Good Food Blog
Top 10 shop bought canapésPosted at 12:02PM, 17 December 2012 by Sarah Sysum - Assistant editor, Easy Cook magazine
Now, I'm not adverse to making my own party food - I do a mean line in savoury mini muffins and chocolate mint truffles. However there are times when I want easy-to-prepare nibbles that won't leave me dashing about at the last minute and getting so stressed that I don't have time to join in the fun. With so much choice out there it is possible to heat, serve and enjoy the party. Here are my top 10 picks.
1. Wild mushroom filo parcels
A vegetarian canapé that proved popular with everyone. They're little crisp filo pastry wanton-style parcels that are filled with a mix of mushrooms in cream. The mushrooms include porcini for that real earthy hit. You could always serve three with a masala sauce as a smart starter.
£4.00 for 12, Tesco
2. Antipasti platter
There's nothing fancy about this; a plastic platter with Manchego cheese with chilli, semi-dried cherry tomatoes and pitted Manzanilla olives in an herby dressing. But it makes for great impromptu nibbles for four. I'm not normally a fan of flavoured cheese but the Manchego is really good and it's cut into decent sized chunks too.
£2.50 for 145g, Sainsbury's
3. Balsamic pearls
These balsamic vinegar pearls, which resemble caviar, make for an unusual talking point. 'Bite' into them and you get the distinctive sweet tang of the vinegar. They work best as a canapé topping for crostini with smoked salmon or sun-blushed tomatoes, the latter is a good light option if you have a big meal ahead.
£4.99 for 55g, Belazu
4. Mini artisan sausage rolls
OK they're pricey but they're by far the best sausage rolls I've tasted this year. Bigger than your average cocktail sausage roll (you could cut it in half if you wanted) with a really generous sausage filling and lovely crisp, flaky, buttery pastry. You can cook them from frozen, so keep a pack in the freezer for unexpected festive guests.
£4.50 for 8, Donald Russell
5. Extra special chicken in pandan leaf
As well as looking impressive, these little chicken bites are really easy to eat as each one is just enough for one mouthful - ideal at a drinks party. The chicken is really tender and I liked the dipping sauce too. Jazz them up with a few lime wedges for squeezing and scatter over a few coriander leaves.
£5.00 for 218g, ASDA
6. Salmon and tuna tataki
Much as I love a sausage roll, like so much party food they can seem greasy .The freshness and colour of this appealed. It's fillets of sushi-grade fresh tuna and salmon loins, which have been seared on the outer edges before rolling in a combination of coriander, sesame and pink peppercorns. All you need to do is simply slice into finger thick rolls and serve with the soy and wasabi dipping sauce provided.
£21.95 for 300g, Forman & Field
7. Cream of pea and shrimp soup
Taking a ready-made item and turning it into a canapé is always an option. Soups are good as all you need to do is heat and decant into small espresso cups. This creamy soup has a vibrant festive colour thanks to the peas whilst the shrimps add sweet meatiness without tasting 'fishy'. Smarten it up with a streak of crème fraîche and sprinkled paprika.
£4.49 per bottle, Spanish Passion foods
8. Salted caramel posh profiteroles
Salted caramel is my pud flavour of choice. However, many mini puds I tested were either too sickly or, worse still, too salty. This hit the balance perfectly. The choux pastry is crisp and filled with a subtle caramel cream and the chocolate icing topping with a sprinkling of caramel salt and gold stars looks both elegant and Christmassy.
£3.49 for 6, Marks & Spencer
9. Mini chocolate passionfruit dessert cups
By far the most popular dessert amongst my testers. These tangy mini morsels combine bitter plain chocolate cups with a filling of tart passion fruit mousse, which is both creamy and light.
£3.00 for pack of 12, Morrisons
10. Pates de fruits
You could use these to make cheat's petit fours. You get 16 diminutive sweets in square and heart shapes. The flavours (orange, strawberry, raspberry and pear), are not overly sweet despite the sugar-crusted coating however you'd need to provide petit four cases should you wish to display on a cake stand.
£11.99 for 170g, Lakeland
Fancy combining your cheat's canapés with some of the homemade variety? Visit our Christmas kitchen for hundreds of party recipes.