When I have people over for dinner I find I often spend so long on the main events that nibbles fall by the wayside. All I end up having time for is chopping up a few veggies to serve as crudités with a bowl of hummus, with some crisps on the side for good measure.
And every time this happens I wish I’d found something a little more interesting to start the meal off with. After all, so much effort goes into the main event, it seems a shame to start off with something less than spectacular.
Sadly though there’s not always time to whip up some stunning canapé before everyone arrives. So often they need to be made immediately prior to serving and, let’s face it, what with children’s bedtimes, cooking the meal itself, tidying the house and making yourself look half presentable (!), there just isn’t time to create a stunning selection of mini beef Yorkshire puddings, smoked salmon tarts and mini spring rolls!
But this is where the wonderful Mary Berry comes to the rescue once again. Her fabulous recipe for cheese soufflé bites can be made in advance, made relatively quickly, and then popped into the over just as people start to arrive. Minimal fuss and maximum deliciousness.
Sadly these do fall down slightly on the looks front. So if you’re going for pure elegance these many not be the answer! A friend once thought I was serving her roast potatoes as a nibble!!
But what they lack in the looks department they more than make up for in taste. I guarantee there won’t be a single one left by the time everyone is called to the table!
Cheese Soufflé Bites
Recipe by Mary Berry in the Daily Mail
Makes about 100
75g full fat cream cheese
150g mature grated cheddar cheese
2 large egg whites
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 x 2.5cm slices from a white tin loaf, 2-5 days old, crusts removed*
- Line 2 or 3 baking trays with non stick baking paper or grease lightly.
- Melt the cream cheese, butter and cheddar in a pan over a low heat until completely melted (don’t worry, the mixture looks very curdled at this stage).
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff, and carefully fold into the cheese mixture. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Cut each slice of bread into 4 down, 5 across to give 20 x 2.5cm cubes for each slice. Dip each cube into the soufflé mixture until completely covered, shaking off any excess, and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
- Transfer to a freezer for an hour or so to freeze through.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°c/200°c fan/430°f/gas mark 7.
- Bake for 10 minutes in total, turning once after 6 minutes. Serve immediately.
* If you can’t find a tin loaf, just use a white loaf, crusts removed and cut into 100 2.5cm squares or as close as you can get to squares – anything bite-sized is perfect.
You can freeze the bites for up to a month in a sealed freezer bag. They are best cooked from frozen so don’t defrost prior to baking.