Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cocktails and Canapes for Women's World Cup 2015: Semi-Finals

The two semi finals games are taking place so late on 'school' nights for us UK viewers that I shall sadly not be watching them.  I am still cooking for each one with USA being my theme for the first game on Monday of USA vs Germany and then on Tuesday back to my home team as England play Japan.

So For USA vs Germany the menu was a 'Chicago Cocktail' and a canape of  Sweet Potato Biscuits topped with cream cheese, roast turkey breast and cranberry preserve.
The Sweet Potato Biscuits came from the Martha Stewart recipe website and I made it as given except I left out all of the sugar. I may not have cooked my sweet potatoes quite enough as they did not mash to a totally smooth puree but this did not make any difference to the taste which was excellent.

Chicago Cocktail
2 ounces cognac or brandy
¼ teaspoon Grand Marnier or orange liqueur
Dash of Angostura  bitters

  • Sugar the rim of the glass.
  • Topped with Champagne (or prosecco in my case!)
  • Sugar the rim of the glass and try to not be so heavy with it as I was!
  • Stir or shake the brandy, orange liqueur and bitters. 
  • Pour into an tumbler style glass, and top up with Champagne (or Prosecco) as much or as little as you want.

For England vs Japan I am of definitely going with an English theme and we will have a Bloody Mary Cocktail and a canape of a thin slice of home made pork pie served with a spoon of The Bay Tree company Piccalilli, one of the best commercial piccalillis you can find in the UK.

My bloody Mary recipe comes from Nigella Lawson's Nigella Bites book and the recipe has been reproduced here on This makes a lot! Scale back as needed. Try to get good tomato juice, mine was a bit basic and it deadened the flavours a little.

Now you may not think of pork pies as canape material but a good home made pork pie is a thing of beauty and should not be shunned, even if you do peel off and discard some of the pastry it is worthy of any occasion. I always try to mince the pork myself as it gives you more control over the fat to lean pork ratio. Too lean a mix of pork will give a dry slightly hard texture, so you do want some fatty pork in the mix. I used a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipe, very close to the one reproduced over here on the them-apples blog.  I baked mine in a rectangular tin by Alan Silverwood with drop down sides that makes it easy to release the pie from the tin at the end.

Alan Silverwood Foldaway Pie Tin
So I am keeping my fingers crossed for the England Ladies tonight and really wishing they will make it through to the final. Very proud of what they have achieved.

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