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Cucumber is a great, non-bread base for gluten-intolerant guests. Use peeled, thickish slides as a base for salmon with cream cheese, a tuna and mayonnaise mix, or go nuts and top with caviar and a dab of sour cream.

Frittered away
Make your favourite fritters into bite-sized nibbles - try courgette and feta, corn and chopped peppers for the vegetarians, or top vegetable bites with a sliver of roast beef or duck and sour cream. Or luxuriate with minced mussels, prawns or white fish (minced with coriander and chilli for a Thai twist), garnished with sweet chilli sauce. Fry in batches beforehand, warm up in a low oven when guests arrive.

Cheese straws
Keep frozen puff pastry on hand to whip up cheat's cheese straws: grate generous amounts of tasty cheese or parmesan through the pastry as you roll it out, sprinkle with paprika and bake. Or cut into bite-sized squares to carry a light onion jam or fig chutney.