I love canapes! I love being at an event where people are walking around with little trays of delicate little bite sized treats or at a party where canapes are more of a “finger food” buffet. I think it’s because without eating a huge meal you can taste lots of different dishes and experience different flavours. That’s why I decided to ‘bring’ two canape style dishes to the Virtual Vegan Potluck! Little bite size treats before you get stuck into the mains!
Now if you’re not familiar with the virtual vegan potluck (VVP) concept then you can find out more over at the brand new VVP Website here, but in brief it is a vegan foodie event, created by Annie from ‘An Unrefined Vegan’ and once again hosted by “Vegan Bloggers Unite“, where everyone participating posts a party dish at the same time. We all link to the person in front and behind us in the guest list so that in essence you should be able to ‘attend’ the whole party by following the links on the blog posts in one large circle! Sounds like fun right – click the links to move on when your finished!
If that’s not enough vegan goodies for you then check out my last VVP post “Kohlrabi, Radish and Carrot Ceviche” and you’ll be able to follow the links for the last party too!
So what have I made… well I thought about the fact that making canapes means making lots of little dishes which can become stressful so I have done one that can be made in advance and one which prefers to be heated at the last-minute, therefore spreading out your time!
First up, the Beany Bruschetta! Traditionally bruschetta is a tomato and basil topping on toasted ciabatta slices with plenty of olive oil and mediterranean flavours but I have mixed it up a bit (completely) and made it green, with the cucumber slightly resembling the usual sliced fresh tomato salsa. This is such a simple recipe but tastes amazing, easily adaptable to your own tastes and also it looks really impressive.
For this recipe I have dug out an old favourite of mine, a bean and pea puree. It’s packed with garlic and lemon and fresh herbs and I serve it on bread, in salads, as a pie filling or even just as a dip for crudities and pittas! The bean puree can be made in advance and kept in the fridge so all you have to do is assemble it nearer the time. You can serve this as pictured above on some bruschetta toasts or you can serve it as pictured below (for a lighter, lower carb version) on a gem lettuce leaf. I bought these gorgeous red lettuces from Sainsburys as I thought the deep red leaves would contrast nicely, also the stalk of the leaf makes a nice little handle for picking it up.
Makes approx 20 mini bruschettas
1 Can Butterbeans or cannellini beans
2 garlic cloves (or 1 large)
100g Green Garden Peas
Large Bunch Basil
1/2 Lemon Juice
2 Spring Onions
5 Seeded Ciabatta rolls
Large handful sprouted seeds (your choice of type but I had alfalfa ready to go)
Good quality olive oil for drizzling
Mix the puree ingredients together in a blender untill you have a smooth consistency. Taste it and add some more garlic or lemon if desired.
Slice the ciabatta rolls in half lengthways and toast lightly, then slice each half into 2 pieces so that each ciabatta roll gives you 4 mini bruschetta bases (20 in total). Top with the puree and then some finely diced cucumber (or veggies of your choice) and some sprouted seeds such as Alfalfa. Drizzle with some good quality olive oil and place on a platter to serve.
My second canape idea is a ‘Mixed Mushroom and Rosemary Polenta Slab‘which is better served warm but you can make it in advance and then heat it up at the last minute. It tastes fine at room temperature too but I think it’s nicer warm. I’m not sure if ‘slab’ is the nicest way of describing it but it’s kind of what it is!
This idea came to me when I was clearing out my cupboard and found a big bag of polenta I’d forgotten I had and I remembered my recipe for cheesy tomato polenta slabs. At the time I had wanted to do a more autumnal version with mushrooms and goats cheese, but for this VVP occasion I have made it vegan by forgetting the goats cheese and using strong herbs like rosemary and my current favourite ingredient – truffle oil!!
These would also go perfectly with a balsamic glaze but since I still have a big bottle of truffle oil to get through that’s what I used.
The polenta slabs would probably be more of a ‘eat off a plate with a fork’ sort of dish so maybe not the perfect canape but if you make them a bit smaller I reckon they would be the rustic dish of the day!
1.6 litres Water (200ml for the mushrooms)
1 tblspn Fresh Rosemary (remove the needles/ leaves from the stalk then roughly chop)
1 tblspn Dried Thyme
10 Closed Cup Mushrooms (sliced)
50g Mixed Dried Mushrooms such as porcini
2 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
Olive Oil for frying
Truffle oil or balsamic glaze for drizzling
First place the dried mushrooms into a bowl and cover with approx 200ml of boiling water. Put to one side for around 10 minutes to allow to soak then strain the mushrooms through a sieve but keep the soaking liquid. Slice the rehydrated mushrooms.
In a frying pan, heat a little oil and then add the fresh and rehydrated mushrooms and stiryfry for 2-3 minutes then add the garlic and continue to cook until the mushrooms have all softened and ‘wilted’. Place the mushrooms into a large lasagna dish and spread out so that they cover the bottom of the dish evenly. You will need a very large dish to make sure that once the polenta is poured on it stays quite thin or you can do it in two dishes!
Put the remaining water and the now flavourful mushroom water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, once boiling slowly pour the polenta into the pan whilst stirring with a whisk. Cook on the hob for 4-6 minutes stirring constantly, be careful because it spits viciously. You want it to reach a thick, even and creamy consistency.
Take it off the heat and add the chopped rosemary leaves, dried thyme and as pinch of salt. Stir untill the rosemary is evenly combined then pour the polenta over the mushrooms and using a knife or back of a spoon push it down very gently over the mushrooms and smooth it on the top. Now let the polenta cool down to firm up, you can leave it in the fridge if you are not needed it for while.
When you are ready to serve then set the oven to 200c (fan oven temp)
Once the polenta has cooled and is firm to touch run a knife around the edges to loosen it from the dish then turn the polenta slab out onto a baking tray (All the mushrooms should be set into the polenta) and put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The polenta won’t brown but it will keep firm yet when you cut into it it’ll be lovely and soft on the inside!
Slice into 16 pieces and serve straight away on a platter
Thank you again to everyone involved in making the Virtual Vegan Potluck happen. It’s so much fun and a great way to meet other bloggers and see all the amazing food everyone has to offer! Bring on the next one 😉 x x x