January is a month that we don our thinking caps and conjure up new ideas for the coming season.

On today’s agenda was Canapés, not at the forefront of everybody’s mind but play an important role in modern cuisine. The French started offering canapés to their guests in the 18th century, and the English adopted the practice at the end of the following century. Used to either whet the appetite for the courses to follow, or as a stand-alone little morsel to savour along with a glass of wine.

We started with an initial list of 10 new flavours and the chef got to work making small batch samples of about 25 of each.  Then our selected tasting panel (girls in the office) gave feedback on taste, texture and appearance. All 10 were all initially marked out of 5 in each of the following categories; presentation, texture and taste to give a maximum of 15. A score of 10 or more would guarantee their passage through to the next round. Some of the flavours that fell at the first hurdle were chicken and tahini filo roll which was deemed a bit bland and a pear and blue cheese tart which sounded good on paper but just did not work.

After what seemed like hours of critique and some recipe tweeking from the kitchen. Our initial ideas where whittled down to 4 new additions that we all agreed should make it onto our menu choices for 2013


Smoked salmon & beetroot filo tart

Goat’s cheese & tomato chutney filo tart

Thai pork lollipop

Salmon & prawn fishcake


So next time you are nibbling on a canapé please spare a thought for these tiny gems as more love has been lavished on them than you may think.