HIGH JINKS

Sarah Tuck cheats a lit­tle on the way to a win­ning Yule­tide spread

Cuisine - - CONTENTS - Recipes & food styling Sarah Tuck Pho­tog­ra­phy & styling Ta­mara West

GIVEN THAT I LOVE any ex­cuse to have a few friends over, I re­ally en­joy the lat­ter part of the year as the days be­come longer and Christ­mas draws near – it’s the per­fect time to en­ter­tain. That said, I don’t like to make life more dif­fi­cult for my­self than nec­es­sary, so favour recipes like th­ese where the meth­ods are sim­ple and the re­sults im­pres­sive. Em­brace the fes­tive sea­son, I say – gather up the troops and make the most of it be­fore the hol­i­days start and ev­ery­one dis­ap­pears for a well-earned break (and to re­cover from the pre-Christ­mas jol­li­ties?!).

PORK & SAGE SAUSAGE ROLLS MAKES 20 / PREPA­RA­TION 20 MIN­UTES / COOK­ING 35 MIN­UTES

2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 1 stick cel­ery, finely chopped 50g streaky ba­con, finely chopped ¼ cup finely chopped fresh sage leaves ¼ cup finely chopped curly-leafed pars­ley 450g pork sausages, squeezed from the cas­ings 2 slices white bread, crusts re­moved,

whizzed in a food pro­ces­sor to form bread­crumbs 500g ready-rolled puff pas­try (I used Pane­ton) 1 egg, whisked 1 ta­ble­spoon whole milk 2 ta­ble­spoons poppy seeds (op­tional) good-qual­ity chut­ney to serve Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and cook the onion, cel­ery and ba­con over a gen­tle heat for 10 min­utes or un­til the onion is soft­ened but not coloured. Add the herbs and cook for a minute more. Re­move from the heat and cool. Stir in the sausage meat and bread­crumbs to com­bine.

Pre­heat the oven to 180˚C. Lay the pas­try out and cut into two 14cm x 40cm rec­tan­gles. Di­vide the sausage mix into two long sausage shapes and run them along the long edges of the pas­try rec­tan­gles, a third in from the edge. Whisk the egg with the milk and brush some around the pas­try then roll up both rec­tan­gles firmly like sushi. Use the tines of a fork to press down gen­tly on the sealed edges and roll the pas­try logs onto a bak­ing-pa­per-lined tray, seal side down.

Put the tray into the freezer for 20 min­utes be­fore slic­ing each log into 10-12 rolls at your de­sired length – mine were about 3.5cm. Brush with the re­main­ing egg wash and sprin­kle with the poppy seeds, if us­ing. Bake for 25 min­utes or un­til golden. Serve with a lit­tle good chut­ney.

WINE A juicy, ripe Hawke’s Bay Bordeaux blend, such as Trin­ity Hill The Gim­blett 2014.

NORDIC PRAWNS SERVES 6-8 AS PART OF A PLAT­TER / PREPA­RA­TION 10 MIN­UTES

Kind of like a Nordic twist on the old prawn cock­tail (al­though no doubt the orig­i­nal ver­sion), th­ese are a fab­u­lous ad­di­tion to a nib­bles plat­ter. The mix­ture can be made up to eight hours ahead and kept in a sealed con­tainer in the fridge. ½ cup good-qual­ity egg may­on­naise ½ cup sour cream 1 ta­ble­spoon brandy 2 ta­ble­spoons finely chopped dill

(re­serve a lit­tle to gar­nish) finely grated zest of 1 lemon pinch of cayenne pep­per 400g cooked prawns, tails re­moved 2 ta­ble­spoons sal­mon roe or caviar to gar­nish Whisk the may­on­naise and sour cream in a medium bowl with the brandy, dill and zest then sea­son to taste with sea salt, freshly ground black pep­per and cayenne pep­per.

Add the prawns (I keep them whole but you could roughly chop them if you pre­fer) to the mayo-sour cream mix­ture. Stir to com­bine and serve with the re­served dill and sal­mon roe or caviar.

THYME & CRAN­BERRY VODKA JEL­LIES MAKES 12-14 / PREPA­RA­TION 10 MIN­UTES

Th­ese are al­ways a fun party-starter! 3 leaves Equagold gold-grade gela­tine ⅓ cup caster su­gar 4 sprigs fresh thyme (re­serve a few leaves to gar­nish) peel of 1 lemon ⅓ cup dried cran­ber­ries 1⅓ cups vodka (or gin) Cut the gela­tine leaves in half and put in a bowl of cold wa­ter. Put the su­gar in a saucepan and whisk in 1 cup of wa­ter. Bring to the boil and add the thyme, peel and cran­ber­ries. Boil for 5 min­utes then re­move from the heat.

Squeeze the wa­ter from the gela­tine sheets and put in a jug. Strain the hot syrup to re­move the aro­mat­ics and whisk into the gela­tine to dis­solve. Add the vodka and whisk.

Pour into shot glasses and re­frig­er­ate for 3 hours or up to 2 days in ad­vance. Re­move from the fridge 20 min­utes be­fore serv­ing so they soften up slightly.

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