The first time I ever made a canapé was on MasterChef. Talk about pressure. We all made our way down to a huge Manor house and were told that we were going to re-enact a menu from when Queen Victoria opened the place. Piling on the pressure, we were also told to create a few canapés from the ingredients provided for hungry guests. Canapés are rather twee, and twee and me aren't a match made in heaven.
It all turned out well in the end and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Then a year passed, and I was asked to do some canape demonstrations last week in the aftermath of party season. One year is a long time to recollect anything, so it was back to the drawing board.
Tiny fronds of herb balancing on a minute tower of produce. Paper thin shavings of rare beef teetering on tiny quinelles of chestnut purée. I pulled it off and in turn, I found a new me. The whole event was a success, and I found that twee ain't such a bad thing. Even the hungry Geordies applauded me on a side I never knew. Or were they just happy for a free feed?
The most popular canapé was a blini topped with a little lemon scented Greek yoghurt, smoked salmon and dill. They were popped into mouths faster than I could knock them out, but fortunately they were the easiest to make. Give them a try. You might find a side to you that you never knew.
PS The rather wonderful photo of my canapés were taken by a smashing fella called Christopher Best. Check him out, you will be impressed.
Blinis with Smoked Salmon, Dill and Greek Yoghurt
For the blinis
75g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
A pinch salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 – In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, eggs, salt and enough milk to make a thick batter.
2 - Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Drop 2 separate tablespoons of the batter into the frying pan at a time, allowing room for each blini to spread out.
3 - Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through and golden. Remove and set aside on kitchen paper before cooking the next batch.
4 – Roughly chop the smoked salmon and put into a bowl. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon and a good grinding of black pepper.
5 – To assemble, put a teaspoon of Greek yoghurt onto a blini, followed by some smoked salmon and top with a piece of fresh dill.