50th Edition Parmesan Biscuits

Parmesan Cheese Sablés

To make about 25, using a 10cm shaped cutters

This is a foolproof cheese biscuit recipe. I made these with 5 and 0 cutters to celebrate the 50th edition of http://www.housing-technology.com at our 7th Annual Conference. I made loads but should have made more as they were quite popular. I also made ’21’ shapes for our son Tom’s recent birthday celebration and also ’18’ shapes for my niece Ellen’s birthday too. Lots of celebrations chez Grant at the moment.

These little biscuits are great with Champagne and I also love them with a good dry Martini http://cookupaparty.co.uk/how-to-make-the-perfect-martini.

 RECIPE

100g plain flour

Pinch each of salt, black pepper and cayenne

1/2 tsp dry mustard powder

90g unsalted butter

90g grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

1 egg beaten to glaze Small handful of poppy seeds or sesame seeds

 Method

1. Sift flour into a bowl or food processor and add the salt, pepper, cayenne and mustard powder.

2. Add the butter and rub in or blend until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Add the cheese and mix the dough together until smooth. If should be soft and pliable.

4. Chill for 30 minutes, and then turn out onto a floured surface.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/385F/Gas 5. Gently roll out to a thickness of 1cm. Using a round or heart-shaped cutter, press out the shapes and brush with the egg glaze.

6. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds and place on a flat baking sheet. Bake for approx 12-15 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown, and cool on a wire rack

HEATHER’S GUIDE TO CANAPES

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My latest Cook Up A Party workshop in the lovely Medicine Garden in Cobham was a huge success, great fun with a lovely crowd. We stirred, sniffed, discussed, chopped and chatted away whilst making an exciting array of canapes and party food. In a nutshell, this is my guide to canapes:

Menu planning

  • When choosing your canapés, always try to have a mix of meat, fish and vegetarian.
  • You should also include a good variety of tastes and textures, and colours. Remember that canapés are meant to be served with drinks so will need to be a small bite with a big flavour and also easy to eat without spilling bits down your front.
  • Bear in mind that many people have wheat allergies so make sure that not all your canapés are bread or wheat based.
  • Aim for a mix of varied ingredients and try not to repeat the same ingredient more than once in a menu.
  • Use fresh seasonal ingredients – for instance if it is spring, then you can include some fresh asparagus tips on the menu.
  • Try to include a couple of hot canapés for parties during the colder months, and for summer make sure that the canapés are fresh and light
  • Think about what you are going to serve to drink and try and match the food – i.e. Rustic mulled cider would be better paired with some more robust food, whilst serving cocktails means that the food needs to be pretty stylish. If serving Champagne or Prosecco the accompanying canapes should be elegant and uncomplicated

Quantities

  • For pre-lunch or dinner drinks, allow three different canapés per person
  • For a two to three hour drinks party allow 10 bits per guest, and choose between five to 10 different canapés
  • For a canapés only party, served in place of a meal, allow 15  pieces per head and choose 8-15 different canapés
  • For canapés to be served instead of a first course before a lunch or dinner, allow five canapés per guest, and choose five different types
  • For a stand-up wedding reception, allow 12 savoury canapés and then 3-4 different sweet canapés