Canapés for a Marriage Upgrade

I have a small confession to make.  I have been calling my beloved of 22 years “the husband”, when in fact until Friday afternoon he was in fact my Civil Partner. No longer though.  Thanks to the Equal Marriage Act we are now officially husband and husband, something which has been a long time coming. That is also why I have been a little quiet this week.

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So where is the wedding cake I hear you ask?  Well all this change created a quandary for us.  Our real marriage ceremony was 10 years ago when we became “Civilly Partnered” (what a cumbersome term) and we had a wonderful and very important day which we did not want to detract from, especially when we realised the nature of the legal process we were about to go through. To those of you not familiar with the ins and outs of UK Family Law,  after Friday’s 30 minutes in the Registry Office with the lovely Registrar Marcia, the law now says we have in fact been married since the day of our Civil Partnership 10 years ago (confusing I know especially when the marriage certificate is for a marriage in 2006 dated in 2016).  Friday was more in the form of an Upgrade to the legal status of our long standing marriage, albeit a vitally important one for the cause of equality.

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So instead of another big do, we had a small family do (which is never that small with my legions of siblings) in a local restaurant, and rather than bake a cake which I knew would  not be eaten, I decided to venture into the world of canapés to accompany the bubbles before the meal. Canapés are something I have avoided mainly because of their fiddliness, but rifling through the bookshelves last week I rediscovered a book my old university friend Monica gave me many years ago which has never been put to use, and flipping though it drove me on to try doing some nibbles from the book, especially once I realised so much could be done in advance.


Of course this being a blog post means I had to do a little research before putting this up.  Given the way canapé is spelt, I assumed they started in France but had no idea that the word also means “Sofa” in French.  Supposedly these little delights started as pieces of meat or fish on bread and were called “Sofas” because some french aristocrat in the 18th century thought they looked like people perched on a sofa.  I think he needed a good pair of glasses myself, but all the same it is a sweet notion and if you really stretch the imagination you can sort of see it.


They became popular in the UK in the 19th century and are now firmly associated with smart drinks receptions the world over.  When it comes to weddings d canapés there is a definite North/South divide.  The sit down meal is originally a very northern thing even though it has now become the norm.  For the smart London set, the reception is always a stand up affair with rounds and rounds of canapés, all of which leads to a group of very drunken guests in this age of the marathon wedding picture photo shoot.  I also discovered a view that the prohibition drove the popularity of the canapé in America because some food needed to be served by speakeasies and hosts of private parties to stop their guests getting too stocious on illegal booze.  The highpoint of the home made canapé is probably the 50’s where every good party had to be accompanied with some form of finger food including the ubiquitous devilled egg and of course the pineapple and cheese hedgehog.

Since then they really have gone into decline for the private party.  Like all luxury food they seem to involve the maximum amount of effort compared to their nutritional value and who really has the time these days to do them.  That though is a great shame.  They allow for a lot of creativity and after all, life would be very boring if food was just about fuel.  So what did I try?  Well it was a sort of wedding and I did keep myself to nothing too ambitious because time was limited.  I didi some Curried Choux Puffs, because my choux skills needed a wash and brush up, Anchovy and Parmesan Puff Pastry Palmiers, some lovely Dill Herring on Rye bread, and Olive and Salmon Frittatines.


My favourites were the Dill Herring on Rye but all of them were demolished by my family and all were tasty. The Choux Puffs were wonderfully buttery and I think I will be adopting this recipe for my standard choux.  What was  surprising is that actually much of this can be done in advance.

  • The choux puffs can be baked days before, kept in an airtight container and then crisped up in the oven on the night
  • The palmiers can treated the same as the puffs, or be assembled the night before and kept in the fridge overnight and then baked on the night
  • the fritattine can be made the day before and then kept rolled in the fridge overnight before being sliced and served
  • the herring is more of an assembly job with the most fiddly thing being peeling the quails eggs – that you absolutely must do the day before

Any tricky corners ? Only 2 really.  On the fritattines, weigh the mixture into 2 equal halves to ensure an even thickness between your 2 rolls. On the palmiers make sure you roll the puff pastry tight.  Other than that, these are all quite straight forward.

The Recipes

Curry Puffs (about 35)


Choux Pastry

  • 110g strong white bread flour
  • 175 ml of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 3 medium eggs

Additional ingredients

  • 1 tsp cumim seeds
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • i/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 onion coarsely grated


  • line a baking sheet with baking parchment
  • pre heat over to 180c /160C fan
  • toast the cumim seeds over a low heat in a frying pan until aromatic (but avoid burning them!)
  • combine with all the other spices ready in a bowl
  • halve, peel and coarsely grate the onion
  • make the choux as follows
    • put the water salt and butter into a pan and bring them to the boil
    • take off the heat and vigorously stir in flour until a smooth paste
    • put back on the heat and stir until the paste pulls away from the side of the pan (about 1 minute)
    • set aside and allow to cool
  • once cooled a little add the eggs one at at a time, fully combining them into the mix
  • for the last one add half and see if you have reached the right choux “dropping” consistency (lift it out of the pan with the spoon and see if it drops off leaving a triangle of dough on the spoon)
  • add the spices and grated onion and stir in thoroughly
  • put mixture into a piping bag with a star shaped piping tube
  • pipe little balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment
  • bake until golden for about 30 minutes

These can be baked 3 days in advance, kept in an airtight container and then reheated at 200c/180C fan for 3 minutes just before you want to serve them

Alternate variation

Replace the spices with 125g of peeled and finely diced chorizo

Parmesan and Anchovy Palmiers (about 20)

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  • 250g puff pastry (I confess to shop bought I am afraid on this occasion)
  • 50g drained anchovy fillets finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large tbsp grated parmesan (more if you need it)
  • 1 egg beaten for washing


  • preheat oven to to 200c / 180c fan
  • roll pastry to a 15cm x 35cm sheet (or cut it to size if you buy the shop variety)
  • spread the pastry with the finely chopped anchovy
  • sprinkle completely with the parmesan cheese
  • roll tightly from both sides as in the picture
  • wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes
  • brush all over with the egg wash
  • slice into 1cm slices
  • bake on baking parchment for 10-15 minutes until golden brown

Again these can be baked 3 days in advance, kept in an airtight container and then reheated at 200c/180C fan for 3 minutes just before you want to serve them

Alternate variation

Spread with tomato or basil pesto and parmesan

Rolled Parsley Frittatine with Ricotta and Black Olives or Smoked Salmon (about 20)

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For the Frittatine

  • 3 medium eggs beaten
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

For the Ricotta Filling

  •  140g ricotta – split into 2 portions
  • 75 g pitted black olives
  • salt and black paper to taste
  • 75g smoked salmon finely chopped
  • lemon to taste for the salmon only


  • mix all the frittatine ingredients together and divide in half (by weight)
  • melt butter in a 9 inch non stick frying pan
  • pour the first half of frittatine mixture into frying pan and cook on a medium heat until cooked through and golden on the bottom (about 5 minutes)
  • slide off onto kitchen paper or a tea towel to dry and cool
  • cook the other in the same way
  • place each frittatine on a sheet of cling film
  • mix the ricotta, black olive and salt and pepper together and spread on one of the fritattines
  • mix the ricotta and salmon together and add salt, pepper and lemon to taste, and spread on the other frittatine
  • roll the frittatines using the cling film to help with the roll
  • seal the cling film and put in the fridge to set
  • slice in 1 cm slices and serve

Again these can be made the night before and left as a roll in the fridge and sliced just before serving

Dill Herring on Rye Bread



  • 4 slices of pumpernickel rye bread
  • 100g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dill chopped (serve some sprigs for decorating)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 275g jar of dill herring – at least 140g of herring  (or smoked salmon if you wish)
  • 6 quails eggs, boiled and peeled (best done while they are still warm)


  • mix the lemon juice, cream cheese, pepper and chopped dill together
  • cut the rye bread into 6 bite sized pieces
  • cut the drained dill herring into pieces slightly smaller than the bread
  • cut the quails eggs into quarters
  • assemble the canapé as follows
    • spread the rye with the cream cheese mixture
    • place a herring piece on top
    • add a small dollop of cream cheese
    • place a quarter egg on top
    • decorate with a sprig of dill

These do have to be made on the day but are very straight forward and delicious

2 Comments Add yours

  1. This post makes me so happy! I also married my best friend and love that you were able to as well! Cheers to you! I’ve been writing a post about our wedding day for a while now and hope to post it soon. ❤️


    1. Congratulations Ryan and thank you. It is a very different world to the one I grew up in during the 70’s and 80’s. 10 years ago we had a big family wedding for our Civil Partnership. That was our big day. Then they brought in Equal Marriage. All the rights and obligations are the same between the 2, but it was important to be equal and the subtle difference in the way people and family see our relationship has shown why . Our Conversion day was lovely – a 10th Anniversary with an extra and very important twist. I look forward to your blog on your day.

      Liked by 1 person

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