In my head I don't live in the middle of the (very lovely) English countryside that is inaccessible by anything but a car, but somewhere in a nice neighbourhood where you can walk everywhere and my friends could pop over in the evenings for Summer cocktails and nibbles. Okay hell, lets be honest. I'm picturing Joy's cold place in Los Angeles, before she upped and moved to New Orleans. (Please tell me you did this, Joy!)
With these Summer cocktails (you can see some of my cocktail recipes here) I'd serve up plates of canapés, which if my guests did not want, I'd gorge on myself. The sun would always be shining and all the pictures from the evening would be totally Pinterest worthy. So not to get too sidetracked, when the guys from Lime Venue asked me to put together a few canapé ideas that could feed a large crowd, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some ideas that could be made on any scale, from a small backyard gathering to a large corporate event or garden party. Elements of these can also be prepared ahead, and make for easy assembly.
Let us kick off with my personal favourite? Little New Potatoes topped off with Crème Fraîche (I swear by Neal's Yard) and a little caviar. These are not only really easy to make, but nowhere as near as expensive as you'd think. Caviar is something I actually have often in my fridge? Do you know why? While I do love some more expensive versions, you can get this actually pretty great Lumpfish Caviar for £1.99 a tub in Waitrose. And a tub goes a really, really long way. If you get a tub and you're not sure what to do with the rest of it, it is great swirled into loose scrambled eggs for an indulgent breakfast instead of smoked salmon, and one of my favourite treats since before Waitrose started stocking it (you can also get really cheap and delicious caviar in French supermarkets and I always used to pick up a jar) is warm toast, slathered in light cream cheese (the full fat version is too thick for this) and scrapings of caviar. You can thank me later.
A few more assembly tips. Try and sit the cold, cooked potatoes (you can do these ahead and store them in the fridge) on their flattest side before cutting the crosses in with a very sharp knife. Be careful to cut so that you can get the Crème Fraîche in, but not too deeply as if the four quarters don't still hold their potato shape they'll collapse with filling. I use the very tip of a teaspoon for the Crème Fraîche and the caviar.
Next up, these sexy Watermelon, Mozzarella & Mint Skewers. I keep fresh mint by the back door and my mint leaves are smaller than the ones from bunches at the supermarket, so you may want to fold the leaves over on themselves in half before skewering. Mozzarella pearls are the canapé food of the gods. To get even watermelon cubes, once you've cut one you're happy with use that as a size guide. You can also use a ruler. To stop the canapés being too wet, let the mozzarella pearls and watermelon cubes sit on kitchen towel for absorption while you're prepping for assembly. Finish them off with a light sprinkle of really good quality Fleur de Sel to bring out the flavours.
Finally the popcorn cups. You can use any flavour of pre-made or homemade popcorn in these, just cluster a few pieces in a little cupcake case. Here I've made Chive Butter Popcorn, using the same method as in my recipe for Freshly Popped Parsley Butter Popcorn, just switching out the herbs.
If you're after some more Summer canapé inspiration, you can always check out my 'Canapé Central' board on Pinterest. Alternatively in the blogosphere, I've really been wanting to try Amy Liz's Spicy Sausage Rolls and Ileana's Shrimy Danny's of late.
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