Countdown to Christmas – Christmas starter recipes


Everyone has their own traditions for Christmas, and starters for the big day are no exception. Do you not bother and save yourself for the main course? Or is pudding your preference? If you do like to start the festive meal off with the first of three courses, then here are some delicious recipe ideas for you.

CHRISTMAS SALADChristmas Parma Ham Salad Jewelled with Pomegranate, Mint, Toasted almonds and White Stilton – serves 4

  • Salad: 2 large handfuls mixed green leaves, 120g White Stilton, 20g toasted almond flakes, 1 handful mint leaves, torn, seeds from 1 pomegranate, 4 slices Parma Ham
  • Dressing: zest and juice of 1 lime, ½ tsp runny honey, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and cracked black pepper

Whisk together dressing ingredients and season to taste. Arrange the salad leaves on serving plates with chunks of White Stilton, toasted almonds, mint leaves and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with a little dressing and then serve with slices of Parma Ham.


image004Almond crusted reblochon

1/2 wheel of Reblochon cut into 6 slices, 1 slice brown malted bread, cubed, 50g almonds/hazelnuts, 50g flour, oil for frying, 1 egg, 2 red apples, one 25g piece of celeriac, juice of 1 lemon, 2 tbsps mayonnaise, 2 tbsps natural yoghurt, salt, cracked black pepper

Blend the bread with the almonds until it reaches a breadcrumb-like consistency. Place the flour, beaten egg and crumb mixture onto three separate plates. Coat the slices of Reblochon in the flour, then egg and finally the crumb mixture. Place in a freezer. To prepare the salad, peel and grate the celeriac. Wash the apples, remove the core and slice, without removing the skin. Mix the apples and celeriac with the mayonnaise, yoghurt and lemon juice in a salad bowl and season with salt and pepper. Fry the slices of Reblochon in the oil for 1-2 minutes. Remove as soon as the cheese begins to ooze through the crumb coating. Blot the Reblochon gently on kitchen paper and serve immediately with the salad.


Pheasant & Shropshire Blue Pate_resized copyPheasant Pâté with Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue 

2 pheasants, Bottle of red wine, 100ml Avlaki olive oil, Dhanyia pomegranate rub, 200g Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue, 150g chopped walnut

Heat the oven to 150ºC. Place the pheasants in deep roasting tin, season with salt and pepper pour over the wine and cover with tinfoil. Slowly cook in the oven for 3 hours. Remove pheasants, uncover and allow to cool. Separate the meat and place in a large mixing bowl. Marinated in 100ml Avlaki olive oil and two teaspoons Dhanyia pomegranate rub. Blend the pheasant with the Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue and two good handfuls of chopped walnuts. Add little more oil if required. Scoop the mixture into a serving bowl, smooth the top, cover with clingflim and place in the fridge. Best left to mature for a couple of days.

Makes enough for 16 for starter. Serve with The Bay Tree’s spiced gooseberry and coriander chutney and warm toast.

Parma Ham, goats cheese, avocado and fresh herb bruschettaParma Ham, goats cheese, avocado and fresh herb bruschetta – makes 10 bruschettas

10 thin slices of ciabatta bread, olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 5 basil leaves, 2 avocados, peeled, stoned, sliced and drenched in lemon juice, 100g crumbly goats cheese, zest of 1 lemon, 50g pistachios, roughly chopped, 2 handfuls mint leaves, roughly chopped, 10 slices Parma Ham

Rub each slice of ciabatta with a little olive oil before lightly toasting each side on a hot griddle. Remove the toasts from the griddle and rub basil and garlic into each. Season with a little salt and pepper then leave to cool. Top each brushetta with avocado slices, goats cheese, lemon zest, pistachios and mint leaves. Drizzle each bruschetta with a little olive oil before finishing with a slice of Parma Ham.

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