Did you think about Christmas already, part 4

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CHEFTALK

 

 

Christmas preparations part 4

 canapes

 

In my series of pre-preparing Christmas foods, I want to emphasize on small food, party food or snacks if you like. These are the most time consuming, they take time to make and often mess up your kitchen which is about the last thing you are looking for on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.

 

For many making party snacks is something we dare not touch and then we resort to a can of tuna or salmon and some crackers. You can however make some delicious and popular snacks way in advance and simply finish them on the day.

 

Your vacuum sealer is your best friend and will keep your home made products in perfect condition.

If you do not have one, find yours here:

 

www.vacupack.com  for USA and www.vacupack.ca for Canada.

 

Some ideas

sausage rolls

 

Mini Sausage rolls are popular, easier to make then you might think, a pleasant surprise and you can even make some with vegetables or vegetarian sausages in case you have some vegetarian guests.

Make a bit of variety, you can use minced meat and spice it up yourself with some herbs (sage, oregano and parley or cilantro), mustard and grated cheese, or use a variety of good quality sausages, Chorizo, fresh pork sausages, venison, Italian, beef, chicken, all work very well.

Remove the skin from the sausages and form the meat back to a roll, place them on sheets of puff pastry, wet the edges of the pastry, fold over.

Then just press the edge tight with a fork, cut to size and freeze.

Freeze them first, so they stay nicely in shape, then vacuum and they keep in your freezer for up to 3 months.

To finish, defrost overnight in the vacuum bag, brush with egg wash and bake in a pre-heated oven at 325 F for 15 to 20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

 

Sprinkle with some sesame or poppy seeds before baking for a nice finish.

 

Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

They are so much better than the store bought ones, give it a try!

 

I love these 

filo pastry pocket

Another great snack in this category are filo pastry pockets, you can make them a month in advance as well and keep them vacuumed in your freezer.

 

Here is a recipe how to make them

 

Ingredients:

 

1 packet filo pastry

2 oz melted butter

1 bunch fresh chives (optional)

 

For the filling:

 

Make a few different fillings; it’s nice to have a bit of variety of flavors.

 

  1. Chopped freshly peeled shrimps, some finely sliced spring onion and a squeeze of lemon juice is nice.

 

  1. Feta cheese and crushed walnuts work great.

 

  1. Salmon and chopped dill

 

  1. De-seeded sliced tomato, chopped mushrooms and grated zucchini for a vegetarian version.

 

Method:

  1. Prepare the filling of your choice first.
  2. Place a sheet of filo pastry on a board or flat surface and brush with some melted butter
  3. Place a second sheet of pastry on top of the buttered sheet and brush again with butter
  4. Cut the sheets in 4 or 6 equal size rectangles depending how big you like you’re pockets to be.
  5. Place some of the filling on top.
  6. Fold the pastry around the filling to make a pouch, like in the picture
  7. Pinch the edges place them in a covered container and freeze the pockets, when they are frozen, vacuum the whole container and they will keep perfectly in your freezer for up to a month.
  8. Without vacuuming you will get freezer burn and the dried up edges of the pastry will not bake well.
  9. De-frost overnight in the vacuum bag and place them side by side on a baking tray
  10. Brush with some melted butter and bake them for 10 to 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 350 F
  11. If you choose to use the chives, dip them for a few seconds in boiling water and transfer to ice water, this will make them bendable.
  12. Fold the chives as a bow around the pockets before serving.

Note: Do not tie the chives around the pockets before baking; they will burn in the oven.

 

Two scrumptious snacks or finger foods if you like, to make way ahead, pop in the oven and you’re done.

 

Cold finger foods to make in advance will feature in the next Christmas preparation post.

By: Marinus Hoogendoorn

 

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