Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas dinner menu

Looking for an elegent but simple Christmas dinner party solution? Then look no further, because we had just that very meal at chez Jorth on Saturday, and it went down a treat. Plates were licked clean, people swooned in escasty, bellies were clasped as slow, soft moans of culinary delight issued forth... well, maybe not, but the plates did all come back clean, and that's gotta count for something, right?

Most of this can be prepared in advance, which is my general trick when hosting a dinner party. I hate slaving away over a hot stove whilst everybody else is having fun, so I try to do most beforehand, and then just quickly heat up the courses as needed.

Are you feeling hungry? Good - let's go!

Christmas Dinner #1

Christmas Dinner #2

Christmas Dinner #3

Chilled beetroot and chilli soup
Caramelised onion and tomato tart with rocket salad
Raspberry ice cream slices with raspberry coulis

Chilled beetroot and chilli soup
1 onion, diced
4 or five largish beetroot, peeled and diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes, or more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 litre vegetable stock or water
Greek style yoghurt, to serve

1 - Over a medium heat, place olive oil and onion in a large saucepan. Saute onion until golden, then stir in the chilli flakes. Cook for another two minutes.
2 - Add the potato and beetroot plus stock, then bring to the boil. Cover and simmer, cooking until the beetroot is tender (up to 45 minutes).
3 - Allow the soup to cool, then blend in a blender until smooth. Place in fridge for at least 2 hours or until chilled. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

This soup is equally good warmed, too.

Caramelised onion and tomato tart with rocket salad
For the tart:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 kg brown onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 sheets frozen puff pastry
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced in half

1 - In a large open pan heat the olive oil over a medium low heat, and place in the onions. Slowly cook the onions until they begin to turn a dark golden brown - about 20 - 25 minutes. They should be much reduced in size.
2 - Add the brown sugar, and allow to mix in with the onion juices, along with a decent amount of freshly cracked black pepper. Set aside to cool somewhat.
3 - Preheat the oven to 180 C. Allow the puff pastry to thaw a little. Place one sheet each on a baking tray, and score a 2cm border around the edges, making sure the knife doesn't cut all the way through the pastry.
4 - Place the onions on each sheet of pastry, and top with the cherry tomatoes. Brush the edges of the pastry with milk. Cook for 30 minutes, swapping the trays over in the oven halfway through. Cut into quarters and serve with the salad.

For the salad:
4 good handful of rocket, washed and dried
1 cucumber, diced
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons best quality olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 - Place the rocket and cucumber in a large bowl.
2 - Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and mustard in a cup, and briskly stir until combined. Pour over the salad, and toss to combine.

Raspberry ice cream slices with raspberry coulis
For the ice cream:
1 cup milk

2 cups cream
1 vanilla bean, split and with the seeds scraped out
6 egg yolks
¾ cup caster sugar
350g frozen raspberries, partially thawed

1 – Heat the milk, cream and the vanilla bean and seeds over a medium heat until the mixture is hot, but not boiling. Remove from the heat.
2 – Meanwhile, place your egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, and beat until pale and thick. Slowly pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture, beating continually.
3 – Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and heat over a medium low heat, stirring until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.
4 – Pour the mixture into your machine, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In the last 5 minutes of churning, add the raspberries.
5 - Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place the ice cream in here, and cover with more wrap so no ice cream is exposed. Freeze for at least 2 hours, then turn out onto a board when read to serve. Cut into nice thick slices, and top with the coulis and serve immediately (unlike me, who let mine melt a bit - see the pics. Ooops!)

For the raspberry coulis:
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
1 cup water
3 tablespoons caster sugar.

1 - Place the raspberries and water in a small pan. Heat until the mixture comes to the boil.
2 - Place a sieve over a bowl, and pour in the raspberry mixture. Push as much of the raspberry mixture through the sieve into the bowl, until only the seeds remain. Pour the raspberry juice mixture back into the pan.
3 - Reheat the raspberry mixture, bringing to the boil with the sugar added. Reduce to a simmer, and allow to reduce. Take off the heat, and allow to cool. Use the coulis as a sauce for the ice cream slices. Also very good mixed into milk for raspberry milkshakes, or poured over pancake stacks with sweetened marscapone.


  1. Anonymous1:52 pm

    Your dinner looks delicious and your guests do indeed look happy. Thank you for the recipes and Merry Christmas!

  2. This looks fabulous, no doubt this was a great time with food like this! Meanwhile I'm supposed to be going to bed and now I'm really hungry :-(

  3. Mmmm, this all looks so delicious! I'll be dining with my in-laws on Christmas, but I might use some of your recipes on ew Year's day. :)

  4. Hmmm ... I can't wait to try this.

  5. I can only say yuu...uu...uuu...uuuum!


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