Fresh take on the classics
DOMINI KEMP'S CHRISTMAS DINNER:A stylish festive menu that offers delicious alternatives to smoked salmon, turkey and plum pudding
Here’s my menu for the big day. We’re going for venison this year and a smoked fish starter which is very forgiving of the delays and twists that inevitably play their part on a hectic Christmas Day. It’s easy to assemble and all you need to let it shine is some good trout, though you could even use hot-smoked salmon. You’re basically making a celeriac remoulade that can be prepared a day in advance.
The venison is something a bit different for Christmas, and it has the advantage of cooking quite quickly. It’s a good choice if you’re cooking for fewer than 10 guests and want something a little more refined and unusual.
The balsamic potatoes are really delicious and go fantastically well with the rich flavours of the venison. And because they are not cooked in the oven – where space can be at a premium, especially if you opted for traditional turkey and ham – these are a good choice. They are also nice to eat even if they are not piping hot, which can be a challenge if you are plating up for more than eight people.
Much to the horror of my family, I tend to serve Brussels sprouts at least once a week as they are so good for you and, if prepared with a bit of imagination, very tasty. However, my family are definitely not allowed to moan if I also give sprouts their traditional outing on Christmas Day. My favourite way to cook them at the moment is to douse them in olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and throw them in the oven for a while. When they are staring to char in places (after about 15 minutes at 200 degrees/gas 6), I sometimes sprinkle fish sauce on them (yes, that’s right, fish sauce) and a squeeze of honey. The initial waft of the fish sauce may make you momentarily question my sanity, but once it subsides and you throw them back in the oven for another five or 10 minutes, you’ll end up with a wonderful salty and sweet glaze on glistening sprouts with moreish flavours. A good knob of butter will make them shine even more.
The raisin ice-cream is one I’ve been longing to make from Claudia Roden’s wonderful book, Spain. We adjusted it slightly by using double the amount of fruit and soaking them in sherry rather than sweet wine. It’s just a taste I prefer, but please feel free to use sweet wine instead. It was really delicious and would be lovely on its own or with some plum pudding – which I’ll definitely be buying in.
APPLE, CELERIAC AND TROUT SALAD
Juice of 1-2 lemons
1 large celeriac
200ml crème fraiche
50ml olive oil
1 bunch chopped parsley
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp horseradish sauce
Salt and pepper
Bunch frisée, watercress or Belgian endive
3-4 smoked trouts
Toast the walnuts at 150 degrees/gas 2 for about five to 10 minutes, until they are nicely toasted. Peel the apples and slice into little matchstick pieces. Toss them in the lemon juice to stop them discolouring. Peel the celeriac and slice into thin matchstick pieces and toss with the apple.
Mix the crème fraiche with the olive oil, parsley, Dijon mustard and horseradish. Remember that the lemon juice in the celeriac and apple mixture will sharpen up the flavours, but do season it and then mix with the celeriac and apple. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep this overnight if necessary, covered in the fridge.