Monday, September 25, 2017

Cocktails and canapés to jazz up your New Year party

It’s that time again. You’ve sent the invitations, planned the music and packed the fridge full of beer. But why not impress your guests with something special this New Year’s Eve? The expert caterers at 57Below shared some of their favourite cocktail and canapé recipes to help you see in the New Year in style.

Sea-bass Ceviche

Photos: Aung Myin Ye Zaw / The Myanmar TimesPhotos: Aung Myin Ye Zaw / The Myanmar Times

Ceviche is a Peruvian dish and is the perfect pre-dinner canapé: light, zesty & fresh. 57Below serves theirs on freshly made tortilla chips but you could use crisp lettuce leaf “cups”, lightly toasted slices of baguette or just serve on a spoon for easy bites. Needless to say when using raw fish you should use the best quality possible and ensure it is kept well refrigerated until serving.

600g sea-bass fillet, skin off
3 tomatoes, diced
2 onions, finely chopped
1 handful coriander leaves, finely chopped
3 green chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
4 large limes, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
3 tsp cumin powder
2 medium sized ripe avocados, diced

Cut the fish fillets into small cubes (about 1cm diameter) and place in a large mixing bowl with the tomatoes, onions and avocado. Leave to chill in the fridge until just before serving. In a separate bowl, add the lime juice, salt, pepper and cumin, mix and leave to chill in the fridge. Five minutes before you want to serve, take both bowls from the fridge and pour the lime juice over the fish, ensuring every piece is evenly coated. Don’t do this too early or the acidic citrus juice will “cook”. Add seasoning if required, stir in the chopped herbs and serve as desired.

Serve it with…
The Paloma

The Paloma doesn’t get as much love as the Margarita but this classic Mexican cocktail is a great party drink.

60ml tequila (blanco)
40ml grapefruit juice
10ml lime juice
10ml sugar syrup
Soda to top

Add all the ingredients apart from the soda water to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well for 20 seconds. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice and top with soda.

Guacamole and grilled shrimps

The secret to a great guacamole is perfectly ripe avocados and lots of seasoning. We are lucky to have an abundance of local avocados at this time of year so why not make the most of them? If you cannot avocados that are ripe enough, leave a bunch of bananas next to them overnight to speed up the ripening process.

To make the shrimp:
Raw (or defrosted) shrimp (2-4 per person)
4 tsp tequila
2 large limes, juiced
1 handful coriander leaves, crushed
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl and leave in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes. Grill on the BBQ (or pan fry in a little oil) for a few minutes on each side until they are cooked.

To make the Guacamole:
3 medium ripe avocados
1-2 medium sized limes, juiced
1/2 red onion, very finely chopped
2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
1 handful coriander leaves, chopped
1-2 tsp of salt
Black pepper

Put 1/3 of the onion, 1 chilli and a teaspoon of salt into a pestle and mortar and crush together into a paste. Put the avocados in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork, adding the lime juice as you go. Once you have the beginnings of a rough guacamole, add in the rest of the chopped onion, chilli, coriander and lime juice. Season with salt, pepper and more lime as necessary. We serve ours in a shot glass topped with a grilled shrimp and a teaspoon for eating it with, but it would be just as delicious eaten straight from a spoon or on top of a shop bought tortilla chip or crisp.

Serve it with…
Jalapeño Margarita

Play on the Mexican flavours of this dish by pairing it with a spicy Jalapeño Margarita.

50ml chilli-infused tequila (we use blanco tequila)
20ml Triple Sec
20ml lime juice
10ml sugar syrup

Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well for 20 seconds. Strain into a martini glass with a salt rim and garnish with a chilli.

To make the chilli-infused tequila simply slice up four chillis (leave the seeds in!) add to a bottle of tequila and shake well. Leave in the fridge overnight and fine strain the tequila through a sieve to remove all the chilli and seeds. The longer you leave the chillis to infuse, the spicier the tequila will be, but be careful not to leave it for too long or the tequila will get a little vegetal in flavour.

Stuffed zucchini rolls

This is one of our most popular vegetarian canapés and is surprisingly easy to make, not to mention so tasty it will have even the most committed carnivore reaching for more.

3 pieces zucchini
350g ricotta cheese
1 tsp finely grated parmesan
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp pesto
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
Balsamic syrup to garnish

Wash the zucchini thoroughly and slice into thin slices (about 2mm thin and 10cm long). Place on a baking tray brushed with oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt, pepper and thyme. Drizzle three-quarters of the olive oil over the zucchini and grill until it begins to soften and slightly brown. Remove from the grill and leave to one side.

Take a large mixing bowl and add the ricotta, parmesan and the rest of the olive oil, pesto and salt and pepper to taste, then mix well.

Lay the grilled zucchini on a tray and spread with a thin layer of the ricotta then roll them up lengthways. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic syrup and serve.

Serve it with...
Italian wine punch

It wouldn’t be a party without an alcoholic punch! This fruity Italian-inspired punch is perfect for getting into the swing of things.

100ml vodka or gin
100ml fresh lemon juice
100ml sugar syrup
6 bunches mint
300ml watermelon juice
375ml (half a bottle) of white wine (a Pinot Grigio or light Sauvignon Blanc is best)
Lemon slices, orange slices, watermelon slices and mint sprigs to garnish

Add all the ingredients to a punch bowl or large jug, fill with ice and serve.

Pork meatballs

These pork meatballs make for a hearty, satisfying canapé and can even double up as supper for the kids when served with a portion of spaghetti or penne. Even better, as long as you refrigerate any leftovers, you can eat them in a toasted baguette with grated cheese on top the next day for a New York style meatball sub.

1kg minced pork
2 medium eggs
100g breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1.5 litre tomato sauce

For the tomato sauce:

100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pinch dried chilli flakes
750g fresh tomatoes (about 5 medium sized tomatoes)
3 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 pinch white sugar

To make the sauce, heat half of the olive oil in a large pan and sweat the onion, garlic, salt, pepper on a medium heat for about 15 minutes. When the onion is transparent, add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the olive oil and cook on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, add the tinned tomatoes and simmer for about an hour. Turn off the heat and add the heat and add dried herbs and chilli. Check the seasoning, adding the sugar or more salt and pepper if necessary. Leave the sauce to cool, then blend until smooth.

To make the meatballs, preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 8. Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly using your hands to ensure even distribution (a pair of latex gloves helps!). Roll into small balls roughly the size of a golf ball and shallow fry until the balls turn golden. In a separate pan, reheat the tomato sauce and when the meatballs are cooked, drain off the oil and add the meatballs to the pan with the tomato sauce. Coat well and serve either on a spoon or in a mini bread roll for something a little more filling.

Serve it with…
Rossini cocktail

Everyone is familiar with the Bellini but the Rossini might be even more delicious and is just as easy to make.

25ml strawberry puree (blend fresh strawberries with a little sugar in a blender or use frozen berries)
5ml lemon juice

Pour the strawberry puree and lemon juice into a champagne glass and top carefully with chilled prosecco.

Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

420g mushrooms
250g cream cheese
4 garlic cloves
4g dill
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying
White flour
2 eggs, beaten

Peel the mushrooms and remove the stalks. Using a food processor (or some elbow grease) blend the cream cheese, garlic, dill, salt and pepper until it becomes creamy. Check the seasoning and then spoon a teaspoon of the mixture into the centre of the mushroom where the stalk was. Dip the mushrooms in flour, then egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Deep fry until golden and serve immediately.

Serve it with…

Believe it or not, custard is one of the hottest cocktail ingredients in hip cities like London and Berlin right now so why not try this a modern twist on the retro classic “Snowball” cocktail – trust us, its delicious!

40ml vodka
20ml lime juice
15ml sugar syrup
60ml shop-bought custard
Sprite, to top up the glass
Glâcé cherries to garnish

Add all the ingredients apart from the Sprite and the glacé cherries into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well for 20 seconds. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice, top up (slowly) with Sprite, garnish with a cherry and serve.

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