Little nibbles and bites are an integral part of throwing a party. We’ve picked our favourite canapés for the festive season and beyond.
Forget sophisticated finger food that requires hours of rolling, baking and finishing and go for simplicity when planning your canapé menu. Choose options that are stylish but can be prepared ahead and use only a few ingredients. Our 2013 Christmas canapé menu features a lot of skewers and twists, which are not only a joy to assemble, they're really easy to gobble down too. Try one of our top ten party picks...
Pastry goes a long way. Puff pastry is useful for making palmiers, cheese straws and sausage rolls, while shortcrust is better for savoury tartlets as they hold their shape better. Filo can be used for samosas and spring rolls. Even the professionals plump for shop-bought on occasion, so don’t bust a blood vessel making your own, although we do have plenty of pastry advice if you're feeling ambitious.
Think about how to serve your canapés. Big platters look really attractive and can often be found in charity shops, or a more professional look could be to plump for a slate tray or chunky wooden board.
If you’re going to serve your canapés with a dip or sauce, blob it directly onto your board in neat lines to not only look attractive but also hold the canapé in place to avoid any tumbles.
Our top 10 party canapés
These stunning chips are nothing like your average potato fry. Use a ready-made block of polenta and cut it into shapes then bake. Wrap your sticks with salty prosciutto and serve with trusty ketchup.
Serve a classic flavour combination with some added panache by wrapping stylish cucumber slices with beetroot-cured salmon. Dollop on some crème fraîche and watch them vanish from the platter in moments.
These Spanish-inspired kebabs are flavoured with smoky harissa and served with a garlic mayonnaise. Just remember to give your guests somewhere to plonk their used skewer.
Arguably the best part of Christmas is made into a handy bite-sized canapé. Team your favourite cheeses with grapes and cubes of membrillo quince paste. Cheese and pineapple will never look the same again…
Little patties will always go down a storm at parties, but save yourself the arduous preparation and buy in some ready-rolled raw meatballs. The trick is in the hidden cheese centre – pop a ball of mozzarella in the middle of your ball before cooking.
Twisty cheese straws
Cheese straws are a classic party bite, but bring them up to date with a layer of pesto, and choose soft cream cheese instead of the usual cheddar.
Gather up all those stray espresso cups, make a batch of our butternut squash & sage soup then serve with a bacon toast for dipping. Worry about the washing up later…
Spuds are a perfect way of bulking out a canapé offering. Save the potato wedges for a buffet menu and serve these baked new potatoes with a little soured cream and chives. Don’t forget a nice sprinkle of coarse sea salt.
Don’t forget dessert - these cheesecake slices are easy to whip up and will keep sweet-toothed party-goers happy. Just make a large portion of cheesecake in a tray and cut into slices or cubes.
These squidgy chocolate squares are flavoured with crystallised ginger. Dust with a little icing sugar for a wintery finish.
We’re a big fan of a party at BBC Good Food, so we have an extensive section on festive entertaining, including a cocktails & drinks page and guides to throwing the perfect soiree. We’d also love to hear some of your canapé and party recipe suggestions…