Porchetta makes a wonderful alternative to Turkey for your festive centrepiece. Porchetta originates from Italy and is a rolled joint of pork belly stuffed full of fragrant herbs. It is slow cooked for soft tender meat but still with beautiful crispy crackling on the outside. Serve this Porchetta alongside rosemary roast potatoes and fresh sautéed greens.
Begin by prepping your pork. Score the skin of the pork belly with a knife in lines at an angle across the whole skin, then place in the fridge uncovered overnight – this will help dry out the moisture in the skin and ensure you have super crispy crackling.
Meanwhile you can make the stuffing for the porchetta. In the olive oil lightly fry the onion with a pinch of Maldon salt for 5 minutes until softened. Then add the crushed garlic and fennel seeds and fry for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and tip into a bowl to cool. Once cooled add the lemon zest, chopped pistachios, sage, parsley, breadcrumbs and season with Maldon salt and cracked black pepper. Mix well and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Once you are ready to cook your pork remove from the fridge. Place it on a board skin side down, and then cover the flesh with your stuffing mixture. Using butchers string carefully roll your meat and bind together in 3 or 4 places tightly to keep it in a roll.
Place the rolled joint onto a baking tray and drizzle the skin with olive oil, rubbing it in and then sprinkle liberally with Maldon salt. Place the tray into your preheated oven for 30 minutes until the crackling is crispy and golden. Then turn your oven down to 180C and cook for a further 2 hours. If the crackling begins to look a little too dark, then you might want to cover it with some foil.
After the cooking time remove your porchetta from the oven and rest for 20 minutes until ready to serve!
This is a recipe for a delicious Rum spiced Ham, perfect for the festive period – this could be served on Christmas eve or New Year’s Eve and would be perfect alongside slow cooked red cabbage and dauphinoise potatoes. It is surprisingly easy to prepare and any leftovers make the best sandwiches!
Traditionally, a gammon joint would often require soaking overnight to remove some of the strong salt from the cure. However, more often these days the butchers use cures which don’t require this – check with your butcher first if you are unsure.
Take a large pan, big enough to hold your ham and to the pan fill it up halfway with water. To the water add the black treacle and mix in well. Then add your gammon joint and top up the pan with some more cold water until it just covers the ham. Then add the bay leaves, half an orange, cinnamon stick, star anise, black peppercorns and cloves. Then place on the hob and bring the liquid up the boil and then reduce to a low simmer and let it simmer for 2 hours 30 mins. Keep topping up the water level if necessary, to ensure the ham is evenly covered.
Preheat oven to 180C.
After 2 hours 30 mins remove the ham from the heat and allow to cool slightly before removing carefully from the pan of water.
Place the ham on a large baking tray and using a sharp knife, score the skin in a diamond pattern. In small bowl mix together the spiced rum, 2 tbsp black treacle, Dijon mustard, Maldon salt and 1 tbsp olive oil. Use a pastry brush to rub this glaze all over the ham. Then place into the oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush again with any remaining glaze.
Let the ham rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
These sweet festive cookies are a wonderful treat to gift to friends and are great fun to make with children. They are spiced with the Christmas flavours of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and then iced with pretty patterns to decorate. The cookies should last in an airtight container for 1 week.
Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, start by creaming together the butter and brown sugar (ensure your butter is softened to room temperature before you attempt to do this). Once the mixture is pale and fluffy add the molasses and vanilla extract and mix again.
In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients; the plain flour, Maldon salt, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in stages and then mix until it forms a soft dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 170C.
After the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is roughly ½ cm thick. Use any cutters you like to cut out shapes – gingerbread men, stars, Christmas trees, candy canes – have fun with it! Place the biscuits onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, keeping the biscuits a few cm’s apart (you may need to do this across a couple of trays). Put the trays into the preheated oven and bake for 14 – 15 minutes until the biscuits are slightly darker and baked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before lifting onto a wire rack to cool fully.
To make the icing place the 500g icing sugar into a bowl and add 1 tbsp water, mix until it forms a paste. Keep adding a small amount of water at a time till you reach your desired consistency. You want the icing to still be thick enough to pipe and hold its shape. Once you have the correct consistency, pour the icing into a piping bag with a small nozzle attachment and decorate the cooled biscuits anyway you like.
Lobster, prawns and crayfish are often considered delicacies for a special occasion, so this BBQ recipe with smoky siracha mayonnaise and herbed butter is perfect for a showstopping Christmas feast.
Begin by mixing together the herb butter for your seafood. In a small bowl mix together the softened butter with Maldon salt, cracked black pepper, the chopped parsley and coriander. Set aside.
The perfect way to cook your seafood is on a hot BBQ, however if you don’t have one then a griddle pan will work too. Make sure it has reached a medium to high temperate, and start by grilling your lobster halves. Cook flesh side down on the griddle until the meat has turned pink and has some lovely charring on it. The shells will turn orangey pink too, and this is when you know your lobster are cooked. Do the same with the king prawns and crayfish, although these will take less time to cook.
While your seafood is cooking, it is also nice to griddle some lemon to serve alongside. Simply add your lemon halves cut side down onto the grill and allow them to cook and char for 3 minutes.
Once your seafood is all cooked, pile onto a large serving platter and using a pastry brush, brush all across the flesh with your delicious herb butter – letting it melt in. Place your griddled lemon onto the serving platter too.
In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise and siracha. Serve this alongside the platter of BBQ seafood and allow everyone to tuck in!
This recipe takes the traditional trifle but gives it a Christmassy twist with additions of clementine’s, cardamom, amaretto and pistachio. Not only does it taste amazing, but it makes for a show stopping dessert at your Christmas table.
Begin by making your custard. In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks with the golden caster sugar until pale and thickened. Then add the cornflour and mix again. In a saucepan, heat the 450ml whole milk, 250ml double cream, 6 based cardamom pods and the vanilla bean paste gently until it reaches scalding point. Then remove from the heat and pour gradually into the egg mixture through a sieve to catch the cardamom pods, whisking as you go until all the milk and cream is added and you have a smooth mixture. Clean out the saucepan and the pour the custard back in. Place it onto the heat once more and gently heat over a low flame, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or spatula until the custard has thickened.
Remove the custard from the heat and pour into a bowl. Use clingfilm to close cover the surface of the custard – this will stop it from creating a skin – and place into the fridge to cool.
You will need a large trifle dish to assemble your dessert. Start with the clementine’s, peel them and cut into rounds roughly 1cm thick. Place the slices of clementine around the bottom of the trifle dish so they stand up against the sides. Next take the slices of madeira cake and place into the bottom of the dish (these can be used to help stand the clementine slices up) and keep layering up until you have used all the cake.
Next you want to drizzle the madeira cake layer with the 3 tbsp amaretto. The next layer is the custard. Remove the cooled custard from the fridge and pour this over the cake layer.
Finally add the 600ml double cream to a large bowl and add the icing sugar and a pinch of Maldon salt, then either using a balloon whisk or an electric whisk whip the cream until it starts to form soft peaks. Add the 60ml amaretto and whisk again – ensuring not to over whisk – you want medium peaks that aren’t too stiff.
Spoon the cream over the custard layer and use the back of your spoon to create soft peaks in the top. Decorate the top of the trifle with crushed amaretti biscuits, chopped pistachios, physalis fruit and gold leaf, if desired. Serve.
This vegetarian wellington recipe is a fantastic centrepiece for a vegetarian Christmas table. It includes beetroot, butternut squash, lentils and chestnuts all wrapped in wonderfully crisp pastry – no one will miss the meat.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Begin with the butternut squash. Place the diced squash onto a baking tray and drizzle with some oil, Maldon salt and cracked black pepper. Place into the oven and roast for 20 minutes until soft and cooked through.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan heat 1 tbsp oil. Once the oil is hot, add the diced onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened. To the softened onions, add the crushed garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Next add the chopped chestnut mushrooms and continue to cook these for 5 – 8 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and beginning to caramelize.
Once the mushrooms are cooked, add the chopped sage and thyme leaves, followed by the cooked puy lentils and double cream. Allow this to fry and cook for 3 minutes, mixing well so everything is well combined. Remove from the heat and add the crumbled cooked chestnuts, Maldon salt, cracked black pepper and the cooked butternut squash. Set aside and allow to cool.
Once the mixture has cooled, you are ready to assemble.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the puff pastry block until it is a roughly 30 x 40cm rectangle and 1cm thick. At this stage you want to carefully lift the rolled pastry onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Next spoon on the cooled filling and spread out evenly, leaving a 1-inch boarder along the top and 1cm board round all the rest of the edges. Next take the cooked beetroot and make sure they are dry of any excess liquid. Choose beetroot that are similar in size and place them in a row down the middle.
Take one of the long sides and lift it up and over the beetroot to enclose them. Pinch the pastry together at the seams and rest the whole wellington seam side down. Pinch the pastry at either end of the wellington also, and trim off any excess.
Use the excess pastry to create long strips and decorate the top of the wellington with a lattice pattern (optional). And brush the entire thing with the beaten egg.
Place the wellington into the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes (but the longer, the better) to cool.
When ready to bake, take your chilled wellington from the fridge and place into the preheated oven. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp all over. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Begin by making the sweet shortcrust pastry. This can be done in a food processor or done by hand. Place the plain flour into the bowl of the processor and add a pinch of Maldon salt and the cold, cubed butter. Pulse this until resembles fine breadcrumbs (try not to overmix). Mix in the icing sugar. Next add the egg yolk and pulse again until it forms a dough.
If you are doing this by hand, instead use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour.
Tip the dough onto some clingfilm and press it to a disc shape and then wrap in the clingfilm and place into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
After 20 minutes, remove from the fridge. Lightly dust a work surface with plain flour and then use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry to a large circle, roughly 1cm thick and large enough to fill a 20cm tart tin. Lift and line the tart case with the pastry, making sure to press it well into the corners. Use the rolling pin to roll off the excess across the top. Lightly prick the base of the pastry with a fork. Then use some baking parchment and baking beans to line the base of the filled tin ready to be blind baked.
Place the tart tin into the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and baking beans and return to bake for a further 10 minutes. It should be pale golden and chalky to the touch.
Remove the tart from the oven and set to one side. Now make the pistachio frangipane filling. Blitz the pistachios till the are fine. In a food processor or using electric hand whisks, beat the softened butter with the sugar and add a pinch of Maldon salt. Beat until the mixture is pale and light and fluffy. Next add the eggs and beat again. Then add the blitzed pistachios, ground almonds and 1 tbsp of plain flour and fold through until evenly mixed.
Tip this frangipane into the baked tart case and smooth over the top. Dot the cherries across the top and very lightly press them in. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and then place into the oven to bake for 40 minutes until lightly golden on top and the frangipane has puffed up.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving dusted with icing sugar.
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Start by prepping the pork. Roughly chop the pork into 1-inch chunks. In a large bowl mix together the fennel seeds, chilli flakes, ground cumin, orange juice and zest, tomato puree, chipotle paste, garlic cloves and salt to make a paste. Add the pork chunks to the paste and toss them so they are well coated in the spices.
In a large heavy bottom casserole pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the pork and fry them off on all sides so they are golden brown, and the fat has rendered down – you might need to do this in batches. Once browned, remove with a slotted spoon. Keeping the pan on the heat, deglaze all the sticky bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan, using 2 tbsp water and 2 tbsp honey. Let this bubble and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to lift it.
Then add the browned pork back into the casserole dish. Fill the pan with the vegetable stock, it should come up about halfway up the meat but if you need more then top up with water. Place the lid on the casserole and put it into the preheated oven for 2 hours.
While the pork is cooking prepare the pickled onions. Finely slice the onions and place into a small bowl. In a pan heat up the vinegar, sugar and Maldon salt. Heat it gently until the sugar and salt has dissolved, then pour the warm liquid over the sliced onions. Toss the onions and then allow them to sit. They will collapse and soften, turning a wonderful pink colour.
After 2 hours, check the pork. Remove the pan from the oven and using two forks, start to pull the meat apart – some parts will still be a little tough. Once you have pulled as much as you can, place the lid back onto the pan and put it back in the oven for a further hour.
Just before the meat is ready it is time to prepare the rest of the taco elements. In a small bowl mix together the natural yoghurt and chipotle paste. Destone the avocados and slice, then squeeze some lime over them to stop them from oxidising. In a small frying pan, heat up the tacos for a couple of minutes on both sides.
After 3 hours remove the pork from the oven. It should be meltingly soft by now and easy to pull apart with your forks.
Serve the tacos with a dollop of the chipotle yoghurt, some pulled pork, avocado slices, pickled red onions and some coriander leaves. Squeeze over some lime juice and a final pinch of Maldon salt, then enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 180C.
On a foil lined baking tray place the two salmon fillets, skin side down. Drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil and season with cracked black pepper and a pinch of Maldon salt. Place into the preheated oven for 15 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven.
Whilst the fish is cooking, prepare the stir-fried vegetables. In a large frying pan heat up the other 1 tbsp olive oil. When hot add the asparagus, spring greens and radicchio. Stir fry the vegetables for 3 minutes until they are just wilted and cooked through. Season the vegetables with cracked black pepper, a pinch of Maldon salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.
On two plates divide the vegetables. Place the fish fillet on top and then garnish with sprigs of dill and lemon wedges to squeeze over.
This pizza dough recipe is incredibly simple and only requires one prove before its ready to use. This recipe is topped with tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto, parmesan and rocket but you can top with whatever you like!
Start by making the pizza dough. Place the flour into a large bowl and sprinkle in the Maldon salt, mixing well. Then make a well in the middle of the flour. In a jug mix together the warm water, yeast, sugar and olive oil and whisk it together. Let this sit for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes pour the mixture into the well in the flour. Use a wooden spoon to slowly incorporate the flour into the wet mixture. When it starts to come together then use your hands to bring the dough together. Tip it onto a clean work surface and knead the dough to help bring it together. Then continue to knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth, supple dough.
Lightly grease a large bowl and then place the dough into the bowl and cover with clingfilm. Place the bowl in a warm place and allow it to prove for 1 hour until it doubles in size.
Preheat the oven to 220C and place either a pizza stone (if you have!) or a large baking sheet into the oven so it warms up.
While the dough is proving, mix up the tomato base for the pizzas. In a small bowl mix together the passata, grated garlic, dried oregano and plenty of Maldon salt and cracked black pepper. Set aside.
After an hour the dough should have doubled in size. Then remove the clingfilm and knock back the dough by punching out the air from dough and giving it a quick knead. Then divide the dough into 4 equal balls.
On a piece of baking parchment sprinkle generously with semolina before rolling out one of the pizza balls to roughly 25cm in diameter, leaving a slightly thicker ring around the edge for the crust. Then spoon on some of the passata mix and spread out a thin, even layer on the base but leaving a gap for the crust. Top with some torn mozzarella and prosciutto. Then slide the pizza onto the hot tray in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
The pizza is ready when the crust has puffed up and gone golden brown, and the mozzarella has melted and gone oozy. Remove the pizza from the oven and top with chilli flakes, parmesan shavings and fresh rocket. Finally drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and a final pinch of Maldon salt and cracked black pepper. Cut the pizza up and enjoy.