Food editor, stylist and author Angela Boggiano and her photographer husband, Craig Robertson, owners of At The Kitchen in Cheadle Hulme, share their delicious festive party bites with us.
It’s that wonderful time of year for gathering with family and friends and celebrating with a few drinks and some tasty food. But it doesn’t have to be stressful and overwhelming. Just a few simple but tasty bites and a delicious festive tipple is all you need to get into the spirit. These bites can be made well ahead and are so straightforward to make, and the added bonus is that they don’t cost the earth. And there’s a super-simple festive cocktail too, which can easily be adapted for non-drinkers.
Spiced halloumi pastry twists
Makes approx. 32
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
500g block puff pastry
225g block halloumi, grated
1 medium egg, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
2. Place the paprika, oregano, chilli and olive oil in a bowl and mix together to make a paste.
3. Cut the pastry in half and roll out one half to a rectangle measuring about 32cm x 28cm. Brush the pastry all over with half of the spice mixture, then sprinkle half of the halloumi on one side of the pastry along the long edge. Fold the pastry over the halloumi to create another rectangle measuring 32cm x 14cm. Gently press down the pastry over the halloumi using the rolling pin to seal in the filling.
4. Using a sharp knife, cut strips along the short edge about 1.5 cm wide to give approximately 15 strips. Brush each with the beaten egg and then carefully twist a few times and then lay on the prepared trays.
5. Repeat with the remaining pastry, spice mix and halloumi and lay the strips on the on the other tray.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and puffed up. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely and then serve.
Will keep in airtight container for up to three days.
Potato & chorizo tortilla bites with red pepper sauce
Makes approx. 40 bites
For the bites:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
500g potatoes, peeled & diced
1 red pepper, deseeded & diced
100g chorizo, diced
Pinch of crushed chilli flakes
Pinch of smoked paprika
8 large free-range eggs
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
100g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
For the sauce:
100g almonds or cashews
1 clove garlic, peeled
400g jar of skinned roasted red peppers
1 tsp tomato purée
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp smoked paprika
4 tsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar to taste
Handful basil leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line a 30cm x 21 cm roasting tin with parchment paper.
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan set over a low to medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in the red pepper and chorizo and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the red pepper is tender and the chorizo sizzles, releases its oil and starts to crisp up. Stir in the chilli flakes and smoked paprika.
3. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a large bowl and stir in the parsley and most of the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the potato mixture to the eggs, mixing well together. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared tin, tilting it to spread it out evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the egg is completely set and the top is golden.
5. Whilst the tortilla is cooking, make the red pepper sauce. Place the nuts in a food processor and blitz with the garlic until the nuts are finely ground. Add the drained peppers, tomato purée, smoked paprika, a quarter teaspoon each of salt and pepper, vinegar and oil. Blitz until you have a smooth purée.
6. Slide the tortilla out of the tin onto a wooden board and cut into 3cm cubes. Top each cube with a teaspoon of red pepper sauce and serve skewered with a fresh basil leaf. Arrange on a serving platter.
Festive cranberry fizz
This would be equally delicious served as a refreshing mocktail, simply omit the gin.
100ml cranberry juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
Tonic water & rosemary sprigs to serve
1. Place the gin, cranberry juice and lemon juice in a jug with ice and stir to blend.
Put ice cubes into 2 tall highball glasses and pour in the cranberry mix.
2. Top up with tonic of your choice and serve with a sprig of rosemary.
At The Kitchen
5 Warren Road | Cheadle Hulme | SK8 5AA