We were so looking forward to Christmas and then as always it seemed to fly by. This year I had grand plans to not only decorate the house from top to bottom, but also to make my own Christmas cards. Not only did that NOT happen, but we ended up being so busy that we forgot all about a tree until December 24th and by then it was too late. Not even B&Q had a tree so late in the day.
But, on the 23rd, when we possibly should have been looking for a tree, we had a friend over for drinks and nibbles instead. It seemed decadent to be sipping champagne in front of the fire, and even though there were still presents to be wrapped the afternoon served to make us feel like the holidays had started.
I made mini-egg florentines. A few years ago we attended a cocktail party that featured eggs and spinach wrapped in filo pastry. I have taken the idea and adapted it so that the tiny eggs sit on top of spinach and puff pastry discs and was thrilled to finally be able to try my mini eggs out on people to whom I am not related.
12 quail eggs
frozen spinach – a good handful
1 tablespoon of cream
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
good quality hollandaise sauce (I use Maille)
Roll the pastry out thinly and cut into round shapes using a biscuit cutter or the rim of a wine glass. (I do not own a biscuit cutter. I do however own lots of wine glasses).
Grease a muffin tray and lay each pastry round in the bottom
cook the quail eggs, cool and peel. (Quail eggs are easy to get right. Put in a small saucepan of cold water and as soon as the water starts to get a few boiling bubbles, turn straight off and leave until water cool. They are easier to peel when the eggs are very cold).
Heat the spinach, add nutmeg and cream
heat a good tablespoon of hollandaise sauce, add creme fraiche and heat through.
Pop the pastry into the oven on about 190-200 for 20 minutes.
Once out of the oven, assemble by putting spinach on the pastry, topping with a quail egg and pouring over a dollop of the hollandaise sauce.
These were very popular. They were also quite large, so it would be possible to halve each egg to make it look a little more dainty. However I always think a good canape is a big canape.
Photo kindly reproduced with permission by Garden Quails – a family run business in West Sussex that provide truly free range quail eggs. Check out their website and their story at http://www.gardenquails.com/index.html
Many thanks to Nik at Garden Quails!!!!