A merry spread Im­press with min­i­mal stress

These fes­tive recipes are de­signed to im­press with min­i­mal stress, and sized to cater for a crowd.

The Dominion Post - - Front Page - Sally But­ters

Spiced cherry & cider com­pote

This sweet and spicy condi­ment con­tains both fresh and dried cher­ries, and is a gor­geous ac­com­pa­ni­ment to the ham.

1⁄2 cup dried tart cher­ries 1⁄2 cup dried cran­ber­ries 1⁄2 cup pit­ted dried prunes, stones removed 1⁄2 cup dried apri­cots

4 dried peaches

1 le­mon, juice and peeled rind (no pith)

1⁄4 cup dark cane sugar

2 whole small red dried (bird­s­eye) chillis 2 whole cloves

1 whole star anise

1 cin­na­mon stick

1 cup ap­ple

12 fresh cher­ries, pit­ted and halved

Com­bine all in­gre­di­ents ex­cept fresh cher­ries in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil then cover and re­duce heat to a sim­mer. Cook until fruit is puffed and ten­der (about 20 min­utes).

Re­move from heat and leave to stand sev­eral hours to al­low flavours to de­velop. Fold in fresh cher­ries. Serve at room tem­per­a­ture. Com­pote will keep cov­ered in the fridge for up to a week. Makes about 21⁄2 cups

Salmon tartare with cu­cum­ber & wasabi

The in­gre­di­ents for this de­li­cious starter, plus the dress­ing, can be pre­pared ahead but do not com­bine them more than 1-2 hours be­fore serv­ing, as the lime juice will ‘‘cook’’ the salmon.

700g skinned and boned fresh salmon fil­let

1⁄4 tele­graph cu­cum­ber

3 shal­lots, peeled and very finely chopped 1 tbsp snipped chives

2 tbsp chopped co­rian­der leaves

1 thumb gin­ger, peeled and grated

3 limes, juiced

1⁄2-1 tbsp wasabi paste (to taste)

1 tbsp olive oil 1⁄2 tsp sesame oil 1⁄3 cup good-qual­ity may­on­naise

2 tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Cut salmon into 1⁄2cm cubes (chill­ing the salmon in the freezer first, until it is very cold, will make it eas­ier to slice). Cut un­peeled cu­cum­ber into

1⁄2cm cubes, dis­card­ing seeds. Place salmon, cu­cum­ber, shal­lots, herbs and gin­ger in a non-re­ac­tive bowl.

Com­bine lime juice, wasabi, oils and may­on­naise. Mix gen­tly into in­gre­di­ents in bowl and sea­son well with flaky sea salt and pep­per (prefer­ably white). Cover and re­frig­er­ate 1-2 hours be­fore serv­ing.

Serve sprin­kled with toasted sesame seeds. Add some lime wedges and pick­led gin­ger on the side if de­sired. Ac­com­pany the tartare with some oaty bis­cuits. Serves 8-10 as a starter

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