Christmas Special – Appetizer

It is true… Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year!

Start December and you get that warm fuzzy feeling that something special is going to happen.

Start December and I think of roast chicken, boozy Christmas cake, decorating the tree, making delicious Christmas sweets and shopping for gifts for family and loved ones.

So while I sit here in my Christmas pajamas, I’m wondering what special recipes I can make for my Christmas party this year.

A few things come to mind like maybe a Thai theme? But after a week of pondering over that menu the idea was rejected. And instead was considering making  mushroom and caramelised onion bites, sausage rolls and mac & cheese minis for appetizers. In mains I was planning potato gratin, baked stuff pasta, piri piri roasted chicken with gravy and maybe dukkah crusted fish. Do let me know your take on this menu. Is this menu Christmassy enough?

I have tested the Mushroom & Caramelised onions bites on a few people and it was a big hit. In fact when the Christmas invite went out a few people even asked for it to be made

Mushroom & Caramelised Onions Bites

Ingredients

tarts-bites

Pre-heat your oven to 180º C. This is an important step as the oven needs to be hot when the puffs are put in. This helps them rise better.

To prepare the Mushrooms

mushrooms-prep

Slice the mushrooms.

Finely chop the green chilly and garlic

Heat some olive oil and butter in a pan

Add the chopped garlic and green chilly and saute. You want to lightly brown the garlic and not burn it. Garlic, if burnt, gives off this bitter taste which will ruin your dish.

Add the sliced mushrooms and cook on high flame. Cooking on a high flame ensures the water in the mushrooms burns off fast and gives the mushrooms a lovely brown colour. If you reduce the flame chances are the mushrooms will give out the water slowly and they will end up stewing in the water.

Season the mushrooms well with salt and pepper.

Ensure that no water is left in the mushrooms as they will be baked later on and if the mushrooms release water during the baking process the pastry will be soggy and not light and flaky.

To prepare the Caramelised Onions

caramelised-onions

Finely slice the onions.

Heat oil in a pan and add a little sugar. This helps to brown the onions.

When the sugar starts to caramelise add the sliced onions. Add a pinch of salt at this stage as it coaxes the onions to release the water and qickens the caramelisation process. Once the onions are brown (not burnt) turn off the flame and set aside.

To Assemble

Roll out the puff pastry. You can either make your own or use store bought pastry.  Here is the link to make it from scratch

Cut it into 2″ x 2″ square.

Place few slivers of the mushrooms and a little caramelised onions on each square.

Place the squares on a tray and it goes into the pre-heated oven (middle rack) for about 10 mins (the timing will vary depending on your oven). Keep checking to make sure the puffs are not burning. They are ready when golden and puffed up.

Before serving top with a small dollop of goats cheese and a coriander leaf.

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I suggest you make a load of these as they disappear pretty quickly ;).

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Notes –

To save time, the mushrooms and caramelised onions topping can be made a day in advance.

Before baking the puffs, place the tray in the fridge for about 10mins. With too much handling the butter between the layers of the puff pastry starts to melt. Putting it in the fridge at this stage helps firm up the pastry and it will puff better later in the oven.

stockings

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