Warm salads, a visually pleasing tart and a crowd-pleasing dessert…
*This post features an advertorial from Waitrose & Partners
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and as always Waitrose & Partners are knocking it out the park when it comes to their Christmas food offering. If you want to see my edit of their festive line-up, then check out my latest video which features the mince pies that I’ve now reached double figures in my consumption of, along with a whole host of treats that you’ll want to pick up in store or order online immediately. So continuing on with the seasonal goods theme I thought on here I’d share three recipes that together make for a cracking December dinner party, or could be made individually to cater for any and all gatherings; from the warm salad that’s way more filling than it sounds (promise) and makes for the perfect side when you need some greens in your life, to the tart that can be rustled up in less than 45 minutes and with minimal chopping and finishing things off with the dessert that Mark ate two of the other day. Delicious. Have a read of the three Waitrose & Partners Christmas recipes that are worth having up your sleeve right now…
I love a seasonal tart; so easy to make, tasty and it looks incredible when you serve it. Serves 4.
You will need: 385g pack butternut squash wedges (or prepare your own), 2 tbsp olive oil (plus a drizzle), 50g Duchy Organic Hazelnuts, 1 frozen Cooks’ Ingredients Puff Pasty Sheet (from 2 x 215g pack), 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly or tomato chutney, 100g pack essential Waitrose English Goats’ Cheese roughly torn, few sprigs of rosemary roughly chopped, 1 British Blacktail Free Range egg beaten (to glaze), 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 160g bag beetroot salad to serve (or use the recipe under this!)
Preheat the oven to 220℃, gas mark 7 and toss your butternut squash with 1 tbsp of oil on a large baking tray. Season until your heart is content and roast for 15 minutes or until softened and turning golden. Add the nuts to the tray for the last few minutes of cooking time, then remove the nuts and roughly chop, allowing them to cool a little.
Roll the pasty onto a flat baking tray, scoring a 1cm boarder which will act as your crust. Prick inside the boarder all over with a fork, right down to the base of the tray (this will stop the centre from puffing!). Spread the redcurrant jelly or chutney up to the scored boarder, then top with the cheese, roasted squash, half of your chopped nuts and the rosemary. Brush the boarder with the beaten egg, drizzle a dash of oil all over the tart, season and then bake for 25 minutes until crisp and bubbling.
Allow to cool for a few minutes whilst you make your salad. Whisk the red wine vinegar with the remaining 1 tbsp oil, add in a little salt and pepper and toss with your salad and the remaining nuts. Serve your plate of winter goodness and consume immediately.
TOP TIP: This tart can be made ahead; assemble it on the baking tray, over and chill for up for 24 hours. You might need to add a couple of minutes onto the cooking time to allow for the cold tray.
I love a nice and easy side dish that’s quick to put together and can be served sharing style to beef out your main course. Serves 4.
You will need: 600g carrots peeled, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 40g pecan nuts roughly chopped, 200g spinach washed, 1 tsp sherry vinegar, 3 medjool dates pitted and cut into small pieces, 100g goats’ cheese crumbled
Preheat the oven to 210℃, gas mark 7. Cut your larger carrots by slicing them lengthways, keep your smaller carrots whole, then toss them in a large roasting tin with oil and seasoning. Roast them for 40 minutes.
When the timer goes off, add in the pecans and roast for a further five minutes until they are nice and toasted. Remove from the oven and stir through the sherry vinegar and spinach. Scatter over the dates and goats’ cheese and serve immediately. Want to bulk it out a little more? Add some grains like lentils or quinoa. YUM.
A festive take on an Eton Mess, we have LOVED making this. I’ve yet to meet a friend who didn’t feel the same way. Serves 4.
You will need: 400g fresh Waitrose & Partners cherries halved and then pitted, 3 fresh bay leaves, 2 tbsp white caster sugar (plus 1 tsp for the cream), 2 tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Pomegranate Molasses, 250ml whipping cream, 50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa) finely chopped, ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste (optional), 4 Cooks’ Ingredients meringue nests (or 12 mini meringue shells) roughly broken
Preheat the oven to 220℃, gas mark 7 and start on your cherries. Put the cherries in a medium roasting tin and toss together with the bay leaves, 2tbsp sugar and the pomegranate molasses. Roast for 5-7 to get the juices going and bubbling at the edges (you don’t want to cook the cherries here, just the nice and juicy sauce going!). Set aside until just warm.
Whilst that’s roasting, put 4 tbsp cream and 2 tbsp water in a small saucepan and bring to a light simmer. Put the chopped chocolate into a small bowl and pour the hot cream over it, stirring until it creates a small sauce. Add 1tbsp of the chocolate sauce into the bottom of the 4 small tumblers (keeping a small amount aside for drizzling at the end).
Add the remaining cream, 1 tsp and vanilla bean paste if you’re using it, into a bowl and whip into soft peaks. Add a nice dollop to each glass, then a few bits of the meringue, some cherries and some juice, repeating until you fill the glass; finishing off with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Serve straight away and prepare you eye up your mate’s tumbler for leftovers.
Photos by Mark Newton