Meal Type: Starter
Cook time: 15 Minutes
Servings: Apprx. 40
OOO aren't these a bit posh! Whether hosting a large party or simply inviting a select few for a festive drink, a few homemade nibbles are always much appreciated by guests. All three of these can be made in advance with the croustades and pancakes quickly topped and filled before serving!
You will need...
- Pastry cutter
- A rolling pin
- Pastry brush
- A muffin tray
- A simmering plate liner
- A way to serve - this board is practical and stylish!
- A baking tray that fits on your runners
- A liner that perfectly fits that tray!
- Butter or oliver oil
- Filling:There are endless options for filling these little cases. A few suggestions: goats cheese & fig, hummus & sun-dried tomato, smoked mackerel pâté, pesto mixed with cream cheese or blue cheese and pear - YUM!
These crisp little bread cases are so easy (and inexpensive) to make. They can be made several days ahead but they are also a great standby when you have unexpected visitors. So long as you have bread and one or two possible fillings, you are literally moments away from a platter of delicious and dainty nibbles!
Right, lets get cooking!
- Roll each slice of bread out as thinly as possible. Using a cutter slightly larger than the holes of the tart tin, cut out circles of bread. Brush the circles with melted butter or oil and line the tart tin by carefully pushing each circle into the holes.
- Bake the croustades for 6 minutes on the floor of the roasting oven, until lightly bronzed and crisp.
- Allow to cool and then fill with your chosen ingredients.
To melt the butter, place in a small heatproof ramekin and put on the back of the Aga range cooker hob. The croustades can be made up to three days in advance and stored in an airtight container.
Mini dill pancakes with smoked salmon
An easy alternative to blinis. These are cooked on the simmering plate – with such a large surface area, you can cook many at the same time.
- 100g plain flour
- 1 ¼ Tsp. baking powder
- A generous pinch of salt
- 1 Egg - free range of course!
- 125 Ml milk
- 15g Melted (and cooled) butter
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped dill
- 75g smoked salmon
- Soured cream
- A few sprigs of dill
- Fresh lemon juice to dress
- Ground black pepper
- Measure the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the egg into it. Using a whisk, gradually bring the flour into the centre, mixing to combine. Add the milk and melted butter a little at a time, whisking until you have a smooth batter. Finally add the dill and mix so it is evenly dispersed.
- Place a silicone baking sheet on top of the simmering plate. Drop teaspoonfuls of the batter onto the sheet. When bubbles appear on the top, flip the mini pancakes over with a palette knife to cook the other side. Remove to a warm plate. Repeat until you have used up all the batter.
- Shortly before serving, top the pancakes with a little soured cream and a small strip of smoked salmon. Finish with a tiny frond of dill, a squeeze of lemon juice and a little freshly ground pepper.
These can be made in advance and frozen. Once defrosted, re-heat very briefly on the simmering plate to crisp them up!
To go alongside, a kick of heat from these spiced warm nuts!
Maple spiced nuts
These nuts are so moreish and always very popular. You can make a big batch of them and keep in an airtight container. You can also store them in a Kilner or jam jar – just tie with a lovely ribbon to turn into a tasty last-minute gift!
These do have a bit of a kick – if you prefer something slightly less fiery, use smoked paprika instead of the chipotle chilli.
- 200g Mixed nuts (Antonia uses pecans, almonds, cashews and brazil nuts)
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1-2 Tsp. flaked sea salt
- ½ Tsp. chipotle chilli flakes
- ½ Tsp. dried rosemary
- Spread the nuts out onto a baking tray lined with a silicone baking sheet.Slide into the centre of the roasting oven and roast for 5 minutes, turning the nuts half way through the time.
- Tip the hot roasted nuts into a large bowl, drizzle over the maple syrup and sprinkle with the salt, chilli flakes and rosemary. Stir to coat the nuts and then pour back onto the baking tray. Slide the tray into the simmering oven for 15 minutes. Cool the nuts before eating.
Antonia's Tip: Returning the nuts to the simmering oven once coated helps the flavours ‘stick’ to the nuts.
These festive recipes have been scribed and tested by community member Antonia, (it has been handed down through generations and gradually adapted) who is a hard working mum with two boys. Her recipes are trialed in her much loved Aga range cooker and devoured by her family, allowing Antonia to provide accurate tips and advice on how to make the dishes a success! Go check her work out! She is a country girl, happily surrounded by an excitable Lab, her dear husband, two boys and the Cotswolds.