The Chef’s Table: Delicious Ideas For Christmas Party Food

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Mark Doe, of ‘Just Cooking’ cookery school in Firies, shares some great ideas for finger food when entertaining this Christmas…

Top tips for Christmas finger food

• Work on four types of finger food and 4-5 pieces of each per person.

• Make life easier on yourself and serve some breadsticks or gourmet crisps with a dip.

• Make your own dips by beating together equal amounts of cream cheese and greek style yogurt.

• You can then flavor them with what you like. For example, garlic and chopped chives or sweet chilli sauce.

• Prepare a cheese board with biscuits for your guests to nibble on.

• Start with the easier finger food items and then finish with the more impressive ones.

• Invite your guests round slightly later in the evening, this ensures they have eaten before they arrive!

• Giving your guests something sweet at the end of the evening lets them know it is time to go home!

• Make sure you get time to enjoy the evening yourself.

Continued below…

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Mini Christmas Turkey club

Makes approx 25 canapés

Ingredients

5 slices cooked turkey breast

salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
5 smoked bacon rashers, cooked and chopped

3 tbsp cranberry sauce

Crostini (see recipe)

For the guacamole
1 ripe avocado, peeled, stone removed

½ garlic clove, finely chopped

½ lemon, juice only

½ red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped

Salt and pepper

Worcestershire sauce, to taste

Method
First make the guacamole. Roughly chop the avocado and place in to bowl. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mash the avocado with a fork.

Add the chilli, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well and store in the fridge until needed.

Top each crostini with some sliced turkey, chopped bacon, guacamole and finally a little cranberry sauce.

Serve warm or cold

Cranberry and Sage Sausage rolls

Ingredients

375g bought ready-rolled puff pastry
200g sausage meat
50g dried cranberries
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 tsp honey
pinch dried sage
1 small egg, beaten

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Cut the pastry into 10 rectangles, about 7x10cm/2¾x4in.

Mix together the sausage meat, cranberries, mustard, honey and sage.  Lay the sausage meat on the pastry pieces.

Roll the pastry over the sausage, brushing the join with the beaten egg to seal. Place on a greased baking sheet, sealed-side down, and brush them with the egg to give a nice shiny glaze when cooked.

Cook in the oven for 20 minutes until golden and crispy, and eat as soon as they are cool enough or leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Panfried scallops with black pudding

Serves 4 as a starter or 8 as a finger food

For the scallops
8 scallops, roe removed
100g black pudding, cut into small cubes
Salt and pepper
Oil to cook

Method

Place a good non-stick pan over a medium heat and heat until almost smoking. Add the scallops to the pan and cook on one side until they are nicely golden and caramelised.

This will take approximately 2-3 minutes. It is important not to move the scallops around the pan, be patient and let them caramelise.

If the pan starts to smoke too much, reduce the heat a little. Once the scallops are beautifully golden, turn them over and cook the other side until they are also golden.

This may only take 1-2 minutes. To test the scallops, give them a little poke and they should feel springy (the same feeling as poking the end of your nose).

Remove the pan from the heat and then season the scallops with salt and pepper.

Heat a little oil in a fryingpan and over a high heat quickly fry the black pudding pieces for 1 minute until piping hot.

Pea puree

250g frozen peas
Salt and pepper
10g butter
100ml water

Method
1. Place a pan of water in a high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Season with salt and pepper
2.Add the peas, the peas should be barely covered with the water.
3. Boil the peas for 2 minutes.
4. Add the butter and blend the peas and water until smooth.
5. Using a ladle push the puree through a fine sieve.
6. Season with salt and pepper

Chorizo with celeriac remoulade

Ingredients

1 small celeriac
1-2 tbsp mayonnaise
juice 1 Lemon
3 tsp Dijon mustard
40 slices of chorizo

Method

Peel and coarsely grate the celeriac and mix with the mayonnaise, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. This can be made a day ahead and chilled.

To serve, put 1 tsp of the celeriac mixture onto individual thin slices of chorizo, making 40 in total. Fold the chorizo over to encase the remoulade and secure with a cocktail stick.

Cocktail sausages glazed with honey and mustard

These tasty little sausages make a very impressive finger food that will wow your guests!

Makes approx 8-10 portions as finger food

500g cocktail sausages 2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp sesame seeds ½ tbsp. wholegrain mustard

Method
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c.

2. Place the cocktail sausages on a tray and bake for  14-16 minutes, turning once whilst cooking, until lightly golden and cooked through.

3. Drain of any fat from the sausages.

4. Mix together the honey, mustard and sesame seeds.

5. Toss through the sausages and serve warm.

Baileys and chocolate mousse

Makes 12-14 shot glasses

Ingredients
125ml  double or regular cream
125g dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 eggs, separated
4 tbsp Baileys

Method

1. Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir just until it melts. Whisk in the egg yolks.

2. In a spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until just forming stiff peaks. Spoon a small amount of whisked egg whites into the chocolate and cream mixture, then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites, just until combined. Fold in the Baileys

3. Spoon into the bowls, glasses or cups and chill in the fridge for 1–2 hours or until set.

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