Most of us have food traditions that we like to keep at Christmas time. However it is nice to add new ideas from time to time.
Here are a few recipes that I find combine well with Christmas and New Year menus. Happy Christmas. E.L.
Don't go near this recipe if you are on a diet! It's so good you'll want to eat more! This dish can be cooked in advance and browned before serving and is even good cold.
2 kg / 4 lb floury potatoes, such as King Edward's or Desiree
568ml / 1 pint full cream milk
568ml / 1 pint double cream
1 whole onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ - 1 tsp salt
50g / 2oz butter
Peel and slice (approx 1cm / ½ inch) the potatoes and place in a large pan with the milk, cream, whole onion, garlic and salt. Bring to the boil and cook at a robust simmer until 'just' tender but not dissolving into mush. Discard the onion. Butter a large, ovenproof dish and fill with the potato mixture. Bake in a very hot oven for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned. Leave in a warm place to stand for 10-20 minutes before serving. Francesca Prentice.
MERINGUES WITH CREAM
I am useless at making meringues but this recipe always works for me. Meringues can be cooked and stored in a tin for up to 3 weeks and make a great stand-by dessert.
2 egg whites
150g / 6oz icing sugar, sifted
300ml / ½ pint whipping cream, whipped
Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. Put the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until stiff peaks are formed. Remove from the heat and place spoonfuls (small or large - it is up to you) of the mixture onto the baking sheets. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the meringues are crisp and dry. Serve sandwiched with whipped cream. Sarah Bush.
JEWELLED COUSCOUS (Serves 4)
Couscous is so quick and easy to prepare and is delicious served with hot or cold meats. By adding some cubes of Feta or grilled Halloumi cheese it becomes a vegetarian meal in itself.
325g / 13oz couscous
450ml ¾ pint hot vegetable stock
2 tblsps olive oil
2 spring onions, finely sliced
25g / 1oz pistachios, roughly chopped
25g / 1oz dried cranberries
25g / 1oz dried apricots, chopped
25g / 1oz pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tblsps roughly chopped coriander, mint or parsley
grated zest of ½ orange (optional)
Place the couscous in a heat-proof bowl and pour over the hot stock. Stir in the olive oil, loosely cover and leave to stand for about 15 minutes. When all the liquid has been absorbed gently break up any lumps using a fork, then mix in all the remaining ingredients. Serve warm or cold.
These can be made into any seasonal shape depending on what cutters you have. They make a nice change from 'cheesy footballs'!
125g / 4½oz strong cheddar or red Leicester, grated
50g / 2oz soft butter
100g / 4oz plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
pinch dry mustard (optional)
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process until a dough is formed. Chill for about 30 minutes then roll out on a floured surface and cut into shapes, fingers (or feet) and bake in a hot oven (200ºC, Gas 6) for about 12 minutes. Caroline Taylor.