Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 11 December 2009 Contents WHAT’S COOKING
Page 8 | 11 December, 2009
’Tis the start of the silly season and finger food delights are an easy
solution when it comes to entertaining. Some of my current favourite
deli foods include: tiny pickled cherry peppers that have a delicious hot/
sweet taste – great for stuffing with cream cheese or serving plain on a
cold meat platter; dry roasted hazelnuts that you can toss in a little oil
or melted butter then flavour with Cajun spices, chilli powder or dukkah;
and chilli and horopito bagel crisps, excellent topped with salsa, cream
cheese and chopped cherry tomatoes or you can use them as dippers.
Traditional dips are still popular but I tend to favour ones that are lower
in calories. My mint dip is a result of experimenting with a chutney
recipe I have served for years with curries. To make the dip, place one
cup of firmly packed mint leaves, four chopped spring onions, two
seeded green chillies, one clove of crushed garlic, half a teaspoon of
salt, two teaspoons of sugar and three tablespoons of lemon juice into
a blender and process until smooth to make about three-quarters of a
cup. Crisp vegetables, corn chips or bagel crisps make great dippers.
For a change you could throw a mojito (pronounce ‘mo hee toe’) party.
A traditional mojito is prepared by squeezing the juice of half a lime into
a tall glass. Add one teaspoon of caster sugar and six mint leaves then
‘muddle’ (mix around) with a cocktail swizzle. Fill the glass with ice, add
three to four tablespoons of white rum, stir well then add soda water to
taste. For a mock (non alcoholic) majito, leave out the rum. The basic
drink can be prepared in bulk and refrigerated. Just add the rum.
This drink, however, has become so popular that aficionados have been
adding their own enhancements such as: strawberries or strawberry
purée; slices of root ginger, pear, pineapple or watermelon; or split
vanilla pods with some of the seeds scraped into the glass. These
extras could be served as sides.
Finger food favourites
Finger food: Blue cheese, toasted walnut and strawberry canapes, Korean beef spoons, Tempura-type asparagus
2 porterhouse or sirloin beef steaks
(400g), cut about 3cm thick
Marinade: 2 spring onions, diced
2 tablespoons finely grated root
1 tablespoon each: sweet chilli
sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black
1 cup finely shredded lettuce
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Thinly slice the beef against the
Combine the ingredients for the
marinade and add the beef. Mix
well. Cover and marinate for at
least 1 hour.
Drain then pat dry. Heat a heavy,
non-stick frying pan. Sear the beef
on high heat for about 1 minute
Fill Chinese soup spoons with
the lettuce and top with the beef.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Alternatively, serve skewered with
cocktail sticks. Makes about 20.
30 asparagus spears, trimmed
Batter: 1 cup standard flour
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to
1 cup beer (eg summer ale)
canola oil for deep frying
Dipping Sauce: 1⁄4 cup light soy
1⁄3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon crushed chilli
Cut the asparagus into 10cm
Place the flour, lemon rind, salt
and pepper into a medium bowl.
Whisk in the beer.
Heat the oil in a wok until a faint
Dip the asparagus into the batter
then deep fry – about 4 spears at
a time – until golden. Remove to a
paper towel-lined baking dish.
Keep the asparagus in a
preheated oven at 180°C for up
to 30 minutes before serving.
Combine the ingredients for the
dipping sauce and serve beside
1⁄4 cup walnut halves
1 teaspoon butter
100g creamy blue cheese,
30 small crackers (eg Sesameal
30 mint leaves
8 strawberries, thickly sliced
into rounds chervil or parsley for
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Toast
the walnuts for about 10 minutes,
shaking occasionally. Toss in the
Coarsely chop the walnuts.
Combine with the blue cheese but
do not cream.
Top each cracker with a rounded
teaspoonful of cheese, top with a
mint leaf and a strawberry slice,
pushing down gently.
Garnish with chervil or parsley.
Blue cheese, toasted walnut
and strawberry canapes
200g sliced smoked salmon
8-10 lychees, very well drained
8-10 chilli marinated or smoked
Cut each slice of salmon in half.
Halve the lychees and mussels,
removing the tongue from the
Place the halved mussels into the
lychee halves then wrap in the
smoked salmon. Thread each onto
a small skewer. Makes 16-20.
Smoked salmon, mussel and
Trim the asparagus. Blanch until
just crisp tender, refresh in icy
water then pat dry.
Cut each wrap in half. Spread with
mayonnaise and sprinkle with
black pepper. Cover evenly with
the chopped watercress.
Place 2 asparagus spears at the
base of the each wrap and roll up.
Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate
for up to 3 hours.
Cut into 3cm rounds, skewer with
cocktail sticks if necessary and
place cut-side up on a serving
Can be garnished with extra
Serves about 8.
8 spears asparagus
2 Middle Eastern-style wraps
(I used World Oven wraps)
1⁄2 cup good mayonnaise
freshly ground black
pepper to taste
1 cup chopped watercress
Fresh, wholemeal sandwich bread – crusts removed – can also be used.
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