a few fabulous canapés

bloody mary shots with crispy bacon strips canapé

bloody mary shots with crispy bacon strips canapé

carpaccio of beef on a crostini with cheats aioli

caramelised pear and gorgonzola cigars in phyllo canape

cauliflower and taleggio cheese croquettes

mini grilled pinapple tart tartins with minty creme fraiche

salmon tartare in wonton cups

I was delighted to be featured in the January issue of Food & Home Entertaining with four of these five canapé recipes. The magazine was on shelf from mid December to mid January so smack over the hectic party season which now feels like million miles away. These would have been perfect for then.

Despite my holiday feeling like a distant memory, it’s a very exciting time for me. I got to see an advance copy of my new book yesterday for the first time and it’s looking utterly beautiful. I can’t wait to share all the news about that very soon. It’s also my birthday today, so tonight I’ll be cracking open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate.

bloody mary shots with crispy bacon strips

Bloody Mary shots with crispy bacon strips

  • 1 liter tomato juice
  • 4 – 5T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2t ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ t celery salt
  • 1t cayenne pepper
  • 2T white wine vinegar
  • 4t Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce of you choice as added to taste
  • Vodka – as much as is desired
  • Dry cured free-range streaky bacon

Mix the bloody Mary in a pouring jugs adding seasoning to suit your taste. Keep in the fridge until cool and ready to serve.

To make the bacon strips in advance, preheat the oven to 150C. Lay the strips of bacon on a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet (you could line this with foil to make it easier to clean), and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and dab with kitchen paper towel a few times during this roasting phase, and turn over at least twice. Turn the oven off, dab the grease of the bacon again and open it so it is very slightly ajar and let the bacon cool and further dry out in the oven. You could leave it in the oven to dry over night.

Pour the Bloody mary into small shot glasses or decorative vintage tea cups and serve with a dried bacon strip as garnish.

carpaccio of beef on a crostini with cheats aioli

Seared Carpaccio en croute with cheats aioli

Make the quantity you need for your party

  • 1 large baguette sliced into thin discs
  • 300g fillet steak
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2T olive oil
  • wild rocket leaves
  • Parmesan cheese, cut into shavings to garnish

cheats aioli:

  • ½ cup good quality mayonnaise
  • 1T lemon juice
  • 2t Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1t olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Heat the grill in your oven and lay the bread slices out on a large baking tray. Toast them on either side until lightly golden. This can be made in advance and stored in a sealed container until you are ready.

Roll the fillet of beef in salt and freshly ground black pepper so that it is well coated. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick heavy pan and sear it on all sides briefly. A total of about 3 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Roll the beef in cling wrap and refrigerate.

Mix all the aioli ingredients together.

Freeze the beef for about an hour before you slice it. This makes it easier to get super thin slices.

When you are ready to make the canapes, slice the fillet into very thin slices. Spread the aioli over the base of the toasted crouton. Place a fresh rocket leaf over this. Top with a slice of beef, finishing it off with a piece of shaved Parmesan cheese.

Season with salt and pepper and arrange on a tray to serve

wild flowers

Carmalised pear and Gorgonzola (or blue cheese) phyllo cigars

 Makes 24 cigars

  •  3 pears, peeled and chopped into small dice
  • 30g butter
  • ½ cup Demarera sugar
  • 80gm Gorgonzola, or similar style blue cheese
  • 6 sheets of phyllo pastry
  • aprox 80g butter, melted

Melt the 30g butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the sugar and dissolve. When it starts bubbling, add the diced pears and cook briefly until they are cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. This can be made in advance.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and unroll a sheet of phyllo horizontally on the work surface. Brush the sheet lightly with melted butter and place another sheet on top of this. Cut the phyllo in half vertically and then each half into 4 rectangles. You should now have a total of 8 rectangles per double sheet of phyllo.

Spoon a teaspoon of the pear caramel mix along the short length of each pastry rectangle and crumble about a teaspoon of blue cheese over this. Brush the inside of the remaining pastry with butter and roll the pastry over the mixture tucking in the sides as you roll up sealing the join.

Repeat the process to make 8 cigars. And then repeat with another 2 sheets of phyllo to make a further 16 cigars.

Place on a lined baking tray, with the sealed side facing down and brush once more with the remaining butter. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and crisp and serve straight away. It doesn’t matter if a little of the cheese oozes out.

vintage silverware

Cauliflower and Taleggio cheese croquettes

  •  600 – 700gm cauliflower florets
  • 2T olive oil
  • 50gm butter
  • 3t Dijon mustard
  • 1t smoked paprika
  • 1¼ cup milk
  • salt & freshly ground white pepper
  • 100g Taleggio cheese, finely chopped
  • 80g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups crumbs
  • oil for frying

The mixture can be made in advance.

Pre heat oven to 180C. Toss the cauliflower in the olive oil and tip into a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 – 35 minutes until cooked. Set aside to cool.

Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour to form a stiff paste. Slowly add the milk bit by bit until you have a very thick sauce / paste like consistency. Add the mustard, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the gluten in the flour has been cooked out. Add the cheese and stir until most of it has been melted * its ok if a few bits have not.

Finely chop the roasted cauliflower and add this to the cheese sauce and mix to combine. Set aside in the fridge to firm up. *this can be made the night before.

When you are ready to serve the croquettes, get the dredging elements ready. Place the seasoned flour in a flat dish, the beaten eggs in a bowl, and the crumbs in another. Heat oil in a large pot or deep fat fryer. The oil needs to be a minimum of about 6 cm deep.

Roll small spoons of the mixture in your hand, toss through the flour and then coat thoroughly in the egg. immediately roll in the crumbs and set aside. This can be put in the fridge again if you want to do this in advance.

When the oil has reached 180C, fry the balls until golden brown, drain on kitchen paper towel and serve immediately.

mini grilled pinapple tart tartins with minty creme fraiche

Grilled pineapple tart tartin with minty crème fraiche

Grilling the pinepple gives it so much flavour and the chilli compiments it so well. Give it a try.

Makes 12 mini tart tartin

  • 1 small – medium pineapple (360gm sliced weight)
  • 1 sheet butter puff pastry
  • ¼ cup Demara sugar plus an additional 1 ½t Demara sugar per tartin
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • ½ Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 1 x 250g all butter puff pastry square

minty crème fraiche

  •  ½ cup crème fraiche
  • 1T mint, finely chopped
  • 1T icing sugar

Grill the slices of pineapple on a very hot griddle pan on either side until slightly char cooked. Set aside to cool. Chop the grilled pineapple into small dice and toss with ¼ cup of Demarara Sugar and the Tabasco sauce if you are using it. This can all be done in advance and baked off when you are ready to serve.

Thoroughly spray a non-stick muffin tin with cooking spray. This recipe should make 16 mini tart tartins. Spoon in the 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar into the bottom of the muffin cup. Divide the pineapple evenly amongst the holes. The base of the muffin pan should be covered with pineapple.

To make the minty crème fraiche, mix all the ingredients together and store in the fridge until ready.

When you are ready to serve, pre heat the oven to 180 C

Cut 16 rounds in the pastry using a 6cm – 6.5cm cookie cutter. Slightly flatten this out with your hand and place on top of the pineapple filled muffin cups. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and until golden brown and puffed up.

Allow to cool slightly and then run a spatula around the sides and under each tartin to remove it from the sides (it can get sticky). Tip the pastries out onto a flat tray, re assemble everything and serve with the minty crème fraiche on the side or on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

salmon tartare in wonton cups

Salmon tartare in wonton cups

  •  1 pack of wonton wrappers (7cm x 7cm)
  • 300 g Salmon fillet, pin boned and skin removed
  • 3T olive oil
  • 2T fresh lemon juice
  • 3T white and green parts of spring onions
  • 1t grated fresh ginger
  • a good pinch of sea salt flakes
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • 1t fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1t pickled jalepeno chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 pack of wonton wrappers (7cm x 7cm)

The wonton cups can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.

Heat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease the wonton wrapper and place loosely into the holes of a mini muffin pan. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove and repeat until you have made the desired quantity. The recipe makes 30 – 40 cups.

Chop the salmon up into a very fine dice and set aside. In another bowl mix all the other ingredients together and then add the salmon back in. Toss the fish through the dressing and check the seasoning.  Adjust where necessary and then set aside in the fridge for an hour or so before you serve.

When you are ready to serve, fill the cups with a teaspoon of tartare and decorate with a small sprig of fresh dill.

carpaccio of beef on a crostini with cheats aioli

These recipes frist appeared in Food & Home Entertaining – Jan 2015 issue.

I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.

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I can also be found enthusiastically pinning beautiful food images on Pinterest, and snapping pics of my life in Cape Town and what I eat on Instagram


  1. So many congratulations to you! Happy Birthday! I can’t wait to try these recipes.

  2. Happy birthday Sam! These canapes look amazing! I will be bookmarking this page for when I have my next do!

  3. Such a beautiful shoot, love love love the styling and props Sam, and happy belated birthday may there be many many more wonderful years to come

  4. Happy Birthday Sam!! Have a wonderful day, hope you get totally spoilt. Looking forward to your book…

  5. Can’t wait to see F&H, not reached us yet. Well done! Cauliflower florets look amazing, how to substitute the flour?

  6. These all look delicious (and so pretty)! I have to admit, I’d go straight to the pineapple!!

  7. HI Nathalie – I havent worked much with rice flour but perhaps rice or potato flour.

  8. Thanks so much Hedda, I had such a lovely day x

  9. Thanks Jo, I had a such a lovely day despite having to work.

  10. Thanks Christi 🙂

  11. Where can I buy wonton wrappers. Want to try some of your Canapes suggestions.

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