Six of the best party snacks | Life and style

Crab and fennel tarts (pictured above)

Prep 1 hr
Chill 1-2 hr
Cook 30 min
Makes 12

For the pastry
175g butter, diced
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp grated parmesan
1 egg yolk
15ml ice-cold water
1 tsp salt

For the filling
Juice of 1 lemon
100ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 fennel bulb, finely diced
20g dill (or fennel top), chopped
300g white crab meat
150g brown crab meat
10g parsley, chopped
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin with butter and sprinkle each mould with flour.

To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour and parmesan using your fingertips or a food processor. Add the egg yolk and water, and work into a smooth dough. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Roll out the pastry as thin as you can and, using a 7cm pastry cutter, cut out 12 rounds and use to line the moulds. Prick the pastry with a fork, then chill again for at least half an hour.

Blind bake the cases for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Whisk the lemon juice in a large bowl with the oil, salt and pepper to make a vinaigrette, then stir the chopped fennel, dill and white crab meat into the dressing.

To assemble, use a teaspoon to put the brown crab meat at the bottom of the tart cases. Top with the white crab and fennel mixture on top and season with cayenne pepper.

Egg, shrimp and caper buns

Egg shrimp and caper buns.



Egg, shrimp and caper buns. Photograph: Ola O Smit for the Guardian

Prep 30 min
Chill 1-2 hr
Cook 15 min
Makes 12

For the bun dough
7g dried yeast
600g plain flour
1 tbsp salt
375ml milk
40g butter
40g caster sugar

For the filling
6 eggs
100g brown shrimp
30g capers
4 tbsp good mayonnaise
10g tarragon, chopped
Salt and black pepper

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5.

For the buns, put the yeast, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attached.

In a small saucepan, warm the milk, butter and sugar over a low heat until the butter is just melted. Turn on the mixer and add the warm milk to the flour until well mixed. Knead in the machine until you have a shiny dough.

Cover the bowl with clingfilm and put in a warm place to prove until doubled in size – one to two hours. Dust a work surface with flour and split the dough into 12 equal pieces, roll into balls and place on a greaseproof tray, cover with clingfilm and leave to double again in size. When ready, bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

To make the filling, boil the eggs for seven minutes and rinse under cold water. Peel the eggs and chop finely, then add the shrimp, capers, mayonnaise and tarragon, mix well, and season to taste. To serve, split and butter the buns and fill with the egg and shrimp.

Grilled flatbread, anchovy and tomato

Grilled flatbread, anchovy and tomato.



Grilled flatbread, anchovy and tomato. Photograph: Ola O Smit for the Guardian

Prep 1 hr
Rest 1-2 hr, ideally overnight
Cook 10 min
Serves 6

For the flatbreads
2½ tsp dried yeast
700ml warm water
120g yoghurt
250g wholemeal bread flour
600g bread flour
1 tbsp salt
Olive oil, for brushing

For the topping
5 ripe tomatoes
1 tsp capers
100ml olive oil
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
½ bunch parsley, chopped
Salt and black pepper
1 tin anchovy fillets in oil
Celery leaves (optional)

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water, then add the yoghurt. Add the flours, and salt, then mix with your fingertips until a dough forms. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to rise at room temperature.

After an hour, knead the dough until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. If it looks a little wet, add a bit of flour. Cover and chill, ideally overnight; otherwise, leave to stand at room temperature until it has doubled in size.

An hour before serving, grate the tomatoes into a bowl using the large side of a box grater. Add the capers, oil and lemon juice to make a fresh tomato dressing.

Heat a griddle pan on high, then divide the dough into six portions. On a floured surface, roll out each portion into ½cm-thick rounds.

Brush the grill rack with oil, dust the flatbreads with a little more flour, then cook the breads until lightly charred on one side. Using tongs, turn over and cook one to two minutes longer, until cooked through.

Add the parsley and salt and pepper to the tomato dressing right before serving, then spread it over the breads and top with the anchovy fillets. Garnish with celery leaves, if using, and serve.

Salt cod and sweetcorn fritters

Salt cod and sweetcorn fritters.



Salt cod and sweetcorn fritters. Photograph: Ola O Smit for the Guardian

Prep 30 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4-6

160g flour
1 pinch salt
100ml water
100ml milk
100g butter
250g whole eggs
100g sweetcorn kernels
200g salt cod, poached and flaked
1 tsp sugar
10g dried fennel seeds
1 garlic clove, peeled and grated
10g chopped parsley
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
Oil, for frying
Mayonnaise, to serve

First, make a choux pastry. Put the flour and salt in a bowl. Put the water, milk and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat. Tip in the flour and quickly start beating with a wooden spoon or electric whisk. Keep mixing until the dough is lump-free and has formed a ball that pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add to the dough a little at a time, beating well until fully incorporated. When it is ready, the mixture will be shiny and smooth.

Put all the other ingredients in a bowl and slowly combine with the choux batter.

Heat the oil in a large, deep saucepan to 180C/350F. Using a tablespoon, add small dollops of the fritter mixture to the hot oil in small batches.

Fry until deep brown, turning occasionally so they cook evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper-covered baking tray in the oven to keep warm.

Pork hand pies with quince mustard

Pork hand pies with quince mustard.



Pork hand pies with quince mustard. Photograph: Ola O Smit for the Guardian

Prep 1 hr
Cook 40-50 min
Makes 12

1 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 knob butter
3g black pepper
3g fennel seeds
½ tsp ground mace
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
150ml good dry cider
380g minced pork shoulder
100g minced bacon
10g sage, chopped
10g parsley, chopped
500g all-butter puff pastry
1 egg yolk, beaten
10ml double cream

To serve
100g quince paste
50g dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5.

To make the filling, fry the onion in the butter until soft and sweet. Add the spices, garlic and cider, and reduce until the liquid evaporates, then set aside to cool.

Put the pork, bacon, herbs and onion mixture in a bowl, season and mix well.

Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick. Using an 11-12cm cutter, cut out 12 rounds for the pie bases. Then, using a 6-7cm cutter, cut out 12 lids. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with the pie bases, shaping the pastry to fit the sides – it should come slightly above the rim of each mould.

Put a heaped tablespoon of the filling into each case. Mix together the beaten egg and the double cream to make an egg wash, then brush the rims with the wash and top the pies with the lids. Crimp the edges and brush the tops with more egg. Prick holes in the top of the lids with a fork, then bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown.

To make the quince mustard, mix the mustard with the quince paste and serve with the pork pies.

Rye crackers with whipped goat’s curd and greens

Rye crackers with whipped goat’s curd and greens.



Rye crackers with whipped goat’s curd and greens. Photograph: Ola O Smit for the Guardian

Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 4-6

For the crackers
150g rye flour
150g plain flour
5g dried yeast
2 tsp salt
1½ tsp linseeds
300ml warm water

For the topping
500g swiss chard
200g peas
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
5g dried chilli
10g mint, chopped
10ml olive oil
150g goat’s curd
50ml milk
Juice and zest of ½ lemon

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Mix all the dry ingredients for the crackers in a bowl. Add the water and mix to obtain a smooth dough. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Between two sheets of baking parchment, roll out the dough as thinly as possible. Peel off the top layer of parchment and bake on a baking tray for 10-12 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Separate the chard stalks from the leaves of and chop both into 5mm pieces. Cook the stalks in boiling water, then add the leaves a few minutes later. Cook until soft, remove with a slotted spoon – reserving the cooking water in the pot – and refresh in iced water.

Blanch the peas in the boiling water, then refresh in the iced water with the chard.

Fry the garlic and chilli in olive oil until golden brown. Add the chard and peas, and fry gently for another two to three minutes. Leave to cool, then stir in the mint.

Whip the goat’s curd and milk to obtain a smooth paste. Break the cracker into pieces, spread with the curd mixture, top with the greens and dress with the lemon juice and zest.

All recipes by Marksman Public House, London E2, @marksman_pub

  • Food styling: Ellie Mulligan. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins



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