Are You ‘Avin a “Giraffe” Canapé

  • For the chutney
  • 200g garlic (or two large bulbs)
  • 150ml oil (rapeseed or olive)
  • 150g red onion (1 large or two small)
  • 200g tomato
  • 50g tamarind (soaked in just enough hot water to remove pips)
  • 2 red chilli’s seeds removed
  • 30ml cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • For the rest of the canapé
  • 1 baguette or ficelle (much thinner baguette)
  • Glug oil (rapeseed or olive)
  • Seasoning
  • 2 sealable freezer bags
  • 2 free-range chicken breasts
  • 150g butter
  • 4 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 small bag of baby spinach
  • 250g ceps if you can get them if not chestnut mushrooms, sliced

I was asked to make a canapé for Sophie Hulme with a giraffe theme and this is what I came up with! The garnish for the canapé was garlic chutney, which I wiped through a giraffe print stencil – obviously you can omit the stencil

You must get all of your components ready in advance, this you can do a few days before!

Start by making your chutney, this can be done way in advance as the flavours will enhance in time.

Set oven to 160°, add a little oil to a baking tray, cut the garlic in half horizontally and place flesh side down. Cook for half hour or so, or until flesh is soft to touch. Take out and allow to cool. Keep the oven on.

Whilst the garlic is cooking, place the onion, 100ml of oil, tomato, tamarind, chilli and cider vinegar in a blender and blitz until smooth.

Heat 50ml of oil in a heavy based saucepan and add mustard seeds, when they start to pop and change colour, add the paste.

When the garlic has cooled down, squeeze the flesh out of the shell and add to the saucepan. Cook on a low heat for 1 and half hours. Strain the sauce through a sieve or chinois to remove any lumps and mustard seeds if you want a smooth consistency otherwise leave as is, nice and rustic.

This chutney is gorgeous, lasts for ages, and if looked after can be married with all kinds of meats, curry’s and cheese’s.

Now we’ll get the rest of the canapé together.

Cut your bread either straight or at an angle for desired shape and size and around 5mm apart, and lay out on baking sheets. You should get at least 20 pieces. Drizzle oil over, season and put in the oven. After 15/20mins turn them over then remove when they are nice, hard and crispy. You can do this a day ahead, just put into an airtight container once cooled.

Whilst the bread is in the oven, heat up a saucepan full of water.

Now for poaching the chicken. Lightly season the chicken both sides. Role the sides of your freezer bags down and place on work surface, creating a small pouch. Into each of these put 20g of butter, half tsp. of turmeric, two bay leaves and the chicken. Squeeze the air out of bag and seal. When the water is 90c turn the heat right down to the lowest setting and add the sealed chicken bags. After a few minutes when the butter has melted, fish each bag out and shimmy the contents about to make sure all the spice is mixed in – this is a lovely sight, the turmeric and bay looks fab. Cook until the meat is 70c in the centre. Roughly 30-45 minutes. Then let the chicken rest for 5 minutes or so.

Whilst the meat is poaching, add a knob of butter to a frying pan with a glug of oil on a medium heat. Have a plate ready with some kitchen towel. When the butter has melted add a single layer of mushroom and season. When crispy on one side, turn over, season again and when crispy fish them out onto your kitchen towel. Keep doing this until all the mushrooms are done. Then place them in a single layer on a tray to cool.

Wash your spinach; remove stalks and fully dry, then set aside.

Remove the chicken from the bag and poor the chicken stock into a bowl. Cut your chicken to the desired size or shape and place in a single layer on a tray. Get yourself a pastry brush, and brush each side with the liquor. Cover with cling film and chill until you are ready to assemble.

The delicate taste and smell from the chicken, bay and turmeric combination is divine and unusual, plus the incredibly soft texture of the chicken is like nothing else. This ticks a lot of boxes for me.

When you are ready to assemble canapés, have all your components out on the side and placed in the order in which you will assemble the canapé.

So, take a piece of toast, cover with spinach, followed by a few pieces of cep/chestnut mushroom, a slither of chicken and finished off with a spot of chutney.

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