What is a Canapé?
A canapé is a small, prepared and usually decorative food, small in enough to be held between your fingers and eaten in one bite.
Traditionally canapés are served on small stripe or pieces of stale white bread, shaped in circles, squares, or triangles. Some-sort of spread is applied and decorative garnishes are placed.
Unfortunately, some people associate the serving of canapés with high society and think that only certain types of foods are worthy of being combined to form a proper canapé. The reality is that a canapé simply requires a combination of three elements that form a base, middle, and top layer. From there, the success of the canapés will rest simply on how tasty the combination trio happens to be, and how visually appealing the canapés turn out. It doesn’t matter if they are prepared for a casual evening at home, or for distribution at a formal reception. As long as the canapé recipe tastes and looks good, it will fill the bill.
We will show you traditional and modern approaches in how you can create canapés at home, making it a party for you to remember, or everyone will remember your party!
Canapés can be either savoury or sweet, but make sure you have plenty of drinks available. Get ready alarge fruit punch bowl, or refreshing lemonade, make sure you have plenty of sliced lemons at hand!
When to serve Canapés
Serve Canapés at the start of your party, alongside drinks, ideal for those henna nights, or birthday parties. You can follow up with a main meal and dessert if you wish. Make it a buffet style party so that your guests can move around and relax and savour your food.
Use big platters, and arrange the canapés in a simple yet decorative manner, use trays and cover with colourful crepe paper (complimenting your food and tableware).
Arrange your canapés on cake tiers. Use a few flowerdecorative to compliment your canapé trays.
Use cocktail sticks to make it easier for people to pick up and eat.
Spend a little time on garnishing as this gives the final look and attractiveness in the canapés.
Mix and match canapés in one tray, it will look more pretty, the hard work is mostly in creating each canapé so you won’t need to spend much time in decorating platters. Keep your canapé trays simple and clean.
Create Your Own Canapé Recipe
You can easily invent your own canapé recipes, use a variety of breads that are available, for example,you can use tortilla chips, pitta breadscut in triangles’, digestive biscuits, pieces of roti (chappati) cut in triangles and fried, the list of ideas is endless.You can use other ingredients other than bread as a base, see below for meat ball and falafel ideas.
Use your favourite spreads, chicken spread, mix a little mayonnaise with chives and garlic, or use some of your favourite salad dressings as spreads!
You don’t have to stick to the traditional fancy canapés, especially if you have Asian guests as well, and then try having pakora’s or samosas in your try. Deep fry potato in a gram-flour (pakora mix), spread with green chutney and garnished with a flowery cut spring onion!
Little puff pastry treats that are simple and quick to make, simply buy these pre-made vol-e-vents bake them, and fill with a prepared mixture, such as of tuna fish, or mayonnaise and egg, garnish with mint leaf or coriander.
If you have meat-eaters then serve meatballs on a toothpick with perhaps a small cherry tomato ontop, alongside chutney or tomato dip!
Grill small pieces of marinated chicken and thread through a cocktail stick and one slice of green or red pepper, serve with a dip.
Use tortilla wrap and fill with your favourite filling, such as black bean with salad and a little guacamole, cut in half and serve.
For dessert, serve little mini cupcakes, there are now a variety of different ways to decorate your cupcakes beautifully. Use sugar lemons, sprinkles, coloured icing, or even fresh fruit to garnish with.
Cut cubes of fruit, apple, pineapple, mango, pear, or thread grapes strawberries on a cocktail stick. Dip apples in a lemony sugar syrup so that the apples won’t blacken. Try dipping the fruits in a lemon, sugar, orange, syrup with a little chaat masala to spice up the taste buds alittle.
Here we threaded fresh strawberries with apples, melon cubes, with halved dates to give an extra sweetness. Fruits were dipped in lemon juice, sugar and chaat masala.
Remember: Canapés require a little more time but if you make plenty and are presentable they will be very impressing for your guests, spend a little extra time in garnishing and present them simply on nice clean trays.
Basic & Inexpensive Canapé Ideas to get you started straightaway!
Potato Bread & Salad canapés
Here we give you a fairly simple, inexpensivevegetarian canapé example, with just the following ingredients, you can ‘mix and match’ and create different canapé arrangements.
Slices of bread
Cheese Spread, or any other spread
Potato Cutlet mixture (boil potato, mash add spices, coriander leaves)
Fresh Mint, Coriander Leaves and Dill
Centre: Cut a piece of bread with pastry cutter, spread cream cheese over, press edges or sprinkle carefully dried oregano on edges. Peel and cut cucumber in half and half cherry tomato place ontop, garnish with dill.
Bottom centre: Make aball out of potato cutlet, roll it in dried mixed herbs, cut a triangle piece of cucumber and quarter a cherry tomato. Insert a toothpick into the cherry tomato, cucumber and potato ball.
Bottom left: Same as centre but press down in fresh chopped mint leaves. Leave out the dill.
Left: Cut out bread with pastry cutter, spread cream cheese over, press down edges with chopped coriander leaves. Make a flattened ball out of the potato material place ontop of bread, garnish with hot sauce and quartered cherry tomato.
Top left corner: Make a potato ball, roll in mixed herbs, and fresh finely chopped coriander leaves, place cucumber ontop and drizzle with hot sauce, and insert toothpick into it.
Top centre: Cut out a square piece of bread, spread cream cheese, pressedges into fresh chopped coriander leaves, cut a triangle half of cucumber alongside quartered cherry tomato, garnish with hot sauce.
Top right: Make a large potato ball, and flatten as thinly as you can with your palms, spread over a piece of bread. With a pastry cutter cut into potato and bread slice. Garnish with a little drop of hot sauce, cucumber triangle, halved cherry tomato and dill sprig.
Falafel & Hummus canapés
This is another vegetarian inexpensive canapé. Again you can ‘mix & match’ and create different canapés with these ingredients.
Slices of Bread
Cheese Spread or any other spread
Centre: with a toothpick thread, halved cherry tomato, halved cucumber slice, one chip, and falafel, drizzle with hot sauce.
Bottom Left: peel and cut a cumber slice, 1cm in thickness, spread hummus on top, garnish with an olive.
Left: Cut a cucumber slice 1cm thick, spread cream cheese, garnish with halved cherry tomato and dill sprig.
Bottom Right: cut a square piece of bread, spread cream cheese, and place halved cucumber diagonally, adjacent to a quartered tomato garnish with dill sprig.
Check out the following links for great ideas for canapé: