Cheese Straw Twists

These are an elegant and crowd-pleasing nibble, and just as suitable with a cold beer as with a glass of champagne. Make more than you think you’ll need – these are seriously addictive. Makes approx. 32 twists Ingredients 1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry Cheddar cheese Parmesan cheese Pinch of cayenne pepper Salt 1 eggContinue reading “Cheese Straw Twists”

Spiced Cheddar Cheesecake

A showstopper, make-ahead appetizer, and addictive in the extreme. This would also make a really nice cheese course in lieu of dessert. To make this, you will require a 5-inch diameter springform tin, easily procured online. Make sure your cream cheese is very soft before starting, otherwise you won’t get a light, fluffy cheesecake. ThisContinue reading “Spiced Cheddar Cheesecake”

Refreshing Red Pepper Soup with a Shrimp, Chorizo and Fried Parsley Garnish

A cold summer soup in the right context is refreshing and really wakes up the taste buds. However, in the wrong context a cold soup is jarring and unpleasant. Pick your moment wisely. Serve as a first course on a hot day, in small portions, with this garnish. The hot and cold contrast is justContinue reading “Refreshing Red Pepper Soup with a Shrimp, Chorizo and Fried Parsley Garnish”

Black Olive Tapenade and Goat’s Cheese Crostini

Together, tapenade and goat’s cheese are a match made in heaven. Obviously you can eat the elements separately, but do encourage anyone you’re feeding to spread them on their crostini together. A couple notes on anchovy. As long as everyone you’re feeding loves olives and isn’t a vegetarian, just put them in and don’t tellContinue reading “Black Olive Tapenade and Goat’s Cheese Crostini”

Cannellini Bean Dip with Crispy Chorizo

The contrast between the hot, crisp chorizo and the smooth, lemony dip is delicious. Perfect for a warm evening with friends. If you’re feeding vegetarians, my cannellini crostini is an easily adaptable alternative. Feeds 4 as a nibble Ingredients 1 tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 1 large clove of garlic, minced 1 tbsp oliveContinue reading “Cannellini Bean Dip with Crispy Chorizo”

Crispy Baked Mussels on the Half Shell

I have written previously on the merits of mussels. This is a fun party dish that combines the elegance of steaming in white wine with the fun of a crisp canapé. It works best with large mussels because you are cooking them twice, thereby reducing the risk of overcooking. But of course, you don’t alwaysContinue reading “Crispy Baked Mussels on the Half Shell”

Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Slow-roasting the tomatoes really concentrates their flavour and makes them much sweeter than the sundried tomatoes you get from a jar. A taste of summer even in colder climes. Feeds 2 – 4 Ingredients 200g cherry tomatoes Olive oil Salt and pepper 4 slices of sourdough or other rustic Italian-style bread 1 clove of garlic,Continue reading “Roasted Tomato Bruschetta”

Chicken Tikka Marsala Triangles

Not to be confused with Chicken Tikka Masala. Chicken Tikka Masala given a festive – and inauthentic – twist with Christmassy flavours: booze, dried fruit and nuts. Very festive, indeed. Folded into a crisp phyllo shell, it’s the perfect party appetizer. Makes about 40 pieces Ingredients 2 tbsp butter 1 tbsp olive oil 1.5 cupsContinue reading “Chicken Tikka Marsala Triangles”

Fig, Goat’s Cheese and Prosciutto Bundles with a Rosemary, Honey & Brandy Glaze

Accurately described as a TASTE EXPLOSION. Make these and pretend you’re the guy from Love Actually who hopelessly uses “Taste Explosion?” as a pick-up line. If you’re unsuccessful, at least you’ll have more of these for yourself. Makes 18 pieces Ingredients 9 Dried figs Goat’s cheese 6 Slices prosciutto Rosemary Honey Brandy (port or sherryContinue reading “Fig, Goat’s Cheese and Prosciutto Bundles with a Rosemary, Honey & Brandy Glaze”

Smoked Mackerel Pâté with Yorkshire Pudding

If you really want to impress people but expend as little effort as possible, this appetizer is just the thing. Use my make-ahead tips below and you’ll be amazed at how effortlessly you can pull together this showstopper of an appetizer. If you can’t get smoked mackerel, smoked trout works beautifully. Feeds 4 – 6Continue reading “Smoked Mackerel Pâté with Yorkshire Pudding”