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Canapes With Class

Asked by Jellytot45. Answered on 11th August 2012

Full question

Hi there! Can you please point me to recipes for snacks and finger food for a classy, formal, cocktail birthday celebration? Thanks! Lynette

Our answer

If you are hosting a canape party then you may want to consider if you will want to relax and enjoy the party yourself or whether you are happy to be making canapes or appetizers in the kitchen while the party goes on.

If you wish to join the party then consider making mostly cold canapes, which can be assembled quickly. Nigella has a great selection of these in her book Christmas including a selection of crostini toppings where tortilla chips are used as the base (saves making lots of crostini bases), bundles of figs and Parma ham and smoked salmon on small pieces of soda bread. There are also some easy hot canapes such as glazed cocktail sausages and Devils on Horseback. The recipes can be found on pages 15-24 of the book.

If you are happy to cook during the party then you can increase the quota of hot canapes and we would suggest considering the Microfeast To Megafeast section in Feast (pages 393-398) which has a selection of hot canapes. The Wasabi Crab Cakes from Christmas (p24) are also very good.

The other alternative is to provide a buffet table and we would suggest a ham as a centrepiece. Nigella has several ham recipes but one of the most popular is Ham in Coca Cola from How to Eat (p325). Cool and refrigerate the ham a couple of days ahead of the party then serve it cold, very thinly sliced. Some small soft rolls or crisbreads and some mustard would be a good accompaniment. The Middle Eastern meze table in Feast, p437-445 would be an interesting option too.

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