ELLY McCAUSLAND makes some stylish summer canapes

WHENEVER I have a drinks party, I make a point of not offering the same tired ‘party fare’ that you usually expect to find at picnics and general informal gatherings to accompany your beverage.

There’s nothing more tedious than the sight of some shop-bought tubs of guacamole and hummus, some tortilla chips, crudités and a bowl of olives.

Although making your own nibbles might sound like a lot of work, it’s not: for very little effort you can create beautiful seasonal canapés that will have all the more wow-factor for not being tubs of supermarket hummus.

These peach skewers are a great example: combining the delicious sweetness of summer peaches with salty prosciutto and fragrant basil, drizzled with a sweet, tangy balsamic glaze (you can buy this in squeezy bottles or make your own), they look absolutely stunning on a large platter but take literally minutes to prepare.

I made these at a recent garden party and everyone went completely wild for them.

For a vegetarian version, use mozzarella pearls instead of the ham.

Peach, prosciutto and basil skewers with balsamic glaze (makes approx. 24):

2 ripe but firm peaches

4-6 slices prosciutto

A bunch of fresh basil

Cocktail sticks

Balsamic glaze, to drizzle (or 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar mixed with 1 tsp honey)

Cut the peaches in half and remove the stones. Cut each half into around 6 slices. Tear off a small slice of prosciutto and wrap around each peach segment. Skewer on a cocktail stick along with a basil leaf. Repeat with the remaining peach slices. Arrange on a platter and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

Read Elly's food blog at nutmegsseven.co.uk