Recipe: Christmas canapés

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 December 2014

Caroline Gent runs her own catering business

Caroline Gent runs her own catering business


Words by Claire Bowman Photos by Katharine Davies

Beautifully presented canapésBeautifully presented canapés

Pull off the perfect canapés this festive season with a little help from Caroline Gent.

Bruschetta topped with smoked turkey with pickled orange

Makes 30 bruschettas


1 part-baked baguette or 1 packet of gluten-free ciabatta rolls

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic

good pinch salt and pepper

1 sprig rosemary.

1: Mix the olive oil, garlic cut in half, salt and pepper and rosemary together.

2: Finely slice the bread.

3: Using a pastry brush, brush a metal tray with the oil mixture, lay the bread out flat on it, and brush each piece generously.

4: Place in the oven at 200C for about 10 minutes until crisp and brown. Be careful not to over cook!

For the topping

500g turkey breast. We smoke it ourselves on a barbecue using oak chips, but you could buy smoked chicken from a farm shop or possibly a supermarket.

2 oranges

1 cup orange juice

1 cup white sugar

1 cup white wine vinegar

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

hint chilli flakes


1: Cut the oranges into wedges and into tiny strips.

2: Add all the other ingredients and bring to the boil slowly, dissolving the sugar. Cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until marmalade consistency.

3: Can be put into sterilised jars or used immediately.

4: Place a neat slice of turkey on the bruschetta and top with a small teaspoon of the orange. Decorate with a tiny sprig of sage or flat-leaf parsley.

Parmesan and poppy seed lollipops


Butter for greasing

80g/3oz finely grated parmesan

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp chia seeds or poppy seeds


1: Preheat the oven to 200C. Line two large baking trays with baking paper and grease them with butter.

2: Toss the cheese and seeds together in a bowl. Sit a 6cm chefs ring or cookie cutter or piece of pipe on one of the baking trays and sprinkle a desert spoon of mixture into it in a thin layer. Carefully lift off the ring to reveal a neat edged disc of cheesy mixture.

3: Lay a cocktail stick on it, so that it sits like a lollipop stick.

4: Sprinkle a little more cheese over to cover it. Repeat all over each baking tray and then bake in the oven for about five minutes. The cheese should be lightly golden brown.

5: Remove from the oven and slide the paper off the baking trays. Leave to cool slightly and remove each lollipop with a palette knife. This is fun with them served in a florist’s oasis, with wintery decorations all around.

Wontons filled with goats cheese and cranberries


1 packet wonton wrappers (found in the frozen section) - contains 35 wrappers

1 packet dried cranberries, soaked in orange juice or port

200g chèvre goats log

A little water. A pastry brush.

Corn flour to sprinkle on the table.

Baking parchment to place the wontons on.

1: Cut the goats cheese into little cubes about 4mm square. Place some baking parchment on a tray.

2: Sprinkle the tray with a little corn flour. Sprinkle some more cornflour on the table.

3: Lay out your wonton wrappers on the table (I do about nine at a time). Lay a piece of cheese and a small dollop (about 2 -3 cranberries) on to one side of each wrapper.

4: Using the pastry brush, brush the sides of the wonton and fold over to form a triangle.

5: Lay on your tray, and then when you have finished, cover really well with cling film so it doesn’t dry out. This can be done up to two days before your party. Make sure you use the corn flour as they can get sticky and glued together.

6: At your party, either heat a wok up over gas, or use a deep-fat fryer. Heat until when you drop something in it sizzles well.

7: Then start cooking. You will find that the wontons blow up into lovely big crispy brown triangles. Remove from the oil and place on a kitchen towel before putting on a serving platter. These will be very hot!

8: We don’t normally do a dip with these particular wontons, but you can fill your wontons with all sorts of different and interesting ingredients and make dips to go with them. Our favourite is a simple mixture of a hot sweet chilli dip with peanut butter, heated together.

Westcombe Cheddar and rosemary shortbread with fig, honey and Westcombe ricotta


6oz salted butter, diced

4oz Westcombe cheddar (or other mature cheddar), grated

8oz plain flour

Dash Worcester sauce

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder or paste

2 sprigs rosemary finely chopped (or a little dried rosemary)

ground black pepper

200g ricotta

2 figs

good-quality runny honey


1: Heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and whiz for a few seconds until it all sticks together. Try not to over mix. Remove and form into a nice ball.

2: Place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. Roll out dough on a floured surface to a thickness of approximately 5mm. Prick all over with a fork, and then cut with a 3.5cm, 1 1/2inch) fluted cutter. Alternatively you could just cut them into fingers or squares by hand.

3: Place on a greased baking tray and cook for approximately 8 minutes, checking after about 5 minutes.

4: Cool completely on a wire rack before topping. This can be done up to a week beforehand and then stored in an airtight container. On the day, top with a little ricotta and a small slice of fig drizzled with a good-quality runny honey.

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