We’re already into December so that means the Christmas parties are starting! So to help you out, today we’re bringing you three fail safe canapé recipes to try! Thai Chicken Balls are not only super easy, but also super popular. Serve them hot or cold in a dollop of chilli jam. If you’re after wow factor, try some Corn Blinis with Prawns – just make sure you buy the best prawns you can afford. Otherwise, if you’re after something sweet, try making your own pastry for some Strawberry Custard Tarts. Don’t be scared, the pastry is very forgiving.

MFF_SpringRacingCarnival_ThaiMeatballs

THAI CHICKEN BALLS W/ CHILLI JAM

500g chicken mince
100g Thai red curry paste
4 slices of white bread
2L canola oil for frying

1/2 cup chilli jam and toothpicks to serve

  1. Remove crusts from bread and cut into 1 cm cubes. Place in a bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to sit for 3 minutes then drain well. Allow to cool slightly. Transfer bread to a tea towel and squeeze out remaining liquid.
  2. Combine bread, chicken mince and curry paste and mix until well combined. Using wet hands, shape mix into 25 meatballs and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
  3. Heat oil to 180C and fry meatballs in batches until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve meatballs hot or cold. Dollop teaspoons of chilli jam on a serving tray and place a meatball on each, skewering each with a toothpick.

Makes 25


MFF_SpringRacingCarnival_Prawns

CORN BLINIS W/ PRAWNS

1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
310g can corn kernels, drained
olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp powdered gelatin (optional)

24 (about 1kg) cooked medium prawns, peeled, deveined

  1. In a bowl, combine flour, egg, milk and corn. Season well with salt and pepper. Using a stick blender, blend lightly until thick and lumpy, retaining a few whole corn kernels.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and spray with a little oil. Dollop tablespoons of mixture around the pan and fry for a few minutes either side until golden and cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Repeat until all the mix is used up.
  3. Combine the sour cream, dill, chives and lemon rind and season to taste. If using, mix the gelatin with 1 tsp hot water and stir to dissolve. Mix gelatin through the sour cream and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes. Adding the gelatin will help thicken the sour cream and prevent it running off the pancakes, but you can skip this step if you like.
  4. When ready to assemble, spoon a tbsp of the sour cream onto 24 of the pancakes and top each with a prawn. Sprinkle with extra dill and chives before serving.

Makes 24


MFF_SpringRacingCarnival_Tarts

MINI STRAWBERRY CUSTARD TARTS

PASTRY
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
125g unsalted butter, chilled, finely chopped
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
50g dark chocolate

CUSTARD
2 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra
6 large egg yolks
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp butter, softened

TO SERVE
24 small strawberries, cut in half
1/2 cup apricot jam

  1. For the pastry, in a food processor process flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Lightly whisk 1 egg with 1 tbsp cold water and add to the flour mixture. Process until the pastry just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease 2 x 24 cup mini muffin trays. Lightly whisk together 1 egg with 1 tbsp milk.
  4. Cut pastry in half and roll one half out finely, to about 3mm. Using a cutter, cut pastry into 24 x 57mm rounds or whatever size fits your tray, gathering scraps and re-rolling as necessary. Repeat with remaining pastry. Push pastry gently into greased tin. Lightly prick pastry with a fork and brush with a little egg wash. Place in the fridge to firm up for 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer trays to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes until just golden. Remove and allow to cool completely.
  6. For the custard, prepare an ice bath in a bowl large enough to fit your saucepan. Whisk together the egg yolks and 2 tbsp sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and flour and mix through.
  7. In a saucepan, heat the milk, sugar and vanilla until it begins to simmer. Gently pour half the milk into the egg mix and whisk well. Transfer egg mix back into the saucepan and return to the heat, whisking continuously until thick. Remove from heat and transfer the ice bath to cool, careful not to get any water in the custard, whisking occasionally.
  8. Once the custard and pastry are cool, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave until thin and runny. Brush the base of each pastry shell with a little melted chocolate to keep them going soggy. Allow to set. You can prepare up to this point in advance.
  9. When you are ready to serve your tarts, lightly whisk the custard and transfer to a piping bag. Fill each pastry shell to the brim with custard and top each with half a strawberry. Brush the strawberries with a little melted jam and serve immediately.

Makes 48