Karena & Kasey Bird

MasterChef winners Karena and Kasey Bird write a fortnightly food column in Living.

Bite-sized and beautiful (+recipes)

Mouth-watering morsels will get your drinks party off to a flying start. Kasey and Karena Bird show you how.

Kasey, left, and Karena say get creative when making canapes. Photo / Michael Craig
Kasey, left, and Karena say get creative when making canapes. Photo / Michael Craig

If all dishes were created with the intention of being canapes they would probably end up well-balanced, tasty and a little bit cheeky - which is a great thing. Canapes can be as simple as taking your favourite dish and making a bite-sized version. They don't need to be excessively complicated, they just need to taste great and be easy to eat.

Every good party host should have a repertoire of go-to canapes, so this week we are sharing some of ours. We are very partial to seafood, so two of the dishes use scallops and salmon.

Our scallop canape is a great way to feed your guests fresh scallops without having to break the bank as you only need two scallops per guest. Kasey makes the tastiest Caesar dressing and paired with a portion of smoked salmon on the miniature cos cups makes them quite an indulgent little salad.

The mini stuffed potatoes are super cute and are layered with savoury mushroom flavours.
These recipes are an inspiration for you to create or customise as you see fit. Don't be afraid to substitute the salmon for chicken in the Caesar Salad cups, or add a bit of bacon to the stuffed potato if that's what you are into.

Canapes are made to be eaten at fun occasions so that should be reflected in the way they are made - have fun, get creative and season properly.

Karena on canape parties

Watching as the waiters bring around the trays of food, seeing others gracefully pop the morsels of food into their lipsticked mouths I know Kasey is quietly eyeing me from the other side of the room. She often encourages me to eat before we go to these types of functions as she knows well the inevitable repercussions of arriving when I am hungry.

Witty banter and small sips of something cold are completely abandoned as the first tray of canapes begins to circulate the room. Like a hawk watching its prey I am ready to swoop and snare the unassuming arancini ball. My family all chuckled when they saw me push my way through to get at the food when we were at Eagles Nest in Russell as part of MasterChef. Decorum out, food in. Kasey on the other hand is as polite as always, only collecting canapes as they come into a proximity close enough that she can snaffle them up without having to push her way through others. I admit it is something I am working on but one of us tends to leave the party a little bit more satisfied than the other. Just saying.

Kasey on canape parties

I'm not much of a partygoer unless the event is a must (e.g. mum's birthday) or the food and the company are top-notch. However, I do I have a weakness for canapes. The thing I love about them is that you get to try an array of different bites and flavours. I really enjoy being able to try as many different things as I can without feeling like I need to be rolled out of the dinner party. I don't have much of a strategy when it comes to partying/eating, unlike my lovely sister, other than to have a good time with my friends.

To throw a successful get-together you need a decent selection of drinks, great food and even better people. If you have these right you have everything you need for an awesome night - even if your sister is following the waiter around like a mad stalker.

Karena and Kasey's tips for canapes

1. The first is obvious: they have to be a portion of food you can easily fit in your mouth but be full of flavour that lingers until the next one comes around.

2. Being able to eat your food with one hand plus hold your preferred beverage is a must.

3. They should be fun and colourful; the bubbles shouldn't be the only thing getting people excited about the evening.

4. You should have a mixture of different textures and intensities. Some should be light and refreshing, others more rich and hearty so your guests get a range of different bite-sized experiences.

Recipes

Mushroom and truffle stuffed potatoes
Salmon caesar salad cups
Seared scallops with chorizo cream sauce and pea puree

- Herald on Sunday

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