Culinary Corner – Party Poppers

It’s always nice to have a plate of pretty morsels to pass around during the party season. Here are two canapé recipes that are impressive to look at but easy to make.

Garlic and Herb Tomatoes
24 cherry tomatoes
200g cream cheese
2 cloves garlic (Crushed)
Handful of fresh basil (Chopped)
Salt and Pepper

Mix the garlic and basil through the cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Prepare the tomatoes by cutting a tiny sliver from the bottom of each one – just enough so the tomato will stand up on its own. Cut the top off each tomato at the stalk end and keep the tops to use as a lid. Scoop out and discard the seeds from each tomato. The handle end of a teaspoon works well for this. Fill each tomato with the cream cheese mixture (use a piping bag if you have one or a teaspoon if not). Replace the lids and arrange in neat rows before serving.

Onion Bhaji Bites
200g onions (finely sliced)
200g canned chickpeas (drained and mashed)
2 eggs (beaten)
2 heaped teaspoons curry powder
Oil for frying
Salt and Pepper

Half a cucumber
8 – 10 Fresh mint leaves (chopped)
100g Natural Yoghurt (unsweetened)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Combine the eggs with the mashed chickpeas in a mixing bowl to form a thick batter. Add the curry powder, onions and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Heat a frying pan with a little oil. Place teaspoonfuls of the onion mixture in the pan to form little patties. When they have set on one side turn carefully. When set and lightly browned on both sides transfer to an oven proof dish and finish cooking in the preheated oven for 15 mins.

For the topping cut cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out and discard the seeds. Grate the cucumber on a coarse grater. Place in a sieve or colander and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. Discard the liquid. Mix the grated cucumber with the yoghurt and chopped mint. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve the bhajis at room temperature (not hot) with a small dollop of the yoghurt mixture on top of each one.