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