Finally the Christmas season is officially upon us. Up goes the Christmas tree and the wreath on the door, out comes the advent calendar with its daily treats. Now that I have finished the bulk of my Christmas shopping as well (I must say I am rather organised like that) I can turn my attention towards the edible ‘guests’ attending my Christmas Day Feast.
My family has a sort of pot-luck arrangement with Christmas Day, where each member is delegated a dish to bring. There is always ham, chicken, salmon and oysters.
Occasionally, beef or turkey might appear on the table. Equally as important as the arrays of meats we showcase are the sides we display. Summer allows for some really interesting fruit and vegetable combinations, especially when it comes to salads. At the moment I have two fresh summer salads in mind that make the perfect addition to most Christmas Day meats. Best served fresh, they go particularly well with hot chicken or beef. However, I know that they would work wonders at the table with last issue’s baked salmon recipe by Nicole Wilson. I am salivating heavily at the thought. Merry Christmas everyone and happy eating!
Beetroot, watermelon and feta salad
300g cooked and peeled plain beetroot
400g trimmed and seeded watermelon (if you like the rustic look, leave on some peel)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
50g spinach or rocket
150g feta, coarsely crumbled with your fingers
40g Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
A generous pinch of salt
Trim the watermelon and beetroot (separately) and cut in to chunks. Make each relatively the same size. Combine and toss in a medium sized salad bowl. Whisk the vinegar, salt and oil in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the beetroot and watermelon and toss again. Mix in the parsley and spinach, and scatter over the feta and nuts. Refrigerate until served, although best served immediately.
Carrot, pineapple and raisin salad
2⁄3 cup raisins
2-3 large peeled and grated carrots
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained of the juice
2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp olive oil<
1⁄3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
A generous pinch of salt
1 tbsp raw sugar
Gently toss the raisins, carrots, pineapple and parsley together in a medium-sized salad bowl. In a small bowl, blend oil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Add dressing to carrot mixture and stir. Sprinkle over some parsley leaves to garnish. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
A big thanks to longstanding Warkworth RSA bar manager Sherryl Barrett and my grandmother Mary Monteith. These two wonderful ladies introduced me to the world of savoury fruit salads, and let me pinch their recipes to boot.