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Simple appetisers just the treat for parties

CHRISTMAS is only around the corner and with that comes Christmas parties. If you've decided to get some friends around for a few drinks and a bite to eat, then simple appetisers are the way to go. You can prepare these in advance or pop them in the oven when your guests arrive.

These three dishes are simple and easy to make and will impress your guests. And the beauty of these dishes is that they aren't time consuming so you'll have time to have fun with your guests.

REcipe 1: Bacon-wrapped stuffed dates

Serves 30

Ingredients

>30 dates, piths removed

>250g blue cheese

>15 slices thick bacon, halved widthwise

>Toothpicks

Method

>Preheat oven to 190°C

>Remove pith from date using a small knife.

>Stuff with blue cheese, close the date and remove any excess cheese with your finger.

>Wrap with half a slice of bacon, pierce with a toothpick, place on a non-stick baking sheet.

>Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes or until bacon is browned.

recipe 2: Smoked salmon pancake canapes

Serves 15 pieces

Ingredients

>6 slices smoked salmon

>1 tbsp lemon juice

>1 tbsp lime juice

>A pinch salt and pepper

>1 tbsp dill, chopped

Pancakes

>300g all-purpose flour

>6 tsp baking powder

>2 large eggs

>3 tbsp butter, melted

>80ml olive oil

>450ml milk

>½ tsp salt

>½ tsp pepper

>3 tbsp chives, chopped

>Crème fraîche

>Extra chives for garnish

Method

>Place first 5 ingredients into a glass bowl and fold together. Set aside in the fridge to marinate while you make the pancakes.

>Sieve the flour and baking powder, salt and pepper together. In another bowl, mix eggs, butter, oil and milk.

>Whisk flour and baking soda into the wet ingredients until well combined.

>Fold in the chives.

>Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat, coat with a tsp of olive oil.

>Drop about 1 tbsp of batter onto the hot surface and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side.

>Place a pancake on a plate, top with salmon, then ½ tsp of crème fraîche and garnish with a sprig of dill or any leftover chives.

recipe 3: The perfect hummus

There is nothing, I think, more satisfying than dipping some freshly cut vegetables into tasty homemade hummus. It's a great alternative for those who want to watch their weight in this holiday season.

This can also be made a day ahead of time and kept in an air-tight container.

Ingredients

>425g chickpeas drained, keeping half of their liquid

>2 cloves garlic

>1tbsp lemon juice

>150g tahini (sesame seed paste)

>Extra virgin olive oil

>½tsp smoked paprika

>1 tsp sea salt

>Toasted pita bread

>Washed and peeled vegetables: celery, carrots, baby tomatoes

>4tbsp olive oil

Method

>In a food processor, combine chickpeas, liquid, garlic, lemon juice, and tahini paste and puree to a paste.

>Add 3tbsp olive oil and the paprika, blitz again.

>Season with salt and transfer into a bowl for serving. Drizzle with some extra olive oil.

>Serve with toasted pita bread and the veggies.

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