If you want to impress your guests on December 31 then these appetising canapés will do the trick, we’ve even included some fabulous fizz ideas to get the party started
These make the perfect canapé as they are both good-looking and tasty
Makes: approximately 26
110 g/1 scant cup plain/ all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast
1⁄2 teaspoon white sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
150 ml/2⁄3 cup warm whole milk
1 egg, separated
20g/4 teaspoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon tomato purée/paste
Sour cream, Parma ham and chopped fresh chives, to serve
Begin by making the batter. Sift the flour into a warm mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast, sugar and salt. Whisk the warm milk into the flour mixture to form a thick batter. Whisk in the egg yolk, melted butter and tomato purée/paste. Cover and set aside in warm place to prove for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 110°C (225°F) Gas 1⁄4. Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks. Gently fold the whisked egg white into the proven batter. Set a large non-stick frying pan or skillet over a medium heat. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the pan, well-spaced apart. Fry until tiny bubbles appear on the surface and the edges darken, then turn over briefly to lightly brown the other side. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the preheated oven. Cook the remaining batter in batches.
When ready to serve, top each blini with a little sour cream, a small piece of Parma ham and a sprinkling of chopped chives.
Plum tomato tartlets
Dainty, subtly flavoured tartlets will make a sophisticated snack for any drinks party
150 g/1 cup plus 3 tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour
75 g/5 tablespoons butter
3 egg yolks
200 ml/scant 1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus extra to garnish
100 g/3 oz soft goat’s cheese, chopped
12 baby plum tomatoes, halved lengthways
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
One 4-cm/1 ½ -inch cookie cutter
2 x 12-hole muffin pans, oiled
First make the pastry. Blend the flour, a pinch of salt and butter in a food processor until well combined. Add 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of cold water, and blend until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6. Roll the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured surface and cut out 24 rounds using the cookie cutter. Line the muffin pans with the pastry.
To make the filling, whisk the sour cream and the remaining egg yolks together in a jug/pitcher. Season with salt and pepper and add the tarragon. Divide the goats cheese evenly between the pastry cases, then nestle in two halved plum tomatoes in each case, skin side-down. Carefully pour in a little of the sour cream mixture, then bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the filling has risen and is golden.
Garnish with tarragon if desired and serve warm.
Scallops with borlotti beans
If you buy scallops in their shells, then you have readymade little serving dishes and you can wash and reuse them time and time again
12 scallops, cleaned and coral removed
2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
Lemon wedges, to serve (optional)
1 x 300-g/10.oz canned borlotti beans, drained
½ stick/rib celery, finely chopped
¼ small fennel bulb, finely chopped
50 ml/3 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped zest and juice of 1 lemon
A pinch of caster/granulated sugar
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper, to season
Brush the scallops with extra virgin olive oil and dust lightly with curry powder. Brush a frying pan or skillet with a further tablespoon of oil and set over a high heat. Fry the scallops for two minutes then turn them over and fry for a further minute.
For the borlotti beans, put the drained beans into a large mixing bowl. Add the celery and fennel. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice together with the sugar until well mixed. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Divide the beans between the scallop shells or bowls and top each with a scallop. Serve immediately with extra lemon wedges, if desired, to squeeze over.
New Year’s Eve is the perfect excuse to splash out on some bubbles but how about taking your flute of fizz one step further by turning it into one of these tempting cocktails
Perhaps the most famous of all Venetian cocktails, the Bellini was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani at the celebrated Harry’s Bar in Venice around 70 years ago. It’s a mixture of fresh white peach juice and Prosecco. Keep the ingredients and glasses as cold as possible. Cin! Cin!
40 ml/3 tablespoons freshly made white peach purée
480 ml/2 cups Prosecco
Pour the peach purée into the chilled Champagne flutes then pour in the Prosecco and stir gently.
STRAWBERRY & BASIL
5 ripe strawberries
1 teaspoon white sugar
a small handful of fresh basil leaves
120 ml/ ½ cup Prosecco
Whizz the strawberries and sugar together in a blender to make a purée. Pour the purée into a jug, add a little of the Prosecco and the basil which should be bashed until lots of flavour has been released. Pour the mixture through the strainer into a chilled glass. Pour over the remaining Prosecco, stir gently then serve immediately.
200 ml/ ¾ cup pear purée
480 ml/2 cups Prosecco
Pour the pear purée into the chilled glasses, our in the Prosecco, stir gently and serve immediately.
Tomato blinis and plum tomato tartlet recipes courtesy of Appetizers, published by Ryland, Peters & Small (£14.99)
Photography by © Ryland, Peters & Small
Scallops and borlotti beans and drinks recipes courtesy of Cicchetti by Liz Franklin, published by Ryland, Peters & Small (£9.99) Photography by Mowie Kay © Ryland, Peters & Small