Some may find amuses (bite sized tasters served in a glass) rather fiddly, however, they are designed to whet the appetite and activate the taste buds. For example, one of my favourites is to serve well chilled gazpacho in shot glasses on a hot day.
Food stylist and cookbook author, Francis van Arkel, has compiled a delightful collection of recipes for amuses in a new book titled In a Glass. 'There are endless ways you can present and fill your glasses to enhance every dinner party or event with a little bite. ... your guests will be surprised when you serve an amuse, preferably with a nice aperitif ... it's the perfect way to start a dinner party,' van Arkel writes. Presentation in beautiful glassware is 'extremely important' and an amuse should be 'small and delicate', but you can also use small plates, dishes or bowls.
On the menu in this book is Soup in a Glass (such as Witlof with Shredded Ham in the cover illustration above), gazpacho (of course), Curry Cappuccino (pictured below), and Chilled Avocado Soup with Crayfish Tails. There's also Vegetables in a Glass, including a delicious looking Pea Caviar with Pesto, Candied Herbs and Tomato Chips, and Rocket Mousse with Courgette Oil. Meat in a Glass may sound a little unusual, but the first recipe for Smoked Turkey with a Mango and Port Salsa is certainly appealing. And I could happily devour Scallops with Lemongrass and Lemon Butter.
My favourite chapter in the book is Dessert in a Glass (who knew!?). There are lovely little offerings such as Yoghurt Cream with Strawberry Espuma, Fruit Soup with Sorbet and Red Fruit (tiny ripe currants etc), Frosty Irish Coffee, White and Dark Chocolate Mousse with Cherries, Pineapple Granita with Mint and Chilli Peppers, Yoghurt Panna Cotta with White Chocolate and Raspberries, and Strawberry and Orange Sorbet with Candied Citrus Fruit. Yummy!
Each of the recipes has been developed to serve eight, however you can simple double or triple the ingredients to turn the amuse into a full serve, making this a versatile and interesting cookbook.
In a Glass by Francis van Arkel, $24.95, New Holland Publishers. Thank you to New Holland and Francis van Arkel for giving me the opportunity to review this title.
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