3 Easy Christmas canapés

Close up photo of canapes on a platter featuring beetroot and smoked salmon

Rye bread squares topped with beetroot hash, horseradish cream and smoked salmon - Credit: timmacpherson.com

Ditch the crisps and make these simple tasty canapés with wow factor for your Christmas drinkies, created by Dorset-based chef and food writer Lesley Waters 

Savoury Biscotti: These stylish biscuits will store in an airtight container for several days. Serve as a base for canapés, paté or dips or with your favourite cheeseboard. I love to serve these topped with the Artichoke Dip topped with some crisply fried air-dried ham and sage leaves.    

Makes about 20 

50g butter 

225g self-raising flour 

pinch salt 

60g caster sugar 

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50g walnut, chopped 

50g pistachio nuts, chopped 

2 tbsp black sesame seeds 

1 tsp black pepper 

2 eggs, beaten 

Method: Preheat the oven to 190°C/ gas mark 5. Place the butter in a small pan and melt over a gentle heat. Set aside to cool. Sieve the flour into a large bowl and stir in the sugar, walnuts and pistachios. Add the melted butter to the eggs, pour into the dried ingredients and mix well to a form dough. 

Divide the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface roll out each half into a cylinder shape approx. 22cm long. Place on baking parchment on a baking tray and flatten each roll to approximately 6cm wide. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. 

Allow to cool for a few minutes, then with a serrated knife, cut each piece on the slant into about 10 slices. Arrange the biscotti back on the baking tray spaced slightly apart. Return to the oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until golden. They are now ready to be used as a canapé base.

Platter of canapes topped with a cream dip and a slice of ham and a sage leaf

Savoury biscotti topped with artichoke dip and a sliver of crispy fried air-dried ham and a sage leaf - Credit: timmacpherson.com

Artichoke Dip 

285g jar artichoke antipasti, drained really well from oil 

110g full fat cream cheese or ricotta  

zest and juice of a small lemon 

1 clove garlic crushed 

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil  

Method: Place the artichokes, cream cheese (or ricotta), lemon zest, garlic and olive oil in a small to medium food processer and blitz until thickened but not too smooth. Add lemon juice to taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use as a dip or spread some on top of the biscotti the top with fried air-dried ham and a fried sage leaf. 

Platter of beetroot and smoked salmon canapes

Rye bread topped with beetroot hash, horseradish cream and smoked salmon - one of the five canapes we made in our cookery lesson with Lesley Waters - Credit: timmacpherson.com

Beetroot Hash with Horseradish Cream and Smoked Salmon

This delicious beetroot dish can be served with seared salmon or pan-fried mackerel fillets as a main course or simply as a canapé on buttered pumpernickel squares topped with a hit of the horseradish cream, and some smoked salmon. 

Serves 16/ 20 for canapés or 4 for a main course  

425g raw beetroot 

1 red onion, finely chopped 

salt and black pepper 

1 tbsp blackberry vinegar* or balsamic vinegar  

2 tbsp olive oil 

175g crème fraîche  

1 tbsp horseradish sauce   

To finish

rye or pumpernickel bread

smoked salmon strips

Method: Peel the beetroot and shred it through the food processor or hand grate it on a coarse box greater (wear rubber gloves if you don’t want stained hands!) 

In a medium sized bowl combine the shredded beetroot with the finely chopped onion, vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste. In a small mixing bowl combine the crème fraîche and horseradish sauce, season to taste. To make the canapés cut your rye or pumpernickel bread into bite-sized squares, top with a teaspoon of the beetroot mixture, a teaspoon of the horseradish cream and some smoked salmon. 

*From Dorset With Love’s Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar is ideal for this recipe.  

Squares of grilled halloumi topped with lentil, orange and pomegranate salad

Grilled halloumi topped with warm pomegranate, Puy lentil and orange salad - Credit: timmacpherson.com

Warm pomegranate, Puy lentil and orange salad with griddled halloumi 

Serves 12 for canapé topping  

100g Puy or beluga lentils, cooked 

1 red onion, finely sliced 

1 garlic clove, crushed 

3 tbsp olive oil 

1 pomegranate, seeds removed 

1 large orange, segmented and any juice reserved 

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly torn 

For the griddle halloumi 

2 X 250g halloumi cheese, drained 

1 tbsp rapeseed oil 

Method: Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl along with any reserved orange juice. Season to taste. Carefully cut each block of halloumi into approx. 4 thick pieces, season both sides with black pepper. Heat a large griddle or frying pan over a high heat with the rapeseed oil. Griddle the cheese for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden and crisp, place on a board, you will need to do this in a few batches. Cut the warm (not hot) halloumi into squares place on a board or platter and top with a spoonful of the pomegranate lentil salad. 

Click here for Great British Bake Off contestant Maggie's Dorset Apple Cake 

Lesley Waters

Lesley Waters - Credit: Tim MacPherson

To book a cookery lesson with Lesley at home with your friends email info@lesleywaters.com, find more details at lesleywaters.com where you can buy Lesley’s book Deliciously Dairy Free