Favourite festive first courses
Rachel Green shares two full-of-flavour recipes, perfect for delicious Christmas lunch appetisers: “If you’re planning a special get-together at home with friends and family over the festive season, here are a couple of my favourite easy-to-make recipes which will impress your guests.”
BAKED CAMEMBERT WITH CHICORY, ROASTED GRAPES & CROSTINI
• In a small mixing bowl, mix together 2 tbsp of olive oil with the vinegar, honey and a pinch of salt. Add the grapes, tossing to coat. Place the grapes on a large baking tray in a single layer and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until tender.
• Meanwhile, take the cheese out of the box, line the box with a circle of scrunched baking parchment and put the cheese back in the box on top of the parchment, making sure that the sides of the paper come above the edge of the cheese. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the cheese in a crisscross pattern and poke the slivers of garlic and rosemary leaves into the slits. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle over some sea salt flakes.
• Twenty minutes before the grapes are due to come out of the oven, place the cheese (in its box) on the baking tray alongside the grapes and cook until soft and melting. Place the ciabatta slices onto a baking tray, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and bake in the oven for the final 10 minutes of cooking time, turning once.
• Serve the cheese and grapes immediately with the ciabatta slices and some chicory leaves.
SCANDINAVIAN SMOKED SALMON LATKES WITH A DILL & HORSERADISH SHALLOT CREAM
• Mix the horseradish cream, shallot, dill and soured cream together in a small bowl, season with a little salt and pepper, cover and set aside in the fridge until needed.
• Coarsely grate the potatoes and onion using a food processor. Put them into a bowl and mix in ½ tsp salt and some black pepper. Place the mixture in a new J-Cloth or clean tea towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Transfer the potato mixture to a large bowl and stir in the eggs and flour so everything is well coated. The mix will look a bit dry but don’t worry – this is what creates the crispiness.
• Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Drop 4 heaped tbsp of the potato mixture into the pan, spaced well apart, and then flatten slightly with the back of a fork. Fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown, then carefully flip over and cook for 3-4 minutes more until crisp on the outside and cooked through. Place onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and keep hot in a low oven while you cook the rest.
• When all the latkes have been cooked, remove from the oven and place a small piece of smoked salmon on top of each. Spoon on some horseradish cream, top with some dill fronds and serve immediately with some lemon wedges.