If you are pushed for time at Christmas and want to add a little panache to your drinks parties or keep your dinner guests happy before the meal I have some quick and easy recipes for appetizers that don't involve slaving over a hot stove!
Stuffed dates and figs are a true Eastern delight and can be as luxurious as you like. In the Middle East they are usually stuffed with nuts but cheese fillings offer a sweet and savoury taste explosion.
Figs with Camembert
250g dried figs
3 tbsp port
125g camembert cheese, diced
Soak the figs in the port overnight. Cut a slit fig and widen the hole with your finger. Fill with camembert cheese.
250g fresh dates
125g full fat soft cream cheese
1 tbsp chopped glacé ginger
1 tsp grated lemon rind
Remove the stones from the dates. Beat the cream cheese with the ginger and lemon rind. Fill the dates with the mixture.
Celery boats are super finger food and you can stuff celery with salmon or crab mousses, fish pâtés, cream cheeses and nuts. Seafood and chilled, crisp celery are a refreshing combination – especially with a glass of sparkling wine!
Celery Boats with Prawns
300ml thick sour cream
1 tbsp drained capers
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
500g cooked prawns
3 or 4 sticks of celery
Chop the capers and add them to the sour cream. Add the chives and Dijon mustard, stir well. Chill.
Chop the prawns into 2 or 3 pieces. Trim the rib off the celery so that it sits with a flat base and chop into 5 cm lengths. Chill.
Spoon the sour cream mixture into each length of celery and top with the prawns.
Salt beef is a popular choice this Christmas but I prefer smoked beef, especially on the rare side. Paired with rye bread and this unusual but tasty tuna mayonnaise sauce these open sandwiches are very moreish!
Smoked Beef Open Sandwiches
10 slices of dark rye bread
butter for spreading
20 – 30 slices of smoked beef
125g canned tuna
juice of ½ lemon
freshly cracked black pepper
Cut the rye bread into halves and spread with butter. Arrange the smoked beef slices on top of the rye bread.
Blend the canned tuna (drain it first), mayonnaise, lemon juice and capers in a blender. Spoon the sauce over the smoked beef and garnish with freshly cracked black pepper.