Six festive recipes from around the world
British-inspired: smoked salmon and apple salad with horseradish cream
Preparation time 10 minutes
100g crème fraîche
2tbsp horseradish cream
Juice and zest of half a lemon, plus extra to garnish
500g smoked salmon
2 green apples
150g rocket leaves
2tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
Put the crème fraîche, horseradish cream and lemon juice and zest in a bowl, and whisk together. Season with plenty of black pepper. Set aside.
Slice the apples as thinly as you can and place in a bowl of iced water to crisp up.
Arrange the apple slices in circles on serving plates. Place a small handful of salad leaves in the middle and add the smoked salmon slices. Drizzle with the horseradish cream (or serve on the side), scatter over the toasted fennel seeds and dust with lemon zest.
Courtesy Emily Price
Lebanese-inspired: seven-spiced stuffed turkey breast with date syrup
Serves 4 (easily doubled)
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
800g turkey breast, flattened
4 tbsp Arabic seven-spice
400g cooked freekeh
6 tbsp raisins
200g dates, pitted and chopped
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Wrap the turkey breasts in cling film, place on a cutting board and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound them to a thickness of around 1cm.
Remove the cling film, place the turkey breasts skin side down and season the meat all over with salt and the Arabic seven-spice. Spread one-third of the cooked freekeh over the turkey breasts, add the raisins and roll up tightly, so that the meat encases the stuffing. Secure with kitchen twine or string, adding toothpicks to fasten if needed. Transfer to the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Put the dates and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and blitz in a hand blender until you have a smooth, thick sauce (add more water if needed). To serve, arrange the remaining freekeh on a platter and sit the turkey breast on top. Offer the date sauce on the side.
Courtesy Judy Karim
Persian-inspired: shirin polo
Preparation time 60 minutes
Cook time 2 hours
Ingredients for the rice dish
800g rice, washed until the water runs clear
Peel of 2 large oranges or 150g ready-prepared peel
10 medium-sized carrots, cut into julienne strips
50ml rose water
Ingredients for the taadig (crusty part at the bottom)
50g to 75g melted butter, ghee or safflower oil, plus 1tbsp extra for topping
11/2tbsp natural yogurt
1/4tsp saffron threads, pounded
1 generous spoon of slivered almonds
1 generous spoon of slivered pistachios
Cook the rice, drain and cool.
Place the orange peel in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for about 2 to 3 minutes, then discard the water. Do this three times to remove the bitterness.
Put 500ml water in a pan and add the orange peel, carrots, butter and sugar. Bring to the boil and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the rose water and set aside.
For the taadig, add melted butter, ghee or oil to a heavy non-stick pan and heat briskly with the yogurt, saffron, 2 to 3 ladles of rice and 75ml water. Stir well and spread the mixture over the base and start layering the rice and carrot mixture on top. Start with a layer of rice. Then add a layer of the carrot and orange peel mixture, and sprinkle with 1 tsp cinnamon. Repeat the layers, making the rice into a pyramid shape.
Poke 4 or 5 deep holes into the rice with a chopstick or the handle of a spoon, making sure it hits the bottom of the pot, then cover. Let the rice cook on a high heat for 5 to 7 minutes then remove the lid and add 125ml water and 1 tablespoon butter, oil or ghee.
Wrap the lid in a clean tea towel or 2 to 3 sheets of kitchen paper. Cover the pan, making sure the tea towel or kitchen paper is wrapped up around the handle so that it doesn’t catch fire. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting. Allow to cook for 50 to 60 minutes undisturbed.
In order for the almonds not to be too hard, you can steam them on top of the rice. Add them about 5 or 7 minutes before you’re about to take the rice off the heat. You can also put them in a china ramekin and place it on the mound of rice. Pistachios don’t need this treatment as they have a more delicate texture and are best when they are a little crunchy. Serve the rice on a platter.
Courtesy Ariana Bundy
French-inspired: bûche de Noël
Preparation time 1 hour
Cook time 30 minutes
Ingredients for the sponge
30g butter, melted
50g almond powder
Small pinch of salt
Ingredients for the syrup
Ingredients for the chestnut-cream filling
200ml whipping cream
200g chestnut cream (buy this readymade)
Ingredients for the chocolate topping
150g dark chocolate, melted
3tbsp double cream
Icing sugar, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Separate the egg yolks and whites, setting the whites aside for later.
Put the yolks in a mixing bowl, add the sugar and beat with an electric whisk until the mixture has doubled in volume. Add the flour, almond powder, salt and melted butter, and continue to whisk until the mix is smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until soft peaks form, then gently fold into the egg yolks and flour. Pour the mixture into a large rectangular baking tray, spreading out to a thickness of 3mm. Smooth the surface with a spatula and cook for 15 minutes.
Whisk the whipping cream to soft peaks, then transfer to the fridge for about 20 minutes.
Put the water and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside. Turn the sponge out onto a clean damp tea towel, leaving the baking paper on. Roll up into a cylinder shape and leave for 5 minutes.
Unroll the sponge, remove the baking paper and brush the sponge all over with the sugar syrup. Roll up again. Remove the whipped cream from the fridge and mix in the chestnut cream until smooth.
Unroll the sponge again, spread with a 5mm-thick layer of the chestnut cream. Roll up once more and transfer to the fridge for 20 minutes.
Mix the mascarpone cheese, double cream and melted chocolate together until smooth. Remove the sponge from the fridge and cover completely with the chocolate-cream mixture. Use a fork to scratch the surface to give the cake a tree bark effect. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.
Courtesy Stephane Cedelle
Serves 8 to 10
Preparation time 30 minutes, plus resting
Cook time 20 minutes
2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 large lemon, zested (approx 2 tsp)
½ orange, zested (approx 2 tsps)
3 tbsp sugar
½ tsp fine salt
¼ tsp baking powder
30g butter, diced and at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Canola oil, for frying
1½ cups hazelnuts, toasted
Sugar sprinkles, for decoration
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
Ingredients for the syrup
1 cup honey
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
To make the dough, pulse the flour, lemon zest, orange zest, sugar, salt and baking powder together in the bowl of a food processor.
Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the eggs and vanilla.
Pulse until the mixture forms a ball. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into four equal-sized pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece to a thickness of approximately 0.6cm, and then cut into 1cm pieces.
Roll each piece of dough into a small ball, about the size of a hazelnut.
Fill a heavy-based saucepan three-quarters full with canola oil, set over a medium heat and heat until a small piece of bread turns golden brown – about 3 minutes.
Cook the balls of dough in batches for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain any excess oil on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
To make the syrup, put the honey, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan and set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and heat for 3 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from the heat and add the fried dough balls and the hazelnuts, stirring to coat. Leave for 2 minutes.
Place a lightly oiled water glass in the middle of a large plate. Arrange the struffoli and hazelnuts around the glass to form a wreath shape.
Drizzle with honey syrup and leave it to set for two hours.
Dust with sugar sprinkles and icing sugar and remove the water glass just before serving.
Courtesy Luigi Vesper
Indian-inspired: spiced apple and ginger chutney
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
190g soft brown sugar
4 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
850g cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
Pinch of salt
Put the cumin and fennel seeds in a small frying pan and dry roast over a low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Grind to a coarse powder and set aside.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the ground cumin and fennel seeds and sizzle for a minute. Add the sliced onion and fry for 5 to 7 minutes until softened and starting to colour. Add the ginger, chilli powder, sugar, vinegar, chopped apple and salt. Mix well, making sure the apple is well coated with the spices.
Simmer the mix over a low heat for an hour, stirring after 30 minutes. The chutney is ready when it is thick, syrupy and caramelised.
Leave to cool completely, then divide between sterilised jars. Once opened, refrigerate and use within two weeks.
Courtesy Maunika Gowardhan