Food editor, stylist and author Angela Boggiano and her photographer husband, Craig Robertson, owners of At The Kitchen in Cheadle Hulme, share some tasty and healthy ideas for what to serve to your guests as a little bite or nibble over drinks or as a casual starter to dinner. These are a little bit healthier than the usual canapes and yet just as tasty.
Smoky carrot houmous with roasted harissa tomatoes
This is a super tasty yet easy houmous, which is delicious served as an appetizer on crunchy rye crackers with the roasted tomatoes and harissa juices spooned on top.
For the houmous:
- 600g carrots
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1tsp salt
- 240g chickpeas
- Juice & zest of 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1tbsp tahini
- 2 tsp harissa
- 30g toasted flaked almonds
- For the tomatoes:
- 300g cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp harissa
- Preheat the oven to 20°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Top and tail the carrots and cut in half lengthways. Place in a roasting tin and drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle on the cumin seeds and salt. Toss everything together well. Place in the oven and roast for an hour until softened but not charred.
- For the harissa tomatoes, place the cherry tomatoes in a separate baking tray with the oil and harissa. Toss together well and roast for 20 minutes until softened and charred.
- Once the carrots are cooked, place in a food processor with the chickpeas, lemon juice and zest, garlic, tahini and harissa, blitz until a smooth consistency, adding a little water if too thick.
- Spread the houmous onto crackers, toasted focaccia or ciabatta bread, top with a cherry tomato and drizzle with some of the juices from the tomato roasting tin.
Whipped feta, apple and honey toasts
Salty and creamy whipped feta is delicious spread onto toasted bread and topped with a slice of apple and a drizzle of honey for that perfect salty-sweet bite.
- 200g feta cheese
- 150g Greek yoghurt
- Juice 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 apples, sliced thinly, skin on
- Honey for drizzling
- In a food processor, blitz together the feta, yogurt, lemon juice and the extra-virgin olive oil. Season well with black pepper (you probably won’t need salt due to the saltiness of the cheese).
- Spread the whipped feta onto toasted focaccia or sourdough and top with a slice of apple and a drizzle of honey.
Carrot falafels with tzatziki
Served on toasted pitta chips with a creamy tzatziki sauce, these are the perfect snack to have with drinks.
For the falafel:
- 100g carrot, grated
- 1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 green chilli, deseeded & diced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Handful of coriander, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 30g plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- Sunflower oil for frying
For the tzatziki:
- 150g Greek yoghurt
- ¼ cucumber, diced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- A few sprigs of mint & dill, chopped
- 6 pitta breads
To make the tzatziki:
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, adding salt to taste. Cover and chill in the fridge while you make the falafel.
To make the falafels:
- Squeeze any excess moisture out of the carrot and pat dry with kitchen paper. Blitz in a food processor with the chickpeas, spring onions, chilli, garlic, lemon zest, coriander, flour, baking powder, cumin seeds and seasoning.
- Divide the mixture into 15 equal-sized portions and, using your hands, roll each one into a small ball.
- Half-fill a medium saucepan with oil and heat gently. Test the oil is ready by adding a small piece of bread to the oil and when it sizzles and turns golden, the oil is ready. Fry the falafel for 4-5 minutes, turning them occasionally, until crisp and golden brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Open up the pitta breads, then cut into triangles to create tortilla shaped triangles (this can be done easily using a pair of scissors). Place the pitta triangles on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil and place in the oven to bake for 6-7 minutes until toasted and golden.
To serve, spoon a teaspoon of the tzatziki onto a pitta triangle and then top with a falafel.
Carrot cake flapjack bites
… and save the best one till last…
- 200g rolled oats
- 150g soft pitted dates
- 6 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 apple, grated
- 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 50g pumpkin seeds
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 75g butter, melted
- 60g dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line a 20cm baking tray with parchment paper.
- Place half of the oats into a food processor and blitz until you have a coarse flour, then tip in with the remaining oats in a large mixing bowl.
- Put the dates into the food processor with the maple syrup and 4 tbsp of water and blitz until it’s a thick syrup. Spoon into the bowl with the oats. Add the carrots and apple along with the coconut, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and melted butter. Mix everything together well.
- Spoon into the baking tray, smoothing over the top with the back of a spoon, and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool in the tray.
- Melt the dark chocolate and use to drizzle over the top of the flapjack. Cut into even-sized squares and serve.
Photography Craig Robertson
At the Kitchen
5 Warren Road
Cheadle SK8 5AA