Canapes: little nibbles that you can eat in 1 or 2 bites. They come with connotations of elegance and refinement, especially if passed on silver trays by smartly dressed waiters and waitresses. Making canapes is not like throwing a stew together, or whipping up a quick pasta supper. Each bite requires time and attention to prepare – they are quite a labour of love. Each bite must look enticing and taste even more so. It’s about making people’s eyes light up as they taste.
We had some friends round to our house on Christmas Eve. Just a little gathering to have some food and wine together and celebrate the festive season. At our house there were no silver trays and no smartly dressed waiters or waitresses passing the food around (there wouldn’t have been room!). But there was a candlelit table laid out with lots of little nibbles, both savoury and sweet, lovingly prepared by us and our friends. While the adults found warmth and refuge in the dining room, hovering around the food table, 9 kids had the run of the pretty much the rest of the house. You can probably understand why we stuck to the dining room!
One of the canapes we made was from Nigella Lawson’s Feast, which we recently received as a gift from the man’s sister. She had been trying some of the recipes, was suprised we didn’t have that particular cookbook and felt the need to rectify the situation. How nice is that? Anyway, one of the recipes that caught my eye on the first (and subsequent) read throughs was this one. It looked so simple, and the flavours just seemed like they would work: sweet chewy figs, soft salty and slightly sour goat cheese, and tender delicate paper thin prosciutto. It was the prosciutto that did it for me – I get excited about just about anything containing prosciutto (or any of its cousins). So I made some, and I think the best word to describe them is “more-ish” (or just really damn good, but that’s way more than one word).
When I first moved to Britain and heard the term “more-ish” used to describe certain foods or dishes, I mistook it for the word Moorish. I found the term rather confusing and couldn’t quite understand why certain foods were being described as being Moorish when the flavours clearly were not! Then eventually I clued in and I now find the word more-ish to be just so fitting, when “tasty” or “delicious” just don’t quite do it.
Sweet and salty, creamy and chewy, these little bundles have so much going on in one or two bites. These are a great canape for any sort of occasion, and I think would be a great starter paired with a salad of mixed greens & pears.
Sarah at Maison Cupcake has devised and is hosting this month’s Forever Nigella blogging challenge, which celebrates all things Nigella. These Parma Ham (or Prosciutto) bundles are my contribution to the challenge. Simple, yet perfect for the holiday season.
Happy New Year to you and yours, and may 2011 bring all that you wish and strive for.