Treat your friends and family to these simple and delicious bites
At this time of year it never feels like there’s enough time to get everything done – does anyone else feel like that?! If you’re despairing over some last-minute festive party preparations, you’re probably not alone, and I hope this little collection of quick and easy finger food recipes will help you out.
Some of these recipes feature traditional Christmas fare, and some are made with more unusual ingredients to satisfy the hungry hordes when they descend over the festive season. I’ve chosen recipes that can be made ahead of time, and that will keep in the fridge overnight before being completed with some finishing touches where necessary. Preparing ahead will free up your time to relax, socialise and make the most of this magical time of year – just how it should be.
I’ve left the amounts fairly flexible, so you can make more finger food depending on the size of your gathering.
Brie & cranberry parcels
On a baking sheet, brush melted butter over two stacked sheets of ready-made filo pastry. Cut a wheel of brie into thick squares, then place the cubes over the filo sheet at regular intervals. Top the brie with a teaspoon of cranberry sauce. Pinch the sides of the pastry up and together so it forms a little bowl around the ingredients (wet your fingers for this). Repeat this for as many times as you like, until your ingredients are used up!
Bake in a 200-degree oven for ten minutes, until the pastry is golden. Alternatively, cover the uncooked parcels overnight and stick them in the oven so they’re melting and delicious when guests start to arrive.
Salmon & cream cheese blinis
There are loads of recipes out there for delicious home-made blinis and the batter will easily keep overnight, but if time’s tight shop-bought blinis do the job just as well. Mix cream cheese with fresh lemon juice and zest to loosen it up a bit, and put a good dollop on the tiny pancakes, topped with a generous curl of quality smoked salmon. Sprinkle with finely cut dill, and even a sprinkle of salmon roe for a delicious and luxurious pop of flavour!
Naan, spinach & halloumi bites
Chop up some washed, fresh baby spinach and add to a pan of melted butter and garam masala. Cook until it’s soft and spreadable, seasoning to taste as you go. Grill some thickly sliced halloumi cheese, and warm naan breads through before topping them with the spinach mixture. Evenly distribute the chunks of halloumi across the surface of the naan, and then cut into bite-size pieces, securing with a cocktail stick for easy munching!
Egg buffet bites
These are some cheeky variations on traditional devilled eggs, that kids and adults tend to enjoy equally. Simply hard boil a big load of eggs (let’s say at the very least one egg per person), then cut in half, scoop out the yolks and mix them together with a choice of ingredients before returning the mixture to the hard-boiled white half. Delicious!
My favourite additions to mix with the egg yolk are: capers, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil; crispy fried shallots and chillies; smoked salmon, sesame seeds and spring onion; or just good old curry powder! This site has some incredible recipes I can’t wait to try.
Cut a part-baked baguette into 24 slim slices, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about ten minutes until they’re nice and golden, but not too hard. Top these with flaked tuna, sliced black olives, thinly sliced red onion, slices of hard-boiled egg and chopped, cooked green beans. Most of these ingredients can be prepared beforehand, and the toasts can be assembled shortly before eating. Tasty, light and fresh – the perfect antidote to all the festive season’s rich fayre!
Dates have a lovely, rich natural sweetness that’s the perfect foil for savoury stuffing. Cook down chopped onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, finely chopped pecans and thyme with a generous glug of vegetable oil and a splash of vegetable stock to bring it all together. When it’s cooled slightly, half your dates (carefully – don’t cut all the way through) and fill them with small balls of the stuffing. Push the sides of the dates back together, and top with a small sage leaf. Bake at 180 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, and serve immediately. Suitable for vegans.