These party finger food recipes are ideal for occasions when entertaining groups of family and friends. They can all be made ahead so that the cook is free to enjoy the occasion also.

The smoked trout rolls are ideal for any party and are also a useful starter.

I often mention Goatsbridge Trout Farm from near Thomastown run by Mag and Ger Kirwan.

We are lucky to have such a good smoked trout producer. A good wheaten bread is key to this recipe. If you don’t make your own then you can buy a nice one.

This baby gem cups with prawns and mango is a fresh, light canapé. Instead of the prawns you could use crab or cooked chicken. Make sure your mango is nice and ripe. If not, it will take a few days in the kitchen to ripen.

The sticky cocktail sausages with sesame seeds are one of the most popular finger foods I make. They are completely irresistible and can be served hot or cold. Make sure you get good-quality Irish pork sausages and for a very good hoisin sauce try the one made by Folláin which also has a very nice soy and ginger sauce.

The mini croque monsieurs can be made the day before and covered with cling film until ready to bake. I like Drinagh cheddar cheese which is made in west Cork, and Brady Family Ham produced in Co Kildare.

Happy cooking


Learn to Cook with Neven is out now published by Gill Books.


Smoked trout rolls with cream cheese & red onion

Serves four

1 small red onion, finely diced

75g (3oz) soft cream cheese

2 tbsp crème fraîche

1 tbsp snipped fresh chives

350g (12oz) sliced smoked trout

8 large slices of wheaten bread

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon slices, to garnish

  • 1 Put the red onion in a small bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover, then drain off immediately. This softens the raw flavour of the onion.
  • 2 Return the red onion to the bowl and add the cream cheese, crème fraîche and chives. Season to taste and mix well to combine.
  • 3 Put three overlapping slices of smoked trout on a sheet of cling film. Spread the cream cheese mixture a few millimetres thick over the top of the trout, right out to the edges. Roll up into a neat sausage shape. Repeat this process with the remaining slices of trout and cream cheese filling. Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • 4 Using a straight-sided scone cutter that is about 5cm (2in) in diameter, cut out two rounds from each slice of wheaten bread.
  • 5 Slice each chilled smoked trout roll into four small rounds and lay each roll sideways on a bread round. Arrange on a platter and garnish with the lemon slices to serve.
  • Baby gem cups with prawns & mango

    Baby gem cups with prawns & mango. \ Photography: Philip Doyle. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

    Serves four to six

    2 heads of Little Gem lettuce

    300g (11oz) cooked and peeled prawns

    1 large firm, ripe mango, peeled and cut into small dice

    Juice of 1 lime

    About 2 tbsp olive oil

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Fresh micro herbs, to garnish

  • 1 Divide the Little Gems into individual leaves, trimming down the large outside leaves so that they are all roughly the same size – you’ll need 20 in total. Put in a large bowl and cover with cling film. Chill until ready to use. Use the very small centre leaves in a sandwich or for another dish.
  • 2 Chop the prawns if large and put in a bowl with the mango and lime juice. Dress with the olive oil, mixing well to combine, and season to taste. Cover with cling film and chill until ready to use – you can prepare this up to 4 hours in advance.
  • 3 To serve, arrange the Little Gem leaves on a serving platter. Spoon in a little of the prawn and mango mixture and finish each one with a few micro herbs.
  • Sticky cocktail sausages with sesame seeds

    Sticky cocktail sausages with sesame seeds. \ Photography: Philip Doyle. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

    Serves four to six

    20 cocktail sausages (about 350g/12oz in total)

    2 tbsp hoisin

    2 tsp soy and ginger sauce

    2 tsp runny honey

    1 tsp wholegrain mustard

    1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).
  • 2 Put the sausages in a non-stick roasting tray in a single layer. Mix together the hoisin, soy and ginger sauce, honey, mustard and 2 teaspoons of water in a bowl, then pour over the sausages, turning to coat.
  • 3 Bake the sausages in the oven for 15 minutes, then drain off any excess fat and sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until golden and sticky.
  • 4 To serve, arrange on a warmed plate skewered with cocktail sticks.
  • Mini croque monsieurs

    Mini croque monsieurs. \ Photography: Philip Doyle. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

    150g (5oz) Cheddar cheese, grated

    200ml (7fl oz) crème fraîche

    1 tsp mild mustard

    10 thick slices of white or brown bread

    About 225g (8oz) cooked sliced ham

    About 3 tbsp softened butter

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).
  • 2 Mix together 100g (4oz) of the cheese with the crème fraîche and mustard. Season with salt and pepper and spread half of the mixture over five slices of the bread. Cover with a layer of the cooked ham and finish each one with another slice of the bread.
  • 3 Thinly spread the butter over one side of each sandwich, then arrange on a baking sheet, buttered side down. Spread the rest of the butter over the tops of the sandwiches and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  • 4 Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden, then cut into bite-sized pieces, removing the crusts if liked. Arrange on a platter, then pierce each one with a cocktail stick and serve immediately.