Monday, 15 December 2014

The Best Boozy Christmas Canapés

Photo: atl10trader under CCL
If you hadn't noticed already, we're VERY excited for Christmas here at Vinspire. Personally, I'm counting down the days until I finish work and can sit back and relax with festive drinkies, an endless supply of chocolate coins, and have Michael Bublé sing to me as I watch my Christmas lights twinkle... Dreamy.

I do, however, plan to be a bit more sociable than that makes be sound - I'm no Christmas recluse, I promise - and if I'm having friends or family over, I want to make sure I have some tasty treats to offer them. 

A festive party, be it for Christmas or New Year, is not the same without canapés; drinking gives you the munchies, and having little nibbles is the perfect touch that people will thank you for. 

I've scoured the internet for the best boozy Christmas canapés; some easy, some that need you to invest a bit of time, and some that you can buy. So here they are... 

1. Fancy some Stout Meatballs with Beer Barbeque Sauce Glaze? Yeah, me too. This straightforward recipe from the amazing Beeroness is one that I'll be making all year round. 

2. A sweet-savoury classic; Devils on Horseback from Nigel Slater. Soak the prunes in brandy and you're onto a winner, or shake things up with an apricot alternative. 

3. Another meaty treat on a cocktail stick comes from BBC Good Food; Bourbon Glazed Pork Belly Chunks. There are only 6 ingredients needed for these beauties, you're welcome. 

4. Red wine and chorizo are a match made in heaven, and Angela Hartnett feels that together they make the perfect Christmas canapé. Prepare in advance and warm up when you're ready, Chorizo in Red Wine is the ideal option to save you running around. 

Photo: J B under CCL

5. Deep fried goods are a firm favourite with me, so how about some Ale Battered Onion Rings? This recipe uses Arrogant Bastard Ale, but maybe scout out some festive ales and use them instead. You could sing "five gold rings" as you serve them. 

6. Sweet-savoury AND deep fried? Now you're talking. Great British Chefs have presented us with Kirsch-soaked Cherries with Black Pudding Krispies - PHWOAR. And yes, by Krispies it means Rice Krispies! 

7. For something a little lighter, try Iced Vodka Gazpacho, but it requires you to leave it overnight, so heads up. Cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers are blended together with vodka to create this cousin of the Bloody Mary. 

8.Stuff on toast is a foolproof option, as is cheese, and there's always cheese lingering in the fridge at Christmas. Welsh Rarebit Canapés, piquant with mustard and paprika, would be welcome at any party.

Photo: brett jordan under CCL
9. Another veggie delight, from The Little Ferraro Kitchen, is Roasted Mushroom Crostini with Wine and Herbs. The recipe uses flavoured butter, but I'd just use regular with extra herbs. 20 minutes and you're ready to dish them out! 

9. If you want to buy something to adorn some tiny toasts, then this is my recommendation for wowing your guests. Extra Special Course Venison & Whisky Pâté for £3.00 from Asda... Hello. The Wild Boar & Rioja (£1.50) also sounds scrumptious.

10. Tesco have upped the miniature pie steaks with these Finest Scotch Steak & Cornish Real Ale Pies. The website tells me they use Proper Job IPA from St Austell Brewery, and a pack of 12 is only £4.00. Nice huh?

11. Aldi are doing amazingly this year, and it's no surprise when they sell things like this Specially Selected Scottish Salmon Trio (£5.99). Salmon canapés are a Christmas classic, but these are infused with luxury flavours; Champagne & Orange, Whisky & Honey and Gin & Tonic. They've even gone to the effort to create a trio of cocktails to complement them, aptly called Dasher, Prancer and Dancer. Bravo Aldi! 

12. Would you prefer some sweeter bites? How about these show-stopping Boozy Jelly Lemon Wedges. I followed Lorraine Pascale's Limoncello Jello Shot recipe, but changed the limoncello for gin and coloured the jelly. Use whatever alcohol you prefer and swap for lime wedges if you like, just make sure to keep the recipe ratios the same otherwise your jelly won't set. Rolling the wedges in sugar would give them a festive frosty appearance too! 

13. Did you watch Hope & Greenwood's 'Sweets Made Simple' a few months back? Well these White Chocolate Tequila Chillies would spice up your Christmas Party. Soaking the chillies in tequila takes out the sting, leaving you to enjoy the decadent ganache filling... And they even look like they've been covered in snow!

 14. Mince Pies are THE Christmas snack, and every year without fail I follow Nigella's Cranberry Studded Mincemeat recipe. Pimped up with port, brandy, spices and dried fruit, it's much more luxurious than the stuff you can buy in a jar, and fresh cranberries give it a tarter taste. The recipe makes enough for a batch of 12 mince pies with plenty leftover to play with (I like to mix it with ice cream for an instant Christmas dessert).


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