Are you all enjoying the festive season? Still merry? Dead beet? In just a few days it will be out with the old and in with the new. Out with the Scottish piping bag! By that I’m referring to the Scottish bagpipes since we’re just back from a wonderfully cosy, family Christmas in Scotland and so now feeling rather patriotic. I wonder if my French neighbours would mind if I took up the bagpipes in 2012?
While the Scots celebrate ‘Hogmany’, on New Year’s Eve on 31 December, the French have a more formal dinner affair. It normally lasts all evening; in fact, there have been occasions when we’ve been so carried away at the table that midnight has struck as we’re tucking into the cheese board and just about missed it! And that’s long before dessert is even served. Last year, I just about fell asleep in the pudding from fatigue and the liquid refreshments, willing myself to continue into the early hours. Och, it’s not the age it’s the mileage, eh?
Feeling patriotic, Scottish smoked salmon is definitely on my menu for starters (or hors d’oeuvres.) My favourite is Salar Hot Smoked Salmon from the Outer Hebrides in North-West Scotland, but you can use any good quality wild smoked salmon – or in the photo, I used Smoked Salmon with 5 peppers from our local supermarket’s gourmet section (OK, it’s from Monoprix, but I’m just telling you where I shop since nobody ever approaches me for advertising, I never have freebies to post and so this is just simple old me. Voilà.)
We filled the suitcase with the Salar smoked precious stuff, hoping that Ryanair Staff wouldn’t take a liking to it and confiscate it at airport security. I was too worried about being blown back with the wind rather than anything else. Edinburgh was incredibly windy and I’m not just talking about the after-effects of the Christmas sprouts here. Don’t get me started on as-much-as-you-dare-with-Ryanair. ‘Haste ye back’ to the recipe!
One of the recipes that’s given on the back of the Salar smoked salmon pack is a simple apple and horseradish sauce to accompany it. The apple makes this sauce so deliciously light. At first guests think it’s pure cream looking at the colour, but on tasting they dollop on more when they realise it’s mainly apple with half fat crème fraîche tossed in as an afterthought! Serve a little on serving plates and provide extra sauce on the table.
For that extra special touch, this goes famously with a beetroot and horseradish macaron (see mini macs savoury macarons on p.103 of Mad About Macarons.)
Horseradish and Apple Sauce for Hot Smoked Salmon
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
1 tart apple (e.g. braeburn, granny smith)
1-2 tbsp cream of horseradish (according to taste)
juice of 1 lemon
handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
1 small 12cl carton low fat crème fraîche (15% fat)
1. Grate the apple then quickly add the lemon juice so that it won’t turn brown.
2. Mix in the other ingredients and season to taste.
Fiddling around in Picasa, I noticed I could make a collage! Isn’t that pretty? Not pretty, not awful just pretty awful. OK, I’m still learning. Great fun! Coming on Friday – a simple, light but fancy French dessert to serve with your macarons for a New Year dinner menu.