I originally called this recipe ‘carrot and cheddar balls’ but I just knew I wouldn’t be able to get through a post with a straight face, so I changed it. I just about managed to get through writing ‘medium-sized balls’ in the recipe but that’s all I can manage. ‘Bites’ sounds much more pleasant, yes?

Anyway, that’s quite enough of that. These delicious little bites would be great as canapés, or just as a fairly healthy snack. As the carrots roast they become irresistibly sweet, and pair perfectly with the flavour of the chilli. Depending on what type of chilli you choose, it might not add much heat (my chilli was pretty mild), but the flavour it adds is great, so don’t skip it even if you’re not a spice fan.

Cute aren’t they? But not so cute that I felt at all bad about ruthlessly eating them. It was definitely a case of ‘oh, just one more’.

I think this will have to be another recipe on the ‘make again at Christmas’ list. Every Christmas Eve we have loads of canapés instead of dinner (is there any other time of year when you could get away with that? No seriously, I’ll take any excuse) and these are going on this year’s shortlist.

Ohhh, plus, how easy is the recipe! My favourite way for a recipe to begin is ‘Preheat the oven…’ because it shows that the prep doesn’t need too much faffing. The next best thing to see is ‘Combine all ingredients’ – can’t get any easier than that.

Carrot and cheddar bites

Makes 15-20 medium-sized balls

100g cheddar cheese, grated
100g fresh breadcrumbs (approx. 3 thin slices)
2 small carrots, grated
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Black pepper
Spray oil

Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F). Combine all ingredients apart from the oil, and mix well. Take a tablespoon-sized portion of the mixture and squeeze it gently into a ball. Lay on a lightly greased baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining mixture. Spray the tops of the balls lightly with spray oil, and bake for around 30 minutes.