Every holiday I learn to cook a little smarter and plan efficiently. I always include appetizers that won’t take much effort without sacrificing the taste. A three or a four-ingredient recipe that looks good, saves time, and also is a crowd pleaser. This is one of those recipes that just looks beautiful on the platter with some cheese and crackers while adding some color and natural sweetness to your bites.
- Bocconcini (baby, balls) – 20 (You can also use small mozzarella balls)
- Olive oil – 2 Tablespoons
- Rosemary (cocktail sticks, or trimmed, branches)- 20 sprigs ( I cut the springs in three different pieces)
- Pineapple (fresh or from a tin) – ½ cup
- Chili flakes (red pepper flakes) – 1/4teaspoon
- Rosemary (chopped) – 1 Tablespoon
- Place the olive oil into a frying pan, add the rosemary and place over a low heat. Allow the oil to heat up and as soon it starts to shimmer, remove from the heat and pour the oil into a heatproof bowl.
- Drain the bocconcini balls and placing them in a separate bowl with the chili flakes. Shake gently to ensure each ball has a little chili on it, then set aside.
- Cut the pineapple into 20 small chunks. (or if using tinned just drain the pineapple)
- Place your frying pan back on the heat (no need to wash it) and add the pineapple. Cook over a high heat for 2 minutes then flip and cook on the other side for a further 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and tip the pineapple into the warm rosemary oil. Allow to cool.
- Take your cocktail stick (or branch) and push on a baby bocconcini ball. Add a chunk of pineapple and set onto a platter.
- Cover and keep chilled until your party. Just remember to remove them from the fridge at least 15 minutes before you want to eat them.
Growing up these kababs were one of the staple dishes made in our house. My mom would always ask me to help her with these as she made them in large batches. She would never let me go close to the stove but always involved me in shaping and handling food like this. There would always be a large batch of them leftover afterwards. These store in the fridge really well, I would suggest storing them in the freezer after you’ve fried them in oil.
- Canned Tuna in Water – 4 cans
- Russet or golden potatoes – 4 to 5 medium-sized
- Garlic paste – 1 Tbsp
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Cayenne powder – 1 tsp
- Coriander powder – 1 tsp
- Ground black pepper – 2 tsp
- Salt – To taste
- Green chillies – 1 Tbsp
- Onions (thinly sliced) – 1 cup
- Cilantro – 1/4 cup
- Oil – as needed
- Firstly, peel and boil the potatoes cutting them in halves. On a separate bowl cool the potatoes and smash them.
- Drain the water out of the canned Tuna and saute it in about 4 tablespoons of oil. Add garlic paste and saute for another minute. Mix in turmeric, cumin, cayenne, coriander, ground black pepper, and cumin powder. Cook it in the oil for 10 minutes.
- On a separate bowl pour the mixture and let it cool. Add salt, egg, green chillies, onions, cilantro, and the mashed potatoes. Mix everything well so that it is homogenous.
- Make them into a round-shaped patty according to your preference ( i.e. big, small, thickness). In a deep set saucepan, deep fry the patties in medium heat oil, making sure that both sides are cooked equally.
- Serve with rice or by themselves as appetizers.
To get into the spirit of the world cup soccer game this year. I tried to make this appetizer. I learned of it from a Facebook post made by Tashfee at the time. She invited people to go over and have this appetizer if Brazil won that round. Being that we live thousands of miles apart, I couldn’t possibly go over and have a quick bite at her place. So I decided to make my own Coxinha – Brazilian street food. I am happy to say that they turned out to be quiet tasty.
- Olive oil- 1 Tbs
- Garlic cloves minced – 4
- White onion diced – 1
- Chicken cooked and shredded- 2 cups
- Paprika or cayenne pepper- 1/2 tsp
- salt- to taste
- Cream cheese- 4 oz
- Fresh parsley chopped- 3 Tbsp
- Whole milk- 2 cups
- All-purpose flour- 2 cups
- Panko breadcrumbs – 2 cups
- Oil, for frying
- In a medium pot, heat olive oil, then sauté garlic and onions until soft and brown. Add shredded chicken, salt, and paprika (or cayenne pepper). Stir to incorporate.
- Transfer mixture into a bowl, add cream cheese and parsley. Mix well.
- In the same pot, add butter, chicken broth, and milk. Bring to a boil. Stir in flour until dough is formed.
- Transfer dough to a flat surface. Knead the dough while it is warm, but not hot.
- Pinch a piece of dough, about the size of a large egg, and roll into a ball. Using your hands, flatten the dough and spoon filling into the center. Wrap the dough into a pear shape and make sure there aren’t any holes.
- While heating a pot of oil to 350˚F/180˚C, dredge the dough in egg and panko, then deep-fry till golden brown and cooked through.
- Drain on a towel, or wire rack and serve immediately.
These were the perfect little things to serve on the 4th of July celebration. It is super easy to make and is very filling. You cannot go wrong with this one. If you follow the link at the bottom, you will see the possibilities of sliders are endless.
- Dinner Rolls
- Ground Beef- 2 pounds
- Salt- tsp
- Pepper- 2 tsp
- Garlic Powder- 2 tsp
- Onion- 1/2 cup
- Cheddar cheese- 6 slices
- Melted butter
- Sesame seeds
- Mix the ground beef, salt, pepper, and garlic powder together.
- Bake on 350 degree Celsius for 20 minutes.
- Remove the beef and drain the juice. Place the bottom half of your dinner rolls in the baking dish. Put your beef patty on top of the bottom half of the dinner rolls.
- Spread the chopped onions. And set the cheese slices on top.
- Close off the burger by placing the top half of the dinner roll above the cheese.
- Brush the melted butter on top of the buns and sprinkle the sesame seeds as well.
- Bake on 350 degree Celsius for another 20 minutes
- Cut the pieces and enjoy!.
Appetizers are really my favorite thing to make. It demands so much attention to details and meticulous arrangements of assorted ingredients to come up with decorative little morsels. It gives me so much joy to actually design food and in a way dress it up to sit on my dishes like super seductive models ready to be photographed. I have been playing around with the new found ingredient “ kataifi “, it is a style of filo pastry that resemble spaghetti. Commonly found in Greek and Mediterranean desserts. This time I have done two dishes with one ingredient. Scallops wrapped in Kataifi and Kaitaifi prawns with honey chili dipping sauce.
Scallops wrapped in Kataifi Recipe
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 4 sea scallops (extra large)
- 1/4 lb filo (kataifi)
- 4 tbsps butter (melted)
- 1 tomatoes (diced)
- 1/4 cup scallions (diced)
- 1/4 cup dill (chopped)
- 1 shallots (medium, sliced)
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/2 lb butter (cut into small bits, thoroughly chilled)
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the vinegar until syrupy, about 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 450°F. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Wrap each scallop in some of the kataifi filo. Arrange the scallops on a baking sheet and drizzle with the melted butter.
- Make the butter sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the shallot, thyme, and wine. Simmer until completely reduced and there is no liquid remaining. Over low heat and whisking constantly, add the butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to become creamy before adding the next few pieces. Do not boil or the butter will melt and the sauce will become oily. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm.
- Bake the scallops until just done, about 15 minutes.
- To serve, cut each wrapped scallop in half and place in the center of the plate. Spoon the butter sauce over the scallops. Drizzle with some of the reduced balsamic vinegar (save the remaining balsamic syrup for another use). Sprinkle the tomatoes, scallions and dill around the scallop.
Katifi Prawns Recipe
- 850g (about 18) large green prawns
- 100g Antoniou Kataifi pastry
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup mild chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Line 2 oven trays with non-stick baking paper.
2. Peel and devein prawns, leaving tails intact. Place pastry in a medium size bowl and loosen until strands are separated, light and fluffy. Combine oils and add to pastry; mix with fingers until pastry is evenly coated with oil. Place 1 tablespoon of pastry on a board and gently stretch to form a 15cm long strip. Hold a prawn by the tail and dip into egg; place at one end of the strip and roll pastry around prawn. Place on prepared tray. Continue with remaining prawns. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve with honey chilli dipping sauce.
3. To make sauce: combine all ingredients.
Cook’s Tip: No fuss entrée for 6 or serve as a savoury with drinks. Potato wedges and a salad transform this dish into a main meal for 4.