Day 3: Festive Favorites

April 28, 2016

The Holiday Meals that Make Our Mouths Water

There is no better way to celebrate the holiday season than sitting down to a delicious homemade meal with your friends and family. And to inspire some culinary-excellence, we have gathered some of our most prized recipes for you to enjoy this holiday season.


Pesto Palmiers

Prepare time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes per batch
Makes 60

1 large handful basil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1oz grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Roughly chop the basil in a food processor with the garlic, parmesan and pine nuts. With the motor running, gradually add the oil in a thin stream and process until smooth.

Spread each pastry sheet with a quarter of the basil mixture. Roll up one side until you reach the middle then, repeat with the other side. Place on a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining pastry and basil mixture. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Slice each roll into 1 inch slices. Curl each side into a semi-circle and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Allow room for the palmiers to expand during cooking. Bake in batches for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Spicy Nuts

Prepare time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup pecans
2/3 cup raw cashew nuts
1 1/2 cups raw almonds

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat the oil over low heat in a large frying pan and stir in the spices for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from the heat, add the nuts and stir with a wooden spoon until the nuts are well coated. Spread over a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Sprinkle with salt and cool before serving.



Serves 6-8

4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup caster
(superfine) sugar
1 ¼ cups hot milk
½ cup bourbon
½ cup whipping cream
Grated nutmeg, for sprinkling

Beat the yolks and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl until light and fluffy. Add the hot milk and stir to combine.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Place the bowl over simmering water and stir with a wooden spoon for about 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and lightly coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Stir in the bourbon. Beat the cream and the four egg whites separately until soft peaks form. Fold the cream, then the egg whites into the bourbon in two batches. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.

Sparkling Punch

Serves 6

1 cup chilled pineapple juice
2 cups chilled orange juice
2 cups chilled apple cider
2 cups chilled ginger ale
2 passionfruits
Halved orange and lemon slices to garnish
Ice cubes, to serve

Pour the pineapple juice and orange juice, apple cider and ginger ale into a large jug. Stir together, then stir in the flesh from the passionfruit. Garnish with halved orange and lemon slices. Ice cubes can be added to the jug or to each individual glass.


Roast Chicken with Rice Stuffing

Prepare time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Serves 4

½ cup wild rice
15 pitted prunes, quartered
2 tablespoons port
4oz butter
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/3 cup hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
½ green apple, coarsely grated
½ teaspoon grated orange zest
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 egg, lightly beaten
3lb chicken

Put the rice in a saucepan and add enough boiling water to come 1 inch above the rice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover for one hour, then drain.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the prunes and port in a bowl, cover and set aside. Melt half the butter in a saucepan and add the scallions. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 2 minutes or until soft. Remove from the heat and mix in the rice, prune and port mixture, hazelnuts, apple, orange zest, cardamom and beaten egg. Season.

Wipe the chicken and pat dry. Spoon the stuffing into the cavity and secure with a toothpick. Tuck the wings under the chicken and tie the drumsticks together with string. Place on a rack in a baking dish. Melt the remaining butter and brush over the chicken. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until brown. Cover with foil and leave for 10 minutes. Remove the toothpicks and string before carving.

Salmon Steaks with Herb Sauce

Prepare time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

3 salmon steaks (9oz each)
2 tablespoons oil
Herb Sauce:
375ml (13 fl oz or 1 ½ cups) fish stock
½ cup white wine
3 tablespoons chopped chives
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
1 cup whipping cream
2 egg yolks

To make the herb sauce, combine the stock and wine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Transfer to a food processor, add chives, parsley, basil and tarragon and process for 30 seconds. Return to the pan, then stir in the cream and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until reduced by half. Place the egg yolks in a food processor and process until smooth. Drizzle in the herb mixture. Process until smooth. Season.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the salmon steaks and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes each side, or until just cooked through. Serve hot with herb sauce.


Black and White Hearts

Serves 3 ½ dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
3oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening

Combine butter, sugar, cream cheese, egg and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until light and fluffy. Add flour; beat until well mixed. Divide dough in half; wrap each half in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness on lightly floured surface. Cut dough with lightly floured 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Remove immediately to wire racks to cool completely.

Melt chocolate chips and shortening in small saucepan over very low heat 4 to 6 minutes or until melted. Dip half of each heart into melted chocolate. Refrigerate on cookie sheets or trays lined with waxed paper until chocolate is firm. Store, covered in refrigerator.

Mocha Crinkles

Makes about 6 dozen

1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened coca powder
2 cup unsweetened instant espresso or coffee granules
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup powdered sugar

Beat brown sugar and oil in medium bowl with electric mixer. Mix in sour cream, egg and vanilla. Set aside.

Mix flour, cocoa, espresso, baking soda, salt and pepper in another medium bowl.

Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture; mix well. Refrigerate dough until firm, 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour powdered sugar into shallow bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheets 10 to 12 minutes or until tops of cookies are firm to touch. (Do not overbake.) Cool on wire racks.