Cocktails & Canapes demonstration at Festival Place Food Festival

Soused south coast mackerel for canapes

I’m getting ready for 3 days of cookery demonstrations at the ‘Festival Place 3 Star Food Festival‘ which starts this Friday. Sadly, I’m not one of the 3 stars in the title – that accolade goes to James Martin, Rachel Allen and the brilliant Olly Smith, who will be comparing the event. I’m honoured none-the-less to have been asked to be part of the event and very excited about demonstrating some of my favourite seasonal cocktails and local produce canapes to match.

Rye & Barkham Blue Bites

Makes:         32
Pairs with:    Sparkling Cucumber and Mint Cocktail

½ small loaf sourdough rye bread
½ jar caramelised onion marmalade
150 g Barkham Blue cheese

–    Cut the bread into slices and cut each slice into bite-sized squares.
–    Spread each square with a little onion marmalade and top with some of the cheese.

Local ingredients:

Rye sourdough bread: The Baker Boys, Hook – visit their stand this weekend!

Caramelised onion marmalade: The Hampshire Chutney Company, Farleigh Wallop – visit their stand this weekend!

Barkham Blue: Two Hoots Cheese, Wokingham – visit their stand on Friday!


Sparkling Cucumber and Mint Cocktail

Makes:        6
Pairs with:    Rye and Barkham Blue Bites

1 cucumber
juice of 2 limes
150ml elderflower cordial
150ml Hendricks gin
few sprigs of mint, plus extra to garnish
1 bottle of Wickham Vineyard sparkling wine

–    Cut six slices of cucumber and reserve.
–    Grate the rest of the cucumber into a sieve set over a bowl and squeeze out as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp.
–    Add the lime juice, reserving one of the empty halves, then stir in the cordial, gin and mint. Leave to infuse in the fridge for an hour.
–    Half-fill the glasses with the infused gin mixture, then top up with sparkling wine.
–    Garnish with a cucumber slice and a sprig of mint.

Sparkling cucumber and elderflower mocktail

For a non-alcoholic version of the cocktail, leave out the gin and replace the sparkling wine with sparkling mineral water – a refreshing treat on a hot summer’s day!

Local ingredients:

Sparkling wine: Wickham Vineyard, Wickham – visit their stand this weekend!

Sparkling Water: Hildon, Stockbridge


Cocktail Sausages with Marmalade Glaze

Makes:        32
Pairs with:    Rhubarb Negroni

32 cocktail sausages
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
½ jar of marmalade

–    Make sure your sausages are separated and dry off the skins with a piece of kitchen paper.
–    Heat the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan and fry the sausages over a low to medium heat until they are cooked nicely on all sides (about 10 minutes).
–    Spoon the marmalade into the pan then cook for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan gently until the marmalade is bubbling and has glazed the sausages.
–    Skewer each sausage with a cocktail stick to serve.

Local ingredients:

Cocktail sausages: CE Evans, Alresford

Rapeseed oil: Pratt’s Food, Andover

Marmalade: Naked Jam, New Forest – visit their stand on Saturday & Sunday!


Rhubarb Negroni

Makes:         1
Pairs with:    Cocktail Sausages with Marmalade Glaze

For the rhubarb syrup:
300 g rhubarb, chopped
4 tbsp caster sugar

For the cocktail:
50 ml rhubarb syrup
25 ml gin
25 ml campari
1 short rhubarb stem

–    Put the rhubarb in a wide saucepan with the sugar and 4 tbsp of water. Cover the pan and cook over a medium heat until the rhubarb has softened. Leave to cool, then strain to separate the syrupy juice from the pulp (save the pulp and eat it for breakfast with yoghurt and granola).

For the cocktail:
–    Measure the ingredients into a large jam jar and fill to the top with ice.
–    Stir with the rhubarb stem until well mixed.

Local ingredients:

Rhubarb: Sunnyfields Farm, Totton


Soused South Coast Mackerel Canapés

Makes: 32

Pairs with: Gooseberry & Elderflower Cocktail

For the mackerel:
4 very fresh mackerel fillets, skinned
3 shallots, thinly sliced
100ml white wine
75ml raspberry vinegar
1 tsp mixed peppercorns
1 bay leaf

To serve:
1 cucumber
4 small beetroot, cooked and cooled
4 tbsp soured cream
1 tsp freshly grated horseradish or 1 tsp horseradish sauce

–    Lay the mackerel fillets in a single layer in a shallow dish and sprinkle the shallot rings on top.
–    Put the wine, vinegar, peppercorns and bay leaf in a saucepan with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil.
–    Pour the mixture over the mackerel, cover with foil and leave to cool completely, then refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight for a more intense flavour.
–    When you’re ready to serve, slice the cucumber into thick slices and beetroot into rounds. Spread the cucumber slices out on a serving platter and top each one with a slice of beetroot.
–    Mix the soured cream with the horseradish and spoon a little onto the beetroot.
–    Slice the mackerel on the diagonal and lay a slice on top of each canapé. You can also add some of the shallot rings from the sousing liquor to decorate.

Local ingredients:

South Coast Mackerel: To find your closest supplier of sustainable south coast fish, visit

White wine: Wickham Vineyard, Wickham – visit their stand this weekend!

Beetroot & Shallots: Sunnyfields Farm, Totton


Gooseberry and Elderflower Cocktails and Mocktails

Makes:         2 of each
Pairs with:    Soused South Coast Mackerel Canapés

300 g gooseberries
2 tbsp caster sugar

For the cocktail:
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
½ lemon
50 ml gooseberry juice
20 ml elderflower cordial
50 ml gin

For the mocktail:
50ml gooseberry juice
20 ml elderflower cordial
10 ml lemon juice
250 ml sparkling water

–    Put the gooseberries in a saucepan with the sugar and 1 tbsp of water and cook over a medium heat until the gooseberries start to soften and burst. Leave to cool, then strain out the gooseberry pieces (spoon over ice cream or serve as a compote with yoghurt).

For the cocktail:
–    Mix the sugar and salt together on a saucer. Rub the rim of 2 martini glasses with lemon, then dip them in the salt and sugar mix, shaking off any excess.
–    Put the gooseberry juice, elderflower cordial and gin in a cocktail shaker with 10 ml of lemon juice and a handful of ice cubes.
–    Put the lid on the shaker and shake for 10 seconds or until well chilled, then strain into the glasses.

For the mocktail:
–    Put the gooseberry juice, elderflower cordial and lemon juice into a jug and stir well to mix.
–    Divide between 2 tumblers and top up with sparkling water.

Local ingredients:

Gooseberries: Durleighmarsh Farm PYO, Petersfield

Elderflower Cordial: The Real Jam and Chutney Company, Southampton

Sparkling Water: Hildon, Stockbridge



I’ve just nipped back into the post to upload a few piccies from the weekend:

Susie Carter and Rachel Allen   The crowd at Festival Place

James Martin cookery demo   Rachel Allen cookery demo

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