Annabel Langbein: delicious, easy canape recipes

Annabel Langbein is one of our treasured New Zealand celebrity cooks, food writers and publishers. She is also a regular radio guest and TV presenter and has fronted her own TV series ‘Annabel Langbein, The Free Range Cook’ which launched on the TV One network in New Zealand and now screens in over eighty countries. She is known for promoting organic food, primarily using seasonal ingredients and is a member of the Sustainability Council of New Zealand. She never formally trained as a chef but has a Diploma of Horticulture from Lincoln University in New Zealand. She has also attended residential cooking courses at the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York. Since 1984 she has worked as a food writer. She has written for several magazines including NZ Life & Leisure since its first issue, a fortnightly column for the NZ Listener, as a feature writer for Cuisine for 11 years and as food editor for Grace magazine. She’s also a regular guest on New Zealand’s Newstalk ZB. She has authored 18 cookbooks which are published in numerous languages and have been sold all around the world. Her 2010 book ‘The Free Range Cook’ was available in more than 70 countries and sold more than 110,000 copies. In 1991 she established the Culinary Institute of New Zealand, a specialist food marketing consultancy, and was responsible for marketing and media campaigns for New Zealand food manufacturers, retailers, and exporters as well as promoting New Zealand food offshore for Trade New Zealand… and for seven years she was a director of New Zealand gourmet cheese company Kapiti. Annabel truly is a legend both here and offshore.

Here are two of her simplest and most delicious canape recipes that your guests will love…


Lavosh is a thin, crunchy Middle Eastern bread that’s delicious as a canape,  picnic snack or pre-dinner nibble. Annabel flavours it with sesame and oregano but you can also use parmesan, fennel seeds or chillies. We recommend you serve it with cheeses, dips, cold cuts and loads of fresh raw seasonal veges.

• 1 cup plain flour
• ⅓ cup wholemeal flour
• 2 tbsp each black and white sesame seeds or 4 tbsp just one kind
• 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
• 1 tsp salt
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• ½ cup water
To finish:
• extra virgin olive oil
• flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 165˚C and line an oven tray with baking paper. In a mixing bowl stir together the flours, sesame seeds, oregano and salt. Mix the oils and water together and add to the dry ingredients, stirring to form a soft, pliable dough. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each out on a lightly floured board as thinly as possible. Each piece of dough should yield a rectangle about 34 x 16cm. Cut each rectangle into strips measuring about 4 x 17cm and roll again. They need to be virtually see-through. Carefully transfer strips to a baking tray, brush lightly with oil and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake until crisp and pale golden – about 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool fully then store in an airtight container.


These delicious little morsels look and taste great and the recipe produces up to 40 mini cakes. They’re easy to make and can be prepped one or two days before serving. Make smaller ones for canapes and increase size for entrees or mains. Roll mix in breadcrumbs before frying for that extra crunch. We recommend you serve them with a yoghurt-mint dipping sauce or a fine-chopped salsa. This recipe can also be used with raw prawn meat or fish.

• 300g lean skinless chicken, roughly chopped
• small handful coriander leaves
• 1 spring onion, finely sliced
• finely grated zest of 1 lime or lemon, no pith
• 2 tbsp sweet Thai chilli sauce
• 2 tsp fish sauce
• 1 egg white
• salt and ground black pepper
• ¼ cup coconut cream
• flavourless oil, eg grapeseed, for frying

Place all ingredients, except coconut cream and oil, in a food processor and blend to a coarse purée. With motor running, add coconut cream in a slow stream and mix until evenly combined. Heat a lightly oiled frypan and cook small spoonfuls of mixture 2-3 minutes each side over medium heat until cooked through and springy to the touch.