A cocktail and canape matching night can only go wrong if you decide to let it go wrong. Match your cocktails and canapes, flavour to flavour and region to region and find yourself on a path to success.
Recently we served a Peach Bellini – straight off the sidewalk of Venice and matched it with a delicious crispy toast, topped with slowly braised Venison, pistachio and orange. Some fresh buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomato and basil was the perfect fit for the vegetarians, and it seemed that launching the cocktail night with a touch of Italy had set a lighthearted tone and we had a room full of contented souls.
Our second stage took us to the Middle East. A long refreshing drink of Tea Vodka, lemon, mint and lemonade was matched with cumin spiced lamb and a spicy coriander and mint yoghurt, the additional falafel tied the theme together and guests devoured them all.
The finale had guests enjoying a liquid tiramisu, and lemon kissed brownie buttons – the citrus prominent and cutting through the richness of the creamy cocktail and chocolate treat.
Check out our recipe short-cuts below:
Peach Puree (a tin of peaches blended, or the flesh of white peaches cooked with a little sugar and blended, or a pre purchased peach puree)
- the trick is to taste and ensure that the puree is a little sweet and that it has a lush peach taste
Champagne or Prosecco Sparkling Wine
Pour the puree into the Champagne flutes. You want around 1/3 of the glass with the puree. Top the glass very slowly with the sparkling wine. If you pour too quickly you will have a grotty looking glass as the puree with rise with the bubbles. So slowly….slowly……
Use a cut of venison that can be slow cooked. Chop the meat into cubes and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Very finely dice an onion, 2 stems of celery and 1 carrot and the grated zest of 2-3 oranges. Heat some oil in a pan and add in the vegetables. Cook for 10 minutes until soft and fragrant. Toss in the meat and stir on a high heat to sear on all sides. Reduce the heat and add in half and half red wine and beef stock and the juice of 1 orange, plus two bay leaves. Bring to the boil and then transfer the entire pot to the oven and cook for 21/2 hours until the meat falls apart with a fork. Transfer the meat to a bowl and using two forks, shred the meat. Place the leftover stock on the stove and bring to the boil, cook until it thickens (add cornflour if needed). Add spoonfuls of the stock into the meat until it is lovely and moist. Allow to cool and stir through a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream and a handful of chopped pistachios.
Serve on top of crispy toasts, with a dollop of sour cream, some toasted and crushed pistachios and a sliver of orange zest.
Lemon, Mint, Tea Vodka
Pile some fresh mint leaves into a tall glass. In a jug, mix together some 1/3 lemon juice and 2/3 tea vodka – add into the bottom of each glass and top with lemonade to serve. You can choose how strong to make this according to individual taste.
Lamb Meatballs and Cumin Yoghurt
Mix up a kilo of minced lamb with 1/2 finely chopped onion, some fresh mint and coriander chopped, 1 garlic clove, chopped and some ground corainder, salt, cumin, cinnamon and pepper. Thoroughly mix with your hands to merge the flavours. Form into balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for around 15 minutes until they are no longer pink in the middle.
Combine some greek yoghurt with fresh coriander and mint leaves, chopped and some ground cumin and zest of a lemon.
Soak 200g chickpeas and 100g broad beans in separate bowls of plenty of cold water overnight. Drain and tip on to a clean tea towel to dry.
Put all the beans and chickpeas into a food processor and process until smooth. Add the 1tsp ground cumin and coriander, salt, pepper and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg and 2 crushed garlic cloves and whiz again, until well combined. Add fresh parsley and pulse until chopped and well combined. Add 1/2 tsp baking powder and mix in. Chill the mixture to firm up.
Roll the mixture into small, flattish balls, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes for a healthy option – traditionally these are shallow fried or deep fried.
Combine freshly brewed and cooled espresso, kahlua and vodka to taste, top with fresh cream to serve.
Lemon Kissed Brownie Buttons
Use your favourite brownie recipe and pop dollops into mini muffin tins. Cook at 180C for 12 minutes. Rest in the tins for 5 and then tip out and cool completely on a wire rack.
Make a lemon butter icing and pipe a rosette onto the top of your mini brownies.
Allow to set firm – at room temperature this will take around 20 minutes.
Make a chocolate glaze by mixing melted chocolate with butter and a little liquid glucose for a glossy appearance. Spoon on to the top of the lemon icing. Allow to set in the fridge.