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What's Christmastime without a few delicacies to kickstart the parties and the celebrations? Chef Areez Patel brings Get Ahead readers lip-smacking recipes to enjoy this festive season!
Puff pastry (to be prepared):
~ 1 cup coldbutter
~ 1/2 cup sour cream
~ 1 1/2 cupsflour
300g pork sausages
1 egg (beaten)
16 to 17 cloves of garlic (chopped and sauted)
18 to 20 button mushrooms (chopped and sauted)
Flour for dusting
To make puff pastry:
Mix the butter into the flour to obtain a cornmeal-like consistency.
Add the sour cream and knead the dough into a ball, which you can then flatten a little and store in an airtight container.
The dough needs to be refrigerated overnight, or at least for a minimum of two hours. Your puff pastry will then be ready to use.
For the sausage rolls:
Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll the puff pastry out onto it.
Cut the pastry into rectangular strips, each large enough to be comfortably rolled around each sausage.
Brush the upper surface of each pastry strip with the beaten egg and place one sausage in the centre.
Next, sprinkle a liberal amount of the sauted garlic and button mushrooms onto each sausage.
Wrap the pastry strip around the sausage and filling; you can pinch the pastry dough at one end to seal off the roll.
Place all the sausage rolls in a baking tray and brush some more of the beaten egg onto each.
To enable the rolls to cook well, you can use a knife to make two or three horizontal slits on top of each.
Bake in an oven pre-heated to 390 degrees Fahrenheit, till the rolls are golden-brown. Serve hot.
Roast potato wedges and dip
For roast potato wedges:
5 large potatoes
100 ml olive oil
3 tsp assorted herbs
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup thick sour cream
8-9 cloves of garlic
2 boiled egg whites
2-3 cubes cream cheese
1/4 cup bacon bits (optional)
Mint leaves to garnish
2 pinch of salt
2 pinch of pepper
For roast potato wedges:
Cut each potato lengthwise into wedges (do not peel them; six to eight wedges can be cut from a single large potato).
In a bowl, mix the olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper to form a marinade.
Place the wedges into the marinade bowl and coat them with it well.
Remove the wedges from the marinade and place them in a baking tray.
Bake the wedges in an oven preheated to 390 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown.
Using a blender, whip all the ingredients to a smooth, thick consistency.
Pour the dip into a serving-bowl and refrigerate for an hour.
Serve the potato wedges hot on a platter, alongside the dip.
Honeyed leg of ham
2 1/2 kg leg of ham
2 1/2 cups honey
250g brown sugar
5 to 6 cinnamon sticks (whole)
5 to 6 cardamom pods (whole)
8-10 pepper corns (whole)
5 to 6 cloves (whole)
5 to 6 bay leaves
5 to 6 onions, cut in half
4 to 5 tbsp salt
4to 5 tbsp pepper
Place the leg of ham, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, pepper corns onions,salt and pepperin a large pot filled with water (the leg should be completelysubmerged)and boil for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Once boiled, remove the leg of ham and cut away the skin from it. Then, using a knife, make a series of slits only along the skinned portion of the leg.
Mix the brown sugar and honey and baste the leg of ham with the mixture, taking care to fill the slits well.
Roast the leg in an oven preheated to 390 degrees Fahreheit, till the sugar melts completely and the leg turns golden-brown.
Serve on a platter.
Cheese and mushroom quiche
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups flour, with some extra for dusting
220g unsalted butter (frozen and cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 to 4 tbsp ice-cold water
For the filling:
1 1/2 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
100g mushrooms (diced)
Two pinches of pepper
A pinch of powdered nutmeg
Salt to taste
For the crust:
Combine the flour, salt, and sugar, and mix with a pallet knife. Add the cubes of butter while mixing and cut through them with the knife until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea-sized pieces of butter.
Add water, one tablespoon at a time, kneading with your hand until a crumby dough is formed (if you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it's ready -- if not, add a little more water and mix again).
Roll the dough into a ball and flatten it to form a thick, circular base (do not over-knead the dough -- you should still be able to see little bits of butter in it).
Sprinkle the dough with a little flour on all sides. Then pack it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Once you remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle some flour onto the dough and using a rolling pin, flatten it into a round base about one-eighth of an inch thick. Use a pallet knife to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below and add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary.
Gently pick up the flattened base and cover a pie dish with it, sitting it down into the dish like an inside lining along the sides and bottom.
Using a fork, poke a few tiny holes into the dough at the bottom of the dish -- this will prevent it from rising when you bake it. Also fill the pie dish with dried beans for the same purpose.
Place the pie dish in an oven preheated to 360 degrees Fahrenheit till the dough is cooked into a crust -- you will know it is done when the sheen of the dough gives way to a dull-coloured crust.
Remove the pie dish from the oven, get rid of the dried beans and set aside.
For the filling:
Heat a little oil in a large nonstick frying pan and saute the shallots, stirring continuously till they take on a translucent appearance.
Add the diced mushrooms to the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Stir frequently, until mushrooms turn a dark golden-brown.
Next, sprinkle half the grated cheese into the pie dish, lined with the crust.
Fill the mushrooms and shallots into the dish on top of the first layer of cheese and then top the pie dish up with the remaining quantity of cheese.
In another bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and eggs and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Pour over the top layer of cheese in the pie dish.
Transfer the pie dish onto a baking tray and bake in an oven preheated to 360 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or so, until the quiche is just set (you can poke a toothpick into the centre -- if it comes out clean, it's ready).
Cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into pieces. Serve hot.
An easy Baked Alaska (non-merigue)
Sponge cake (to be prepared):
~ 6 eggs
~ 1 cup sifted flour
~ 1/2 cup sugar
~ 1 tbsp lemon juice
~ 1 tsp lemon rind (grated)
1 tub chocolate ice cream
1 tub vanilla ice cream
6 cups chocolate sauce
500g cashew nuts (diced and roasted)
2 cups rum
To make sponge cake:
Separate the whites from the yolks of the eggs and beat the yolks till thick and lemon-coloured. Add sugar gradually as you keep beating.
Next, add the lemon juice and rind to the yolks.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites till stiff.
Fold the egg white into the yolk mixture, followed by the sifted flour.
Transfer the mixture to a deep baking tray and bake in an oven preheated to 600 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes or so. You'll know it's done if a toothpick poked into the centre comes out clean. Also, the sponge cake will spring back when gently pressed.
For Baked Alaska:
Cut the sponge cake into two horizontally (each layer will resemble a flat cake by itself).
Place one layer of sponge in the bottom of the deep baking tray and soak it with half the quantity of rum.
Pour one-third the chocolate sauce evenly over the soaked layer and sprinkle half the quantity of cashews atop it.
Next, spread out all of the ice-cream atop the nuts -- first the vanilla layer, then the chocolate.
Pour on one-third more of the chocolate sauce and sprinkle one-third more of the nuts atop that.
Place the second layer of sponge atop the nuts and soak with the remaining rum.
Top off with the remaining chocolate sauce and nuts.
Freeze the Baked Alaska and serve chilled.
Areez Patel is a chef by profession and runs a private catering service. He also supplies chocolates made to order and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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