Christmas Sea Food Starters
These holidays always have been remembered for traditional main dishes and desserts, but I always remembered as well for the sea-food starters, so creamy and refreshing before the mains.
|Baked Prawns with rocket salad|
1. Remove the shell and head of the prawns just leaving the tail. Put them in an oven tray and season with sea-salt and sprinkle over 3 tbsp of olive oil.
2. Them scatter over the chopped garlic and oregano. Pour over the white wine and brandy.
3. Put them in a pre-heated oven at 200ºC for about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile in a bowl dress the salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
5. Place some salad in each dish and top with the prawns and some juices from the oven tray.
Smoked Salmon with Prawns Serves 6 – Kcal 210 – Time 25 min.
|Smoked oak salmon with prawns mousse|
350g sliced smoked salmon (6 slices reserve) - 2 chicory heads - 200g ricotta – 1 lemon juice - A bunch of chives.
1. First separate in a delicate way the chicory heads leaves, wash them very well and put in a bowl with cold water and 1 tbsp. of vinegar for 4 minutes. Wash again and let drain.
2. Chop the prawns and smoked salmon.
3. In a bowl stir in the ricotta and then add the chopped salmon and prawns, season with plenty black pepper (to taste) and mix everything very well. Chill in the fridge.
4. Then mix the lemon juice, 15g of chives and 3 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil for make a dressing.
5. In individual plates, first place 1 reserved salmon slice on the plate, top with 2 chicory leaves, and fill them with a tbsp. of ricotta mixture. Arrange and drizzle over some of the dressing and garnish with thinly sliced chives.
Stuffed baby gem lettuce Serves 6 – Kcal 300 - Time 25 min.
|Baby gem lettuce are more bitter and intense, ideal for a snack|
1. First separate in a delicate way the chicory heads leaves, wash them very well and put in a bowl with cold water and 1 tbsp. of vinegar for 4 minutes. Wash again and let drain. Reserve aside the lettuce hearts
2. Finely chop the prawns and crab sticks. Put in a bowl. Now also chop finely the pickled onion and cornichons, olives and egg. Stir in the bowl and mix very well. Season. Stir again.
3. Cut in thin shreds the lettuce hearts leftovers and add to the mix with 3 tbsp. of cocktail sauce. Mix all very well.
4. In a serving dish place the drain lettuce leaves and fill them with the seafood mixture.
5. Spread over a little extra cocktail sauce and sprinkle some capers and put in the centre of the table
Christmas Soups Starters
These soups are simple and delicious and very easy to prepare and more important a starter with low calories that you can cook the day or week before and reheat just before serving
Christmas Carrot Soup Serves 6 – 190 kcal - Time 70minutes
|Christmas Carrot Soup topped with mushrooms|
1. In a wide medium deep pan, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil and add the onion, sliced leek and roughly chopped chestnuts. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes in a low medium heat.
2. Add the carrots, nutmeg and cloves. Cover with 700ml hot vegetable stock. Simmer with the lid on until the carrots are tender
3. In another pan heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in medium high. Add the sliced mushrooms, cook them for about 5 minutes, and stir often. Season well. Remove from the heat and add the sesame seeds.
4. When the carrots are tender, blend the mixture until smooth with in a blender or using a hand-held blender. Add more stock if the mix is too thick.
5. Serve in individual plates and top each one with the mushrooms and some coriander. Sprinkle over some olive oil.
Broccoli Festive Cream Soup Serves 6 - 247kcal - Time 50 min
|For a lighter version use just bread toast stick instead of puff pastry|
1. In a pan with salty boiling water cook the broccoli until tender (about 5 min. from package- 12 min. if is fresh broccoli).
2. Meanwhile take the packet of puff pastry and cut in strips 2 cm wide and around 10cm long. Put in the oven at 210ºC for 15minutes, until the pastry is golden.
3. When the broccolis are ready, drain and then blend in a blender or using a hand-held blender until smooth.
4. Now heat 2tbsp of olive oil in a pan, stir in the broccoli puree and raisins. Sprinkle over the flour and stir very well.
5. Now mix the milk slowly and stirring constantly, until you gets thickness slightly thick as a traditional cream soup. Season and add few drop of vinegar.
6. Serve in individual bowl with some puff pastry beside for deep in the broccoli cream.
Leek and White Bean Soup Serves 2 - 300kcal – Time 40 min
|Add a extra festive touch with truffle oil and crème fraiche|
1. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a pan using a medium low heat. Add the leek and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.
2. Add the potatoes, beans and cover with the stock. Bring to boil and then simmer in a low heat for about 20 minutes. Check that the potatoes are tender.
3. Using a ladle spoon remove some vegetables and set aside.
4. Purée the remaining vegetables in a blender or using a hand-held blender until smooth.
5. Now mix the reserved vegetables with the blended ones (re-heat if is needed) and add the parsley.
6. Serve in individual bowls and drizzle over some truffle oil.
Christmas Side Dishes
Colourful Christmas Salad
|This salad is full of freshness, perfect for a side dish for all the Christmas meats|
1. For the dressing mix 6 tbsp. of olive oil with 3 tbsp. of Modena vinegar plus 1 tbsp. of chopped spring onion. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in a sauce jar or similar.
2. In a big salad bowl mix very well the rest of the ingredients and the remaining spring onion.
3. Cover with a cling film and chill in the fridge for ½ an hour.
4. Serve: on the Christmas table put the salad and dressing for separate, so everyone can season his salad at his taste and also the salad without the dressing will keep a fresh look.
Honey glazed carrots and parsnips
|Add sweetness to the traditional roast veggies|
1. Peel the carrots and parsnips, then cut them in quarters (lengthways)
2. In a bowl mix the mustard, honey and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Mix very well and toss in the vegetables, coat them very well.
3. Put in a hot oven tray and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Heston brussels sprouts
|A Heston Blumenthal recipe for Waitrose. Photo by Kevandy|
1. Slice the bases from the Brussels sprouts and carefully separates the leaves from the sprouts.
2. Fry the bacon in a frying pan, until soft. Drain in a kitchen paper, set aside.
3. In the same frying pan with the bacon fat melt the butter, in a medium low heat, when the butter is foaming add the Brussels sprouts leaves. Stir until coat very well.
4. Add 2 tbsp. of water, lid on and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the bacon in. Season. Serve.
Christmas Main Dishes
Stuffed Turkey Breast Serves 8 - Kcal 450 - Time 1h 45 min
|Stuffed Turkey Breast|
1. In a pan with boiling water and a pinch of salt cook the chestnuts for 10 minutes. At the last minute add the pine nuts. Drain. Then chop the chestnuts and pine nuts.
2. Remove the skin from the pork sausages and put in a bowl, mixing the capers, dates, chestnuts and pine nuts. Add the egg and mix all very well. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Spread the stuffing over the turkey breast leaving 2,5 cms from the borders. Now remove the white top of the boiled eggs and line up the eggs over the turkey breast with the stuffing.
5. Grab the end of the turkey that is closed to you and rolled up nice and tight until the last end. Don’t worry if some stuffing is getting out. Tie with 3 -4 pieces of twine but is not necessary you get too fancy because now you need to wrap up the turkey breast in foil paper.
6. Put the turkey in a baking tray and cook for 35 minutes. Now remove the foil paper, sprinkle over the Port wine and 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Cook for another 35 minutes until the skin is golden brown and the breast is cook through.
7. Serve the turkey sliced with the side dish options.
Pork rack with mustard and pepper Serves 4 – Kcal 380 – Time 1h 40 min.
|Pork rack with mustard and peper|
1. Crush 2 garlic cloves and rubber with your hands over the rack of pork with some olive oil (2 tbsp). Put the pork rack in a baking tray with 2-3 sprigs of thyme and the bay leaves. Cook for 1 hour. Let cool down reserving the juices on the tray. When you can handle the pork with your hands, rub over the wholegrain mustard and the pepper mixture ( Like a guide I used this five blend mixture of Bart)
2. Roughly chop the fennel (reserving apart the fennel stocks) and cook in a pan with 1 ltr hot water, the saffron and orange juice. Cook until tender. Drain.
3. In another pan add the milk and the potatoes. Season with a pinch of salt, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and the nutmeg. Drain the potatoes when tender, set in a side of the baking dish and sprinkle over the mozzarella cheese.
4. For the gravy sauce, mix the chopped carrot (50g), onion, 1 chopped garlic, 1 thyme sprig in a pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and the pork juices. Saute everything for 5 minutes. Pour in the white wine and add the reserve fennel stock. Add 100ml of water and let boil, then simmer until the liquid is reduced.
5. In a pre-heated oven at 180ºC, put in the baking tray with the potatoes, fennel and the pork, cook until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown
6. On a plate serve a pork slice with some fennel and potatoes. Pour over some gravy sauce.
Salmon with puff pastry and oysters Serves 2 – Kcal 415 - Time 50 min.
|Salmon with pastry sticks and oysters|
1. First you need open the oyster keeping their natural juices. Set aside. Season the salmon with sea-salt and pepper and set aside.
2. If is needed defrost the puff pastry, then with a knife cut the pastry in stick of 3cm wide and 6 cm large. Brush them with the beaten egg. Put in in a pre-heated oven at 150ºC. Remove when golden brown are. Keep warm.
3. In a pan heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and stir in the onion and garlic and sauté in a low heat for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent. Pour in the wine and let reduce.
4. When the wine is reducing by half add the oyster juice and cream. Stir and keep warm.
5. In another pan with a medium heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the carrots, courgettes and leeks until tender ( about 5 minutes)
6. Finally heat pan-fry pan with 1 tbsp. of olive oil, add the rosemary stick and crushed garlic, and cook the salmon fillet first skin down for 2-3 minutes until the skin is very crispy. Turn over and finish to cook.
7. Serve: In the centre of the plates make a bed with the carrots and courgettes, then put a puff pastry stick topped with some leek. Next put the salmon fillets and the put the 3 oysters. Pour over everything with the wine reduction and sprinkle with some chives.
Spiced Chocolate Cake with raspberries
You need: 200g dark chocolate (70% cacao chopped) 200g unsalted butter (cubed) 150g caster sugar 5 eggs (yolk separated) – 2tbsp plain flour – ¼ tsps. of ground ginger; ground allspice; ground cinnamon - 3 tbsp icing sugar – raspberries – Vanilla ice cream – Honey - Oven at 180ºC – Oven proof dish of 23cm and 4cm deep. I recommend using a rubber spatula.
1. In a little bowl mix the spices with 2 tbsp of plain flour. Mix well.
2. In a heatproof bowl (Pyrex) melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir. Turn off the heat and add the sugar and flour with the spices. Set aside
|Melting Chocolate with butter|
4. In another bowl whisk the eggs white until you get soft peaks, will be easy if you use a electric whisk. With my whisker take me about 10 minutes.
5. Fold in the eggs white foam to the chocolate mixture. Remove from the bowl with the spatula.
6. Grease with some butter your oven dish and dust with some flour. Then pour in the mixture in (again using the spatula will be more quickly) and bake for 30-40 minutes.
7. Check if you cake is done inserting a cocktail stick or knife in the middle, should come out with some moist crumbs attached. Let cool down on a wire rack
8. Serve: Slice the cake. Transfer each slice to individual plates, dust with the icing sugar and decorate with some raspberries and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream with honey
• Recipe by Jason Atherton. In the original recipe he macerates the raspberries and sprinkle over some lemon thyme so you can do it in this way. I don’t like macerated fruit so I improvised.