festive party treats

Posted on December 18, 2014

We're nearly there. It's almost time to relax, indulge a bit, relax some more and then, inevitably, have way too many people over for drinks. If this Festive Season you're throwing a party and want to dazzle your guests with great food, our friend and renowned whisky and food expert – Martine Nouet – has a couple of suggestions. She designed two wonderful canapés to work with anCnoc Cutter, the smokiest expression on our Peaty Collection.

Savoury canapé

Duck

Fillet of duck (or Parma ham) on gingerbread and an orange twist

Serves six people

  • 6 thin slices of gingerbread (the least sweet possible)
  • 6 slices of duck breast (unsmoked)
  • 3 tbsp of a root vegetable purée (butternut squash, parsnip or carrot)
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 6 orange segments
  • 6 grapefruit segments
  • salt, pepper
  • 6 basil leaves for decoration

1 - Cut 6 thin slices of gingerbread and let them dry for 45 min in the oven (Th ¾ - 100°C).
2 - Make the vegetable purée. Mash the cooked vegetables with a knob of butter, season with salt and pepper. Add the orange zest.
3 - Peel the orange and cut 6 segments (just the pulp). Do the same with the grapefruit.
4 - Present the canapé on a saucer: gingerbread topped with the purée, duck breast and the basil leaf.

Options and tips:
If you can’t find duck breast, you can use prosciutto (Parma ham)
It is important to use unsmoked duck or ham. The rule is to never pair smoked food with a smoky whisky.

The pairing:
anCnoc Cutter is medium-peated. The smokiness is enhanced by the citrus fruit. The root vegetable brings in a sweet note which echoes the whisky's sweet maltiness. The gingerbread (which must be dry and crunchy) underlines the dry finish with a soft spicy touch. And the basil refreshes the palate.


Sweet canapé

Pana Cotta

Coconut milk pana cotta with a salted caramel sauce

Serves 6 persons (6 small glasses)

For the pana cotta

  • 200 ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod (cut and opened)
  • 150 ml coconut milk (preferably the light version)
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 3 gelatine leaves

For the caramel sauce

  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 30 g salted butter (with the salt grains)
  • 2 tbsp single cream

1 - Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until soft. Boil the cream with the vanilla pod and the sugar. Let infuse and cool down for 10 min. Take the vanilla pod out.

2 - Squeeze the gelatine leaves and add to the warm cream (it must be warm but not boiling). Stir until the gelatine has completely melted. Then add the coconut milk.

3 - Divide into 6 small glasses or cups. Let set in the fridge for 5 hours at least.

4 - In a small pan, make a caramel with the sugar and a little water. When the caramel takes a nice brown colour, add the butter, stir to melt it then add the single cream. You get a thick sauce. Top the pana cotta with the sauce. You may choose to serve the sweet immediately or prefer to put it back in the fridge to serve cold.

Optional:
Serve with a ginger biscuit (which gives a crunchy texture and add a spicy note)

The pairing:
The “bridge” with the peated whisky is the salted butter. It makes it smokier whereas the creamy pana cotta balances the dryness. The vanilla and the coconut milk hint to the bourbon cask maturation. The pana cotta has the minimum sugar as the caramel sauce brings more sweet flavours. The important is to enable the delicate profile of the whisky be fully expressed.

A ginger biscuit will bring a contrast in textures which makes the whisky stand out.

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