If you're looking for a Christmas classic with a twist, this French ham hock and pistachio terrine, transformed into a modern make-ahead starter is for you
- 2 smoked ham hock (about 3kg in total)
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 leek top, if you have it, roughly chopped (optional)
- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 thyme sprig
- 2 cloves
- 1 allspice berry
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, plus a splash
- small pack parsley, leaves chopped, stalks reserved
- 80g shelled and toasted pistachio
- 2 Granny Smiths apples
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced into rings
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 40g bag pork scratchings, lightly crushed
- 1 bag of watercress
- 2 tbsp English mustard
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil, plus extra for brushing (optional)
MethodCover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 3-4 hrs until the meat is very tender.
- 4 large eggs
- 225g golden caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 175g butter, melted and cooled
- 200g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 85g pistachio, ground
- 50g blueberry
- 100g butter, softened
- 200g icing sugar
- seeds from 6 cardamom pod, ground
- 200ml double cream
- 85g pistachio, roughly chopped
- 200g blueberry
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease and line the base of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment. Grease the tins again, dust with a little caster sugar and a little flour, then tap out any excess.
- Put the eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl and, using an electric whisk, mix briefly to combine. Place the bowl over a pan of steaming water and continue to whisk until the mixture is pale and thick – when the whisk is lifted, the mixture should leave a trail on the surface lasting about 5 secs. Remove the bowl from the pan and continue beating for 2 mins.
- Continue to whisk the mixture while trickling the melted butter around the edge of the bowl. Sift in the flour and ground pistachios, very gently give the mixture 2-3 folds, then add the blueberries and fold again, being careful not to knock out all the air. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25-30 mins, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- To make the filling, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the cardamom, then drizzle in the cream. Continue to beat until light and airy.
- Cool cakes in their tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack. Remove lining paper when completely cooled. Sandwich the cakes together with the cardamom cream, top with some more, then decorate with pistachios and blueberries.
- 140g sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 140g floury potato (such as King Edward), peeled and chopped
- 100g frozen pea, defrosted
- 100g shredded ham hock
- small handful mint leaves, chopped
- zest 1 lemon
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 6 tbsp fine polenta or 4 tbsp gluten-free plain flour
- pinch of cayenne pepper, plus a pinch to serve
- 3 eggs and 1 egg white
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- crème fraîche and dressed rocket leaves, to serve
- Put the sweet and white potatoes into a pan of cold salted water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 mins or until really tender. Drain well and mash, check the seasoning, then set aside to cool.
- Tip the mash into a large bowl along with the peas, ham hock, mint, zest, spring onions, 3 tbsp polenta (or 2 tbsp flour), the cayenne pepper and some seasoning. Whisk the egg white and add it, too. Mix well.
- Form the mixture into 6 cakes. Tip the remaining 3 tbsp polenta onto a plate and roll the cakes in it to coat. The mix will be quite wet at this stage, but the extra polenta will help to keep them together during cooking. Cover and chill for 15 min.
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the cakes and fry for 3-4 mins each side or until golden and warmed through. Meanwhile, poach the remaining 3 eggs in a pan of barely simmering water for about 3 mins until the yolk is soft and the white is set.
- Put the cakes on plates with a spoonful of crème fraîche, top with the poached eggs and a little cayenne. Serve with dressed rocket.
- 5 large egg whites
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 100g light brown sugar
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 100ml clear honey, plus 2 tbsp
- 5 ripe but firm peaches, peeled if you like, and thickly sliced
- 300ml pot double cream
- seeds from 1 vanilla pod, or 2 tsp vanilla bean paste with seeds
- 200ml pot Greek yogurt
- 85g pistachio, roughly chopped
- Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Using a 20cm plate or cake tin as a template, draw a circle on a large sheet of baking parchment, flip it over and place on a large baking tray. When ready, dot a blob of raw meringue onto each corner of the baking tray and put the baking parchment on top – this way it won’t slip.
- In a well-cleaned, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric hand whisk until they form stiff peaks. Add the caster sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, continuing to whisk as you go. The meringue will start to get thick and glossy. Add the brown sugar in the same way, continue whisking for another 1-2 mins until really thick and holding stiff, shiny peaks on the end of your whisk. Now add the cornflour and vinegar, and give a final whisk until smooth.
- Using a large metal spoon, pile the meringue onto the parchment-lined tray, using the circle template as a guide to create a symmetrical circle. Use the spoon to make a dip in the middle (this will hold your cream and fruit later) and a few spikes of meringue around the edges. Place in the centre of the oven, shut the door and immediately turn the temperature down to 140C/120C fan/ gas 1. Cook the meringue for 1 hr 10 mins, then turn the oven off and leave until completely cold (best done overnight).
- For the topping, put the 100ml honey in a wide frying pan and heat until saucy. Add the peach slices and cook for 1-2 mins on each side, over quite a high heat, until the peaches are sticky but still holding their shape. Cool completely.
- Just before you are ready to serve, assemble the Pavlova. Tip the cream, vanilla and remaining honey into a bowl. Whisk until it just holds soft peaks, then add the yogurt and, using a spatula, fold together until combined. Spoon the cream into the centre of the meringue and swirl it out towards the edges. Top with the sticky peaches and any saucy bits from the pan, and sprinkle over the pistachios.