Take 4 ingredients: A Christmas Day menu


Kim McCosker, author of the 4 Ingredients cookbooks, suggests a Christmas Day menu.

ENTRE

An Entertainer's Timbale(serves 8)

500g smoked chicken

250g seedless red grapes

3 ripe avocados

100g toasted pine nuts

Thinly slice the smoked chicken. Cut grapes into halves. Scoop flesh from avocados and slice. Stack all ingredients into a mould to make eight petite salad timbales. Top with toasted pine nuts and gently remove the mould.

This can also be served as one large salad if you are preparing more of a shared Christmas banquet.

Optional: Drizzle with your favourite flavoured oil or a squeeze of lemon juice.

Hint: A timbale is a dish of meat or fish cooked with other ingredients in a pastry shell or in a mould. The moulds can be bought at any kitchenware shop and are really easy to use. This recipe looks much more complicated than it actually is - it's easy entertaining.

MAIN (option of 2)

Wild Mushroom Beef Wellington(serves 8)

2 sheets puff pastry

1.5kg fillet beef

250g pepper pate

2 cups sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 180C. Remove all fat from the meat. Tie the beef in four places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Season with sea salt and cracked pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based non-stick frying pan for about 4 minutes.

Place the meat on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to become completely cold. In the same frying pan, add the sliced mushrooms and saute for 6 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Join the two sheets of puff pastry together, beat pate until soft and spread over pastry, leaving a 4cm border. Top with seasoned mushrooms.

Remove string from fillet and place on top and wrap like a present, making sure it is totally encased.

Decorate top with strips of pastry and bake in a 250C oven for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 180C and bake for a further 40-45 minutes for a medium fillet.

Hint: Before baking, brush the pastry with beaten egg for a gorgeous golden finish.

Citrus Glazed Ham (serves 8)

5kg bone in, cured and smoked ham, skin on

4 oranges, cut into thin round slices

1 cup (320g) marmalade

1/2 cup (110g) brown sugar

Preheat oven 180C and put the oven shelf to the lowest position. Peel the skin away from the ham using a sharp knife, leaving a thin layer of fat on the surface.

Transfer ham into a large roasting pan or baking tray. In a small saucepan over low heat, cook the marmalade and sugar until combined. Glaze the ham.

Arrange the orange slices, overlapping, on top. Secure each slice with a toothpick if needed.

Brush with a little more glaze. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Brush occasionally with remaining glaze. Serve hot or cold.

Tip: To remove the skin, use a small sharp knife. Cut along the shank and use your thumb to run underneath the skin to separate edges from fat. Starting from the widest edge, pull rind from ham.

SIDES

Golden Roast Potatoes(serves 8)

1.5kg potatoes (King Edward, Desiree or Kipfler)

1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil

16 cloves garlic, skin on

Zest from one lemon

Wash potatoes andput them in a saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add the salt and enough water to just cover.

Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to saucepan.

Place over medium heat for 2 minutes to dry the potatoes. Add the oil to a large roasting pan and place in the oven for 2 minutes or until really hot.

Squash the potatoes gently with a potato masher so that they burst skins. Remove the roasting pan and add the potatoes and garlic cloves. Roll to coat in the oil.

Roast, turning occasionally, for 45 minutes or until crispy. Remove the potatoes and garlic, drain of excess oil, season and serve scattered with the zest.

Beans with Garlic and Lemony Butter(serves 8)

3 tbsp (45g) butter, softened

1 lemon, finely zested

1 clove garlic

400g beans, topped

Put the butter, zest and garlic in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Season and chill in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add a pinch of salt and beans and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just tender. Drain and transfer to a serving dish. Dollop with butter. Toss and serve.

Optional: For presentation, wrap equal amounts of beans with a cucumber ribbon.

DESSERT

Christmas Cake Icecream Terrine(serves 8)

500g Christmas cake, cut into 1cm slices

3 tbsp (45ml) Cointreau

1 tbsp finely grated orange rind

2 litres vanilla icecream, softened

Line a 23cm x 13cm loaf tin with cling wrap. Brush cake slices with Cointreau. Stir rind into softened ice-cream. Spread half the icecream mixture into the tin, top with cake slices and then remaining icecream.

Cover completely with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. When ready to serve, use a hot knife to cut terrine into eight slices.

SWEET TREAT / TABLE DECORATION

Cherry Baubles(makes 24)

150g milk chocolate

24 plump, ripe cherries, stalks intact

In a microwave-safe bowl, place chocolate pieces and melt on medium-high, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Take cherries one at a time and dip half way into the melted chocolate, then place on the prepared tray. Repeat until all cherries are covered. Chill until ready to serve.


4 Ingredients Christmas, by Kim McCosker, $34.99

- Hamilton News

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