I love Christmas dinner as much as anyone. After all, I pretty much get to make the menu, cook it and serve it. Just today my daughter Rachel and I have donned felt antlers to make up some venison sausage rolls, cranberry sauce and start fermenting blini batter for smoked salmon blinis that we serve Christmas morning. Tomorrow (also with some kind of festive headgear) it is roasting carrots for mashing with rosemary butter, preparing my Southern cornbread stuffing to the part-bake stage, and making crumpets to toast on Boxing Day morning (see below).
As the Christmas Day hostess I still get a buzz seeing platters passed around and everyone helping themselves to scoops of this and slices of that, all smiles and Christmas cracker jokes. But the next day is just as awesome, and without the pressure.
There are usually five of us on the 26th, and it is mostly spent in pajamas trying to figure out the latest gadget, watching something on the telly to doze to, and then possibly having a walk along the river near where we live (weather and creaky joints depending). The highlight of the day will be seeing what food and nibbles are left from the day before. I bet that is the same in your house. And I bet you are also craving something fresh.
More often than not I will make celeriac remoulade, lightening it up by using yogurt instead of creme fraiche. And I also make this raw relish cum salsa, and idea that I nicked from my very good friend, Niki. In truth I blogged about it a few years ago, but I doubt many of you knew me then so I thought one of our favourite little winter salady, side dishy, relishy recipes needed another outing. I have tweaked her original recipe and tweaked my own recipe a bit for this year.
Also sneaking in just before Christmas are two easy natural table centrepieces. They are very rustic so won’t suit every home, but I love bringing the garden into the house all year round (after I’ve brushed it off of course). Usually I add in some edibles – this year it is winter squashes, fennel seed stalks from the garden, and clementines – and then we eat them over the course of a couple of weeks. I also replace the greenery as it fades. No oasis to buy, just pull out some candles, a pair of secateurs and find a suitable low container. Other food bits I’ve included over the years are whole pomegranates, frilly cabbages, chillies, cranberries on twine and speared onto twigs, dehydrated orange slices, pears, lychees and whole nuts (sometimes sprayed gold or silver). If you don’t have a garden, visit a florist for some greenery and a park for some fallen branches and any seed cones that the squirrels haven’t taken.
I just want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy, Healthy and Delicious Christmas. I will be checking emails and comments frequently over the next few days, so if you have questions about recipes that you may be trying from Food To Glow please don’t hesitate to email, tweet or Facebook message me. xx
Pomegranate and Cranberry Salsa
A snappy little raw pomegranate and cranberry relish cum salsa to make Christmas leftovers almost as good the second time round! It is also really fantastic with grilled or poached salmon and as a buffet salad. Add fresh slices of chilli for a proper salsa. Eat within three days.
300g (about 2 cups) fresh cranberries or defrosted frozen cranberries
1/4 small red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
Good handful of fresh parsley, including the tasty stems, chopped
Juice of 2 clementines or one orange
2 small pears, cored and roughly chopped
1 tbsp raspberry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses/ syrup (more to taste)
3 Medjool or 4 Deglet Nour dates, stoned and finely chopped
Arils from 1/2 pomegranate
Add everything but the pomegranate arils to the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 times until evenly chopped and mixed. Taste and see if you wish to add more date or pomegranate syrup. Remove the blade and stir in the pomegranate. Scrape into a serving bowl. You could also chop everything quite finely and mix by hand.
Variations: use half leaf coriander/cilantro and half parsley; add diced fresh red chilli; add toasted almonds or walnut pieces; add a sprinkling of crumbled soft goat’s cheese.
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