Since the festive season is almost upon us, it’s time to think about the plethora of opportunities to get together, and for this post, I’ve pulled together some easily assembled canape ideas which would go well with the aromatic notes of the gin from Gordon Castle, where the Highland herbs come straight from their walled garden!
For this collaboration, Gordon Castle Scotland kindly provided me with a bottle of their botanical gin.
These canapés take a mix of textures and flavours, though I have been careful to think about how they pair with this gin, which has a clean finish. Of course, it is customary to serve mulled wine at a festive gathering, but I would argue that the botanical elements of gin really do lend themselves well to the fish, fruit and vegetables I have chosen, which cleanse the palate.
Beyond the gin, we have the Gordon Castle Estate, Walled Garden and the Gordon Castle Scotland brand, which are the results of eight years hard work by Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox since they took over the running of Gordon Castle Estate, Fochabers in 2008.
Completed as one of Scotland’s largest houses in the 1770s by the Duke of Gordon, Gordon Castle is the spiritual home of the House of Gordon, one of Scotland’s oldest families. The estate nestles in the Spey valley, in the heart of whisky country, with a stretch of the Spey River running through the estate, which boasts some of the best salmon fishing in the world. Today, the Estate offers exclusive use accommodation in the Castle, self-catering holiday cottages, world-class salmon fishing, Walled Garden visitor attraction, natural children’s play area and a café serving delicious fresh food from the garden and local suppliers.
During our autumnal holiday last year, we visited the café and even in the depths of November, it was a beautiful place to visit, so I can only imagine how lovely it must be during the summer season. If you are in the Highlands or Morayshire area, do consider going along and keep an eye on their Facebook page for details of special events.
In addition, the company has launched the Gordon Castle brand, which encompasses Gordon Castle Gin, the luxury bath and beauty range, tweed and bone china products; all of which have been inspired by the Walled Garden. You can see more in the video below.
Onto the canapés! Lavender and Mint are among the herbs grown within the eight-acre walled garden, and these are carefully blended and patiently distilled to tease out the botanicals in this small batch gin. I’ve devised four canapés which can be easily assembled in minutes, and don’t overpower the delicate nature of the gin. I paired my serve with a Lamb & Watt premium cucumber tonic water, although the Gordon Castle perfect serve is with a sprig of mint and slices of lemon and lime.
First on our menu, we have a vegan friendly canapé. Cut thick cucumber rounds for bases and pipe hummus using a star shaped nozzle to top it. I used a lemon and coriander flavour hummus to provide a little bit of special flavour, but I wouldn’t use anything that has a stronger flavour. Piping the hummus makes it look fancier than spreading with a knife, and if you have a disposable icing bag, then you only have to wash up the nozzle. An added extra would be to top the hummus canapés with a slice of sun-dried tomato – just make sure to blot the sun-dried tomato with some kitchen towel to remove the excess oil. A fuss-free vegan canapé!
I couldn’t put together a canapé round up without including some smoked salmon – a staple for Christmas gatherings! For a change in texture I used blinis (heat in a preheated oven for 4 minutes, then leave to cool for a few minutes), top with a smear of cream cheese and a pile of smoked salmon ribbons. Season with black pepper and enjoy this super soft salmon treat!
Another quick fishy canapé for vegetarians who eat fish: Top cucumber rounds with a slice of avocado and a cooked king prawn. You could always drizzle lemon or lime juice on the top to give the canapé a citrus burst. The prawn nicely hugs the avo slice, and it is a generous mouthful!
Finally another classic, though this is a bit bigger than your usual canape – mini bruschetta. Rub a garlic clove over some French/melba toasts (you’ll find these in the cracker/savoury biscuit aisle in the supermarket), and top with some finely chopped tomato and a grinding of black pepper. Stuck to using the drier outside ring of tomato – using the watery centre will only result in some soggy toast and no-one wants that!
Thanks to Gordon Castle Scotland for providing a bottle of their Botanical gin in order for me to write this post and get organised for a season of Christmas gatherings!