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Christmas cheers

india Updated: Dec 21, 2012 16:53 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

It’s the busiest month of the year for many kitchens. Most will agree that a major part of Christmas is about the good food, the cakes and the wine. If this is the first time you’re planning on preparing a lavish Xmas spread, we’ve got some help for you.

In the first of this two-part Christmas special series, follow these methods to prepare some traditional appetisers and some cocktails to wash those snacks down. In the second part, we’ll get experts to share some easy tips to ready some roast dishes and desserts.

APPETISERS
1. Christmas Scallops

(Chef Dharmesh Karmokar, Nom Nom)

Ingredients
1 tbsp finely grated fresh
ginger n 60 ml (1/4 cup) Japanese sushi and sashimi soy sauce
60 ml (1/4 cup) sushi seasoning
55 gm (1/4 cup) caster sugar
30 (about 500 gm) scallops, roe removed
1 tbsp peanut oil
white pepper
peanut oil to grease
3 shallots, ends trimmed, thinly sliced

Method
Whisk ginger, soy sauce, sushi seasoning and sugar in a bowl till sugar dissolves.

Combine the scallops and oil in a bowl and season with white pepper. Preheat a grill on high heat. Grease using the extra oil.

Cook one-third of scallops for 20-30 seconds each side. Transfer to a separate bowl. Repeat, in two more batches, with remaining scallops.

Divide the scallops and a little of the dressing among serving spoons. Sprinkle with shallots to serve.

2. Warm Bacon And Potato Salad
(Chef Vicky Ratnani, Aurus)

Ingredients
250 gm cooked potatoes, 100 gm bacon rashers cut into dices
50 gm spring onions white part cut into batons
1 tsp chopped chives
1 tsp chopped parlsey
1/2 tsp chopped tarragon (use dry if you can’t find fresh)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp butter
1 teaspoon white wine, vinegar,salt

Method
In a pan, melt some butter, add the bacon and cook slowly for seven minutes. Add the potatoes and sauté well with the bacon for another five to six minutes.Then mix in the batons of spring onions. Add the mustard and the white wine vinegar; season to taste. Finish with the chopped chives, parsley and tarragon.

COCKTAILS
3.Eggnog

(Woodside Inn)

Ingredients (serves two)
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk
2 whole cloves
pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
Kahlua liqueur according to how potent you want your eggnog
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
chocolate wafer sticks for garnish.

Method:
Beat the egg yolks till they become light in colour. Add the sugar, whisk till fluffy.

Combine milk, cloves, vanilla extract/essence and cinnamon. Heat on medium heat until milk mix is hot, not boiling.

Temper eggs by adding half of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly while you add. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

Cook on medium heat, stir constantly, until mix thickens, and coats the back of the spoon.

Do not allow mix to boil or it will curdle. Remove from heat and strain mixture to remove the cloves. Refrigerate for two hours and serve with desired Kahlua garnish.
Note: eggnogs are potent.

4.Mulled Wine
(Woodside Inn)

Ingredients(Serves one)
30 ml Mandarin vodka
120 ml red wine (young Merlot preferred)
60 ml white wine (young Chenin Blanc preferred)
2 cinnamon sticks
3-4 cloves
1 tsp sugar

Method:
Heat the wine, cinnamon, cloves and sugar for 60 seconds, stirring gently.

Do not boil the mix as the alcohol will evaporate and make the wine vinegary.

Using a steel strainer, strain the mixture into a glass that contains the vodka, and garnish with orange slice and cinnamon sticks.