This week, the Blue Diamond, which is not the Riley Car Club, nor is it a restaurant rather a very elegant bar nightclub in central Melbourne. It is in a low rise 1970s building and has this view over the eastern skyline:
It has a light bar menu and at a recent event there I was very struck by the New Yorkness of the venue. A cigar bar, a balcony for taking in some fresh air, little circles of brown leather armchairs, a long cocktail bar and a jazz band playing in the corner.
And canapes. We all know how hard they can be to get right. And so time consuming to make. We all want something easy to hold yet filling and not a rehash of the same old sushi \ mini pizza \ peking duck wrap\chicken sandwiches which plagues us all, everywhere we go.
So coming into party season in Melbourne (Spring Racing Carnival and then Christmas) these are two recipes inspired by the 1920s.
Cocktail Sausages in bacony wraps
This is not a recipe, just an idea, and comes from Nigella Lawson's Feast. These take the edge of your appetite and are excellent with drinks. You will need some thinly sliced proscuitto or streaky bacon, some beef or pork chippolatas and some maple syrup or honey.
Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Carefully wrap the sausages in the bacon, and lay on a baking sheet covered with foil or baking paper. Get a pastry brush and thinly coat the bacony packages with maple syrup or honey. Bake, turning once, for about half an hour or until crisp. They can stay in a low oven to keep warm.
Canapes were everywhere in the speakeasies of the 1920s. There is a wonderful on line copy of the Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer written in 1918 with a vast selection of bread canapes ranging from the simple to tasty to probably not to our current tastes. You can see this here.
Use a scone cutter to cut 5 cm diameter (or bigger if you like) circles out of soft white bread. Carefully toast until just beginning to colour. Spread with Dijon mustard, then sprinkle with a thick layer of grated cheese seasoned with salt and cayenne. Place on a baking sheet and grill until cheese is melted. Serve at once.
(All images: Blue Diamond)