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Fabulous festive food

Put a lighter spin on traditional christmas recipes this year with fresh and delicious, al-fresco-friendly dishes that still taste like celebration

Image Credit: Camera Press
Left: Grilled plum, mozzarella and rocket salad.Right: Strawberry fizz.

Chocolate chip cookie and berry trifle

Serves 6

Ingredients
60g butter at room temperature
70g golden brown sugar
1 egg yolk
75g flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

For the trifle
2 cups cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
300 mixed fresh berries
2 tbsp caster sugar

Method

1 Preheat oven to 190°C. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar. Add the egg yolk and continue beating.

2 Sift flour and bicarbonate into the butter mixture. Stir well to combine. Mix in chopped chocolate.

3 Drop spoonfuls on a lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until cooked. Allow to cool completely.

4 Place cookies in a sealed plastic bag and crush roughly with a rolling pin.

5 For the trifle, whip cream and icing sugar until peaks form. In a separate bowl, toss berries with the caster sugar.

6 To assemble, layer cookie crumbs in a glass, top with cream and berries. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbles.

Peppered fillet with rocket salsa verde

Serves 6

Ingredients
1.5kg beef fillet
Olive oil
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
3 tbsp pink peppercorns

For rocket salsa verde
30g each rocket, dill and basil, chopped
2 anchovies, chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp capers, chopped
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/2 cup olive oil

Method

1 Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush fillet with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place a large frying pan over high heat, sear the fillet on all sides until browned and set aside.

2 Brush fillet with mustard and roll in pink peppercorns. Place on a lined baking tray and roast for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to stand for 20 minutes before slicing. Garnish with rocket and serve with salsa verde. 3 For the rocket salsa verde, mix together the rocket, dill, basil, anchovies, Dijon mustard and capers. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste.

Grilled plum, mozzarella and rocket salad

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
6 plums, stones removed and quartered
150g bresaola, sliced
150g wild rocket
3 balls mozzarella, torn
100g walnuts, toasted and chopped

For the dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 pinch chilli flakes
1 pinch caster sugar
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

1 Heat a griddle pan until it becomes smoking hot. Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Brush the plums with the mixture and then griddle for 2-3 minutes on each side. Season to taste.

2 Place plums on a serving platter and then toss together with the bresaola, rocket, mozzarella and walnuts.

3 To make the dressing, mix together the ingredients. Pour over the salad, season well and serve.

Strawberry fizz

Serves 6

Ingredients
2 cups water
200g sugar
600g strawberries, cut into chunks
3 cups of soda water (cold)
180g pomegranate rubies
Ice
1 handful fresh mint

Method

1 Make sugar syrup by placing water and sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

2 Blitz strawberries until smooth. Add the syrup, soda water and pomegranate rubies. Stir well.

3 To serve, pour the mixture into serving jugs, add ice and mint.

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