Posted in Dinner Party

Easy Party Food – Mary Berry’s Canapés

In the build-up to Christmas I really enjoy watching the cookery programmes specially produced for the event in the hope that I’ll pick up some tips.  One of these for 2013 – Food & Drink Christmas Special BBC Two – was hosted by Michel Roux and featured Mary Berry demonstrating a number of her festive favourites.  When I saw her doing these simple canapés I knew they would be gracing my Christmas celebrations too and they duly did, making appearances at parties and as pre-dinner nibbles on Christmas day.
Party Food Mary Berry Canapes

These appetizers are simple to make requiring only four accessible ingredients and four steps, however be warned, they are a little fiddly and I would set aside half an hour for unhurried assembly.
Simple Party Food Four Ingredients
The tricky part is the separation of the slices of ham from each other and then gently smearing them with some soft cheese without breaking them too much.  Do not fret though as any damage is easily hidden when they are rolled up tightly.  Patience is required so if you are rushed these are not the best option.
Simple Party Food Four StepsMary Berry’s Canapés
You will need:
Thinly sliced Parma or Serrano ham
Soft goats cheese or any cream cheese
Rocket leaves
Dill Pickle (gherkins)
Method: (as per photo above)
1. Lay out slices of ham and thinly butter them with soft cheese
2. Sprinkle over some rocket leaves
3. Place a slice of pickle at one end
4. Roll up tightly and chill.  To serve, cut each roll in two and stand them up on a plate.
Party Food Simple CanapesThese were universally enjoyed by children and adults and I’ve been asked for the recipe so that says it all really.
I do hope you get the chance to enjoy these and that you too had a wonderful Christmas.  Looking forward to sharing another recipe with you in February. ‘Til next time, Sheila.


Posted in Dinner Party

Christmas Day Starter – Grape and Melon with Mint

The excitement is palpable now and it’s time to dust off the old reliable recipes that go to make Christmas Dinner in our homes.  For as long as I’ve been making Christmas Dinner I’ve been using this Darina Allen recipe for Grape and Melon with Mint as a starter and it’s a tradition for us now.
Darina Allen's Grape and Melon with Mint
I’m hopeful that it will bring warm memories to my children of their childhood Christmases when they eventually leave to create their own celebration of Christmas.  Memories of Christmas music playing in the background as I sit up at the counter to peel the grapes and some of them join in as they drift in and out of the kitchen.
Yes, you read that correctly PEEL the grapes!!
Darina Allen's Grape and Melon with Mint in Bowl
I forgive you if you think I’m an absolute nutter for going to those lengths but I do it because Darina says so in her recipe.  She also says to ‘remove the pips with the hooked end of a sterilised paper clip or hair grip.’   Bordering on lunacy I may be at times, but as I am not a complete ‘head the ball’ I opt to buy seedless grapes instead of removing the pips by hand.  But peel them I do.  It’s a tedious chore but it doesn’t take long to do especially if you’ve some little hands to help you.  I have also made it without peeling the grapes too and it still works fine but it is lacking that tiny bit of effort that makes it extra special and more enjoyable.
Christmas Day Starter 1
Dipping the rim of the glass in juice and rolling in some sugar gives the glass a lovely frosted looking, wintry touch.
Sugar Crystals
Grape and Melon with Mint
You will need:

1 small melon
2 medium oranges
1 lemon
1 tbsp caster sugar
225g green (seedless) grapes
1 tsp fresh mint
Extra sugar to decorate glass
Cut the melon in half, scoop out the seeds and use a melon baller to create mini balls of melon and place them in a large bowl.
Squeeze in the juice of the two oranges and the juice of the lemon and stir in 1 tbsp caster sugar.
Peel the grapes and add them to the melon and juice.
Finally add some finely chopped mint and mix well.
Serve this as a starter in some pretty glasses, first dipping the glass rim into the juice and then rolling the rim onto a plate of caster sugar to coat it.
Christmas Starter 2
Christmas Starter 3
Til next time, Sheila.