I made these for my and Johanna’s rather fabulous “happy blogday” party a couple of weeks ago. I am not a canapé person by inclination – my eye for detail is far too easily distracted ;-). So canapés are not usually something I would make – and besides, having helped Johanna when she catered a canapé 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 canapés were of appearing next to Johanna’s!! :o)
What I ended up making were the robust boerewors, peppadew & haloumi skewers, some delicious but disastrous-looking cheese olives (I doubled the butter but forgot to double the flour… let us draw a veil over that incident!) and these rather more successful 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 my first attempt at the tuna filling mix using mayonnaise ended up being a tuna salad as it was simply too runny to stay in the rolls. But my second using cream cheese was far more successful. They were not traffic-stoppingly delicious, but they were tasty, pretty and gluten-free. Guess I could have served them while wearing a pink g-string bikini but that seemed to be overkill 😉
If you like red peppers you’ll also love:
- roasted red pepper and red lentil soup
- mango, red pepper and coriander/cilantro salsa
- grilled halloumi cheese with Za’atar and a roasted red pepper coulis
RED PEPPER AND TUNA ROLY POLY SKEWERS (makes 24)
4 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
85g tinned tuna, drained
180g Philadelphia cream cheese
2 Tbsp finely chopped olives or capers
2 Tbsp finely chopped chives
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place the pepper halves cut side down on a baking sheet under a hot grill until the skin starts to blister and blacken. Remove from the grill, pop them into a ziploc bag, seal and let them sweat for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, chop the chives and olives/capers and mash up the tuna into the finest bits you can. In a bowl, mix the tuna, chives, capers and cream cheese well. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired. You can add a spoon of basil pesto for extra flavour but make syure the mixture remains firm, not runny.
Remove the peppers from their bag and carefully pull off the skin. Cut into strips about 2.5cm wide (each pepper should yield 6-8 strips).
Place a tablespoon of the tuna mix at the end of each strip and carefully roll up. Spear with a toothpick to hold the roll in place and arrange on a serving plate.