Canapes at Christmas

It’s been a unique Christmas for Nick and I.  Here we are ensconced in France, enjoying a house that has been out of service for a couple of years.  All our young are Christmassing in their own way this year and we are potentially ‘Darby and Joan’.  We were quite looking forward to a tranquil day with seafood figuring high on the menu.  In the event we were invited over the road for Christmas Eve supper with Daniel and his family and to Brigitte and Georgi on Christmas Day.  All I had to do was make some canapes.

Mind you, this was no light undertaking for someone accustomed to wheeling out a few blinis with creme fraiche and smoked salmon, or some quail eggs with homemade celery salt.  Usually the task of serving a full meal precludes fiddling around with small and toothsome savoury dainties.  I searched the internet and in a few minutes had found some simple recipes.  At the risk of wheel re-invention and teaching the huge foody community in the blogosphere to suck eggs, here are the savouries I produced.

Chicken skewers with satay sauce.  Basically you marinade strips of chicken in a half and half mixture of soya sauce and sweet chilli sauce, then cook them in the oven and serve with a dip of equal parts of peanut butter and coconut milk.

Prawn, chorizo and cherry tomato kebabs.  A fried tiger prawn topped with a slice of warmed chorizo and cooked cherry tomato with garlic slice on a stick.

Mini Thai fishcakes. Rick Stein’s classic recipe which is a gift for me with a freezer groaning with white fish.  I make more, smaller patties and then buy myself out of trouble and use a good brand of dipping sauce from my store cupboard.  We have a lemon tree in the garden which provides a steady supply of fruits all year round, so I use them instead of limes.

Cheese and mustard straws.   I buy a roll of Feuillete pastry from the supermarket, open out the sheet and cover one half generously with grated Red Leicester cheese (which tastes really cheesy and is a great colour), sprinkle with mustard powder and mild cayenne pepper, cut in strips, twist, lay out on a baking sheet and bake.

These found favour amongst our French friends’ palates.  All we had to do was eat our way through homemade Foie Gras, Coquilles Saint Jacques on a bed of buttery onions, and French-style stuffed chicken on Christmas Eve, and jumbo prawns with carpaccio of king scallops followed by Blanquette de Veau on Christmas Day.

On Boxing Day I cooked a big chicken curry for forthcoming guests and we ate carrot and orange soup for lunch and braised quails for supper.  This latter on our knees in front of the tv where we are deeply embroiled in Season 1 of The Killing.  On the 27th we embark on a fresh round of eating and jollification……..


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