Lay on a merry spread

These fes­tive recipes are de­signed to im­press with min­i­mal stress, and sized for a crowd, says NZ House & Gar­den’s Sally But­ters.

The Southland Times - - Weekend -

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 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

Cider-glazed ham with star anise

A glazed ham makes a hand­some cen­tre­piece for a meal and pro­vides a rel­a­tively fuss-free way to feed a crowd. We used a 7kg ham, which is big enough for about 24 serv­ings.

1 cooked leg of ham

1 cup ap­ple cider

1⁄2 cup wa­ter

12 whole star anise, for gar­nish Glaze

3⁄4 cup ap­ple cider

1 cup dark cane su­gar

1⁄4 cup liq­uid honey

1⁄4 cup Di­jon mus­tard

2 tbsp ap­ple cider vine­gar 1 tsp each: ground cin­na­mon, co­rian­der and ginger

1⁄2 tsp ground cloves

2 tbsp rum

Heat oven to 180C. Line a large roast­ing pan with foil or bak­ing pa­per.

Us­ing a small, very sharp knife, cut a line around the shank end of the ham. Then, us­ing your fin­gers, gen­tly lift the rind, leav­ing a layer of fat cover­ing the ham. Us­ing the sharp knife, score fat in a dec­o­ra­tive pat­tern, try­ing not to cut into the pink flesh of the ham. Glaze: Com­bine all in­gre­di­ents ex­cept rum in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stir­ring un­til su­gar and mus­tard dis­solve. Re­duce heat to a sim­mer for 5 min­utes then re­move pan from heat, add rum and leave glaze to cool and thicken slightly.

Place re­main­ing 1 cup of ap­ple cider and the 1⁄2 cup wa­ter in roast­ing pan. Add ham then brush gen­er­ously with cider glaze.

Cook 60-80 min­utes, bast­ing with re­main­ing glaze at 15-minute in­ter­vals. When glaze is golden and ham com­pletely warmed through, re­move from oven and stand at least 20 min­utes be­fore carv­ing. Gar­nish with the star anise (these will stick to the glaze with a firm press). Serve warm or at room tem­per­a­ture. Serves 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

1⁄2 cup dried apri­cots

4 dried peaches

1 lemon, juice and peeled rind

1⁄4 cup dark cane su­gar

2 whole small red dried 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 so the flavours 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, left. Spiced cherry & cider com­pote is de­li­cious with cider-glazed ham. MANJA WACHSMUTH

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