I was celebrating this week and these kumquat canapés helped to get the party started! How pretty are they?
These lovelies were inspired by a recipe by Gretta Anna Teplitzsky. Gretta Anna has been called the Julia Child of Australian Cooking. Through her books and her cooking school she brought French cooking to the Australian masses . She is one of my food heroes and an absolute glamour puss to boot! I have spoken about her before but as a refresher, her she is in all her glory!
I said it before and I will say it again. That fireplace! The colour co-ordination of caftan, candlesticks and couch! Love, love, love. Gretta Anna is the big sister I never had, the cool older girl at school I always aspired to be but never quite pulled it off.
I was looking for Gretta Anna recipes this week because, as a little present to myself I popped online and bought a copy of her second book, More Gretta Anna Recipes. And I was buying myself a little present because May is the month of the blogiversary! Retro Food for Modern Times will turn four later this month. Can you believe it? And we will celebrate in style but first, we need to talk about Kumquat Canapés because they are super delicious and a snap to make!
Kumquats are a small citrus fruit (about the size of a large olive) and incredibly sour which I love! A funny thing about them, is that if you eat them peel and all they actually become sweeter. It is the season for them here and as I was making my Gretta Anna inspired canapes I started thinking about my other food heroes and got totally carried away. I ended up making four different kumquat canapés because of the blogiversary and I named them after my food heroes. So without further ado, here they are.
Kumquat Canapé 1 – The Gretta Anna
Gretta Anna’s original recipe called for kumquats, rare roast beef and mint. She also wanted you to roast the beef. I just bought some rare roast beef slices from my local deli. I also had another idea for my mint leaves so I subbed in some rocket (arugula for my American friends).
Why this works
The rare roast beef has a slightly metallic taste with some saltiness and umami. The acidity of the kumquat worked really well against this and the rocket gave a note of pepperiness. A little dob of horseradish would also not go astray here either!
Kumquat Canapé 1 – The Nigella
For the Nigella Kumquat Canapé we are heading to Italy where we are pairing our tangy little friend the kumquat with some spicy chilli salami and a basil leaf. And to steal a quote from one of my favorite movies ever, Gregory’s Girl (if you have not seen this, stop everything and see it now!) the Nigella is bella, bella (with those last two words being spoken in the broadest Scottish accept you can muster!
Why The Nigella Works
The sharpness of the kumquat cuts against the fatty unctuousness of the salami, the chilli adds a kick of heat and the basil brings in some herby spiciness.This is a Mambo Italiano in your mouth! Plus even writing the words fatty unctuousness made me feel like I was channelling the real Nigella.
Kumquat Canapé 3 – The Sabrina
As if I was ever going to make a food hero kumquat canapé and not include Sabrina Ghayour! I still have 22 recipes to make from Persiana but Sirocco is wending it’s way to me as we speak! I know I said I wasn’t going to buy it until I was totally done with the Persiana Project but I read on Twitter that if you ordered it pre-release on Amazon UK, you could get it for a ridiculously low price. And I’m all about the savings!
I promise I won’t read it, will not even open the package until the Persiana Project is done!
Well, I might open the package just to make sure they have sent me the right book and it is not damaged. But then I will pack it back up again and put it out of sight until the end of the Persiana Project.
However, if during that purely quality control inspection it happens to fall open at a page….or ten….and my eyes just happen to fleetingly glance over them….then that is just what I like to call serendipity and no, it’s totally not cheating! Let’s quickly move on to the objêt itself.
The Sabrina Canapé takes us to the delicious flavours of the Middle East – hummus, dukkah, coriander and of course our little golden friend subbing in for what would traditionally be a preserved lemon.
Why the Sabrina Works
Is is a little bite of the Middle East. The creamy earthiness of the hummus is complemented by the zing of the kumquat, the dukkah adds crunch and more spice and the coriander some greeny freshness. And for them that care about such things the Sabrina is also vegan.
The final kumquat canape was the hardest to name. It had some Mexican overtones, avocado, tequila, chilli but I was damned if I was going to name it after the writer of Cantina after the terrible problems I had with that book. So, who else would I count as a food hero who would suitably represent my canapé? Jamie Oliver? Margaret Fulton? Charmaine Solomon? No, no and no came the answers. And then, taking inspiration from the tequila – which is possibly not always a good rule to live by I hit upon the name for my fourth and final kumquat canapé.
Kumquat Canapé 4 – The Floyd
So obvious! I’m not sure if Keith Floyd ever made it to Mexico but I’m sure he would have, at the very least liked the idea of my tequila soaked avocados. A bon vivant, raconteur and also a bit of a boozer, Floyd was one of the first celebrity chefs. Many of his shows are on you Tube and I can thoroughly recommend them for the sheer force of his personality if not always for the recipes made. Zebu Penis and Marijuana Stew anyone?
Thankfully, The Floyd contains none of the above but consists of avocado marinated in tequila and sprinkled with salt with a side of radish, topped with a strip of pickled chilli and a slice of kumquat and garnished with a mint leaf. And again, it’s vegan!
Why The Floyd Works
It’s a bit like a deconstructed guacamole, all the flavours are their with the kumquat subbing in for the lemon or lime and the radish adding some crunch!
These were each delicious and I’m glad I expanded my thinking beyond the original!
Coming up we are celebrating the blogiversary and not only are we having a party with the letter D but it’s also themed! I can hardly wait!
- 16 small cracker biscuits
- 6-8 kumquats, cut into thin slices (I found you could only get 2-3 slices from each kumquat
- 2 slices of rare roast beef, either home made or from your local deli,cut into two pieces
- 4 rocket leaves
- 4 little dobs of horseradish (optional)
- 2 slices chilli salami, cut into 2 pieces
- 4 basil leaves
- For the Sabrina
- 4 tsp hummus
- 2 tsp dukkah
- 4 coriander leaves
- 4 chunks of avocado
- 1 tbsp tequila
- sea salt
- 4 strips of pickled chilli
- 4 mint leaves
- Sprinkle the avocado chunks with the tequila and allow to sit for a couple of hours.
- Just before serving remove from the tequila and sprinkle with the salt.
- Arrange the ingredients on the crackers in a manner that looks appetising.
- Top with the kumquat slices.
Meantime, if you were to make a canape for one of your food heroes, who and what would it be?
Have a great week!