Anyone who knows me knows I love to entertain. For me, there's no better feeling then inviting friends and family into our home, our table, our way of eating. The look of satiated bellies, full hearts and satisfied smiles makes all that time in the kitchen absolutely worthwhile.
Our menus and tables are always eclectic. And unexpected. But always relaxed. My absolute favourite way of entertaining has to be a mix of canapés. A bit of this and a bit of that. Small and light enough that you can taste a bit of everything. Yet filling enough that you won't miss having a mains. That then makes more room for dessert, yes?
I actually make a lot of these canapés in bulk and then freeze them. They can then be cooked just before serving which means I can spend more time with the people I love rather then being in the kitchen.
Oh, and I have no qualms about mixing cuisines all in a night's work. After all, it's not every night you'll be eating an Indian samosa, an Asian taco, an English sausage. So today I'm sharing a couple of my favourite canapé recipes. My mom's samosa, which makes it all the more special to me- spiced potato, pea and carrot with mint and coriander laced through. I'm thinking sweet potato would work equally well.
Then there's the crispy rice balls with Thai peri peri prawns. Somewhat inspired by the rice balls in my friend Dalia's cookbook. Whilst I won't be sharing that recipe today, I will leave you with the recipe for Asian steak tacos. Served as minis and held together with tiny pegs, they never fail to impress. With bites of sweet, tangy, crispy and spicy. Just like a firecracker in your mouth. And minis always taste better anyways, right?
What are your favourite canapés to serve when entertaining?
Pea, Potato and Carrot Samosas
710 g potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp canola oil
4 curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
mixed frozen vegetables (peas, carrots and corn)
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 red chilli, sliced
20 samosa wrappers
oil for deep frying
Fill a large saucepan with water and add the chopped potatoes. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until potatoes are soft. Drain the water and set aside.
In a separate saucepan, heat oil and add the curry leaves and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the garlic and onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric powders as well as garam masala and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the frozen vegetables and cook until they have thawed, about 2 minutes. Mix in the boiled potatoes, lemon juice, coriander, red chilli and season well with salt. Break up the potatoes partially as you mix with a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool.
To make the samosa, take a samosa wrapper and place a tablespoon of the filling and place in the top left corner of the rectangle. Fold the top right corner over the filling to make a triangle. Keep folding the triangle over until you have a triangle and no wrapper. To close the samosa, dab the last fold of the wrapper with water and glue the corner down.
Fill a large frying pan with oil on medium to high heat. Add the samosas to the oil without overcrowding. Fry until golden brown (about 4-5 minutes), turning every now then. They should be golden, firm and crispy. Drain on a paper towel and serve.
Note: Samosas not fried can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6-8, makes 20
Asian Steak Tacos
3 tbsp chopped parsley
juic of 1 lime
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp cumin powder
50 ml olive oil
600 g tenderloin steak (2 pieces)
1 mango, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 roma tomato, deseeded and chopped
juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp chopped coriander
Sweet chilli dressing
60 ml sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp red chilli flakes
2 spring onions, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp tabasco sauce
2 garlic cloves finely minced
1 birds eye chilli, minced
To serve: 1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced with mandolin
10 soft tacos
extra coriander leaves and lime wedges
In a bowl, mix together the the parsley, lime, garlic, cumin and olive oil. Marinate the steaks and season very well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside whilst you prepare the salsa.
Heat a grill pan on high heat. Add the steaks and cook for 2 minutes on each side for medium (or to you liking). Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.
To serve, individually heat the soft tacos in a microwave for 10 seconds or over a grill pan for 1 minute on each side. Spread some salsa and red cabbage on the taco before topping with steak slices. Garnish with coriander and a drizzle of sweet dressing. Serve with individual tabasco sauces (optional) and lime wedges.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 6-8 people/ makes 10 tacos