It is the time of year for cocktails by the fire, warm canapés and indulging in festive flavours.

Here the Daylesford Cookery School share delicious failsafe recipes for show-stopping celebratory canapés that are easy to make at home.

For more inspiration on seasonal recipes, practical and imaginative courses for all levels, visit The Cookery School.

Salmon Rillettes with Pickled Cucumber

Makes 10 – 12

For the Crostini
1 small baguette, thinly sliced into 12 pieces
1 tsp of olive oil
sea salt and pepper

For the Salmon
200g cooked salmon fillet, or the equivalent weight of hot smoked salmon or trout
1⁄2 banana shallot, finely chopped
2 tsp capers, finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 1⁄2 lemon
1 tsp of olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

For the pickled cucumber
50g caster sugar
50ml apple sider vinegar
25ml white wine
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 medium cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds removed and finely sliced

To serve
finely chopped parsley or dill
crème fraîche

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

To make the crostini, brush each slice of the baguette with olive oil and season each side generously with salt and pepper.

Lay on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden. Set aside and allow to cool.

Flake the salmon by hand and place in a bowl with the shallot, capers, lemon zest and juice and olive
oil. Add just a pinch of salt and a generous twist of black pepper and gently toss everything together. Taste, adding a little more lemon juice or seasoning as needed.

To make the pickled cucumber, heat the caster sugar, apple cider vinegar and white wine in a pan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the salt and set aside to cool (this liquor can be made well ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to use). Once cool, pour over the cucumbers and allow to sit for up to 12 hours.

When ready to serve, spoon a little of the rillettes on top of the crostini. Top with 1-2 slices of the pickled cucumber, a sprinkling of fresh herbs and a touch of crème fraîche. Arrange on a platter and serve.

Baked Prunes with Blue Cheese

Makes 10 – 12

2 rashers of streaky bacon
10-12 large pitted prunes
60g crumbly blue cheese, such as Daylesford Blue

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Fry the bacon rashers until nice and crispy and set aside to cool. Once cool, transfer to a food processor and blitz until you get a coarse crumb. Set aside.

Select the roundest, plumpest prunes from your packet and make a small incision in the top. Stuff with blue cheese and seal the top of the prune as much as possible. Transfer to a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is just beginning to melt.

Scatter the tops with the bacon crumb, transfer to a bowl and serve warm.