Salty · sweet

Canape Orgy

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I’ve never actually had an orgy, and now that I’ve got a new bf, maybe my chance will never come, but despite this factor, there’s nothing stopping me from having one in the kitchen- with food I mean, not people! On a separate note, imagine if I had and my parents read this, oh gosh, I don’t even want to think about it, but who knows why the mind conjures up such torturous thoughts?!

I entered a series of competitions last year, with each week based on either a vegetable or fruit theme. I thought I’d set myself the challenge to create an ultimate finale of my own and attempt to use every single one of those in one plate.

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So 16 themes = 16 different fruits and veggies. At least if I experiment with so much food, there’s bound to be something edible in there. Of course a lazy ‘one-pot’ of some sort sprung to mind, but I didn’t fancy taking that route. I also wanted to cook as little as possible in terms of quantity otherwise that’s a hell of a shopping load I need to carry (no luxury of online grocery shopping where I’m currently located), so tiny food means fewer ingredients, less effort in terms of physical labour and less terrible food to eat if it turns out a disaster. Canapes kind of work here. In addition, they’ll also make the day feel like I’m celebrating something, because when else would you eat canapes if not at a party or celebration of some type?!

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I must say though, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with canapes and these are my reasons…

I’m fond of them because they are just so tiny and cute. You can simply pop one into your mouth without the hassle and mess. If they’re done well, each morsel explodes with flavour upon devouring so you try to savour each second prior to it becoming a digestible bolus. You want that chewing time to last as long as possible- some could say it’s comparable to great sex.

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Why they could be a pain in the ass is when you’re absolutely ravenous, they continue to surround you without doing the job of filling you up. At the same time, you’re also cautious about limiting yourself to one since everyone in your vicinity is closely observing how many you eat and whether you are considerate enough to leave enough for the others. So it’s like a battle between your hunger and social status, and man can it get awkward. What further exacerbates this situation is the size and potential mess that might be generated by braving a half-bite rather than engulfing the entire piece and then you’re left in a situation where everyone judges you for not only being selfish, but also a pig.

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Well canape taboos aside, that’s what I’m going for. At least I’ll be able to eat them in the privacy of my own living room without being condemned for my greed and fully embrace this food orgy- that in itself deserves to be celebrated!

So this gathering will feature appearances from the following canapes:

Bloody Mary gel sphere; Aubergine caviar in courgette skin; Red pepper panna cotta and chilli jelly; Cardamom and nutmeg-infused pumpkin and cauliflower parfait with fennel bread; Chestnut, sage and onion stuffing with a cranberry and orange chutney pancake; Pear, apple and lime sherbet; Coffee banoffee and avocado ice lolly; Blini topped with caviar, beetroot mustard and eggs; Korean style pickled carrots and fungi; Salt and vinegar sweet potato chips

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Aubergine caviar in courgette skin

Roast garlic and a halved aubergine. Meanwhile, pan fry a julienned courgette and make each one into a little roll, leaving a reasonably sized hole in the middle. When the aubergine is cooked, tear apart the insides, mash them with a fork along with the roasted garlic and salt. Stuff in to the ready rolled courgette skin.

Pear, apple and lime sherbet

Combine the juices of apple, pear and lime and heat with sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, allow to cool before freezing. Mix the sherbet every hour for the first 6 hours.

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Cardamom and nutmeg-infused pumpkin and cauliflower parfait with fennel bread

Mash steamed cauliflower and pumpkin separately. Add cardamom and salt to the cauliflower and to the pumpkin, nutmeg and sugar. Assemble these as layers in shot glasses. For the bread, mix fast-action yeast with wholemeal bread flour sugar and oil. Pour in water, mix and then knead into a smooth dough. Leave to prove for 1 hour then add caraway seeds. Knead again and leave to prove for another hour then bake.

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Bloody Mary gel sphere

Heat tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, tabasco and a pinch of celery salt with 1 tsp agar powder. Once the agar has dissolved, strain the mix into moulds and allow to set in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

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Sweet potato chips

Slice a large sweet potato into wedges or chunky strips and roast in rapeseed oil.

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Korean style pickled carrot and fungi

Stir in a paste made with garlic, ginger, dried chilli flakes, salt and fish sauce with carrots and mushrooms and allow the flavours to infuse overnight.

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Blini topped with caviar, beetroot mustard and eggs

Whisk together plain flour, baking powder, milk and eggs for the blinis. Pan fry a few teaspoons at a time. When the tops start to bubble, flip over to the other side and allow to cook until both sides are golden brown. For the beetroot mustard, mix yellow and black mustard seeds with mustard powder, water and white pale ale and leave overnight. Blend in a food processor with white vinegar, salt, honey, mace and cooked beetroot and store in a sterilised jar. Top the blini with the mustard, caviar and egg mayonnaise.

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Coffee banoffee and avocado ice lolly

To a blender, blitz the flesh of an avocado and banana with agave nectar and an espresso shot and place into moulds. Freeze for at least 4 hours, then coated in dried rose petals.

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Chestnut, sage and onion stuffing with a cranberry and orange chutney pancake

Sweat 1 large diced onion and remove from the heat. Stir in breadcrumbs, chopped cooked chestnuts, salt and pepper. Once cooled, mix in an egg to create a sticky dough and bake. For the chutney, boil orange juice with cranberries, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon then simmer for 15-20 minutes then blitz in a food processor. Spoon into prepared rice sheets and tightly roll.

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Red pepper pannacotta and chilli jelly

Blitz roasted red peppers with garlic salt and milk. Heat the paste with agar powder for 2-3 minutes and set in the refrigerator. For the chilli jelly heat tabasco sauce with water and agar powder. Once cooled to room temperature, it can be poured on top of the set pepper pannacotta and further left to solidify in the refrigerator.

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The recipes are not given in the usual format, reason being I was too lazy to type everything up, plus the text would be way too long to fit on a reasonable-sized page, and quite frankly, probably scare people! So I’ve made a shorter version, but if you’d like the full recipe, give me a shout and I’ll send it over.

 

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