Cracking canapés for Christmas

For the potted beef
• Vegetable oil, for frying
• 500g beef shin, cut into chunks
• 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 2 bay leaves
• A large sprig of thyme
• 1 tsp peppercorns
• A good pinch of allspice
• A good pinch of ground nutmeg
• 3 cloves
• A pinch of mace
• 150ml white wine
• 50ml Port
• Sea salt flakes
• Freshly ground black pepper
• A pinch of cayenne pepper
• 50g butter, melted
• 2 tbsp of horseradish sauce
Preheat the oven to 150ºC fan

For the Yorkshire puddings
• Sunflower oil, for cooking
• 75g plain flour
• 2 eggs
• 100ml milk
• A little cold water
• Sea salt flakes
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Horseradish cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 190ºC

For the Arnold Bennett Bites
Makes 24
• 20g butter, plus extra for greasing
• 175ml milk
• 200g smoked haddock
• 8 large eggs
• 3 tbsp double cream
• Small bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped
• Sea salt flakes
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 20g plain flour
• 30g grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan

For the Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese Beignets
• 150ml water
• 50g butter, cubed
• 75g plain flour
• 60g grated Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, plus extra to serve
• 30g grated Parmesan (optional)
• Half tsp Colman’s English mustard
• 2 eggs, beaten,
• Sea salt flakes
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Vegetable oil, for frying
• Toasted sesame seeds, to serve
• Sweet chilli sauce, to serve

For the Mini Balsamic Cherry Tomato & Pesto Tarts
Makes 24-30
• 24 x cherry tomatoes
• A good slug of balsamic vinegar
• 1 x sheet ready-rolled puff pastry
• 1 egg, beaten
• Haf jar of green pesto
Preheat the oven to 190ºC

Words by:
Rachel Green
Featured in:
December 2022

Rachel Green, the Lincolnshire Wolds based chef, has been working on recipes to help you entertain in style this festive season.

If you’re planning a Christmas party here are some ideas for canapés to serve with your Christmas drinks, or just to enjoy as finger food. These recipes are easy to make, from mini Yorkshire Puddings stuffed with potted beef and horseradish, to cherry tomato and pesto tarts.

Whether you are welcoming a large group, or relaxing as part of an intimate gathering, these recipes are bound to be people pleasers.
Happy Christmas!

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Potted Beef & Horseradish
• Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and quickly seal off the beef before putting it into an ovenproof lidded dish.
• Put the garlic, herbs and spices into a small saucepan and pour in the wine and Port. Bring to the boil and then pour this mixture over the beef. Season with salt and add just enough water to cover the beef. Put the lid on the dish and put it into the oven for around 2½ hours.
• Take the beef out of the oven, turn it over, cover again with the lid and pop back in the oven to cook for a further 2 ½ hours.
• Once cooked, take the dish out of the oven and drain off the liquid into a jug. Using a couple of forks, shred the cooked beef and then put it into the bowl of a food processor. Season with a little salt, pepper and add the cayenne. Skim a couple of tablespoons of fat from the top of the cooking liquid and add it to the food processor along with the melted butter and horseradish sauce.
• Blitz everything in the processor, adding a little of the cooking liquid if necessary, until you have a smooth paste. Check the seasoning and adjust it if required.
• TIP: any remaining beef mixture has a 4/5 day shelf life and is delicious on hot buttered toast. Otherwise it can be frozen.
• Drizzle a little sunflower oil into 2 x 12-hole non-stick mini muffin tins and put in the oven to heat through.
• To make the batter, tip the plain flour into a bowl and beat in the eggs until you have a smooth paste. Then continue beating and gradually add the milk until the mixture is lump-free. Season with a little salt and pepper and pour the batter into a jug.
• Take the muffin tins out of the oven and evenly pour the batter into the holes. Place the tins back into the oven and leave undisturbed for 10-12 minutes until the puddings are well risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven.
• To serve, put a teaspoon of the potted beef on top of each Yorkshire pudding and top with a little horseradish cream.

Arnold Bennett Bites
• Grease the base and sides of a 20.5cm square baking tin with a little butter and line the base with some baking parchment.
• Put the milk and fish into a saucepan and simmer for about 5 minutes until the fish starts to flake. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon, remove the skin and leave the fish to one side. Strain the milk into a jug and, if necessary, top up with a little more milk to make 175ml.
• In another jug, mix the eggs together with the double cream, parsley and a little salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and flake over the cooked fish. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes until set and golden in colour.
• Whilst the fish mixture is cooking, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, stir in the flour and allow to cook for 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the reserved milk. Return the pan to the heat, whisking until thick. Season with a little salt and pepper and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
• Preheat the grill. Cut the cooked fish mixture into 24 rounds. Arrange the rounds on a greased baking sheet and spoon a dollop of sauce on top of each round. Sprinkle over the Parmesan, a little parsley and pop under the grill to brown slightly before serving.

Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese Beignets
• Put the water and butter into a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. As soon as the butter has melted and the liquid starts to boil, quickly add the flour and beat well with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth shiny ball of paste which leaves the sides of the saucepan clean.
• Remove from the heat and beat in the Poacher cheese, Parmesan (if using) and mustard. Gradually add the beaten egg, mixing well after each addition. Season with a little salt and pepper.
• To cook, drop teaspoons of the mixture into a deep fat fryer until golden brown.
• Sprinkle over a little grated Poacher cheese, some toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately with some sweet chilli sauce

Mini Balsamic Cherry Tomato & Pesto Tarts
• Put the cherry tomatoes into a dry frying pan and gently heat over a medium heat until the tomatoes start to split. Add a good slug of balsamic vinegar and allow to caramelise slightly. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and set aside to cool.
• Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Unroll the sheet of puff pastry and using a 4½cm cutter, cut out rounds of pastry, placing these on the baking sheet as you go. Brush the pastry rounds with a little beaten egg and then using a smaller 3cm cutter, lightly press the cutter into each pastry round making an indentation to create a border.
• Put a little pesto onto the centre of each pastry round and top with a cherry tomato.
• Cook in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes until the pastry has risen around the tomato and is golden brown.
• Serve immediately.

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