Maple smoked streaky bacon wrapped around medjool dates and goats cheese
Smoked salmon, chive, and lemon pâté served on cucumber slices
Chicken and broccoli gratin served with baby potatoes and rocket salad
Coffee cake with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with Baileys Irish cream liqueur
Selection of cheese served with honey
A deliciously simple French cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) and Champagne.
½ oz of creme de casis
lemon curl, to garnish
Pour the crème de cassis into a Champagne glass.
Slowly add the Champagne.
Cut a long thin strip of peel from the lemon. Curl around your finger until it holds its shape. Garnish the Champagne glass with the lemon curl.
MAPLE SMOKED STREAKY BACON WRAPPED AROUND MEDJOOL DATES AND GOATS CHEESE (Serves 10)
A popular canapé that gets lots of compliments due to the blast of flavour from the salty bacon, sweet dates and tangy cheese!
400g streaky bacon
9 whole medjool dates (200g), remove stones and cut into quarters
100g goats cheese, cut into 1-2 cm cubes
drizzle of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Roll a strip of streaky bacon around a piece of the quartered medjool date and goats cheese. Secure tightly with a cocktail stick.
Drizzle lightly with olive oil and cook for 30 minutes until the cheese starts to melt and the bacon is golden.
SMOKED SALMON AND CHIVE PÂTÉ (Serves 10)
Another wonderful canapé that tastes light, fresh, and delicious.
300g smoked salmon
400g cream cheese
1 tbsp Greek yogurt
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp chives, chopped
Small buch of chives to garnish, chopped
Put the smoked salmon, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and black pepper into a food processor and process until smooth and pink.
Remove to a bowl, stir in the chives, and pipe onto cucumber slices.
Garnish with chopped chives, and serve with a cool glass of Champagne or kir royal.
CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI GRATIN (Serves 10)
This recipe from the Avoca Café Cookbook is one that I’ve adapted so that it takes a lot less time to prepare. It’s a meal I often cook for large dinner parties, and the great thing about it is it’s even tastier if made the day before.
10 chicken breasts
1.2 litres of chicken stock, I use 2 Knorr stock pot chicken stock cubes to make up this amount
600ml double cream
2 large heads of broccoli, divided into florets
100g cheddar cheese, grated
30g butter, melted
Cook the chicken breasts in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear.
Next start the sauce. Heat the chicken stock in a large pot.
While the stock is coming up to a simmer start to make the roux. Melt the butter (100g) in a small pot, add the flour and cook gently for five minutes.
Add the double cream to the chicken stock and turn up the heat until the liquid comes to a boil. Whisk in the roux a little at a time to form a thick sauce.
Blanch the broccoli in boiling salted water until just tender, then drain and refresh in cold water. Slice into bite size pieces. Slice the chicken and add to the sauce with the broccoli. Season the taste with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a very large ovenproof dish.
Melt the butter (50g). Mix the breadcrumbs, butter and grated cheese together in a large bowl until combined.
Spread the breadcrumbs over the chicken mixture and bake in a preheated at 180°C oven for 40 minutes until brown and bubbling.
Serve with baby potatoes and salad.
Source: Avoca Café Cookbook
COFFEE BIRTHDAY CAKE (Serves 8 - 10)
This delightful coffee cake recipe, garnished with pecans and pistachios, is made even more luxurious with the addition of a little Baileys Irish cream poured on top when served.
8oz (220g) butter, at room temperature
8oz (220g) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
8oz (220g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp instant coffee powder mixed with I tbsp water
100g pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Beat the butter and the sugar together in a cake mixer or with a spoon.
Add the eggs slowly. Followed by the vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
Finally add the sifted flour, baking power, coffee mixture and pecans until just mixed through, do not over beat.
If the mixture doesn’t easily drop off a wooden spoon when tapped on the side of the bowl, then add 1 - 2 tablespoons of warm milk and mix again.
Divide the mixture between two tins lined with greaseproof paper. Bake on the centre shelf of oven preheated to 170°C for 30 minutes. When cooked leave to cool before decorating.
TOFFEE SAUCE (Makes 700ml)
275g golden syrup
275g light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan on a high heat and boil for 4 minutes until they are combined.
Remove to a jug to cool.
Pour the cooled toffee sauce into the middle layer of the coffee cake.
COFFEE BUTTERCREAM ICING
100g butter, room temperature
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp instant coffee mixed with 1 tbsp water
50g pistacios, shelled and chopped
50g pecans, chopped
Put the soft butter into a bowl. Sift in the icing sugar to ensure there are no lumps in your icing. Add the coffee mixture and mix well. Spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake and sprinkle with the chopped nuts.
Serve the coffee cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and Baileys Irish cream liqueur drizzled on top.
As a final course a cheese plate at the end of a meal allows the guests to indulge their palates, and can even take the place of dessert for those who prefer a more savoury finish. Served with sweet honey this is a delicious contrast to the saltiness of the cheese.
Serve the cheeses at room temperature.
Drizzle the honey sparingly so it elevates the flavour and doesn’t overpower the cheese.