Friday, 5 July 2013

Fabulous Friday: Cocktail Hour Nibbles

Rachel, Dublin 

Who doesn't love a retro prawn cocktail! Not that this one is looking particularly retro after it's had the cocktail hour treatment and been served up in my cute plastic square canapé dishes complete with a mini fork!

I think there is a rule that applies to all food; that good ingredients, treated simply and served in an appealing way will almost always be the most delicious. I think this is particularly the case when it comes to canapés. There just simply isn't the room to be messing around with lots of different ingredients, and, the simpler they are, the easier it is for them to be presented in an attractive way.

My only issue with a regular prawn cocktail is the miniature mountain of shredded iceberg lettuce you have to chomp your way through, it is purely there for texture rather than flavour.  Instead of this I added texture by cutting cherry tomatoes into little wedges and decided to get some flavour from my greens by using leaves cut from the first of my very own lettuce plants (I know it's nothing compared to Aoife's allotment but it's a start.) I'm not going to give you an exact recipe for the prawn cocktail, the reason being that I have never, ever used one as it is the easiest thing in the world to make! I add just enough mayonnaise to cooked, peeled prawns to barely coat them. Then I add ketchup, about a teaspoon at a time, stirring it in and tasting until I get the flavour I like. I season with black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and a couple of drops of tabasco and you're done.  It is important not to have added too much mayonnaise to the prawns at the start as, if you do, by the time you add enough ketchup to get the right flavour the prawns will be swimming in sauce. I make it this way, rather than making the sauce separately so that I don't end up with lots of sauce leftover.  

I got this particular canapé set in France, but I have seen things like it in Home Store and More (particularly the miniature cutlery) and you can get them online as well.  However, you by no means need specialised canapé dishes, you could use shot glasses, espresso mugs or egg cups with a small teaspoon or even a cake fork, or you could substitute 2-3 tiger prawns per person and serve it with a cocktail stick. Perfect for the sunny weekend ahead!

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