It’s good to relax sometimes…27

Posted on April 21, 2008 by ChristieGluten Free, Snacks & Starters

[Parma ham and Manchego parcels]

When I have friends over for lunch I like to keep it quite relaxed so that I can get time to drink some bubbly and enjoy myself. The reality though, is that mostly I can’t help myself and want to plate everything up perfectly and serve it fine-dining style.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a perfectionist, sometimes it’s a curse to have such high expectations of yourself, but mostly it’s a good thing. I think. Anyway, when I am wanting to appear relaxed I like to serve a starter that’s interactive, where guests can just help themselves at their leisure. This, cunningly, allows me to prepare more complex dishes in the kitchen while they’re busy stuffing their faces…

My favourites are Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with fish sauce and chilli dipping sauce, a platter of good smoked salmon with cream cheese and rye bread, an antipasti plate or these lovely little Parma ham and Manchego cheese parcels.

Manchego is a famous Spanish semi-firm cheese that has a creamy and slightly nutty taste. It goes really well with the saltiness of the ham and freshness of the spinach and is a nice change from the usual Parmesan cheese option. Like other canapes I’ve done before, these parcels go brilliantly with both beer or champagne so they’ll suit the whole crowd.

The recipe is below, but please now allow me to go off the subject of canapes and onto the subject of Me. I’ve been tagged by Helen from Food Stories for a Meme. What’s that? You can find the Wikipedia definition here, but basically, it’s when one blogger asks another to share information about themselves, and this time the task is to describe yourself in six words. This is the first time I’ve been tagged by someone, so thank you Helen, I’m abnormally excited about it!

Sounds easy, but I’m fairly worried about being judged on this, so here goes nothing:

Short. Perfectionist. Creative. Bubbly. Emotional. Active.

Do you agree?

Now I’m going to tag:

  • Kevin from Closet Cooking
    (I am in awe of his flavour combinations, absolutely delicious)
  • BJ from Benjamin Christie
    (Fantastic chef making the most of native Aussie ingredients)
  • Jules from Stonesoup
    (I love her photography, if she had a book I would buy it asap)

It’s only a quickie, so I hope you guys will have time to do it.

Happy cooking, Christie

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Parma ham and Manchego parcels
I haven’t given strict quantities, because it’s pretty easy to guess depending on how many guests you have and you can just put the leftovers back in the fridge to nibble on later.

Parma ham, sliced
Manchego cheese, a large wedge
Baby spinach, a few handfuls
Tomato and chilli relish, or other relish of your choice (optional)

Place all the ingredients on a large serving platter. I like to roll a few up and place on the platter as pictured above to indicate to your guests what needs to be done. (You could just tell them if you like!).

To make the ‘display’ ones, grab a slice of ham, place a few spinach leaves on it, slice a thin piece of cheese from the block and arrange on the spinach, then dollop a small spoonful of relish on top. Roll up and enjoy.

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