Festive finger food recipes

Fail-safe finger food recipes you can make ahead of time to wow your guests this festive season


Even if you aren’t hosting The Big Day itself this year, there’s bound to be a time when people drop in for drinks and nibbles.

There are some smashing party food options in the supermarkets these days – and I’ll definitely be trying some – but to really be the host with the most, I always like to make one or two things myself.

We always make our own sausage rolls because they’re so easy and much tastier than the shop-bought kind. Pick up some good quality sausage meat from your butcher if you can. With one pack of readymade puff pastry you can whip up a batch of my sausage and chorizo rolls and some veggie-friendly cheese and spring onion rolls. Both are excellent when warm from the oven.

The focaccia bites can be as simple as you like – buy your focaccia or make it from scratch. Top it with delicious things. Done!

But my favourite nibble of all is a hot, crispy, bite-sized onion bhaji. They’re much easier than you’d think and you can make them in advance then keep them warm in the oven.

I hope you enjoy all your festive feeds and have a thoroughly merry Christmas!

Chorizo-sausage rolls or cheese-and-spring-onion rolls

1 500g block of puff pastry (this will make 8 sausage rolls and 8 veggie rolls)
1 beaten egg to glaze
Grated cheese and sesame/poppy seeds to sprinkle

Cheese and onion rolls ingredients
140g mature cheddar, grated
4 sliced spring onions
3 tsp grain mustard
60g fresh breadcrumbs (about 3 slices of bread)
Large pinch of salt and pepper
1 large egg

Cheese and onion rolls method
Mix together all the filling ingredients
2 Roll out half the puff pastry into a long rectangle
3 Squeeze the filling mixture into a long sausage shape in the middle of the pastry
4 Brush the edge with beaten egg and fold it over the filling
5 Gently push down on the pastry to remove any air
6 Cut off any spare pastry and press the edges down with a fork to seal
7 Cut into 8 rolls and lightly slash the tops
8 Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with cheese
9 Bake for around 15 minutes at 180C until golden brown

Chorizo rolls ingredients
1 pack of chorizo cubes, fried off in a pan
500g good quality sausage meat

Chorizo rolls method
1 Mix the cooked chorizo cubes with the sausage meat
2 Roll out half the puff pastry into a long rectangle
3 Form the rolls using the same method as above
4 When cut into 8 rolls, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with seeds
5 Bake for around 20-25 minutes at 180C until golden brown
6 Check the filling is cooked through by inserting a metal skewer and ensuring it’s hot to the touch when you withdraw it

Bite-sized bhajis

3 or 4 large onions, thinly sliced and no longer than 2-3”
150g gram (chickpea) flour
60g SR flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp chilli powder or chilli flakes
½ tsp ground garlic
¼ tsp turmeric
150ml water
1 tbsp table salt
Sunflower oil

Sprinkle your sliced onion with the table salt and stir through. Leave it in a colander over a bowl for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally
2 Rinse it well to remove all the salt, squeeze out any excess water then dry the slices between kitchen paper
3 Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices in a bowl
4 Add 150ml of water to make a sticky batter
5 Add the dried sliced onion and stir well
6 Heat a couple of inches of sunflower oil in a small, heavy-bottoms saucepan
7 Test the heat by dropping in a little onion mixture – it should sizzle and float to the top
8 Drop heaped teaspoons of mix into the oil, cooking 4 at a time
9 Flip each bhaji over once or twice with a spatula and remove when dark golden brown
10 Serve with yoghurt mixed with a little mint sauce

Focaccia Antipasti

500g packet of ciabatta bread mix
Any chosen toppings – try fresh or sundried tomato, salami, Serrano ham, olives, cheese, rocket, roasted peppers, courgettes, red onion

1 Mix and knead the break mix according to the packet instructions
2 Once rested, press it into an 8” square greased baking tin
3 Prod holes into the dough with your fingertips
4 Drizzle with olive oil
5 Allow to prove for 30 minutes then sprinkle with sea salt
6 Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200C until deep golden brown
7 When cool, slice horizontally through the middle and cut into 16 squares
8 Top each square with your choice of topping

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Claire Sutton

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Claire Sutton

Claire is our resident expert on all things edible: she cooks, styles and photographs her mouth-watering recipes from the comfort of her country kitchen in Derbyshire. You can find all manner of recipes, projects and photos of her dog, Ernie, over at thingswemake.co.uk