FOOD blogger Anna Hedworth has pulled together a platter of tasty looking Christmas canapés for readers.
FOOD blogger Anna Hedworth has pulled together a platter of tasty looking Christmas canapés for readers. With friends and family dropping in in the run-up to Christmas, it’s all too easy to go into panic mode and spend a small fortune on shop-bought nibbles.
Which is why Anna’s put together a few choice bites, that not only look the business, but are easy to recreate for home cooks and taste terrific too.Related content
An architect and designer by day, Anna, from Jesmond, Newcastle, is passionate about food and drink.
She works for Xsite Architecture in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley and is currently involved in a restaurant and cinema project, which she describes as a perfect combination of her interests. Her dad is barrister Toby Hedworth QC, who is head of Trinity Chambers in Newcastle.
Away from work, when the 33-year-old isn’t talking all things foodie in her blog, The Grazer, she’s either at the stove creating dishes, or tweeting on the subject of food.
As well as championing local producers on her blog, which attracts over 6,000 hits a month, Anna offers tips on how to make traditional artisan products, like bacon and sourdough. When we speak she is pickling herrings for a supper club event at the weekend, new monthly gatherings for Graze lovers.
On the subject of Christmas nibbles, she says: “Those picky bits to hand round when people arrive are always a tricky one. You don’t want to spend hours or a fortune on canapés so I’ve put together a few that I find easy and quick but will make you look like the perfect host.”
Christmas consists of a smorgasbord of treats in her house, by all accounts. “I have a little tradition of pre-Christmas Eve supper, then lunch out on Christmas Eve, people calling round for canapés, Christmas day lunch, family parties, friends with open houses, lazy breakfasts... eating, eating and more eating, with occasional sleeping when meal times allow!”
She adds: “Every year I invite people for Twixmas, a lunch for friends and family between Christmas and new year, that has extended to 40 before, but may be a little bit more low key this year.
“This is the feast that I look forward to the most. Full of canapés, terrines, pies, hams and pickles. Things that can be made in advance are perfect, so it keeps my stress levels somewhere near normal.
“A slice of terrine with some rich fruity chutney on a snowy day surrounded by friends and family and an obligatory glass of wine is what I look forward to.”
Anna has in the past organised a couple of Graze food fairs with local food and drink producers. She also has her own allotment in Jesmond.
CHICORY WITH TOASTED WALNUTS, STILTON AND HONEY (Makes 20)
3 chicory heads
50g toasted walnuts
Honey to drizzle
These are ridiculously easy, and I think may actually be my favourite canapé.
Simply divide up the leaves of a head of red chicory, toast off some walnuts in a dry pan then add to the chicory 'cups'.
Crumble over the Stilton evenly between each leaf and then drizzle each with about half a teaspoon of honey.
The crunchy toasted nuts and the sharp chicory are delicious with the creamy cheese and sweet honey.
Page 2 - Mackerel and horseradish pate with watercress >>
MACKEREL AND HORSERADISH PATE WITH WATERCRESS (Makes 30)
2 mackerel fillets
100g cream cheese
100g crème fraiche
5 teaspoons of horseradish
Simply peel the skin off the mackerel fillets and flake them into small pieces in a bowl, looking out for any bones.
Add the cream cheese, crème fraiche, horseradish and a squeeze of lemon juice and then mush it all together with a fork until fully mixed.
Then add a little to the top of some toast or bread cut into small pieces and top with a piece of watercress.
The hot horseradish is lovely with the creamy cheese and smoked fish, and so simple.
PARMA HAM AND CHESTNUT PASTRY TWIRLS (Makes 20)
1 sheet of ready-made puff pastry
4 tablespoons chestnut purée
100g chopped chestnuts
6 sprigs thyme
Knob of butter
2 packs Parma ham
Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the chopped chestnuts and thyme leaves. Fry off gently for about 5 minutes.
Roll out a sheet of ready-made puff pastry and spread evenly with the chestnut puree, lay the Parma ham all over so the whole sheet is covered then sprinkle over the chopped chestnuts and thyme, evenly all over.
Then roll up the whole lot from one end, quite tightly, like a jam roly poly, keeping everything inside as you go.
Squidge down the end edge with a fork to keep it all together, then slice into rounds about 2cm wide.
Lay these out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and brush with a beaten egg. Then bake for 10-12 minutes at 200°C.
Delicious buttery pastry with salty ham and sweet chestnuts. Lovely...
MINI BUTTERNUT SPICE MUFFINS (Makes 24 mini muffins)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
200g mashed butternut squash - about half a normal sized one
120ml evaporated milk
Handful raisins - these are optional
For the topping:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 200°C degrees and grease your mini muffin tin with a little butter.
Then peel and chop the butternut squash into chunks and put it in to roast for about 15 minutes or until its soft.
Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces then mix through with your fingers until it's like breadcrumbs.
When the butternut squash is done either mash it with a fork or quickly blitz it in the blender. Then in a separate bowl, mix together the squash, evaporated milk and egg.
Pour the squash mixture into the flour mixture and add the raisins, then fold gently until mixture is just combined.
Pour the mix into the greased muffin tins, about half to two-thirds full into each. Then sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar/nutmeg mixture over the top of each muffin, and bake for about 15 minutes.