Capital Cooking gets seasonal!

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Welcome to December, the most wonderful month of the year!

Winter has officially begun, and it’s hat and scarf and hot chocolate time. With this begins party season, conjuring the magical clink of cut glass, the glow of fairy lights and the scent of mulled wine. It’s canapé central here at Capital Cooking HQ, and since life reflects art and vice versa, we have gathered just for you a glut of mouthwatering canapé recipes, sweeping the spectrum from savoury to sweet, from healthy to devilish, and for all times of day. Sample, for instance, this wonderful churro recipe, perfect with coffee and a browse of this blog on a frozen morning when your breath turns to steam and your nose is red.

As you know, we always like to bring something rather different to the table here, and today’s offering is no exception. These ideas leave far behind the stale old staples of turkey, brie and cranberry to explore new universes of wintry deliciousness.

For something more modern, we’re rather taken with this fresh and gorgeous-sounding variation on the blini, with fresh pickled mushrooms and soured cream. These warming butternut soup shots with pancetta toasts would be lovely alongside some halloumi and bacon rolls, while this bourbon-glazed pork belly recipe sounds positively dangerous! Bite-sized versions of a divine-sounding Taleggio and fig tartine wouldn’t go amiss either, while some pitta chips with aubergine, mint and pomegranate would add some welcome variety with their Middle Eastern flavour.

For a rather more polished and traditional gathering these sumptuous mini beef wellingtons would be perfect (or these artfully deconstructed versions for those with time on their hands!). A traditional accompaniment is of course called for, such as these mini Yorkshire puddings, from the one and only Delia Smith. These ham and stem ginger thins look wonderfully dramatic, and these pea soup shots would add some gorgeous vivid colour.

Most importantly, we’ve found some truly wonderful dessert canapé ideas. It’s tempting to skip the savoury introduction altogether and have a party dedicated entirely to fantastic puddings…

German biscuits are spicy and wonderfully Christmassy, and these Bethmännchen, Lebkuchen and Spitzbuben (what a wonderful name) will get anybody into the spirit.

Perhaps we could also interest you in some decorative crullers? Some beignets with praline sauce? The gloriously sweet Vancouver Island speciality of Nanaimo bars?

Not forgetting, of course, a warming drink to serve alongside – the only real option is of course the classic glühwein, a particularly cheering variation on mulled wine!

After all the effort of setting up for your own party, you of course deserve an obscenely large portion of the grandly-named Kaiserschmarrn, literally ‘Emperor’s Mess’ – perhaps so named because Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef was partial to them. They could even serve as an endearingly messy canapé, but probably won’t even make it out of the kitchen! Recipe included below, courtesy of the wonderful http://www.deliciousdays.com.

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Kaiserschmarrn

Required time: takes about 20 minutes

Ingredients 250 ml milk 4-5 eggs 2 tbs sugar 150g flour pinch of salt raisins soaked in rum/water butter half vanilla pod, sliced lengthways shaved almonds icing sugar
Method

Soak the raisins in a warm rum/water bath for approximately 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, a pinch of salt, sugar, and vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour. Once well blended, add the raisins. Slowly melt 2-3 tbsp of butter over low heat in a little pan you can later set aside for the finish.

Heat larger pan and add two tbsp of butter. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 5-8 minutes (depending on heat). Check every so often to see if it gets solid at the bottom. Don’t worry about making a mess! Eventually this super sized pan cake will be torn into pieces anyway. Be careful, though, to not let the bottom burn.

As soon as the bottom side developes brown patches and the mass starts to solidify -not all the way just yet-, try (!) to turn the pan cake and then start breaking it up into larger pieces, they’ll turn to bite-size pieces in the process anyway. This is really the chaotic part, as the top was probably still liquid (I have experimented with putting it in the oven to avoid “the mess”, but found it to be more fun this way and provide better results). Add little pieces of butter here and there to make sure all pieces brown from all sides. At this point I usually add some shaved almonds. Turn the Schmarrn frequently for a few minutes. It should not become dry, however.

This I find is the critical part, which can make or break a good Kaiserschmarrn. Since I didn’t add a lot of sugar in the first place, I now sprinkle a layer of icing sugar on the Schmarrn and turn it until the sugar turns into glaze. I then add the melted butter (from step #2), add some more icing sugar and turn the pieces one more time.

Arrange on plates with a little more icing sugar (more for the looks) and serve immediately, preferably with some homemade Zwetschgenröster (a traditional plum compote). Yummmm.

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We urge you to make these as soon as possible!

Ever,

Capital Cooking

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