Saturday, 20 December 2008

Easy Party Snacks

We - by that I mean myself and my darling man (who categorically does not like being called "the boy"...) - receive an invite to an evening in the company of good friends with the condition that we should bring some snacky starters in return for a home-cooked main course and pudding. Fair enough, I think but can't find myself inspired into my usual cooking frenzy. You see, some members of our party have slightly particular tastes (no fish, nothing spicy, etc). Add to this conundrum that the main course is curry and my mind is stuck in a stale rut. The answer, of course, comes from my boyfriend's mother brandishing some ever faithful Delia. What we produced went down very well and without having to venture outside the warmth of her home.

Easy Cheesy Pinwheels

Puff Pastry (from frozen, fresh or handmade)
Plain flour for dusting
Cheddar Cheese
Soft Cheese
Grilled Smoked Bacon (finely chopped)
Olives (finely chopped)
...or whatever goodies you fancy/have!

- Preheat oven to 220C
- Roll out pastry. It doesn't matter how much you have so long as it is about 5mm thick when you've finished
- Sprinkle half of the pastry with cheddar cheese and spread the other half with a thin but even covering of soft cheese
- Spread out the bacon across the cheddar cheese and the olives across the soft cheese. You should aim to have an even covering so you will get a little of the filling in each pinwheel but not so much that the cheese is completely covered otherwise they might not stick together.
- Fold the opposite outer edges into the middle of the pastry (across the two fillings). This can be tricky if you have a large area of pastry. Get some help from someone useful or use a spatula.
- Fold the outer edges (of the folded sides) into the middle again. This sounds like a complicated process and is a bit difficult to explain but is actually really easy when you're doing it.
- Cut 5mm slices across the folds to form each pinwheel and lay on a greesed tray or onto a tray lined with reuseable baking paper.
- Bake for ten to fifteen minutes until golden.

Use whatever you have - different cheese work well. Indeed, you could simply do a "Four Cheese" version with cheddar, parmesan, stilton and mozzarella. We found that the pinwheels with soft cheese baked differently and didn't rise like the cheddar ones which was strange but they were just as tasty. Other ideas are:
>Goats cheese with pinenuts and pesto
>Mozzarella with sun-dried tomatoes
>Cheddar cheese and anchovy

Oh and we also made some Tiny Cheese, Onion and Olive Scones served warm, filled with blue or soft cheese. I'll leave Delia to tell you how it's done!

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