Easy yet indulgent Christmas ideas

There's a tree! It's officially Christmas.

Let’s get the Christmas recipe ball rolling. I mentioned over on Facebook that last year I made this Orange and Marmalade Roast Turkey. It was really fiddly, but I was only cooking for 6 people so it was kind of do-able (especially after an afternoon of bubbles).

This year, I’m focusing on SIMPLE and EASY food that will spoil the loved ones with a minimum of fuss. I’m on the lookout for some yum side dishes that I can take across town to pop on the buffet table at a big Christmas dinner. Do you have any suggestions?

In return, here are a couple of my favourites – quick, yet impressive recipes that I’ve made a few times and guarantee are great…

My favourite from recent years is this dressing, from the Tetsuya Cookbook, which is perfect for drizzling over any seafood.

Tetsuya’s Vinaigrette

1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
6 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp lemon juice

Mix it all together and drizzle it over fresh oysters. Top them with chives and a tiny spoonful of ocean trout roe. Delicious, sublime. You’ll be licking the shells, the plates, your fingers, the mixing bowl etc etc.

If you’re sticking to seafood, this decadent tart is unbeatable and can be made the day before…

Smoked salmon & swiss cheese tart

1-2 sheets shortcrust pastry
200g smoked salmon
Egg white (for brushing)
3 eggs, lightly whisked
200ml cream
100g swiss cheese
1-2 tsp fresh dill
Pepper

Grease a 22cm flan tin with melted butter. Line it with pastry. Cover with baking paper and pastry weights (or rice) and bake at 190C for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights, brush pastry with egg white and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove. Leave to cool.

Scatter salmon evenly around the tart. Mix together eggs, cream, cheese, dill and pepper. Pour over to fill the case. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just set.

You can eat this cold or reheated. It’s rich, just a small slice will do.

If the whole pudding thing seems too hard, try a meringue & cherry parfait. The cherry sauce here is delicious. Pop it in tall glasses layered with thickened cream, brandy sauce and crushed meringue – very festive and looks fancy! You can make mini meringues easily, up to a week before Christmas (they taste HEAPS better than store-bought). I’ve made “Sue’s Meringues” from Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion a few times and they’ve always turned out well.

And I hear you shouting – what about the kids?? Mine do join in with Christmas dinner – they will generally eat all sorts of roast vegies so long as they’re smothered in gravy. But let’s face it, after a champers or two I couldn’t really give a stuff about their nutrition. It’s Christmas. They can just eat the entire contents of the Cadbury stocking that Santa brought for all I care.

Now about those side dishes you’re all going to suggest…..

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 2

    Lulu said,

    I’m looking for easy things to put together for my Nana’s 90th birthday high tea.
    Would your smoked salmon and swiss cheese tart work as individual tarts? Thx!

    • 3

      wendyblume said,

      oh! I haven’t tried it, but yes, I think it would. Although the salmon makes the mix quite chunky and rustic. You’d have to be a bit more delicate with your prep than I tend to be!

      • 4

        Lulu said,

        Thanks very much for the quick reply Wendy 🙂 Might have to trial it beforehand, any excuse to eat pastry anyway!


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