Category Savoury nibbles & canapés

1-minute smoked mackerel pâté!

This is an incredibly quick but insanely good smoked mackerel pâté, and one I have been making for many many years. It helps to buy the smoked mackerel already boned, but you literally just mix it all together to give the most delicious pâté. The pâté is delightfully coarse, unashamedly rustic, but for a fish pâté […]

Pea and ham filo bites

This is a such a simple bake, and is ideal using left-over ham at Christmas and bits and bobs lurking around: frozen peas, a dollop of chutney and mustard……The actual proportions are only a guideline, so add more or less depending on what you have to hand. It can be made even speedier using bought […]

Whole ham with chilli, marmalade and rum glaze

I adore hams, not just around Christmas and the New Year, but at any time of the year. Ham is wonderful eaten hot as the key component of a roast dinner, but for me it is at its best when sliced (thickly!) and served with some good bread, cheese, pickled shallots and a few chutneys: […]

Herby sausage rolls

A return to sausage rolls: one of my favourite savoury bites, both to make and to eat. Seriously, a good sausage roll should bring a smile to one’s face and have a very moreish quality: one should never be enough! A far cry from those mass-produced affairs you can buy from high street chain bakeries that […]

Types of olive oil, Jamie’s Italian & my recipe for smoked mozzarella focaccia!

This is a post in collaboration with Jamie Oliver and his Jamie’s Italian restaurants, demonstrating the different types of olive oil and how to use them in cooking. I have also included my recipe for smoked mozzarella and rosemary focaccia. I have long been a fan of Jamie Oliver: especially his no-fuss cooking style, his […]

Simple fennel breadsticks – focaccia-style

These are very easy breadsticks to make. They taste wonderful and a large batch can be made at a fraction of the cost of shop-bought breadsticks! Perfect with any dip, although I have photographed these breadsticks with baba ghanoush, that wonderfully smokey aubergine dip (recipe here). I have used quite a lot of water in […]

Blowtorch baba ghanoush

Baba ghanoush is one of my favourite dips and is hands-down the best use of aubergines for me. It it great with crunchy fresh vegetables or breadsticks and the like to dip into it. I used the terrific Andrew James Chef’s Blowtorch to do the bulk of the work: the charring of the vegetables – […]

Spiced lamb & pistachio rolls with spiced pastry

I am such a fan of sausage rolls; with a well-flavoured filling and light, melt-in-the-mouth pastry, they never fail to give me a feeling of total satisfaction when eating them! Sadly sausage rolls are much-abused in my opinion, especially most of the commercial ones which are often little more than cheap meat and dry, tasteless pastry. Ever since […]

The new Andrew James Chef’s blowtorch: product review

I am a huge fan of kitchen gadgets, but with any prospective gadget, I always try to weight up if it is likely to get used only a few times before being relegated to the back of a cupboard (joining the popcorn maker, milk frother and various others I have amassed over the years….!) However, […]

Easy seeded flatbreads with sun-dried tomato hummus

Two incredibly simple things to make that go so well together: a really perfect dip to share as a snack, a starter, part of a picnic…….. The hummus is made in seconds and will keep for a few days, covered, in the fridge. The bread can also me made in advance and frozen if preferred: […]

Bruschetta: when simplicity reigns!

Bruschetta is one of those things that cannot fail to put a smile on my face when I eat it. Perfect as a starter, served with barbeque food or just as a light bite at any time of the day, one slice is never enough. Bruschetta is a very quick and easy to make: as […]

Spiced prawn and crab spring rolls

This is my version of spring rolls, using some left-over filo pastry I had made for another bake and ingredients that I adore to eat. The rolls are very easy to make and a large batch can be made up and frozen until you want to cook them. The filling carries a hefty wallop of […]

Easy ham, cheese & mustard croissant whirls

Although an unembellished home-made croissant is a truly wonderful thing to eat, savoury variations excite me hugely! This version, using cheese, ham and mustard as the key flavours, is my favourite savoury one by far : simple flavours that make these light, crisp pastries ridiculously addictive to eat, whether served cold or warm. Ham and cheese! Black Forest ham […]

Simple spiced cauliflower fritters

This is my take on cauliflower bhajis: they are great served with cold drinks or just placed on the table with a cool minty dip for people to just tuck into. Crisp, light and moreish! They are very crisp, incredibly light and are packed with flavour – as indeed they should be – with a kick […]

Warm crab choux bites

This is my version of a canapé I had in a restaurant ages ago. These are simple, but highly effective little savoury bites: light choux pastry, flavoured subtly with cheese and mustard, and filled with a simple fresh white crab meat sauce. I use mayonnaise in the filling so that as the choux heat up, […]

The easiest & quickest smoked mackerel pâté in the world!

This is an insanely simple and almost instant smoked mackerel pâté that is seriously big on flavour – perfect spread liberally on hot toast or eaten with a baguette as part of a light snack. The pickled gherkins are quite wonderful in here and really lift the pâté somewhat: I tend use use the sliced […]

The simplest cheese, caraway & walnut biscuits

These are very simple and tasty savoury biscuits that are an ideal vehicle for a gutsy dip, eaten with a cheese and chutney, or munched on just as they are. You can use any cheese, but a cheese that packs a punch flavour-wise is perfect. Favourites of mine include Parmesan, mature Cheddar, Stilton and Comté […]

Absolute Spice: product review & recipe ideas

I love focusing on flavour in my bakes; flavour is by far the key consideration when I am baking, whether I am recreating a favourite bake or working on a new idea. And excellent quality ingredients are always my priority. I was very fortunate to have received some spices from Absolute Spice and I cannot stop using them! In fact […]

Mustard & caramelised onion sausage rolls

A slight variation on one of my favourite savoury bakes, sausage rolls. See earlier post for the main recipe: The very best sausage rolls…. I used a quick mustard rough-puff pastry here, going for just 2 “turns”: for this, increase the mustard powder in the dough to 4 teaspoons, which will give a nice kick among the […]

Cheese & onion sourdough crumpets

These particular crumpets arose from an idea that came to me late one night – as is often the way! While I adore crumpets that are toasted and eaten with butter and jam (surely one of life’s foodie pleasures?), I love savoury flavours, and so a batch of cheese and onion crumpets called out loudly to […]

Chorizo & fennel sausage rolls in a spiced rough-puff pastry

Updated April 2016: variation using fennel powder in the pastry and the filling. Rather than go for full-on chorizo sausages encased in pastry I added some finely chopped chorizo to the sausagemeat filling that I always use for my sausage rolls. Now I love chorizo, but not in hefty quantities you would have if you just […]

Sun-dried Tomato & cheese scones

This is another savoury twist on the wonderful sweet scones that are traditionally served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The dough for these particular scones is flavoured with sun-dried tomatoes and a little mature Cheddar. These are ideal split and topped with a fresh herbed cream cheese (chopped basil is wonderful!) and home-made chutney or chilli jam. […]

The simplest, quickest sourdough flatbreads in about 20 minutes!

When you feed a sourdough starter, you discard some of the starter so that you can top the remaining starter with more water and flour: that way you get a fairly constant volume of starter rather than having litres of it in many containers all over the place! Waste-not, want-not! The discarding always seems something of a waste, […]

Savoury macarons: smoked salmon & horseradish

When it comes to the list of my food pleasures, smoked salmon on sliced brioche with a thin spreading of caper butter is up there near the top: the smoky saltiness of the salmon, the sweet butteriness of the brioche and the slightly tart capers make for a perfect partnership. These macarons are my bite-sized version […]

Spiced smoked haddock scones

Try to imagine me screaming from the rooftops that you absolutely must try this recipe: I am so proud of it and I really do think they need making and devouring. This is my twist on scotch eggs, but varied somewhat to incorporate a kedgeree flavour: spiced haddock is wrapped around soft-boiled quail eggs, before being […]

Roasted onion, chorizo & Parmesan focaccia

I have posted several focaccia recipes on this blog, and while I make my roasted garlic focaccia many times more than any other flavour, I do like to play around a little. This time, I used ingredients lurking around in the fridge and the larder! Slowly roasted onions or shallots, with their delicious sweetness, salty […]

Coronation chicken vol-au-vents

While vol-au-vents are wonderfully retro, using Coronation Chicken as a filling makes them even more so! But Coronation Chicken is such a great thing to eat…… I had made a large amount of puff pastry and then used some of it to make many vol-au-vent cases for this and other fillings: the technique for making vol-au-vent cases […]

Spiced smoked haddock vol-au-vents

Vol-au-vents never fail to excite me when I eat them!  For me they have always been absolute must as part of a buffet. I am such a fan of them that at my Civil Partnership, one of the food centrepieces involved vol-au-vents, with many different fillings. I have been making these kedgeree-style vol-au vents for years and they […]

Mini savoury doughnuts with a red pepper chutney filling

When it comes to sweet doughnuts, my penchant is for those near-spherical doughnuts that are dusted with caster sugar and filled with fresh jam: ideally strawberry jam for me but I would hardly turn down any jam if it is in a doughnut! However, a savoury doughnut is a great thing eat; it needs to be […]

An insanely simple no-knead Chorizo & Parmesan focaccia

Post updated June 2016: new photos added Focaccia is up there in my top 3 breads, both to make and to eat. Characteristically bouncy, with many irregular holes in the bread itself, it tastes great and needs very little to accompany it. And it is VERY easy to make. A flavoured focaccia Spicy chorizo and […]

Roasted onion & smoked cheese scones

Returning to my savoury roots, and it seems a while since I have posted a savoury recipe, I decided to make some cheese and onion scones, using roasted onion and smoked Cheddar cheese. This is a very rustic bake, and no apologies will come from me regarding that! They are also very easy to make and are […]

Chouxnuts 1: cheese & chives flavour

What with cronuts, maclairs and other arguably gimmicky – but oh-so-delicious – food hybrids, I fancied seeing what would happen if I deep-fried choux pastry. I had never deep-fried choux pastry before but deep-frying here gives amazing results: these chouxnuts, as they are now known in my house, really do give a terrific doughnut effect. As […]

Easy fennel seed & smoked garlic sourdough grissini

These crisp grissini are easy to make and have bags of flavour. I like to make them using some sourdough starter that I had discarded prior to feeding the main starter, just adding more flour and water to give a dough that handled well. To be honest, you really do not need to be at all […]

Two flavours of savoury biscotti: gluten-free

  In this post I have given two recipes: one for sun-dried tomato, basil & pine nut biscotti; the other for olive and rosemary biscotti As moreish as sweet biscotti unquestionably are, savoury biscotti are in a slightly higher league for me, but then more-ish savoury food is one of my weaknesses! These biscotti are great […]

Smoked mackerel pastry rolls

This is a recipe I am very proud of: I had some food left over smoked mackerel to use up and had that “I wonder if this will work…” moment. Luckily, it does work and I cannot recommend highly enough trying out this bake! It is essentially a twist on sausage rolls, one of my all-time favourite savoury bites, […]

Cauliflower cheese & roasted garlic bites

Cheesy, garlicky and intensely savoury, these deep-golden little bites are a cross between mini muffins and soufflés. They are great eaten warm as canapés or just to graze on as a snack! I bake these in oiled mini muffin trays, getting 48 in total. These also freeze well once baked, only needing to be warmed up for about 5 […]

Parmesan, basil & toasted pine nut cannelés

A savoury variation on my lemongrass and ginger cannelés,  these are essentially pesto cannelés (or canelés!), and are fantastic as light canapés when served warm. They have a thin exterior crust with a soft interior, bursting with flavour. Even though the Parmesan is a salty cheese, I use a little salt to crush the garlic, but you […]

Wild mushroom tart (gluten-free)

A mixture of rehydrated dried mushrooms and fresh wild mushrooms, cooked down slowly for intensity of flavour, makes a wonderful tart/quiche. Second only to a cheese and onion quiche for me, this is great served warm for so many occasions when good comfort food is the prder of the day. I have been making this […]

Full-English breakfast rolls!

An idea to create a more substantial twist on sausage rolls inspired this bake: a selection of the best English cooked breakfast staples are encased in crisp, buttery puff pastry. The bacon, sausagemeat and black pudding need to be of the best quality, not just for the flavour but so that as they bake they do not […]

Roast beef & horseradish canapés

Amazingly easy and ridiculously more-ish, this is a great way to use left over roast beef, not to mention Yorkshire pudding batter if you have any left, although to be honest the batter can be made up in moments! I have also given ideas for some of my favourite savoury and sweet variations. The beef […]

Croissaladière (anchovies, olives, confit shallots on croissant dough)

Updated Nov 2015: with added pictures of larger “croissaladière” The classic Pissaladière is true celebration of the simplest of ingredients that give the most impressive of flavours. A thin bread base with a topping of slightly sweet confit shallots, salty anchovies and juicy olives (green, black, stuffed or a mixture!). It makes for the most […]

Croissage Rolls

I love to eat sausage rolls if the filling is truly meaty, packed with other flavour goodies and the pastry is buttery and crisp: truly one of life’s simple culinary pleasures! This recipe, using croissant dough, is a slight variation on my gran’s recipe from decades ago. These croissage rolls, as they are referred to in my house, […]

Canapé selection: mushroom; smoked aubergine

I adore nibbly food and am always trying out ideas and flavours to ring the changes. These two different canapés use a very light and crumbly shortcrust pastry, made with just a little Parmesan cheese. I filled half of the cooked pastry shells with a rich, smokey aubergine filling (baba ghanoush) and the rest with […]

Simple caraway & cumin flatbreads with baba ghanoush

These simple flatbreads are wonderful with a full-on dip to dunk into with gusto. My dip of choice here is baba ghanoush, a wonderfully smoky aubergine dip. It is by far my favourite dip and having tried dozens of baba ghanoush recipes over the years, I now use the recipe below which is my amalgam of […]

Crab Canapés

A very simple canapé: small discs of puff pastry, topped with crab meat that has been mixed with a little fresh mayonnaise, a spritz of lemon juice, some chopped chives and just a little grated Gruyère cheese. These are gorgeous served warm, with chopped chives sprinkled over. However, they become absolutely heavenly when topped with […]

The very best sausage rolls……..

At the risk of sounding as though I have fallen straight out of a Carry On film I will state categorically that I absolutely love a good sausage roll. One bite and everything is well with the world! I am so proud of these sausage rolls: it is a recipe of mine, inspired initially by my gran, […]

Prawn Gyozas (savoury dumplings)

These are marvellous dumplings, or pot stickers, with bags of flavour, and are great as starters or appetisers: pillows of soft, sticky dough – lightly shallow fried and then steamed – they are packed with a juicy filling that includes prawns, garlic, chilli and ginger. The crunch and the flavour bursts of the coriander stalks and […]

Smoked Haddock Tarts – my nod to kedgeree

  Update: this recipe is one of my favourite savoury bakes and I was delighted that BBC Good Food Magazine selected it in their 25th Anniversary issue in 2014. These are very special tarts: crisp, melt-in-the-mouth and gently spiced pastry cases filled with buttery leeks, and flakes of smoked haddock in a just-set and subtly flavoured curried […]

Tomato & Pesto Canapés

Home-grown tomatoes with freshly made pesto make for one of my favourite flavour combinations and I have been making simple tarts using these two ingredients for many years. As with many of my bakes, I love eating miniature versions, as the idea of grazing casually on finger-food never fails to excite me, so these canapé-sided tartlets […]

Savoury Macarons

Although I often go for macarons filled with a fruit ganache, this time I’ve gone for savoury macarons. The light sweetness of the shell is a perfect foil for each of the savoury fillings I have used, with the gentle saltiness coming from the fillings creating a flavour contrast that is, quite simply, divine. I […]

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