Shopahoilc: an alternative festive dinner

Posted on: 22 December 2010 by Shopaholic 50connect

Get bored with the traditional menu for the festive season and fancy something a little different? Give turkey a rest this year and try my alternative festive food...

Hors d'oevres: deep fried wanton

WantonsFinely chop one medium onion, a small tin of bamboo shoots, 4 rashes of bacon and 100 grams of shrimps. mix and marinate with salt, pepper, soya sauce, Chinese wine or sherry, corn flour and one egg yolk. Mix well and set aside for 15 minutes.

You'll need wanton wraps, which you can get from a Chinese or oriental supermarket, or alternatively use thinned puff pastry. Take a sheet in the palm of your hand and put one tea spoonful of the filling mix in the middle, brush the four corners of the wrap with egg white and  twist  together to close. Repeat until you've used all the mixture.

Deep fry them the wantons on a medium heat (too hot will over-cook the pastry and under-cook the filling) for a minute or two and serve with a cucumber salad and sweet chilli sauce.

Tips: You can buy ready-made wantons in a Chinese supermarket and simply fry at home, if you don't fancy making them yourself!

Starter: chicken and sweet corn soup

SoupFinely chop one large onion, 2 sticks of celery, and 2 chicken breasts and marinate with salt, pepper, soya sauce, sesame oil and corn flour for 15 minutes. Heat the saucepan or pot with some oil and fry the onion, celery and chicken on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Once the ingredients are nearly cooked, add a tin of sweet corn and pour in the chicken stock (use a soup bowl as a measure for the amount of stock you'll need and add 2 or 3 stock cubes) and bring to the boil. Thicken the soup with corn flour mixed with water. Just before serving crack one egg and stir in rapidly and garnish with shredded spring onions, parsley or coriander leaves.

Main course: honey roasted Chinese style duck with seasonal vegetables

Chinese duckHold your duck over the sink and pour a kettle of boiling water all over the bird, then drain and dry with a kitchen towel. Marinate the duck with salt, pepper, Chinese 5 spice, Hoi-sin Sauce, light soy sauce and Chinese wine or sherry. Rub the marinade all over the skin as well as  inside the duck and rest for an hour or two. Hand the duck with a hook or with string overnight to dry, and remember to place a tray or bucket underneath as the liquids will drip off.

Roast the duck for as long as the label indicates, once it is cooked brush the duck with honey and throw it back in the oven on a higher heat for about 5 minutes (or until the skin is dark and crispy).

I like to serve the duck with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables as well as garnishing it with fried bacon bits and crushed cashew nuts. You can also have it with your regular gravy or orange sauce.

Dessert: the usual Christmas pudding with an ginger twist

Christmas puddingIf you are tired of stodgy old christmas pud, here's a slightly different twist on the traditional favourite.

Mince a stalk of ground ginger and fry on a low heat, then add a few spoonfuls of honey or golden syrup (depending on how sweet your tooth!) and combine with some water until you get a thin syrup.

Garnish your Christmas Pudding with this ginger syrup after you've flambéd.

Palate cleanser: lychee with mango and melon fruit salad

LycheeLychee's are a great accompaniment to the humble fruit salad.

I add a tin to fresh mango, melon chunks and other tropical fruits to make an unusual salad and serve with ice cream or licquor. After all the sugarry treats, this is a lighter dessert!

Your fortune for 2011

Fortune cookiesWhy not go for fortune cookies instead of crackers! You can finish the meal with a laugh as well as seeing what's in store for 2011!

Happy Holidays and Cheers!!
The Shopaholic

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