I made these for my and Johanna’s rather fabulous "happy blogday" party a couple of weeks ago. I am not a canape person by inclination – my eye for detail is far too easily distracted . So canapes are not usually something I would make – and besides, having helped Johanna when she catered a canape party last year, I knew the incredibly high standard that her nibbles would set at our little get-together.
It’s a bit like this: when I was 21, a good (male) friend of mine started dating a gym instructress. Not just any gym instructress, a 6ft blonde gym instructress with naturally curly blonde tresses and a body that could stop traffic. We got to know each other through my friend and hit it off, plus I started attending her aerobics classes (she was the only person I knew who used The Cure’s Lullaby as a cool-down song!). So soon we were spending rather a lot of time together and when a bunch of us rented a beach house in Plettenberg Bay over new year, naturally I invited her. That was the first year that my puppy fat had receded far enough that I felt confident enough to wear a bikini. It could also have been that I realised that beside her on the beach in HER itsy bitsy little pink G-string bikini, I would be as good as invisible – so why not go for it It was an eye-opening experience. All she had to do was stride into a room and people were offering her drinks, assistance, phone numbers, you name it. While we were walking to the beach one day, a guy literally fell off his bicycle because he was too busy staring at her to look where he was going.
Now picture that scene – and then you’ll have an idea of how fearful my canapes were of appearing next to Johanna’s!! )
What I ended up making were the robust boerewors, peppadew & haloumi skewers, the disastrous-looking cheese olives (let us draw a curtain over that) and these rather more succesful red pepper & tuna roly-poly skewers. I hadn’t made them before and was trying to put them together from memory, based on something I had seen but had no recipe for, and there are a couple of things I’d do differently next time, but on the whole they were a success. Not traffic-stopping, but tasty and pretty, especially on the black plate that we used to serve them.
Here’s what you’ll need (sorry – no exact quantities): Red bell peppers (each makes 6-8 strips), finely chopped spring onions, basil pesto (I used mayonnaise and it was too runny), tinned tuna, and a handful of finely chopped olives or capers (I didn’t have these and they would have improved the taste and provided a foil for the sweetness of the roast peppers). To make them, halve and seed each pepper and grill under a hot grill untill the skin starts to blister and blacken. Remove, pop them into a ziploc bag and let them sweat for about 10 minutes. In the meanwhile, chop the onions and olives/capers, break up the tuna into the finest bits you can and mix it together with the chopped onions & olives and a dollop of pesto. As I said, I used mayo and this made the mixture too runny – you need something fairly sticky so that the whole thing does not unroll and fall apart. Remove the peppers from their bag and pull off the skin. Cut into strips about half an inch wide. Spread a little of the tuna mix on each strip and carefully roll up. Spear with a toothpick and arrange on a plate.
Serve while wearing a pink G-string bikini )