To celebrate one of my favourite times of year, I have created a selection of easy, French-inspired canapés with the best drinks from Oddbins that are perfect for the party season, to show how elegant dinner party spreads and entertaining can be easy with the right recipes.
It doesn’t take a lot more effort to produce a fresh dish of tasty home-made nibbles, than it doesn’t to open a packet and arrange a supermarket finest wares (with a bit of bash, so they look homemade) on a plate. It’s just a case of making clever shortcuts and these two canapés are all about that.
These lighter festive canapés are both high-protein, gluten and grain free, absolutely delicious and easy to make. The only thing worth making ahead is the beetroot caviar, which you can easily make double quantities of, to use as a dip for crudités too.
Devilled eggs with drunk beetroot caviar
The hard-boiled egg whites make for a great vehicle for the sweet beetroot dip. I like to top them with an additional pinch of chopped chives and walnuts for texture and freshess
- 6 eggs, hard boiled
- 2 small beetroots, washed and trimmed
- 1 heaped tablespoon vodka
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
- 1 small stalk rosemary leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius with a rack in the centre. Puncture the beetroots with a fork a few times, and wrap each on foil.
Roast for an hour, or until the beets are completely tender when you test by cutting into the centre with a knife.
Halve the boil eggs and remove the yolks, set both the yolks and whites aside in bowls.
When the beetroots are cooked and cool enough to peel, remove the skins and add to the food processor with the egg yolks, vodka, rosemary, garlic, lemon juice, half the hazelnuts and a good pinch of salt. Puree until the texture is to your liking. You are looking for a rough, caviar-like texture, not a puree.
Fill the hollowed out eggs with the beetroot caviar. Top with the remaining crushed hazelnuts and chives.
Grey Goose E’toile de Picardie
To compliment the beetroot with the eggs, try it with Grey Goose’s warming E’toile de Picardie cocktail. The spiced star anise, sweet honey and cranberry works really well with its rich, earthy flavour.
- 70ml Grey Goose L’Orange
- 70ml Cranberry juice
- 20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 10ml gomme syrup
- 10 ml Cointreau, or Dom Benedictine
- 2 whole star anise
Build all the ingredients in a glass mug, add 50ml boiling water and stir. Garnish with the star anise.
This simple little canapé is super simple to make and requires no cooking. The smoked duck add wonderful richness and depth of flavour the is complimented by the fresh herbs and sweet pop of pomegranate.
Chicory bites with smoked duck, pomegranate and mint
It is a great little bite to serve with Grey Goose’s refreshing Noël Rouge. The subtle taste of elderflower and pomegranate compliment it wonderfully and make for a real real palate pleaser.
- 2-3 heads of chicory (12 cups)
- 100g smoked duck breast, chopped
- 80g pomegranate
- a handful small mint leaves, chopped
- a small handful of parsley, finely chopped
- 25g walnuts, chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
Wash and dry the chicory, and break apart carefully, saving the larger leaves for a salad (they will probably be too big for canapes).
Trim the bottoms of the longer leaves and arrange on a plate
Finely slice the smoked duck and add it to a large bowl, with the herbs, chilli, walnuts and pomegranate.
Drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic, season and toss together. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be. Add a teaspoon of the smoked duck mixture to each of the chicory cups and arrange on a platter.
Finish with a final scattering of herbs.
Grey Goose Noël Rouge
This refreshing cocktail is my favourite of the lot, it looks so pretty and is pleasingly light. Exactly the sort of palate refresher needed after too many mulled wines.
- 100ml Grey Goose vodka
- 40ml St-Germain elderflower liqueur
- 20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 100g pomegranate seeds
- 4 lemon twists
Muddle the pomegranate seeds and lemon juice in a highball, add crushed ice, followed by the Grey Goose and St-Germain. Stir and garnish with a lemon twist.