By Megan Coupland at Red Kitchen Te Awamutu

I love the word canapé, it’s a holiday word and sounds quite elegant. Canapés represent relaxation, good wine, friends and occasions. What’s not to love.
The hardest part about serving canapés is presentation, the plate often looks empty or untidy after a few have been taken. Serve them on smaller plates and have replenishments handy, have the dips in smaller bowls and swap them over with a fresh one straight from the chiller before it looks too messy. Family and guests can assemble their own canapé, just choose your props carefully. I have used black slate boards, everything looks great on them and I have tracked down these fantastic little weck jars which I just love; they are perfect for all portion sizes, for storing in the chiller and just a little more visually exciting than other jars I have come across. Plus you have two options for the lid, glass clips or plastic airtight.
Here are two recipes perfect for the jars; for those spontaneous moments when guests turn up, and great to have ready in the chiller at the beach.

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Smoked Fish Pate
This fish pate recipe is a real gem, it is a great way to showcase your catch, smoked marlin, snapper or tuna. If the fish aren’t biting I sometimes use a some good quality bottled tuna.

150g cream cheese
100g sour cream
2 lemons, zest and juice
2 tsp capers, chopped
4 tbsp finely chopped spring onion
cracked pepper
200g smoked fish or a mix of fresh and smoked fish

1. Soften the cream cheese by mixing with a wooden spoon till smooth.
2. Stir in the sour cream, lemon, capers, spring onion and cracked pepper.
3. Lastly, fold through the fish, do not over stir the fish or it will have a curdled texture.

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Y-not Deli’s Liptauer Cheese
Jutta Sterritt gave me this recipe when we first opened RK. For those who remember the Y-not Deli in Te Awamutu, they will surely remember this Liptauer. We have had so many requests for this on our catering menu. It is a little bit famous in our town! This is a perfect dinner party gift, served in the little weck jars with some of Vicki’s healthy crackers.

600g cream cheese
25og butter
190g sour cream
1½ tbsp small capers with juice
¼ cup gherkin juice
1½ tbsp good quality paprika
½ cup finely chopped onion
salt and pepper
1 tsp caraway seeds

1. Gently soften the cream cheese and butter by mixing, do not let it warm up while you do this or it will split and take on a grainy texture.
2. Add the remaining ingredients.
3. Evenly fill your jars and set in the chiller.
4. These can be topped with a thin layer of paprika.

There are lots of tasty crackers available now. Try Vicki’s healthy crackers on page 96 of The Nourish cookbook, these can be made into any shape before baking. I also like bruschetta, a good baguette cut very thinly on an angle and brushed on both sides with salty olive oil, pop it into a slow oven till it is crispy all over (do not colour it). These can be stored in an airtight container for up to four weeks, and look great on a platter or cheeseboard.

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Raymond’s Horseradish and Rum Baked Salmon
Raymond has been taking BBQ classes at RedKitchen and this is his recipe. It is an absolute hit and can be served whole for social eating or flaked onto a bruschetta with micro greens and fried capers for an occasion. We also cook this on the BBQ, or for the pro try cooking it on the Weber.

1 side of salmon, skin on and boned
2 tbsp dark cane sugar
1 tbsp dried capers

For the paste
2 tbsp rum
½cup best mayonnaise
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp horseradish
zest 2 lemons
ground black pepper
1 tsp dried dill

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Make some cuts lengthways down the salmon. Place on baking paper on a flat oven tray.
3. Mix all the ingredients for the paste and cover the salmon, filling in between the cuts.
4. Sprinkle the top with dark brown sugar and capers.
5. Pop into oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes. Take out and rest.
6. This should be nicely caramelised on top and ready to serve; flake the salmon onto bruschetta and enjoy with your favourite glass of bubbles!

I had to add blinis to the spring entertaining edition. These take a little time, but are very worthwhile. Mathew and I make them at the beach and cook them while friends sit around and enjoy them hot from the pan. We serve them with smoked salmon, horseradish cream and champagne. (Or a new favourite, St Claires Gruner Veitliner, a “new to NZ” grape variety that will impress the Sauvignon lovers.)
These also go well with Raymond’s salmon. This is a great recipe if you have a “social kitchen”.

150ml warm milk
150g strong flour
s alt
½ tsp sugar
2 free range eggs separated and at room temp
4g dried yeast
100g sour cream at room temp
25g butter

1. Heat the milk till warm to touch, add yeast and sugar, let it rest for 5 minutes
2. Mix the remaining dry ingredients in a bowl.
3. Add the sour cream and egg yolks to the milk, stir into the dry ingredients.
4. Let the batter sit in a warm place till it doubles in size.
5. Whip the egg white to soft peaks.
6. Fold the egg whites through the mix very gently, let it sit for another 20–30 minutes in a warm place till it gets the volume back. This is a great time to pour your wine.
7. Heat a little oil in your frypan and spoon the mixture in, browning slowly on one side before flipping it over.
8. Serve straight from the pan! These are a real treat!

Horseredish Cream
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup good quality horseradish
pinch salt

1. Mix and pop into a couple of nice little weck jars that you can store in the fridge and use on your platter.

Quick ideas to keep on hand

  • Herb and spice mill dips. Just add mayo and sour cream and you have some sensational dips and sauces
  • Panetone savouries, made with real butter and straight from the freezer. A must to have on hand
  • Dukkah, tasty and a good shelf life. All you need to add is olive oil and bread


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