Midwinter feasts

Traditionally, the end of one year & the start of a new one is marked with feasting. We asked some of our favourite chefs for their ideas…

Scrumtious starter:
Chicken Liver & Brandy Parfait with Mulled Cranberry compote & Brioche toasts
from No.10


For the Parfait
  4 shallots thinly sliced
  1 garlic clove minced
  25g picked chopped fresh thyme
  80g unsalted butter
  75ml brandy
  1 kg fresh chicken livers 
  3 eggs (at room temperature)
  200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  Brioche (The Bread Guy does a great one)

For the Mulled Cranberry compote
  340g cranberries
  75g Demerara sugar
  Zest and juice of a large orange
  200ml orange juice (ideally fresh)
  1 cinnamon stick
  6 cloves
  2 star anise
  2 thumbs of fresh ginger (peeled and minced)


Use a heavy based pan on a medium heat. Sweat the shallots, garlic and thyme in 80g of butter until soft and translucent. Add brandy, increase the heat and cook until the brandy is absorbed. Remove from the heat, decant into a container, cool and refrigerate.  

Preheat the oven to 185oC. Put the raw chicken livers, cooled shallot mixture, eggs, 200g butter and seasoning on a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into an oven proof dish and cover with foil. Half fill a deep oven tray with boiling water to make a Bain Marie. Place the parfait dish into the Bain Marie and bake in the oven for 30/35 minutes or until the parfait looks set. Remove the cooked parfait from the oven and leave to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

For the Mulled Cranberry compote 
Place all ingredients in a heavy based pan on a medium/high heat and bring to the boil, then reduce to a medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until cranberries all pop. Pick out all the clove, star anise and cinnamon and discard, pour compote mixture into a container and leave to cool.

Serve the parfait in slices or scoops with the compote and toasted brioche. 

Boxing Day treat:
Pan roast hake, gnocchi, cauliflower, caper
from The Tippling House


  4 x 6oz Hake fillets
  75g butter
  1x cauliflower
  100ml milk
  50ml double cream
  2 tbsp. capers
  300g of Maris Piper potatoes

  50g of pasta flour
  5g of flaky sea salt
  10g egg yolk
  25g fine semolina, for dusting
  Dulse Powder 
  Pea Shoots


For the Gnocchi
Steam the whole potatoes for 45-75 minutes until tender. Peel the warm potatoes using a small sharp knife, then mash using a potato ricer or mouli.
Tip 200g of the potato on to a clean work surface. Sift the flour and salt together. Sprinkle half of this over the potato, drizzle the egg yolk and sprinkle the remaining flour. Use a metal scraper to repeatedly cut and mix the ingredients together, but avoid overmixing in case the gnocchi become rubbery. Knead the dough briefly then divide into four. Wrap each portion in cling film to prevent drying out. Roll each dough portion in turn, making a sausage shape, 1.5cm thick. Cut into 1cm portions, then roll each of these into a ball. Press grooves into each gnocchi with the back of a fork. Place the gnocchi on a tray dusted with semolina to prevent sticking. 

To cook the gnocchi, boil a large pan of salted water, reduce to a simmer and add the gnocchi, stirring the water as you go. When the gnocchi floats to the surface, cook for 1 more minute before removing with a slotted spoon. Transfer the gnocchi into a hot pan with a good dash of olive oil and cook to achieve an evenly golden-brown finish

Cut the cauliflower into florets, place in a pan with the butter and sauté until golden brown. Reserve half for plating. Add the milk and cream and cook the rest until soft. Liquidise until smooth, seasoning to taste.

Add a little vegetable oil and 50g of butter to a large non-stick pan. Once hot, roast the hake until golden brown on both sides and finish in the oven if necessary.

Deep fry the capers so that they open up and crisp slightly.

Dot some of the puree on the plate and scatter on some of the florets, gnocchi and capers. Finish with the hake and a drizzle of the roasting juices. Garnish with the shoots and dulse powder.

Vegan Celebration:
Skirlie & kela potato cakes with charred broccoli, toasted almonds & salsa verde
from Eat on the Green


For the potato cakes
  500g potatoes
  1 white onion, diced
  200g rough oatmeal
  150ml rapeseed oil
  ½ tsp salt & cracked black pepper
  50g black kale, shredded
  25g flaked almonds
  100g tenderstem broccoli

For the salsa verde:
  ½ small pack tarragon
  1 small pack flat-leaf parsley
  1 garlic clove
  ½ tsp sea salt
  1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
  20g small capers, drained, rinsed 
  100ml extra virgin olive oil
  1 tbsp. sherry vinegar


Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft, drain and mash. Sauté the onion in rapeseed oil until very soft then stir in the oatmeal, salt and pepper and leave to one side. Add the kale to the potato, combine with the oatmeal mixture and stir though. In a hot griddle pan, add a splash of rapeseed oil and chargrill the broccoli for a few minutes, add the flaked almonds, toasting until golden brown. 

Make the salsa verde in a food processor. Blitz the herbs, garlic, sea salt and mustard. 

Add the olive oil and blitz again. Add the sherry vinegar a little at a time, checking for taste and texture. Blitz again to give a rich, green mixture.

To serve, take a small round cutter and fill with the skirlie, potato cake mixture – make three small cakes on the plate. Top with a piece of tenderstem broccoli and scatter with the flaked almonds. Finally add the rich, green salsa verde on top and a drizzle of rapeseed oil. 

Delightful dessert:
Lemon meringue roulade
from The Royal Northern & University Club


For the meringue
  4 Egg Whites
  250 g Sugar
  1 tsp of White Wine Vinegar

  1 tsp of sugar
  1 vanilla pod
  Good quality Lemon Curd


Preheat your oven to 1400C/275 F/Gas Mark Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Tip the whites into a large, very clean mixing bowl. Whisk until frothy and slightly stiff. Add a tablespoon of the sugar, whisk. Repeat this a spoonful at a time until all the sugar is gone. Whisk until the meringue is glossy and super stiff. This will take 5-8 minutes. 

Line a 33 cm x 23 cm baking tin with baking paper. Tip the meringue onto the tray, spread evenly. Bake for about 25 minutes until slightly golden brown and crusty.

Whip the double cream, sugar and vanilla seeds until it is fluffy. If it splits or becomes grainy, add a little more liquid cream and mix gently with a spoon. 

We make our own lemon curd, but you can use a good quality jar. Add the lemon curd to the cream and mix it through. Taste for tartness and add more if needed.

Allow the roulade to cool partially before carefully flipping onto a piece of baking paper that is larger than the tin. The meringue should now be top down. Dollop the lemon cream across the roulade in little piles then spread. Don’t go too near the edges. Make a cut about ¾ of the depth of the meringue bout 3cm in from the short side. Take the baking paper and use it to roll the lip of the short side up and fold it along that cut so that this will form the centre of the roulade. Be brave, pull the paper tight and make a tight roll. It may crack. Roll it right onto your serving dish. Decorate to finish. 

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