Three easy canapés from the Akaroa Cooking School: Anchovy and Tomato Tostada, Poached Chicken Finger Sandwich and Courgette and Chorizo Slice

Ant and Lou Bentley from the Akaroa Cooking School share three easy canapés to serve guests over the holidays.

Recipes: First published in Fresh from Akaroa Recipes from the Akaroa Cooking School


I absolutely love the flavour of white anchovies and they are very nutritious and rich in omega-3, too. Paired with the creamy feta mix, tangy salsa verde and sweet tomatoes, these make a very moreish snack


1 loaf day-old baguette or similar, cut into
½cm slices
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
½ tsp flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the slices of bread onto a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with flaky sea salt. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn over and cook for a further 3 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove and then cool slightly.

Feta Cream
150g cream cheese
150g creamy feta
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Place the cream cheese, feta and olive oil into the bowl of a small food processor and process until well combined and creamy.

Salsa Verde
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup capers
¼ cup sliced (or 3 whole) pickled gherkins
2 anchovy fillets, preserved in olive oil
2 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley
small bunch basil
small handful mint
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp good-quality white wine vinegar
120ml good-quality olive oil
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and whizz until combined. Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To plate and serve
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
12 white anchovies, halved lengthways

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Spread each of the tostadas with the feta cream. Adda slice of tomato followed by an anchovy. Drizzle over the salsa verde and serve immediately.


We have been making these sandwiches for years and whenever there is a party we are always called upon to bring our famous chicken sandwiches with us. They make a great addition to a canapé menu as they can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until just before you need to serve them. The key is to make sure that there is plenty of filling – no one likes a bready sandwich – it should be all about the filling and the bread should just hold it all together. Walnuts add extra crunch so feel free to add some, if you wish. We make up loads of these as one is simply never enough.


4 medium-sized free range chicken thighs flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup mayonnaise
small bunch chives, finely chopped
small bunch parsley, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, very finely sliced
juice of 1 lemon
1 preserved lemon, skin only, finely chopped butter, softened, for spreading
12 slices very fresh sandwich bread

Heat a saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Add the chicken thighs along with a bit of salt and pepper. Bring back to the boil and then simmer gently for about 6 minutes, or until just cooked through. Remove and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the chives, parsley, celery, lemon juice, preserved lemon and salt and pepper. Cut the chicken into small pieces and then mix with the mayo mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary; the sandwich filling needs to be really flavoursome as the bread will dull the flavour.
Butter the bread and then top six slices with the chicken mixture. Top with remaining bread slices, cut the crusts off the sandwiches and then cut each sandwich into three fingers. Put onto a platter so that the filling is displayed. Cover with a damp tea towel and place in the fridge until ready to serve. (The tea towel will keep the bread fresh and soft.) Remove the sandwiches from the fridge half an hour before serving to allow them to come up to room temperature.

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This is a great way to use up the glut of courgettes that are available in late summer. This slice is fantastic to take on a picnic, is great for school lunches and works a treat as a canapé. To make it vegetarian, simply omit the chorizo but add half a teaspoon of Spanish smoked paprika to the egg mixture to give it a bit of smokiness.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
100g finely chopped smoked chorizo (or substitute smoky bacon)
1½ tsp flaky sea salt
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
6 free range eggs
¼ cup plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
500g firm courgettes, grated
1 carrot, grated
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
½ cup grated Parmesan
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
sour cream, to serve
sweet chilli sauce, to serve microgreens, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 22cm square cake pan with baking paper.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook the onion and chorizo along with
½ teaspoon of salt for 2–3 minutes, stirring until softened. Add the lemon zest and chilli, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, flour, baking powder and the remaining teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.
Using a piece of muslin or a clean tea towel, squeeze out the excess moisture from the courgette and carrot. Add to the eggs along with the coriander, Parmesan, the onion mixture and six grinds of black pepper, and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared pan and scatter over the pine nuts. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool slightly in the pan, then cut into small squares.
Serve with sour cream and a dollop of sweet chilli sauce. Top with microgreens.

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Fresh from Akaroa Recipes from the Akaroa Cooking School  includes recipes and tips from the highly popular Akaroa Cooking School – plus the stunning scenery of Banks Peninsula. With over 100 delicious recipes used in the cooking school, plus tips on giving dinner parties, buying and cooking fish, the perfect barbecue, canapes and cocktails, and Asian-inspired cookery, this is a book chock full of useful and beautiful material. The book is available in good bookstores or online here RRP: $50.00.

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