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Recipe - Christmas Tree Cheese Board

elocal magazine December 2023

Christmas Entertaining doesn’t always have to be about lots of fuss and bother. This easy to put together, delicious Cheese board looks amazing as a table centrepiece and can be adapted for all your favourites! You can use anything you like really, add in Cocktail onions, cocktail pickles, nuts, dried fruits, salami, deli ham, pate, fresh fruit, berries, whatever takes your fancy.

Ingredients • 4 ounces Red Hard Cheese , I use Red Leicester or other Chedder -cut into bite-size cubes (120 grams) • 3 ounces White Hard Cheese , use a mild or tangy whatever you prefer - cut into bite-size cubes (90 grams) • 2 ounces Blue Cheese , cut into smaller pieces (60 grams) • ½ Telegraph Cucumber , sliced • ½ cup Fresh Blueberries (80 grams) • 1 cup Grapes • 6-8 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs • 4 Pretzel Sticks , broken in half, for the trunk, you can also use Celery. • A handful of Dried Cranberries • A handful of Pomegranate Seeds • 1 slice of Cheese , for the star

Instructions 1. Arrange the cheeses, cucumber slices, blueberries and grapes on a large tray (or platter/cutting board) to form a tree shape. Use the rosemary sprigs to divide the sections. 2. For the tree trunk use pretzels sticks or celery. Using a star cookie cutter, cut out one star out of the cheese and arrange it on top of the tree. I find the pre sliced cheese the best for this. 3. Fill the gaps with dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds or nuts. 4. Serve with pretzel sticks, crackers, celery sticks or crostini.

Christmas Baked Salmon

Have you ever seen a Baked Salmon that looks so festive? What’s more, it’s DEAD EASY! Featuring a honey butter-glazed side of salmon baked in foil, slathered with creamy dill sauce and finally topped with a glittering Holiday “Tapenade”, this Salmon Tarator inspired dish pays extremely high dividends for very little work.

Christmas Salmon: • 1.2 - 1.5 kg / 2.4 - 3lb salmon bones and with the skin on. • 2 1/4 tsp salt • 1 tsp black pepper

Honey Butter Glaze: • 150g / 5oz butter , unsalted • 1/2 cup honey • 3 garlic cloves , finely minced • Creamy Dill Sauce: • 1 1/2 cups sour cream , full fat (low fat is too watery) • 1/2 cup fresh dill , finely chopped (lightly packed cup) • 1/2 eschallot (French onion) , finely grated • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest • 1/2 tsp salt , cooking/kosher (Note 2)

Holiday “Tapenade”: • 1 cup dried cranberries • 1 cup orange juice • 1 cup slivered almonds , toasted • 1/3 cup parsley , roughly chopped • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Finishing: • 1 pomegranate , only the seeds • 1/4 cup parsley , roughly chopped • 3 tbsp lemon juice • 2 lemons, extra , cut in 6 pieces each (for serving, don’t skip this)

Instructions Creamy Dill Sauce 1. Mix ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Keep refrigerated until required. Holiday Tapenade 1. Plump cranberries: Heat orange juice in a saucepan over high heat until hot. Turn stove off, add cranberries, cover. Stand 15 minutes, then drain in a colander (discard liquid). Cool. 2. Mix cranberries, toasted almonds, parsley, salt and olive oil in bowl. Use at room temp.

Cooking salmon 1. Preheat oven to 180°c (all oven types). 2. Prepare salmon: Place a large sheet of foil on a tray (double layer for safety is recommended), then top with baking/parchment paper. Place salmon on paper, then fold up the foil sides a bit to cup them so glaze won’t run onto tray. 3. Glaze: Place ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once it started foaming, turn down to medium, let it foam for 2 minutes then remove and pour straight over the salmon. 4. Season: Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper, putting most of the salt on the thicker part of the salmon. 5. Wrap: Cover salmon with a smaller piece of paper, then foil. Fold and seal up sides to enclose salmon in a parcel - it doesn’t need to be 100% tightly sealed. 6. Bake 15 minutes. Remove salmon from oven. 7. Uncover / fold excess paper - Remove paper and foil and paper cover. Fold/scrunch paper and foil sides down to expose salmon surface. Tucking paper down also ensures it won’t catch fire when broiling. 8. Grill to brown: Switch oven to grill on high. Place salmon on middle shelf in the oven and broil 7 to 10 minutes until you get caramelisation mostly on the edges, a bit on top. Don’t put it too close to the heat element otherwise paper might catch on fire! Check to ensure salmon is cooked - either pry open in middle to check or use a probe to check internal temperatures (Note 4). 9. Transfer to plate: Use foil overhang to transfer salmon onto serving platter straight away (otherwise it keeps cooking). Slide the foil then paper out from under the salmon (see video at 1 min 24s or step photos in post), allowing juices to pool on platter (it’s gold stuff!). 10. Cool: Loosely cover with foil, then leave to cool for at least 15 minutes, up to 1 hour or longer (for room temp serving - Note 6 for serving notes).

Assembly and serving 1. Dollop then thickly spread with Creamy Dill Sauce (~0.8cm / 1/3” thick layer). 2. Pile over Holiday Tapenade, scatter generously with pomegranate seeds, and then remaining parsley. Squeeze over lemon juice. 3. Serving: Serve with extra lemon wedges so people can add more to taste. Cut into pieces - I use a cake cutter for serving. Encourage people to slop up some of the honey-butter sauce that will be mixed with semi melted Creamy Dill Sauce - it’s so good! This dish is best served slightly warm, not piping hot, also excellent at room temp.

Christmas Tree Potatoes

Here is a fun idea for the Christmas table - give the roast potato side dish a festive flair by giving them a Christmas tree shape.


12 New Season potatoes, Perlas or similar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 sprigs rosemary (lower leaves removed)

Method 1. Place potatoes in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 minutes until potatoes give slightly when pierced with a skewer. Drain and cool slightly, then place potatoes in a bowl with oil and sea salt, and toss well to combine. Slightly flatten each potato by pressing down with your hand and sit one potato on top of another, securing in place with a cocktail stick. Potatoes can be refrigerated at this stage for up to 24 hours. 2. Preheat oven to 190°C. Place potatoes on an oiled baking tray and bake for 10 minutes until crisp and golden. Remove cocktail sticks and replace with rosemary sprigs to serve.

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elocal Digital Edition – December 2023 (#272)

elocal Digital Edition
December 2023 (#272)

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