Ask the chef – Your questions for canape ideas

We published a blog last week on 20 different canapes ideas for your drinks and canape receptions which are perfect for weddings and events. Canapes are possibly the most playful and creative part of the menu, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start when coming up with ideas for canapes. So our Head Chef, Mike Scott, put together different ideas under; canapes from around the world, canapes from the Mediterranean and canapes that we see that are crowd pleasers – everyone loves them!

We had some great questions from people planning their wedding day on the back of this canape blog, so we posed these questions to Mike in a recorded Q&A so that we get even more insight and ideas.

Click the link below to watch and we’ve also transcribed the Q&A for you to read too…

1. Isobel asks: I’m planning my wedding in a marquee next summer. Whenever I’ve been to a canape reception, the canapes can often feel a bit light. Are there any ideas for canapes that are a bit more substantial?

So we should look at ingredients that are a bit more filling if you’d like some substantial canapes. A good example for a vegetarian canape is Wild Mushroom Arancini with Truffle and Parmesan Shavings. They are filled with a risotto rice which is a little more filling and the truffle oil and parmesan flavours are a bit more bold.

Fish Tacos is another good example and probably a “two-biter”! A little white fish, marinade with some chilli, lime and garlic. With a green chilli mayonnaise and some shredded vegetables.

A Scotch Egg is a really nice meaty canape. Using a Quail’s egg so it’s still small and delicate for a canape. Cut in half so you get the gentle runniness of the yolk and then wrapped in sausage meat and bread crumbs is a great crowd pleaser.

A Cod and Spring Onion Fishcake with a Red Pepper Salsa. It’s light and fresh and the salsa is nice and zingy. The potato and the fish make the canape a little more substantial.

For a nice vegan canape there’s a Sweetcorn Beignet with Sweet Chilli. Loads of spring onion and sweet chilli crushed in a bowl and added as a topping paste – it’s hot, sweet, sour and tastes great.

A Mini-Chicken Parmesana. This is a lovely “mini-food”. A reduced tomato sauce and cheese melted over the top makes a nice one or two biter mini meal!

2. Chris asks: I’m getting married in May 2021 and wonder what kind of cold canapes could we have for our wedding reception if it’s a hot day?

Having a good mix of hot and cold canapes is important as you don’t want just wave and wave of hot canapes coming out to guests. One of my favourites that I like to do is a Panzanella Bruschetta. A bread croute with a tomato and basil mix on top. It’s a take on one of my favourite Italian salads. The bread we rub with a little raw garlic when it comes out of the oven. We add some heritage tomatoes, a little red onion, basil, oregano with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and it’s fresh, vibrant and much more exciting than a standard Bruschetta.

A Steak Tartare which we’ve done a lot of and we use a nice lean piece of Bavette Steak which is a highly worked muscle. It’s got a lot of texture and flavour and we mix through with wholegrain mustard and parsley, but try to keep as much of the flavour of beef as possible. A touch of Bearnaise sauce on top finishes it off perfectly.

One that I wrote this week is an exciting one for me and that’s a Salmon & Beetroot Tartare with an Aperol Jelly. Served chilled, with salmon and beetroot diced small. The jelly has a nice shot of Aperol to give that summery taste and a popular summer drink in the Aperol Spritz. It’s an exciting canape and one I’m looking forward to making.

3. Joe asks: I’m getting married next summer and I’d really like some quirky ideas that surprises people when the canapes come out.

One thing to get right here is that we don’t want to serve quirky food for quirkiness sake, but to make sure the ingredients work well together and it surprises people for the right reasons!

One good example is a Crab Doughnut. Using white crab meat salad with paprika for a smoky heat gives some great texture combinations, flavours and temperatures.

Another good one is a take on a classic ice cream cone with raspberry ripple, but for the canape it’s savoury – a Beetroot & Goat’s Cheese Cornet. A little pastry cone, wth a beetroot jam and then the top half is whipped goat’s cheese to look like ice cream. Then sprinkle a beetroot powder that starts running through the goat’s cheese and cause a ripple effect.

A canape influenced by the Americas that I like is a tartlet with charred sweetcorn, mixed with tomato salsa and topped with a chipotle mayonnaise and topped with popcorn. You can then mix the popcorn with different flavours and a bacon and thyme is fantastic. Then top this with a sprinkle of cheese that starts to melt and it’s delicious.

Smoked Bacon, Pea & Chive Tart set in a Parmesan Custard. It’s a parmesan cream that sets that creates the custard effect and it is really tasty.

Summer time is perfect for a Jerk Chicken spiced infused on a skewer with cubed pineapple that has been glazed in a rum. That’s a brilliant Caribbean style canape.

4. Beth asks: I’m getting married in Autumn 2021 and I’m a self-confessed chocoholic. What sweet canapes can I have for my wedding drinks reception?

It’s not something that you see a great deal at weddings with many people swaying to savoury style canapes. For events that are just canape receptions we’ve certainly introduced one or two sweet canapes almost as the dessert at the end of the night, but I like the idea for weddings.

One that works really well as a sweet canape is from one of our most popular desserts and that’s a Dark Chocolate Tart with Bitter Orange Crisp. It’s simple, but effective. The orange gives a nice crisp against the chocolate ganache.

A Milk Chocolate & Salted Caramel Tart made similar to a Millionaire Shortbread and topped with a little honeycomb is really nice.

As a bit of a palate cleanser is a Limoncello Tart with a bit of booziness and a take on a granita or a lemon tart and topped with crispy raspberries. Lemon and raspberry works really well together.

A take on a strawberry cheesecake could be a toasted brioche with a vanilla cheesecake and strawberry salsa.

Of course then there’s a sweet version of our own Caviar & Chips! This would be a finger of genoise sponge layered with passionfruit mousse, so it looks like a chip and then little cocoa gel made into little spheres for the caviar.

5. Lucy asks: I’m getting married in Winter and love mini-food. What kind of canapes could we have for our wedding that are takes on different mini-foods?

Mini Cheeseburger and Sliders are great examples. A slider with a house sausage a maple cured gammon with a beef minced, with a BBQ mix, wrapped in pancetta and smoked makes a burger a lot more interesting!

Fish & Chips is a classic, but can be done really nicely on a skewer. It won’t look like fish and chips, but you get the great one-bite taste. Made with a little piece of battered cod and matchstick fries.

Toad in the Hole. A little onion jam on top is delicious.

I like the idea of a mini breakfast for a canape. Using a smashed avocado on toasted sourdough and a chilli, spring onion and fried quail’s egg look fantastic.

A take on a sandwich would be a Croq Monsieur. A small toastie version with a cheesy sauce running through with the cheese.

One that we’ve served before that was really popular is a mini-shepherd’s pie. Hearty, bit more wintery using Lamb and buttery creamy mash on top for a tiny-pie!

6. Emily asks: Can you just come up with five different canapes for my wedding? What would you choose?

Steak & Chips would be first. Served rare with matchstick fries and a shallot jam.

A similar to an arancini would be Lobster flavoured Mac n Cheese. Stringy cheesey in breadcrumbs with the luxurious taste of lobster is delicious.

A Chicken Kiev as a canape is one I like. Chicken and chorizo together. Making a ball of chorizo butter wrapped with chicken and deep fried has smoky heat and one of my favourite combinations of flavours.

One of my favourite vegetarian canapes is a Paneer Masala. Paneer is my favorite curry. With some Indian spiced pickling liquor sat on top of a mini poppadom and a cucumber yoghurt.

Then of course I’m going to say the Caviar & Chip. It is the nation’s favourite in the chip and we make the crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside and topped with caviar would complete my top 5!

We hope that gives some great ideas and a little more depth to what you can do with your canape and drinks reception. There’s so much to choose from and hopefully this shows just how creative you really can get with your menu.

The next blog we have coming up will be on summer menu ideas. We’re coming to the time of year where we have some delicious ingredients coming into season and summer is Mike’s favourite time of year for being in the kitchen and using these ingredients – especially for desserts with strawberries!

To start your bespoke menu with Caviar & Chips drop us a line or give us a call 0800 978 8221 and our chefs can get to work a craft a menu just for you.