Posted in Dinner Party

Christmas Day Nibbles – Pate with Beetroot Relish or Pickled Cucumber & Cranberry

What do you want from Christmas nibbles?  You want something easy, tasty and quick to prepare that is going to take the edge off the hunger of the gathering hordes. Even if you simply want to invite people over for some Christmas drinks you’d better be prepared for the fact that at least one of them will arrive absolutely staaaarving and will hoover up a plateful of nibbles as if vying for a Guinness book of records placing.  Have a few platters of nibbles set up and be prepared to refill the plates with these easy to put together bites.
Beetroot Relish Pate Crackers
You will need some good quality crackers, some great locally produced pate and then some tasty topping alternatives.  I suggest either Beetroot Relish (above) or Pickled Cucumber with pate and cranberry (below).

Chicken Liver Pate, Pickled Cucumber & Spiced Cranberries Don’t be put off by what you are about to see here because you are not expected to grow your own beetroot for this recipe as you can pick them up at the supermarket and I am merely showing off.  I was aghast to see that I could buy a bunch of three beetroots for a euro and wondered at the effort it had taken to grown mine and in terms of labour (weeding) was it worth it?  It is of course satisfying to grow and eat your own vegetables and I will be doing it again purely for the satisfaction and pleasure of eating what I’ve grown.  My beetroots were small but adequate enough and taste sensational.
Beetroot from the garden
Beetroot harvest
Beetroot Relish jarsAs well as buying the beetroots you can also skip the preparation step and buy your beetroot relish pre-prepared though do try to source locally if you can.  This recipe is from one of my ‘go to’ food magazines which bills itself as  ‘Ireland’s food and drink bible’ – Food & Wine Magazine.  A subscription to this would please anyone with an interest in food.  So to give proper credit to the provenance of the recipe it is from Maire Jones of GIY Rush/Skerries who in turn passed it on to Michael Kelly who writes for the magazine. (not exactly rewritten – as I cut corners when I can and prep. as I go)
Beetroot relish:
You will need:
1.3kg cooked beetroot
540g onions
720ml red wine vinegar
450g cooking apples
1 tsp salt
900g granulated sugar (yes, that is a lot isn’t it!)
Peel and finely chop the onions.
Peel, core and roughly chop the apples
Peel and cut beetroot into cubes.
Splash a little of the vinegar into a large pan with the onions and soften them over a medium heat for a few minutes.
Add the apples and 4 tbsp of the sugar and cook until apple is easily squashed with a spoon.
Add the cubed beetroot, salt and half of the vinegar.  Simmer until thick.
Stir in the sugar and remaining vinegar and continue until thick.
Pot in sterilised jars.
Use within six to eight weeks.

Pickled Cucumber:
Again this can be easily bought and I love the one from the Just Food range available in my local SuperValu.  If you fancy a go at making your own it is incredibly easy and very satisfying.  I did so last year and you can click here for that recipe.
Christmas Canape 2

Christmas Nibbles:
With your beetroot relish or pickled cucumber either made yourself or shop bought the assembly of this nibbles is just a simple smear of pate on some delicious crackers topped with the relish or cucumber and maybe a blob of cranberry sauce if desired.
x Sheila

Posted in Dinner Party

Cranberry, Pate & Pickled Cucumber Christmas Canapes

Well, we’re in the thick of it now.  Up to our elbows in wrapping paper, scrabbling to find the beginnings of the cellotape roll and getting ourselves tangled into knots along with the fairy lights.  As the frenzy of present shopping begins to subside it’s time to turn our attention to the food preparation.  With visitors dropping in unexpectedly it’s a good idea to have some stand-bys to hand so that you can very quickly whip up a tasty morsel or two to serve with the mince pies.
Christmas Canapes 1
The inspiration for these canapes came from my annual trip to the Christmas Food & Wine Magazine Show in Dublin where Moloughney’s were one of the exhibitors.  To say I was inspired is an understatement as what I have done is more or less replicated one of their offerings at the show.
Moloughney'S Spiced Cranberries
I’ve used their spiced cranberries along with some locally sourced chicken liver pate and a home-made pickled cucumber to produce a very simple yet impressive looking canape.  I picked up the chicken liver pate at Mahon Point Farmer’s Market last Thursday.  This delicious free-range chicken liver pate is made by Flynn’s Kitchen and was an award winner at Blas na hEireann 2011.
Flynn's Kitchen Chicken Liver Pate
Good quality pickled cucumbers are easy to pick up pre-made or you could use this simple Clodagh McKenna recipe to make your own.   It should keep well for 3-4 weeks if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Pickled Cucumber:
You will need:
1 cucumber
1 onion
80g white sugar
250ml cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
Peel and very thinly slice the cucumber and the onion into a large bowl.
(I used a large dish (see picture) to ensure all cucumber and onion would be covered with the liquid)
Add the sugar, cider vinegar and salt and give it a stir.
Cover with cling-film and store overnight in the fridge.
Dispense into airtight containers, jam jars etc. and use within 3-4 weeks stored in the fridge.
Pickled Cucumber
Cranberry, Pate & Pickled Cucumber Christmas Canape:
You will need:
Thin crackers or toasts
Chicken liver pate
Pickled cucumber
Spiced cranberries or a regular cranberry sauce will work too
Spread some pate on the crackers and top with the pickled cucumber and spiced cranberries.
Simple & Delicious.
Christmas Canape 2Chicken Liver Pate, Pickled Cucumber & Spiced Cranberries
Til next time, Sheila.