Ollie’s Simple Xmas Recipes

Ollie’s Simple Xmas Starter

A few words of advice rather than an actual recipe here. One of the questions I am most frequently asked on the subject of Xmas dinner is what to serve before the roast turkey, (that isn’t smoked salmon). I always recommend a crisp salad with citrus fruit and spices. Something acidic and crunchy will whet the appetite. It should also be light and low in carbs or starchy elements so it doesn’t fill you up, and there is no need to serve more protein in the support act as well as the main event. Citrus fruit such as clementine always feel Christmassy. You can segment them like an orange or peel them as normal and mix them into the salad. Ruby and yellow endive work well: they give a satisfying crunch and look festive. Scatter over a generous handful of mint leaves too for a menthol breeziness that will punctuate the dish. The dressing can have some wholegrain mustard and honey in, alongside some vinegar, clementine zest and olive oil (or feel free to try a nut oil such as hazelnut). Then sprinkle over some toasted coarsely chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or Brazil nuts, and a crumble of gingerbread. This dish can be made in advance and if you use endive, because it won’t wilt like softer salad leaves. It would also look great on a large platter to be served at the table. 

Christmas Pudding Pudding

All the flavour of Christmas pudding but without the intense dried fruit richness, that can be cloying. This is very simple to make and you can serve it in teacups for something quaint, original and dainty, or in a large serving dish for a centrepiece. These can keep warm in the bain marie and be made beforehand but I would personally whip the meringue and bake it after you finish the turkey. It’s actually a relief to get a 30 min respite between main course and dessert!

500g Christmas pudding

6 Eggs, separated

200g Double cream

120g Caster sugar

Creme fraiche, to serve

- Preheat the oven to 170C and boil a full kettle of water.

- Warm the Christmas pudding in a microwave to soften it.

- Transfer it to a bowl and break it up with a potato masher or do so using a kitchen aid with the paddle attachment.

- Whisk the cream and egg yolks together then beat this into the broken pudding to make a mulch, which will look brown and thoroughly unappetising!

- In another bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then add the sugar to make a light meringue and reach firm peaks.

- Fold this into the mix, then spoon this into teacups or a large bowl. 

- Place in a roasting tray and pour in the hot water from the kettle, then bake for about 15-20 mins if in the teacups and about 30 mins if a large serving bowl.

- The bain marie will ensure the middle is soft but the higher heat will give a nice crust to the top.

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