Whether you’re hosting a full-scale Christmas party, or simply inviting a few friends around for drinks & nibbles – add some sparkle with these quick and easy recipe ideas that are sure to impress...
Satay Chicken in Lettuce Cups
Makes: 15 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking: 10 minutes
• 2tsp nut oil
• 8 spring onions
• 6 finely sliced
• 2 reserved for decoration
• 1-2tsp curry powder
• 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
• 200g cooked higher welfare chicken, torn into bite sized pieces
• 80g baby corn cut into ½ cm disks
• 160ml chicken stock • 50g creamed coconut (or 1 sachet)
• 2tsp soy sauce • 200g cooked brown rice
• 2 Baby Gem lettuce • small bunch of coriander
• 1 lime cut in wedges
In a heavy bottom pan heat the oil and gently cook the sliced spring onions for 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and peanut butter, cook stirring for 1 min until fragrant then add the chicken and baby corn. Stir to coat with the paste. Pour in the stock, coconut milk and soy, stir and cook for 10 minutes. If the satay becomes too thick add a little more stock.
While the satay is cooking, slice the two remaining spring onions. Tear the leaves from the lettuce and arrange on a serving plate. When the satay is ready, spoon a little cooked rice into each lettuce leaf then top with satay, scatter with the spring onions and coriander leaves and squeeze over a few wedges of lime.
Shallot, Prawn and Thai Rice Noodle Salad in Filo Baskets
Makes 30 canapés Prep: 20 minutes Cooking: 10 minutes
For the filo tart shells:
• 4 sheets Filo pastry
• 2-3 tbsp melted butter
• 1 x 12 Canapé sized muffin tin
For the filling:
• 2 shallots, peeled & finely chopped
• 150g prawns
• 50g cooked rice noodles, chopped
• 1 tbsp light soy sauce
• 1 tbsp lime juice
• 1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
• ½ tsp sugar
• 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
• 1 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
• 1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
• 2 tomatoes, seeded & diced
• 1 tsp sesame seeds
• 2 tsp lime zest, grated
• 2 red chillies, deseeded & very finely chopped
Preheat oven to 180°c/350°f/Gas 4. To prepare the filo shells, brush one sheet of filo pastry with melted butter. Place another sheet on top, brush well with butter and cut out rounds approx. 4cm diameter. Then line the muffin tins with the pastry (two sheets thick as they have been cut out). Bake until golden brown – approx. 4-5 minutes. Remove all shells from the tin, cool and set aside and use within one week or freeze for one month.
To make the salad filling, mix together the shallots, prawns, noodles, soy, lime, fish sauce, sugar, sweet chilli sauce, fresh herbs (keep some coriander leaves aside for garnish), tomatoes, sesame seeds, lime zest and chillies.
Toasted Sourdough with Watercress, Avocado and Radish
Makes: 20 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking: 20 minutes
• 1 small ripe avocado
• 1 lemon, juiced
• 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
• salt & pepper
• 5 thin medium sized slices of sourdough bread
• 2 tbls olive oil
• 1 bunch of watercress
• 50g mixed radishes, thinly sliced
• ½ red onion, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 180c. While you are waiting for the oven to warm up, cut the avocado in half, remove the stone, scoop out the flesh and place in a small bowl. Lightly mash with a fork, then add the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, season then set aside.
Place the sourdough slices on a large baking tray, drizzle over the olive oil, then put in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crispy and toasted, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled, break each piece of toast into 4 pieces, then spread with the avocado and top with radish, red onion and watercress. Serve at once.
Fenland Celery Sausage Rolls with a Beer Dip
Makes: 24 Prep: 30 mins Cooking: 20-25 mins
• 450g higher welfare sausage meat
• 1 small onion, peeled & finely diced
• 4 sticks Fenland celery*, trimmed & finely diced
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
• 350g ready-made puff pastry
• 1 free-range egg, beaten with 1 tbsp milk (to seal)
• 1 free-range egg, beaten (to glaze)
• Salt & pepper to taste
For the beer dip:
• 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
• 2 tbsp tomato chutney
• 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
• 1 tsp English mustard
• 150ml dark beer
Pre-heat oven to 220C/450F/Gas 7. Grease and line two large baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Mix the sausage meat, onion, Fenland celery and sage together and season with a little salt and pepper. Roll the pastry out on a well-floured board into a large rectangle. Cut into three strips, lengthways.
With floured hands, take a third of the sausage meat mixture and make a long sausage shape, then lay it on one half of one of the strips of pastry. Moisten the edges with a little egg and milk mixture, then fold the other half of the length of pastry over and seal along the edges. Using a sharp knife, cut about 8 sausage rolls out of one strip, then snip the tops to allow the steam to escape. Repeat with the remaining two pastry strips.
Place them all on the baking sheets, brush with beaten egg and bake on two shelves, swapping them over half way through for 15 to 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. Remove the sausage rolls from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving warm, or cold. Meanwhile, make the dip by adding all the ingredients to a sauce pan and heating gently until warm. Pour the dip into a bowl and serve with the warm sausage rolls. Can be frozen before baking.
*Fenland celery is a heritage variety of celery grown in the Cambridgeshire Fens. It has a particularly nutty-sweet flavour and a paler colour. www.fenlandcelery.com
Strawberries dipped in chocolate and toasted pistachio nuts
Serves: 4 Prep: 15 minutes Cooking: 10 minutes
• 500g ripe strawberries
• 100g icing sugar
• 250g dark 70% chocolate
• 100g raw shelled pistachio nuts
• 200ml whipping cream
• 50g caster sugar
Hull the strawberries. Place in a bowl and sift the icing sugar over them. Mix well, and set the bowl aside, cling filmed. Break chocolate into small squares in a heatproof bowl, and place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on a low heat. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water or the chocolate will burn. When the chocolate is completely melted, take the saucepan and bowl off the heat, and set aside to cool.
Using a dry, non-stick frying pan, toast the pistachio nuts very carefully. Keep turning them, so that they do not catch and burn. When they’re golden brown and smelling nutty, remove from the heat. Allow to cool, then chop into small pieces. Set aside. Whip the cream with the caster sugar until it forms soft peaks and spoon into a serving bowl. Prick the bottom end of a strawberry with a cocktail stick, dip into the melted chocolate, and then roll it into the chopped, toasted pistachio nuts. Lay each finished strawberry on a serving platter, with the cocktail stick, so that the chocolate can reset.
Serve the strawberries with the whipped cream, for dipping.
BerryWorld Raspberry Spritz
Makes: two glasses Prep: 5 mins
• 20 raspberries
• 2 tsp caster sugar
• 80ml water
• 4 mint leaves
• 100ml Vermouth Bianco
• 150ml Prosecco
• 50ml soda water
• raspberries and mint, for garnish
Put the raspberries, water, sugar and mint in a cocktail shaker and mash with the end of a rolling pin. Put 2-3 ice cubes into two large wine glasses with a few raspberries and pour the raspberry mixture over through a sieve. Add the Vermouth and Prosecco, top with soda and stir.
Radish & Grapefruit Ice Cubes for G&T
Makes: 12 cubes Prep: 10 mins plus 3-4 hours freezing time
• 4 radishes, sliced thinly
• 1 grapefruit: ¼ cut into tiny wedges and the rest squeezed
Divide the radish and grapefruit between a 12 hole ice cube tray. Divide the grapefruit juice between the holes too, then cover with water and freeze until solid. When frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. Seal, label and freeze for up to 6 months – this way you can keep topping up your supply.