Ruth Pretty’s de­li­cious fes­tive feast



Per­fumed Punch

All is calm, all is bright when sip­ping this non-al­co­holic drink.

500ml freshly squeezed or­ange

500ml ap­ple and guava juice

500ml pineap­ple juice

60ml Monin pome­gran­ate syrup

60ml Monin al­mond syrup

330ml gin­ger beer

8 lime slices

8 mint sprigs ice cubes

Chill and pour into a 2-litre jug and swiz­zle. If not serv­ing im­me­di­ately, hold back on the gin­ger beer. Pour over ice-filled glasses, add lime and mint. Serves 8

Cheese Christ­mas Trees

These are per­fect with drinks and easy to make with a Christ­mas-tree cookie cut­ter.

250g flour 200g tasty cheese, grated

50g parme­san cheese, grated

125g but­ter, chilled and finely diced

½ tea­spoon nut­meg, freshly grated, or ground,

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tea­spoon cayenne pep­per

Pre­heat oven to 180ºC. Spray sev­eral bak­ing trays with bak­ing spray. In a food pro­ces­sor, pulse flour, the cheeses, but­ter and nut­meg un­til the mix­ture re­sem­bles bread­crumbs. Add the egg and process un­til the dough forms a ball.

Wrap and rest the dough in the re­frig­er­a­tor for at least 30 min­utes. On a lightly floured, cold, flat sur­face, roll the dough to 3mm thick­ness and cut out trees with a small Christ­mas tree cookie cut­ter (8.5cm). The first yield is 40—45 trees.

Gather dough scraps and roll again aim­ing for an­other 18. Re­peat un­til all the dough is used.

Scat­ter cayenne pep­per very gen­tly onto each tree and bake for 10 min­utes un­til pale gold. When cool, store in an air­tight con­tainer or freeze un­til re­quired. Makes 70—80 small bis­cuits

Chilli Prawn, Roasted Kū­mara, Yel­low Pep­per & Pis­ta­chio Salad

1kg pur­ple kū­mara, peeled and cut in 2cm dice

4 ta­ble­spoons olive oil

2 yel­low pep­pers, thinly sliced flaky sea salt black pep­per, freshly ground

1 small red onion, finely diced

4 spring onions, white with some green, finely sliced

2 ta­ble­spoons Ital­ian pars­ley, chopped

2 ta­ble­spoons mint leaves, sliced

2 ta­ble­spoons co­rian­der leaves and stalks, chopped

2 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra vir­gin olive oil

1 ta­ble­spoon lime or lemon juice

½ cup pis­ta­chios, lightly roasted at 150C for 4—5 min­utes and roughly chopped

Chilli Prawns (recipe fol­lows)

8 lime or lemon wedges

Pre­heat oven to 190°C. Toss the kū­mara cubes in 2 ta­ble­spoons of olive oil, sprin­kle with salt and pep­per and roast for 10—12 min­utes un­til ten­der. Don’t turn the kū­mara dur­ing cook­ing. Toss yel­low pep­pers in 2 ta­ble­spoons of olive oil, sprin­kle with salt and pep­per and roast for 4—5 min­utes un­til ten­der.

Place cooled kū­mara in a bowl with pep­pers, red onion, spring onions, pars­ley, mint and co­rian­der. Gen­tly toss to­gether, then place on a plat­ter.

To make the dress­ing, com­bine the ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and lime or lemon juice, add salt and pep­per to taste.

Driz­zle salad with dress­ing and sprin­kle with pis­ta­chios.

Strew the salad with warm chilli prawns and gar­nish with lime or lemon wedges. Serve as soon as pos­si­ble. Serves 8


50ml co­conut milk

½ fresh red chilli, seeds and mem­brane re­moved

1 clove gar­lic, peeled

2cm fresh gin­ger, peeled and chopped

1 ta­ble­spoon se­same oil

1 tea­spoon to­mato paste

2 tea­spoons lime or lemon juice

2 ta­ble­spoons liq­uid honey

⅛ tea­spoon salt 3

ta­ble­spoons canola oil 32—48 frozen raw prawns, thawed,

shelled, heads off and de­veined

¼ tea­spoon flaky sea salt

1 tea­spoon co­rian­der leaves and stalks, finely chopped


Place the first 9 in­gre­di­ents in a food pro­ces­sor. Process with a me­tal blade un­til smooth and, while run­ning, slowly add 2 ta­ble­spoons of oil un­til well blended.

Drain the thawed prawns on pa­per tow­els, place in a bowl and cover with the mari­nade. Gen­tly toss to­gether, cover and re­frig­er­ate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Pre­heat oven to 220°C. Drain the prawns, toss in the re­main­ing 1 ta­ble­spoon oil and bake for 3—4 min­utes or un­til just opaque. Sprin­kle with salt and co­rian­der.

New Pota­toes with Ge­orge’s Gua­camole

Cut­ting new pota­toes in half al­lows the sur­face to em­brace the gua­camole.

1.5kg new pota­toes, washed and cut in half

1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil

½ tea­spoon flaky sea salt

⅛ tea­spoon black pep­per, freshly ground

2 ta­ble­spoons co­rian­der and/or ital­ian pars­ley, roughly cut

Ge­orge’s Gua­camole (recipe fol­lows)

Add pota­toes to a medi­um­sized pot of lightly salted boil­ing wa­ter. Re­turn to the boil, re­duce heat and set the lid ajar. Sim­mer for 10—12 min­utes un­til fork ten­der. Drain the pota­toes and set the pot over a very low heat for 30 sec­onds to dry. Re­move from heat and add oil, salt and pep­per. Gen­tly shake to com­bine. Tip the pota­toes into a serv­ing bowl and gen­er­ously dol­lop with Ge­orge’s gua­camole and co­rian­der and/or pars­ley. Serves 8


This recipe is thanks to a good friend Ge­orge, orig­i­nally from Cuba.

2 ripe firm av­o­ca­dos, mashed to a chunky con­sis­tency

2 ta­ble­spoons lime juice

1 red pep­per, finely diced

2 medium toma­toes, grated on a coarse grater, or peeled, de­seeded and finely diced

4 ta­ble­spoons co­rian­der leaves and stalks, finely chopped

1 tea­spoon di­jon mus­tard

½ tea­spoon flaky sea salt

⅛ tea­spoon black pep­per, freshly ground

4—5 drops tabasco

Put all the in­gre­di­ents in a small bowl and stir gen­tly to com­bine. Serve within 4 hours.

Beet­root Salad with Horse­rad­ish Dress­ing

1.5kg medium beet­root, ends trimmed

1 bay leaf

1 sprig thyme

1 sprig sage

1 ta­ble­spoon white wine vine­gar

1 ta­ble­spoon sugar

½ tea­spoon salt

Salt and pep­per to taste

12 stoned green olives

12 stoned black olives

1 pun­net cherry toma­toes, halved

12—24 basil leaves

Horse­rad­ish Dress­ing (recipe fol­lows)

Place the beet­root, bay leaf, thyme, sage, vine­gar, sugar and ½ tea­spoon salt into a pot. Cover with wa­ter and bring to the boil, then re­duce to a sim­mer for 45 min­utes or un­til ten­der.

When cool, peel and cut the beet­root into wedges and sprin­kle with salt and pep­per. Pile on a serv­ing plat­ter and scat­ter with the olives (cut in half hor­i­zon­tally if large), toma­toes and basil leaves. Driz­zle with Horse­rad­ish Dress­ing. Serves 8


In a bowl, place 1 ta­ble­spoon white wine vine­gar, 3 ta­ble­spoons pre­pared horse­rad­ish sauce, ½ tea­spoon flaky sea salt and ⅛ tea­spoon freshly ground pep­per. Whisk to com­bine then con­tinue whisk­ing while slowly adding 8 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra vir­gin olive oil.

Green Bean Salad with Cran­ber­ries

100g dried cran­ber­ries

100ml or­ange juice, freshly squeezed and warmed

3 ta­ble­spoon white wine vine­gar

2 ta­ble­spoons di­jon mus­tard

¾ tea­spoon flaky sea salt

8 ta­ble­spoons olive oil

600g green beans, trimmed

Soak cran­ber­ries for 5—10 min­utes in the or­ange juice. Drain the cran­ber­ries, re­serv­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons liq­uid. Whisk to­gether the vine­gar, mus­tard, salt and re­served cran­berry juice. Slowly driz­zle in the oil, whisk­ing un­til it’s emul­si­fied.

Add the beans to a pot of lightly salted boil­ing for about 2 min­utes un­til ten­der. Drain im­me­di­ately and im­merse in iced wa­ter. Drain again, add the dress­ing and toss to com­bine. Scat­ter the cran­ber­ries when serv­ing. Serves 8 Honey-Glazed Pork Loin with Guava & Raisins

Ask the butcher to leave the belly at­tached to the loin but to re­move the skin, leav­ing as much fat as pos­si­ble on the meat. Keep the skin to wrap the loin for great crack­ling and easy carv­ing.

225g jumbo raisins 60ml sweet dark sherry, or port, warmed

50g but­ter, diced

150g shal­lots, or red onion, finely chopped

1 clove gar­lic, finely chopped

1½ tea­spoons rose­mary, finely chopped

1 tea­spoon lemon zest, finely grated

2 ta­ble­spoons lemon juice

410g can guavas in syrup, drained and chopped (re­tain syrup for Pork Jus)

¼ tea­spoon flaky sea salt

⅛ tea­spoon black pep­per, freshly ground

2.1kg—2.6kg bone­less pork loin (with belly at­tached but skin off)

Honey Glaze (recipe fol­lows)

Pork Jus (recipe fol­lows)

To make the stuff­ing, place the raisins in a bowl, add the sherry and soak for 15 min­utes. Melt the but­ter in a heavy-based pan over medium heat, add the shal­lots and cook for 4—5 min­utes un­til soft, then add gar­lic and cook for 2—3 min­utes or un­til soft. Add the raisins with their sherry liq­uid, rose­mary, lemon zest and juice, and cook for 3—4 min­utes un­til most of the liq­uid has evap­o­rated. Re­move from the heat and add the guavas, salt and pep­per. Stir to com­bine and cool.

Pre­heat oven to 180°C. Place the pork, fat side down on a board and cut in half hor­i­zon­tally to three-quar­ters of the way through the meat. But­ter­fly out so it is of even thick­ness. If not, cover with a plas­tic bag and, us­ing a mal­let, pound till even. Spread the stuff­ing evenly over the pork. Start­ing from the loin end of the pork, roll it like a swiss roll. Wrap the skin around the pork loin and tie with kitchen string. It can be placed in the re­frig­er­a­tor overnight.

Lightly grease a roast­ing rack with bak­ing spray and place into a roast­ing tray. Add ½ cup of cold wa­ter. Place the pork seam side down onto the roast­ing rack above the wa­ter.

Cover the whole tray with lightly oiled foil (oiled side down). Cook for 1½—2 hours (de­pen­dent on the weight) un­til the in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture of the pork reaches 55°C, or, when a skewer is in­serted, the juices run pink as op­posed to red and the skewer is warm when re­moved. Brush the pork skin all over with Honey Glaze.

Cook un­cov­ered for a fur­ther 30 min­utes, bast­ing every 10 min­utes un­til the in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture reaches 68°C, or the juices run clear and the skin is golden brown and crispy. Re­move from the oven and rest at room tem­per­a­ture un­der foil and tea tow­els for 30 min­utes. Pour the juices into a small bowl, skim off the fat and add to the Pork Jus.

To serve, re­move the string us­ing scis­sors. Move the skin to a board and, us­ing scis­sors, cut it into por­tions. Carve the pork into thick slices and serve hot with Pork Jus and crack­ling. Serves 8


Over a low heat, mix 4 ta­ble­spoons light flo­ral honey such as tawari, 2 tea­spoons grain mus­tard and 1 tea­spoon finely grated lemon zest.


750ml chicken stock re­tained guava syrup

300ml sau­vi­gnon blanc

1 ta­ble­spoon white wine vine­gar

1 ta­ble­spoon tamari soy sauce

½ tea­spoon flaky sea salt

⅛ tea­spoon black pep­per,

freshly ground

3 ta­ble­spoons corn­flour mixed with 2 ta­ble­spoons wa­ter

Bring chicken stock, guava syrup, the pork pan juices and sau­vi­gnon blanc to the boil. Re­duce heat and sim­mer un­til the liq­uid has re­duced by half. Add the vine­gar and tamari, salt and pep­per. Stir and bring to the boil. Re­duce the heat, add the corn­flour mix­ture to the jus and com­bine for 2—3 min­utes to cook out the corn­flour.

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