We've enjoyed quite low key Christmases the last few years.
We've finally learned that you don't have to overindulge on every possible level, despite what the advertising gurus would have you think.
One of the areas we've relaxed a fair bit, is on the food front. I know right. You didn't think you'd hear me, of all people, say that.
But I guess my family are older now, and we're generating new traditions, one of which is 'No Stress'. The second of which is 'No Leftovers', as we go away after Boxing Day.
So with that in mind, here is my low key, super tasty, no stress, no leftovers Christmas Menu 2014. It's gluten free too :)
Home made pate' with rice crackers
Plums and whole nuts in the shell to crack
Smoked salmon mounds filled with diced prawns and mango with a Thai inspired dressing
Hasselback roasted beetroots with feta and chives
Choc, Almond and Date Torte
Pate` recipe here.
Smoked Salmon mounds
Make these up to 24 hours ahead
For 4 serves
500gms smoked salmon
2-3 large fresh prawns per person, peeled and chopped finely
1 Lebanese cucumber, finely diced
2 ripe mangoes, flesh removed and diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small red and 1 small green chilli, seeds removed and sliced finely
1 teaspoon minced or fresh and thinly sliced lemongrass
1/4 cup lime juice, bottled is fine
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large handful fresh coriander, chopped finely
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Combine the garlic, chilli, lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl, stirring till the sugar dissolves, and set aside.
Combine the chopped prawns, cucumber, mango and coriander in a larger bowl, and tip the other ingredients over them, mixing well.
Line 3-4 small ramekins with cling wrap, with enough to overhang significantly.
Cover the inside of the lined ramekins with slices of smoked salmon, leaving some overhanging the edges so you can overlap them to form a base for the upturned mounds to sit on.
Pack the prawn, mango, cucumber and herb mixture into the ramekins, dividing the mixture evenly. Overlap the excess smoked salmon by folding it over to form a sealed or almost sealed base, then fold the ends of the cling wrap over. Chill for up to 24 hours.
Made the dressing by combining the extra lime juice, sugar and fish sauce, and chill well.
To serve, set out dinner sized plates. Unfold the cling wrap, and place the dinner plate on top of the ramekin. Quickly invert the plate, and gently unmould the Salmon mound (also called a Timbale) onto your plate. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.
Roasted Hasselback Beetroots with feta and chives here.
Choc Almond and Date Torte
Make this at least a day ahead, starting it early evening so you can leave it in the oven to dry out overnight
250gms dark chocolate, chopped
250gms dates, chopped
250gms whole almonds, chopped
6 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
Whipped cream, shaved chocolate and toasted almond flakes to garnish
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line a 20cm lined springform cake tin.
Whip egg whites until stiff , add sugar gradually and beating until thick and glossy.
Very gently fold in the chopped chocolate, dates and almonds until just barely combined. Do no overmix and use a thin spatula or metal spoon to avoid collapsing the air in the whipped egg white.
Pour into the lined pan and bake for 45 minutes.
Turn the oven off, and allow the torte to cool and dry in the oven overnight.
Unmould onto a large platter and top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and toasted flaked almonds if you wish.
Very light and super delicious :)
Then put your feet up. You're ready to relax.