Summer is in the air and Christmas is just around the corner - the party season is upon us! Which gets me to thinking about delicious, quick and easy canapés.
Yesterday, the market was full of ripe red summer tomatoes and bright green banana chilli peppers. The beautiful colours of the fresh summer produce and the glorious smell of the tomatoes took me straight back to a hot summer night in Crete, where Mr K and I visited a bohemian student taverna.
The tables were set out under the arms of a giant fig tree, the hum and sounds of summer night were in the air, along with the jangling strains of bouzouki. The taverna sat right next to the harbour in Chania and you could smell the saltiness of the sea on the dusk air. There was a range of delicious mezes on the menu, including creamy, crispy fried eggplant, hot peppery skordalia, kalamari and octopus (in every imaginable form) and delectable domatokeftedes (tomato fritters).
While last night may not have been quite as balmy as that night in Crete, I couldn't wait to use the colourful fresh produce from the market to make up a batch of domatokeftedes and a small tray of garlic, dill and feta stuffed peppers, while Mr K got onto creating his divine barbecued octopus.
If you are making the domatokeftedes as a part of a mezes spread, you can make them a little larger - so they would fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. However, if you are making them as a canapé, I would make them a little smaller and serve them with a small quenelle of thick Greek yoghurt (strained of course) mixed with a little crushed garlic, sprinkled with the tinniest bit of riagni or very finely chopped mint.
They make an excellent canapé for a summery Christmas day - the savouriness of the fried tomatoes really stimulates your appetite (perfect with a chilled ouzo or glass of bubbles) but they are very light. A lovely prelude to your seafood starter and then the ham-turkey-chicken-goose-duck extravaganza! In addition to the mint, I have also added a little summery savoury, which is currently growing in my garden. In Greek it is called θρούμπι (throúbi) and it has a lovely distinct sweet flavour, which draws out the sweetness of the tomatoes. It is also a reputed aphrodisiac - so it may possibly spice up any Christmas party you might be hosting! If you don't have any summer savoury to hand - don't worry, it can be easily left out.
|Summer savoury, chives and fresh mint from the garden|
|Mr K's delicious barbecued octopus|
|Feta, dill and garlic stuffed peppers with baked olives|
The recipes for Mr K's delicious barbecued octopus and my feta, garlic and dill stuffed peppers can be found on the links above. In addition to the peppers, I also threw a handful of kalamata olives (which Mrs K had preserved during the Autumn) into the baking tray, which crisp up beautifully - perfect with a cold mythos beer or an ouzo.
I hope you enjoy a domatokeftede or two, if not on your Christmas day - then on a beautiful hot summers evening! .....And I would love to know, lovely reader, what will be featuring on your Christmas menu to kick off the festivities?