A fresh, cool take on tra­di­tion

Who wants a hot, sit-down lunch in SA on Christ­mas Day? With a bit of prepa­ra­tion, you can cre­ate a de­li­cious and un­con­ven­tional feast fes­tive­feasts

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODCHEER - TONY JACK­MAN

TURKEY and all the trim­mings in the mid­dle of what could turn out to be a hot sum­mer (Christ­mas) day. Hmmm. Not re­ally con­ducive to that vast, hot meal with three veg fol­lowed by a lux­u­ri­ous Christ­mas pud­ding with brandy sauce, is it?

But there are other ways of do­ing the turkey thing on the big day. The bet­ter su­per­mar­kets are mak­ing it much eas­ier for us these days by of­fer­ing cold, ready to eat al­ter­na­tives to whole un­cooked birds or cuts of gammon, and quite frankly you could as­sem­ble an en­tire Christ­mas- themed pic­nic with­out hav­ing to pre­pare any­thing your­self, and there’s noth­ing wrong with that.

But if you don’t mind putting in a bit of ef­fort, you can pre­pare the mak­ings of a home­made pâté, a turkey or gammon salad and a light but still fruity al­ter­na­tive to the old Christ­mas pud­ding, pack every­thing into air­tight con­tain­ers in a chilled cooler bag, and head off to the beach or any­where with a lovely view, and pic­nic Christ­mas Day away.

Make every­thing look suit­ably Christ­massy by tak­ing along a fes­tive dis­pos­able table­cloth and nap­kins, on a cho­sen colour scheme, as well as Christ­mas crack­ers and small gifts for ev­ery­one to open.

You’ll need a prop­erly chilled cooler bag, as turkey or gammon can spoil eas­ily in the heat.

The starter here is a light, bright pâté which you can eat with crusty bread or crack­ers, the main event is a sim­ple salad us­ing shop-bought ready-to-eat smoked turkey, and the dessert is a very yummy and un­usual creamy pep­per­mint crisp dip with fresh cher­ries.

SMOKED TROUT PATÉ

3 or 4 spring onions, chopped finely 100g oak-smoked trout (or smoked salmon) 250g mas­car­pone 1 scant tsp smoked pa­prika 1 tsp whole­grain mus­tard 1 tsp le­mon juice 1 tsp grated le­mon zest salt and pep­per to taste Blanche the chopped spring onions in boil­ing water for one minute, turn out into a colan­der and re­fresh un­der cold run­ning water. Drain and pat dry with kitchen pa­per. Chop the trout rib­bons into small pieces and place in a blender with the mas­car­pone. Add the pa­prika, mus­tard, le­mon juice, le­mon zest, sea­son­ing and the spring onions, and blend un­til smooth and fluffy. Serve with crusty bread.

TURKEY SALAD WITH TOASTED NUTS

750g ready-to-eat smoked turkey 1 red onion, sliced thinly into rings 6 cour­gettes, sliced into rib­bons 5 small San Marzano toma­toes (or other small toma­toes), halved 3 or 4 radishes, halved and then thinly sliced baby but­ter let­tuce leaves 50g salted pecans and al­monds 1 tbs ver­juice 1 tbs best ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 1 tsp le­mon juice 1 tsp triple sec liqueur salt and pep­per to taste Blanche the sliced red onion in boil­ing water for 30 sec­onds, drain, re­fresh un­der cold run­ning water, drain again and pat dry. Cut the cour­gettes into rib­bons us­ing a potato peeler, blanche in the same way, drain and pat dry. Toast the salted nuts in a dry fry­ing pan for a minute or two, toss­ing, but don’t let them burn. Mix to­gether the dress­ing ingredients. Store all items in plas­tic con­tain­ers to take on your pic­nic. Once there, ar­range the but­ter let­tuce leaves around the edge of a suit­able serv­ing dish, sprin­kle over the radish, dot with curls of cour­gette and red onion rings, scat­ter over the nuts, and driz­zle the dress­ing over. Drape slices of cold turkey over it.

PEP­PER­MINT CHER­RIES

400g fresh cher­ries on their stalks 2 tbs cold water 2 tbs su­gar 250g marscar­pone 1 x 49g pep­per­mint crisp 1 tbs triple sec or crème de men­the liqueur (op­tional) Heat the water and su­gar to­gether over a low heat in a saucepan un­til the su­gar dis­solves. Leave to cool. In a bowl, stir the cooled syrup into the mas­car­pone to sweeten it. Place the whole un­opened pep­per­mint crisp (in its foil wrap­ping) on a chop­ping board and bash it all over, on all sides, with a mal­let or the han­dle of a knife. Open the foil and pour the con­tents onto the board, and chop it up as you would pars­ley. Stir all but a ta­ble­spoon of this into the mas­car­pone. If you like, stir in a ta­ble­spoon of liqueur to give it a kick. Serve in a bowl, gar­nished with the re­main­ing crisp, with the fresh cher­ries to dip in the minted cream cheese. Odd, but it’s re­ally good.

BEAT THE HEAT: Put in a bit of ef­fort and head off to the beach for a Christ­mas lunch pic­nic.

PIC­TURES: TONY JACK­MAN

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