Welcome one and all to my December recipes, I hope you
are all well and that you are experimenting in the
I really like Turkey at Christmas, so I wont start
saying that we should not cook “boring” Turkey, but I
will try to give you ideas for reasonably healthy
alternatives to the traditional Christmas dinner. I am
convinced that you should enjoy the festive period and
not worry too much about over indulging a little, just
try not to go too far.
Christmas is about making things a bit special, I have
put together a three course menu which should stand
out but wont leave you in need of new trousers
All dishes should be accompanied by copious amount of
alcohol for the cook!
Truffled Celeriac Soup
1 Celeriac - Peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1 Large onion - Peeled and chopped
2 Sticks Celery - Chopped
1tbls Olive Oil
2 tbsp Truffle Juice or Oil
800 ml Semi-Skimmed Milk
Salt & Pepper
1 Small Truffle (Optional)
Begin by sweating the onion and celery with the olive
oil until soft, add the celeriac and a good amount of
pepper and cook for five minutes. Add the milk to
cover the vegetables, you may need slightly less or
slightly more depending on the size of your celeriac.
Bring to a boil and simmer until cooked, blitz
everything in a blender and pass through a fine sieve
back into a clean pan. Add the truffle juice or oil
and season with salt to taste. This will keep in the
fridge and can be reheated to serve, just shave the
truffle on top of the soup if using or dot with a few
more drops of truffle oil. Serve with some fresh
Risotto of Fines Herbs with Grilled Seabass
1 Large Whole Seabass - Scaled, Filleted & Portioned
1 Medium Onion - Finely chopped
1 Clove Garlic - Finely Chopped
300g Carneroli or Arborio Rice
100ml Vermouth/Dry White Wine
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 litre Chicken Stock
50g Unsalted Butter
50-100g Parmesan Cheese - Freshly Grated
2 Hands full of Fines Herbs (Parsley, Chives, Tarragon
& Chervil) Very Finely Chopped
Salt & Pepper
In a pan bring the stock to a boil and keep hot, in a
large pan sweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil
for five minutes then add the rice. Stir for a further
two minutes until the rice turns slightly translucent.
Add the vermouth or wine and cook until it has all
gone. Begin adding stock a ladle at a time and stir
continuously only adding more stock when the last has
disappeared. It should take about twenty minutes to
cook fully, the rice should have a slight bite but not
a crunch, do not undercook it.
When half the stock has been used start to preheat the
grill. Have your fish skin side up and seasoned with
salt and pepper underneath on a tray brushed with oil.
Brush the skin with oil and place under the grill when
the risotto is nearly cooked. Finish the risotto by
adding the parmesan, herbs, butter and season lastly
to taste. Place a lid on the pan and leave off the
heat for 2 minutes.
Check the fish is fully cooked, spoon a good helping
of the risotto into a large bowl and place a portion
of the bass on top and serve.
If you wish reduce 300ml of Port and 200ml or Red Wine
to a thick syrup and drizzle around the edge of the
risotto to finish.
Baked Apples with Homemade Mincemeat
4 Large Bramley Apples - Cored
200g Bramley Apples - Peeled, Cored and Chopped small
100g Vegetarian Suet
150g Unrefined Brown Sugar
Juice and Grated Zest of 1 Orange and 1 Lemon
2 tsp Mixed Spice
¼ tsp Grated Nutmeg
¼ tsp Cinnamon
Place all the mincemeat ingredients in an oven proof
dish but only add half the brandy, and place in an
oven at 120c for 2-3 hours. Remove and leave to cool
stirring now and again to ensure the fat is mixed
through. Stir in the remaining brandy.
Place the cored apples on a buttered baking tray and
preheat the oven to 180c. Spoon the mincemeat into the
apple cavity and cover loosely with foil and bake for
35-45 minutes until soft. Baste every ten minutes with
any juices on the tray.
Serve on its own or with ice-cream.
I have cooked all of these dishes and can assure you
that you will not be disappointed, have a great
Christmas and New Year and you will be hearing from me
If you have any questions or suggestions then please
do not hesitate to contact Graeme or Greg, they can
pass any comments directly to me and I will respond as
quickly as possible.