There is something universally appealing about a delicious little treat served with drinks or as a snack. Whether a fancy pants canapé with drizzles and micro herbs or just a warm sausage with a spicy dip. Nothing brings out the greedy pig in me more and I have often positioned myself at the kitchen end of a marquee or party to be first in line. Maybe it is a throw back to handing around the olives and cheese straws at my parents dinner parties or a reminder of being on the other side of the green baize door creating hundreds of tiny treats I don’t know.
Around Christmas the shops are awash with a myriad of bite size treats ready to be popped into the oven with the hard work done for you. They aren’t really my thing though. Its not just that I love cooking, the general fiddling around in the warm fug of the kitchen, although I do. More that the making of these little mouthfuls is part of the fun, the warm up to a party at any time of year and totally worth it when you see happy greed on your friends faces. If all that Pollyanna style gladness isn’t enough to push you over the edge, here are some more ideas to go with your samosas.
An all time easy favourite are my Cheese Sables with Rosemary Salt (December 2013) or Cannellini Bean Dip (April 2015). I adore crostini and bruschetta as both the toasts and topping can be prepared ahead so Artichoke Crostini (March 2013) and Pepper and Caper Crostini (April 2014) come to mind. Before supper in the summer I don’t think you can beat Tomato Bruschetta (July 2013). Or go for the moreish Crunchy Seeds (Things with drinks October 2012) or Grissini (May 2015). Finally an absolute favourite, particularly with children (and me) is the Onion Tart (November 2014) cut into little squares, I promise you they literally disappear.
My husband particularly likes a samosa which is how these came about and they have gone down pretty well with everyone else. They are not too spicy, feel free to add a little chopped fresh chilli to the filling if you wish, so appeal to younger palates too. I like them dipped in chutney but a minty raita would be just perfect too.
It is up to you whether you make these picnic size or canapé size, simply cut your filo accordingly. If you do make them very mini you might want to adjust the cooking time too.
3 sheets of filo (this will make 6 good size or many mini ones)
1 medium potato peeled and chopped in small cubes (a bit bigger than a pea)
2 teaspoons oil, plus extra for brushing
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 heaped teaspoon medium curry powder or garam masala
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
60g peas, frozen are fine
A squeeze of lemon juice
A few sprigs of coriander, chopped
Preheat the oven to 200 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cook the potato in boiling water until just soft then drain. Warm the oil in a frying pan and gently cook the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt until soft but not brown. Add the curry powder or garam masala and cook for a few minutes followed by the onion seeds, cooked potato and peas. Leave this on a gentle heat until the peas are defrozen then add the squeeze of lemon juice and taste for seasoning. Cool a bit and then add the chopped coriander before assembling. Cut the filo in half lengthways for the larger size or smaller if you are going the canapé route. With a short side closest to you, brush lightly with oil then place a little filling on the top and fold the pastry over and then down until you have a triangle. Repeat until you have used up the pastry and filling then bake for 15-20 minutes turning half way, until crispy, golden and irresistible.