
6. Place the meatballs onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and browned.
7. Line up the vol-au-vents on a baking tray and place a meatball in each. Warm through in the oven for 10 minutes and serve with the chutney.
Goats Cheese, Cranberry and Walnut Canapes
A favourite among vegetarians, these toasted canapes combine tangy goats cheese with sour cranberry and crunchy walnut making for a mouth-watering flavour sensation.
• 24 walnut halves (about 3/4 cup)
• 4 teaspoons olive oil
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 24 thin slices whole-wheat baguette, from 1/2 baguette
• 8 ounces fresh goats cheese
• 1/2 cup dried cranberries
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus leaves for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees centigrade. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss nuts with 1 teaspoon of oil and cinnamon; season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden for 4 – 6 minutes; set aside to cool.
2. Spread baguette slices on same baking sheet and brush with remaining 3 teaspoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake until lightly toasted for 10 – 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through; set aside to cool.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together cheese and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth; stir in cranberries and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the goats cheese among the bread slices and top each with a walnut and thyme leaves.
Mini Chocolate Victoria Sponges with Salted Caramel filling
Desert is the prime opportunity to pull out a Christmas showstopper. Salted Caramel is a current trend – and in this recipe it is sandwiched between two miniature chocolate sponges. Recreate this at home for a sweet Christmas party treat.
For the cupcakes:
• 175g self-raising flour
• 50g cocoa powder
• 225g softened margarine
• 225g caster sugar
• 4 eggs
For the filling:
• Luxury salted caramel filling (available to buy from Lakeland)
• 150ml whipping cream, whipped
For the decoration:
• Green sugarpaste
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. Place all the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat together until smooth. Divide the mixture between the cases.
2. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 – 25 minutes until the cakes are risen. Remove from the oven, leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for five minutes then turn out onto a wire tray.
3. When completely cool, remove the cakes from the cases and cut in half horizontally.
4. Pipe a small bulb of the whipped cream onto the bottom half of the cake. Using a small piping bag, pipe some salted caramel into the centre of the bulb of cream until you see the cream move.
5. Sandwich together, pipe a small amount of the whipped cream on the top and decorate with a sugar paste tree or sprinkles of your choice.
Pear and Cranberry Bellini
No Christmas finger-food party would be complete without a sparkling beverage. This bellini combines sour Christmas cranberry with sparkling wine for a fruity variation on prosecco. It’s Christmas after all – so celebrate with a bang!
• 12 ounce pear juice
• 8 ounce cranberry juice
• 1 bottle Prosecco
1. Combine pear and cranberry juice in a tall pitcher.
2. Pour a little into each glass and top with Prosecco or simply stir the Prosecco into the pitcher and serve.