Friday, December 01, 2017

What is on the MENU this week? Christmas cometh

We know you may be thinking of the Christmas holidays and the big Christmas meal, or of simply avoiding it! It is a difficult time for cooks, with the demands of a large meal probably for family and some friends. So we thought we would look back at our recipes from the last 14 years and see if we could find some to re-inspire you. The first thing that comes to mind is canapés to start the celebration or any event you might have friends over during the holidays. We usually like dips rather than finger food, which can be clumsy, especially if too large and crumbly - we do get to sample hundreds every year. Here are a couple of our favourites - some are fairly conventional, but coming back into fashion, easy and delicious
Guacamole
3 ripe avocados - 2 crushed cloves of garlic - 1 tablespoon olive oil - 1 tablespoon lemon juice -Salt and black pepper - pinch of Cayenne Pepper - ¼ teaspoon Worcester Sauce - Dash of Tabasco sauce
Peel the avocados and remove stones (keep one). Mash/liquidise the avocado with garlic, oil and lemon juice. Add seasoning to taste. Put into a bowl, placing avo stone in centre. This will keep it green. Chill till ready to serve, then remove stone. Serve with corn chips.
Asparagus spears wrapped in Parma ham
Snap off any hard bases of the asparagus. Blanche the asparagus spears in hot water for 1 minute then immerse in ice cold water till cold. Dry and carefully wrap each spear in a slice of Parma ham. Arrange on a plate, and grate over a little fresh parmesan cheese. Serve
Smoked salmon blinis
Blini recipe
125 g self-raising flour - 1 tsp caster sugar - 1 egg, beaten - 1 Tbsp melted butter - 150 ml milk - canola oil for frying - 100 g cream cheese - 160g smoked salmon slices - chives
Mix the flour with the sugar, add the egg and the melted butter and some of the milk, a little at a time until you have a smooth batter. Drop one level teaspoon on to a hot oiled pan and turn when the bubbles burst. Remove when firm and set aside to cool.. Put a dollop of plain or herb cream cheese on each blini. Cut 5cm slivers of good smoked salmon and wrap into a small circle big enough to fit onto the blini. Dust with some finely chopped chives.
Large peeled prawns in Prego sauce
There are never enough big prawns in the world at Christmas. Peel them, leaving on just the tip of the tail, and make sure you devein them. Marinate them in a good Prego sauce and just before serving toss them in some hot oil in a pan to cook. Serve immediately on a bed of lettuce, with forks.

And don't forget Paté, Stuffed Mushrooms, Cheese biscuits, homemade Humus, spiced nuts and good olives 
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