Quick Prep-ahead Party Nibbles

10 Dec

Gosh, where has this week gone? I can’t believe I haven’t even had time to write up those recipes I promised – terribly sorry. Here they are now! Unfortunately there aren’t any good photos because all the food was gobbled up before I had a chance to take any photos, but at least I know they tasted good. The aim is to give you some really easy nibbly recipes for any festive get togethers you may be having over the coming weeks, which will enable you to be able to gloat about your home cooked treats to all your envious guests yet still have time to glam yourself up with the many hours you’ll have left over! I made the majority of these bits and bobs in the morning, and then just assembled them or put them in the oven as people arrived.

Easy Sausage Rolls (I didn’t actually get to try any of these – by the time I got to the table they were all gone! Apparently they were really tasty!)

  • 500g ready made puff pastry
  • 10 good quality herby sausages
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • plain flour, for dusting
  1. Take the sausages out of their skins by using a sharp knife to slit the side.
  2. Dust some plain flour onto a clean work surface, and use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry into a long rectangle, wide enough to cut it into two pieces which will both be able to wrap around a sausage shape.
  3. Line your sausages up the length of the long pastry rectangles.
  4. Brush one long side of the pastry rectangle with beaten egg, and fold the non-egg washed side over to join it. Press down firmly with a finger along the length of the rectangle to seal, and cut the long sausage roll into smaller pieces. You can leave them on a baking tray in a cool place for a couple of hours this way until needed.
  5. Lightly brush the tops with egg wash, and bake in a preheated oven (180C-200C) for 25 minutes until puffed and golden, and the sausages are cooked through.

Mini Quiches

NB: The fillings I have used here are personal taste/guidelines only – it’s really easy to mix it up a bit!

  • 500g pack ready made shortcrust pastry
  • ~4-6 eggs (depending on how deep you make the quiches/how much filling you put in)
  • 75g grated cheese
  • 100g bacon lardons
  • 1 onion
  • Parsley, chopped.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  1. In a jug, beat the eggs with a fork and season with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt, the bacon will be quite salty in itself).
  2. Gently fry the bacon lardons (getting rid of some of the fat, if a lot is given off) and the onions, until the bacon is golden. Leave to cool.
  3. Dust a clean work surface and roll out the pastry. I didn’t roll mine out thin enough really, and it does make a difference when the quiches are so small! I’d say try to get it about the thickness of a 2 pence piece. Cut them out into circles using a pastry cutter (tip: when I didn’t have pastry cutters I would use the top end of a glass tumbler, dipped in flour).
  4. You can store everything now until last minute assembly, if you want. If you’re doing this, make sure you take the pastry circles out of the fridge about an hour before you want to use them, as they will firm up considerably in the fridge and crack when you press them into the cupcake tins.
  5. Liberally grease the holes of two cupcake tins and gently press the pastry into each hole. Prick the bottom of each pastry circle a couple of times with a fork.
  6. Place some of your fillings in the centre of each pastry circle and top up with the egg mix. Sprinkle some parsley on the top, and bake in a preheated oven for around 20 minutes at 180C until puffed up and golden.


Red Onion, Balsamic and Feta Bites

NB: I did mine with bread as I forgot to get more pastry! Either works well. If you’re using bread, cut into circles and toast one side gently under the grill until just turning, and then put the topping on the untoasted side before placing back under the grill. If you’re using ready made puff pastry, roll out and cut into shapes, place the topping on the top, and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for about 15 minutes. I am of the opinion that pastry works better…

  • 2 medium red onions, chopped thinly
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 100g feta cheese
  1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the onions. Cook gently until soft and becoming translucent.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar, and continue to cook over a low heat.
  3. Leave them cooking for around half an hour (you can cook them for less, of course, but the longer the tastier!). If they begin to look too sticky or too dry, add a tbsp of hot water to the pan.
  4. Leave the onion mixture to cool. You can leave this overnight, or even a few days if stored in an airtight container.
  5. Sort out your bases (either pastry or toasts – see note above), then place a dollop of onion mix in the centre and crumble some feta cheese over the top.
  6. Either grill or bake, depending on your base, and serve immediately while warm.

Other quick prep-ahead ideas:

– Spicy Pork Balls

– Thai Fish cakes

– Scones

– Gravlax

– Profiteroles


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