Around this time of year, I do like to dust off a few old Dad jokes that have been hanging up in the wardrobe. The best and most festive one is to announce to the family on Christmas Day that ‘I am just nipping into the kitchen to finish preparing the canapés.’ And then pop back into the room five minutes later with a tray, stacked with tinned marrowfat peas. ‘Here comes the can o’peas!’ I usually boom as I enter, brimming with pride at my fantastic, punny joke. Sadly, no one bats an eyelid these days. Because they saw it coming and quite frankly, it’s all getting a bit boring now. That’s according to my sister that is.
Like my rubbish jokes, Christmas Day can sometimes need a reboot, especially after the frantic 6AM tear up around the tree. Despite the tea and bacon sandwiches that follow, adrenaline levels tend to drop towards late morning, so the arrival of canapés at noon are often just the ticket.
But you don’t want to mess around for too long making them either. All you really want is to go bish bash bosh and get out of that kitchen as soon as possible, leaving whoever is delegated to cooking Christmas dinner to it. Which is still down to the grandparents in my family (i.e. my folks or in-laws) but I will step up one year. Promise.
Coming back then to the necessity for speedy preparation of tidbits, these goat's cheese rounds are great to knock up because they are easy, look the part and taste rather good in my honest opinion. All flavour combinations are catered for with these canapés. Creamy, nutty, sweet, pepper and salt, all to be taken with one swift bite. The umeboshi will almost certainly be the one ingredient to raise eyebrows though. These Japanese pickled plums are often attributed to curing hangovers, due I suspect to the inherent salt and sour kick they deliver. Should you find yourself feeling delicate over the next couple of weeks, one of these withered plums popped into the mouth will bring you to your senses in no time, I guarantee you that.
They are to be used rather sparsely though and for these cheesy disks, they make up the cherry aspect of a holly leaf. Make these and you will soon be forgiven, for whatever rubbish jokes that are uttered on Christmas Day. Because they are coming. You’ve got to pull those crackers yet.