Christmas; a time of year that remains in a league of its own, where people come together to be with their loved ones and say goodbye to another year gone by. It’s also a time for comfort, with great food being up front and centre and classic dishes—paired with new ones—adding to the fun.
With appetites firmly in tow, ELISTICLE! celebrates this season with four exceptionally talented restaurateurs and chefs who have each created something special by way of an Xmas feast — chef Gurmehar Sethi of Klap, Gauri Devidayal of The Table, chef Hussain Shahzad of O Pedro and Prateek Gupta of Café Dali.
Chef-Approved Recipes To Try For Your Christmas Dinner Party
Chef Gurmehar’s Christmas Cake
- 1kg mixed dry fruits (figs, dates, raisins, cranberries, currants)
- 100g – whole/ flaked almonds, chopped hazelnuts
- 150ml sherry/brandy
- 2 oranges (zest and juice)
- 250g unsalted butter
- 250g brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g refined flour
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp mixed spice
Put your dry fruit mixture into a large bowl with your choice of sherry/brandy, orange zest and juice. Mix well, cover and leave it overnight.
Heat oven to 160°C, grease the cake mould with butter and place in the fridge.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until you achieve a creamy texture, then add the eggs slowly, followed by refined flour, mixed spices, chopped nuts and alcohol-soaked dried fruits. Stir everything together well, then scrape into the cake mould.
Reduce the oven’s temperature to 140°C, cover the top of the cake with baking parchment paper and bake for 2 hours. Once the cake is cooked, take it out from the mould and place it on a baking tray for it to cool down. Slice and serve.
Chef Gauris’ Roasted Cornish Hen with Panzanella
- 1 Cornish hen
- 4 sage leaves
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 sprig thyme
- Zest of one lemon
(For the Panzanella)
- 80g clarified butter
- 500g sourdough bread or Goan poee bread
- 250g dark chicken stock
- A few splashes of white wine
- 1 sprig sage
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch frisée
- 1 clove garlic
- A handful of chives, sliced
- Nice olive oil
Cut along the backside of the hen, remove the rib cage and thigh bone. Leave the uncovered skin side up on a rack for 2 days. Brush with olive oil and a little lemon juice. Chop the herbs and evenly coat the meat side.
Sear chicken skin side in butter till golden, then salt to taste. Press with a weight and bake at 380°F for 5 mins. Baste with the warm butter, flip and keep on a rack. Reserve the drippings.
Tear the bread into chunks, toss in olive oil and salt. Bake till crisp at 320°F.
Once the chicken is ready, deglaze the pan with white wine. Once reduced, add the stock. Cool down and add a few frisée leaves. Dress the frisée with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and chives. Then add the bread to the pan. Add reserved chicken drippings and toss. Place the chicken on top of the bread mix and serve.
Chef Hussain’s Pork Belly Assado
- 1kg pork belly, boneless and without skin
- 3 cups thickly sliced onions
- 10 dry red Kashmiri chillies, medium-sized
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 60 ml dark rum or coconut palm feni
- 60 ml toddy vinegar
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ inch cinnamon stick
- 6 pcs cloves
- 2 inch ginger, peeled
- 10 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 litre chicken stock or water
- Salt to taste
In a medium blender, grind to a fine paste the cumin, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, turmeric, ginger, garlic and brown sugar with the feni and toddy vinegar. It should be a yellowish marinade. Now reserve this marinade in a cool place.
Salt the pork belly generously and reserve in a cool place for 30 mins. As the pork belly sits with the salt, slice the onions and break each Kashmiri chilli into a couple of pieces. Now marinate the pork with all the marinade and let it sit in a refrigerator for 6 hours.
Preheat your oven to 160°C. In a medium roasting tray, lay the sliced onions and Kashmiri chillies at the bottom to form a trivet for the meat. Now place the marinated pork belly clean side up on the sliced onions. Pour in room temperature water or chicken stock in the roasting tray, ensure it comes up halfway to the sides of the meat.
Roast for 60-90 minutes, making sure to baste the pork every 20 minutes. Once finished, the fat on the pork belly should be crusty, not crispy and the meat tender and juicy. Let the meat rest in the pan for 30 mins.
Transfer the meat to another tray, take all the onions and residual roasting juices from the roasting tray and put into a heavy bottomed saucepan. On a medium flame reduce the sauce and season with salt if necessary. The sauce should be tangy, slightly sweet and unctuous.
Slice the pork with a sharp knife and serve with roasted potatoes, warm bread and the assado sauce.
Chef Prateek’s Maple Roasted Carrots with Rosemary
- Olive oil
- 300g carrots, cleaned, trimmed & halved lengthwise
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- Pinch of sea sal
Fire up the oven 200°C. Add a little olive oil and a sprig of rosemary to the baking tray and place inside the oven to warm up.
Once the pan is warm, add the carrots and the remaining rosemary, and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the carrots are golden brown and softened.
Drizzle the maple syrup over the carrots and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, or until the carrots are caramelised.
Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the carrots generously with the sea salt–and serve.