A NEW entry into my Christmas cookbooks that get regular autumn consultation is Fortnum & Mason: Christmas and other winter feasts (Books, 30 November).
It’s a treasure trove of ideas, with appetising pictures to match. Tom Parker Bowles now joins Elizabeth David and Nigella Lawson, for me, in truly understanding what anyone who is supposed to cook can go through at this time of year.
There are light dishes, such as ceviches and salads; baking ideas; and party-food options, such as chunks of beef fillet to dip into Béarnaise sauce. And his tips on leftovers are ideal: I’m trying a crumble of Stilton into my bubble and squeak this year, as he suggests.
Here is Gin, orange, and coriander gavadlax:
500g (1 lb) salmon fillet, pin-boned
45g (1½ oz) caster sugar
60g (2 oz) flaky sea salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
100g (3½ oz) juniper berries
½ small bunch of coriander
zest of 2 oranges and 1 lemon
100ml (3½ fl. oz) London dry gin
Place the salmon skin side-down in the middle of two large sheets of cling film. Blitz the sugar, salt, coriander seeds, juniper berries, coriander, and citrus zests in a food processor, then spread evenly over the salmon. Pour over the gin. Fold the cling film tightly over the fish and place in the fridge, in an airtight box. It needs 48 hours, turning every 12, and keeps for two weeks.
Unwrap the fish, wipe away the cure, and slice thinly at an angle. Serve it simply on toast with horseradish or a pepper slaw.
This Christmas-pudding soufflé, essentially a leftovers dish, could give the main event a run for its money.
300g (10 oz) Christmas pudding, crumbled
150ml (5 fl.oz) water
30g (1 oz) caster sugar
4 egg whites
90g (3 oz) caster sugar
butter, softened, for greasing
Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Cook the Christmas pudding and water in a pan over a medium heat, stirring to break down and separate. Then blitz it with a blender or in a food processor to form a smooth paste. Heat again in the pan, adding the sugar and cornflour, stirring until it thickens and becomes dark.
Beat the egg whites with half the sugar to the soft-peak stage, then add the remaining sugar and beat further until it is all thick and glossy. In a separate mixing bowl, mix a quarter of the egg whites into the Christmas pudding mix. Beat to combine until no lumps are visible, then fold in the remaining egg whites and continue to fold until everything is evenly distributed.
Grease six ramekins or soufflé dishes, and divide the mix between them. Place in the oven and cook until they have doubled in size but don’t quiver when tapped. Serve immediately, with ice cream.