Christmas Party Canapés
Cheese and Celery Pinwheels (Whirls)
I have fallen in love with canapés and small bites this year, and I am convinced that all you need is a table filled with tasty canapés, both savoury and sweet, and then a “sit-down” meal is not required. It all started with my special Thrifty and Organic menu for December at the beginning of the month, where I shared recipes for FIVE fabulously festive small bites and nibbles that comprised:
Leading on from those canapé recipes, today’s offering for Cheese and Celery Pinwheels (Whirls), made with an ingredient I also love, Fenland Celery, as well as some nutty Gruyère cheese, will also sit very nicely on the buffet table this Christmas and New Year. These wee pinwheels (or whirls) are a breeze to make and they always disappear very quickly. They are based on another recipe I often make, that encases chopped celery inside a cheesy scone mixture, as based on a recipe from the lovely National Trust book called Teatime Baking Book: Good Old-fashioned Recipes; but, today’s recipe is for much daintier morsels that has cream cheese and Dijon mustard added for a an unctuous filling.
I know Fenland Celery very well, as my paternal grandmother came from East Anglia where it is grown, and I remember many a Sunday tea time table set out with sandwiches, cake, salad, pickles, scones and an old “celery vase” filled with Fenland celery, when it was in season. This delicious celery has has become the first English vegetable to earn Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status from the European Commission, joining an exclusive club of quality British food products. It is grown using traditional celery growing methods in the rich peaty soil of the Fens, but has quite a short growing season from October to December.
I have used this celery before on Lavender and Lovage, and made a delicious Fenland Celery Soup; when using celery, soup is often the first choice, but, this special vegetable is far more versatile than most people realise, hence my recipe today for the festive season. I DO like a big vase of fresh celery on the table, it’s crunch and taste brings freshness to a buffet table, but, it is also wonderful when added to soups, stews, casseroles, salads, scones, quiches, pies and tarts, as well as being an essential ingredient in Bolognese sauce.
As part of my review package for the delicious Fenland celery I was sent, I was also lucky enough to visit a wonderful little restaurant in Ealing, Charlotte’s Place, where Dom (from Belleau Kitchen) and I tasted and judged their entry into a competition that asked London and East Anglian chefs to create recipes using Fenland celery and Powters Newmarket Sausages. We were very happy to comply and at the beginning of December we made our way over to Charlotte’s Place to taste their entry, Caramelised Fenland Celery Heart and Powter’s Newmarket Sausage, with Remoulade and Apple Mustard.
I can now report back, that Charlotte’s Place won the PGI Heroes competition for the London sector for their Caramelised Fenland Celery Heart and Powter’s Newmarket Sausage, with Remoulade and Apple Mustard recipe, which is very well-deserved and NOT that surprising! Apart from the winning recipe, Dom and I also had the most amazing meal there, and I cannot recommend this restaurant enough – from its cosy dining area, friendly staff and excellent service to the innovative, seasonally inspired menu, it’s a real gem.
But, back to my recipe for today, it may not be in the same league as chef Ben Achurch’s winning recipe, but in its own way, it is a definite winner for any party catering this festive season, and I have two dozen of these beauties in the freezer already for a bit of fizz and sparkle on Christmas Eve! I hope you enjoy the recipe, if you make it, and do let me know what you think of these wee cheese and celery pinwheels……see you later this week, Karen
NB: I used some Gruyère cheese that I was given in a recent trip to Avignon, you can read all about my trip here: