Have a little nibble for the Oscars tonight! And don't forget to make a toast

Many people like to celebrate with the start tonight as they hit the red carpet for the Oscars so I've put together a couple of treats, savoury and sweet for you and cocktails thanks to Iceberg Vodka to get you in the mood to enjoy the show, check out the fashion and watch clips from some perhaps soon to be favourite movies you will want to see again. Good luck to all and of course it's always an honour to be nominated...

Chutney and Cheese Beggar’s Purses

No one will be carrying these for purses tonight I'm sure! These can go big or small-great for hors d’heuvres or delicious as a first course. Change up the flavours by using different chutney for a variety of tastes.

1 large head garlic 1
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup mango chutney 250 mL
¼ cup chopped fresh basil 50 mL
Pinch salt and pepper         Pinch
8 oz Brie or Camembert cheese, 250 g
cut into 36 cubes
9 sheets phyllo pastry 9
½ cup butter, melted 125 mL
fresh chives (optional)

Cut top part of garlic head off to expose cloves. Place in large piece of foil. Drizzle with oil. Wrap garlic well. Roast in 400 F (200 C) oven for about 45 minutes or until soft when squeezed. Let cool enough to handle. Squeeze into bowl.

In another bowl, stir together chutney, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Place one sheet of phyllo on work surface; brush with butter. Top with second sheet; brush with butter. Top with third sheet and brush with butter. Cut into 12 squares. Spread some of the roasted garlic in centre of each square. Top with cheese. Dollop with mango chutney mixture. Bring up corners, pinching above filling to secure twisting slightly to seal. Tie with chive if desired. Repeat with remaining phyllo, cheese and chutney.

Place in single layer on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in 400 F (200 C) oven for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving. 
Makes 36 purses.

Tip: You can freeze the purses too! Freeze in single layer on parchment paper lined baking sheet until firm. Remove to airtight container and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Bake in 400F (180 C) oven for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Larger Purses: For a first course you can make these morsels larger. Cut the phyllo into 6 squares and repeat with recipe. Serve on a bed of mixed greens and garnish with Basil Oil and fresh edible flowers.

Photo courtesy of Iceberg Vodka

American Hustle: Crook’s Champagne
1 oz. chilled Iceberg Vodka
1.5 oz. chilled white grape juice
2-3 oz. chilled sodawater/seltzer water
1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Mix Iceberg Vodka and white grape juice and lemon together. Just before serving pour into champagne flutes, top up with about 2-3 oz. soda water and garnish with sliced strawberries.

Coconut Panna Cotta

For a little sweet treat that you can enjoy later tonight. Panna cotta is a cooked cream dessert from Italy and is refreshing and light. Here I’ve turned it into a little more Asian style dessert with the use of canned coconut milk. Use smaller ramekins or shallow glasses for mini versions and make more to share!

1 envelope (7 g) unflavoured gelatin 1
1 can (400 mL) coconut milk 1
1 cup whipping cream 250 mL
½ cup granulated sugar 125 mL
1 tsp vanilla 5 mL
½ cup toasted shredded coconut 125 mL
Cape gooseberries or fresh raspberries
Fresh mint leaves
Raspberry or mango coulis

Dissolve gelatin in ¼ cup (50 mL) cold water; set aside.  

In saucepan, whisk together coconut milk, cream and sugar. Bring cream mixture to boil and remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla and gelatin mixture.

Place 1 tbsp (15 mL) of toasted coconut in bottom of 8 ramekins or custard cups. Gently pour coconut mixture into ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until set. Run knife around edge of ramekins and turn onto serving plates.

Garnish with fresh fruit and mint leaves and Raspberry or Mango Coulis.
Makes 8 servings.

Her: Shared Connection Cocktail

Photo courtesy of Iceberg Vodka
2 oz. Iceberg Vodka
1 oz. coffee liqueur
1 oz. nut liqueur
1 oz. chocolate liqueur
Fine grated bittersweet chocolate

Combine Iceberg Vodka and liqueurs in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into two cocktail glasses. Top with chocolate.


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