The amazingly talented private chef and professional caterer, Claudia Winfield, reveals her delicious and healthy canapés just in time for the christmas party season;
Christmas: a time for indulgence on multiple levels, right? But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a time of excess, and while the endless parties and trays of canapés floating round are an integral part of the festive season, there’s no need to set aside your skinny jeans until the new year to accommodate that.
There are countless ways to treat yourself and your guests while still maintaining all the hard work you put into looking after your body the rest of the year; the following easy recipes are protein-rich and packed full of nutritional goodness, and what’s more, they are arguably more delicious, certainly more innovative, and undoubtedly far prettier than the usual fare one sees at this time of year.
TUNA AND AVOCADO SPOONS
To make approximately 16-18 canapés, mix the juice of 1 lime, half a red chilli (finely diced), about 1 heaped tbsp finely chopped coriander, 1 tbsp sesame oil and about an inch of finely grated fresh ginger (preferably using a microplane) in a medium-sized bowl. Dice a large ripe avocado (no bigger than 1cm cubes) and gently stir into dressing.
You’ll need approximately 170g of the freshest, best quality tuna you can find; mix together the juice of half a lime, 1 tsp sesame oil and a few drops of soy sauce and sparingly mix in the fish just before serving. Place a small amount of avocado beside a similar amount of fish on each spoon and garnish with toasted sesame and/or poppy seeds.
BLOODY MARY CRAB ON CUCUMBER ROUNDS
For approximately 20 canapés, cut one long cucumber into equal-sized discs measuring about 1cm thick. With a teaspoon, carefully scrape away half the seeds to create a well in each disc in which the crab will safely sit.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix 1 tbsp low fat mayonnaise with 1 tbsp half-fat crème fraiche, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp ketchup, a few drops of tabasco (according to how spicy you like it), a good pinch of celery salt and a good crack of freshly-ground black pepper. Fold about 150g white crab meat into the sauce and mix before seasoning with more salt and tabasco if necessary.
Place a teaspoonful of the crab mixture on top of each cucumber round and garnish with microherbs (micro celery is wonderful) or freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley.
VIETNEMESE CHICKEN SALAD IN LETTUCE CUPS
For approximately 24 canapés, place 3 large free-range chicken breasts in a food processor and pulse until minced. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok or large frying pan, then add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes until all the meat is cooked through. Break it up with a fork as you are doing this, and drain off any excess liquid from the pan. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool, then add half a finely chopped red onion, 1½ chopped seeded small red chilli (as usual, add more/less as you wish), 1½ tbsp grated fresh ginger, and 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander. Mix all the ingredients together.
To make the dressing, mix the juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon in a bowl with 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp caster sugar and 1 tbsp water. Toss the chicken with the dressing and season with salt to taste.
Serve approximately 1 tsp of the chicken mixture in little gem lettuce leaves (I usually remove the outermost leaves as they’re a bit too big for canapés) and garnish with a few coriander leaves and/or toasted sesame seeds.