|Festive Chargrilled Vegetable Salad
This green, white and red combination makes a fine Christmas salad. The snow peas and beans can be blanched the night before if desired but they will lose some of their fresh brightness.
1/4 cup olive oil
3 courgettes, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 red onion, cut into wedges
4 vine tomatoes, halved
150g round green beans, blanched
150g snow peas, blanched
3 small bocconcini, pulled apart
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 tablespoon liquid honey
Heat half the oil in a grill pan and sear courgette slices in batches for 3-4 minutes until coloured on both sides and tender. Set aside.
Add remaining oil to pan and sear onion wedges for 4-5 minutes until coloured and softened. Set aside with courgettes.
Arrange tomatoes, beans and snow peas in layers on a platter with chargrilled courgettes and red onion. Dot with bocconcini and sprinkle with basil leaves.
Dressing: Combine all ingredients by shaking them together in a jar or whisking well. Season with salt and pepper. Dress salad a few minutes before serving to let flavours infuse.
White Chocolate Meringue Roll with Spiced Berry Sauce
One of the best things about this stunning dessert is that most of the work can be done days ahead.
5 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
200g creme fraiche
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon honey
1 punnet strawberries, halved
1 punnet raspberries
1/2 cup blackcurrant or cranberry juice
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour mixed to a paste with 2 tablespoons water
200g white chocolate buttons or melts
1/2 teaspoon flavourless oil
Chocolate holly leaves (see below)
Meringue and filling: Heat oven to 165 degC fanbake and line a large baking tray. Using an electric beater, whip egg whites with salt until foamy. Gradually add caster sugar in a thin, steady stream, beating continuously until meringue is thick and glossy - about 4-5 minutes. Fold in vinegar and lemon zest.
Pile meringue onto lined tray and spread out evenly to cover three-quarters of the paper. Bake 8 minutes then turn tray around and cook a further 10 minutes until pale golden brown and puffed up. Remove from oven and allow to sit 5 minutes (don't worry if meringue drops).
Lay a large piece of foil on the bench and top with a sheet of baking paper. Carefully but quickly flip meringue over onto the clean paper. Peel off cooking paper. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place creme fraiche, cream, vanilla and honey in a large bowl and beat to medium-firm peaks. Spread over meringue. Using the foil and cooking paper to help, and starting from the longest side, gently roll meringue into a log. Use the foil to wrap it firmly then transfer to a tray and freeze. Roll will keep well in the freezer for up to a week.
Berry sauce: Combine berries, juice, spice and caster sugar in a pot and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in cornflour paste. Simmer 1-2 minutes, stirring. Cool before serving. Sauce will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.
Chocolate coating: Finish preparing meringue roll up to a few hours before serving. Unwrap and place on a serving plate. Melt chocolate in a microwave on medium-high for 30-second intervals until smooth and melted. Stir in oil.
If necessary, pat excess moisture from meringue with paper towels (it will depend how thawed the roll has got). Gently spread roll with a thin coating of chocolate and use a knife to create lines to mimic bark. (If chocolate is too thick it will be hard to slice.) Arrange holly leaves along the top.
White Chocolate Holly
Decorate the meringue roll with chocolate holly leaves: melt about 100g white chocolate and transfer to a piping bag. Pipe leaf shapes onto baking paper then pipe more chocolate inside the shapes to make solid leaves. Allow to dry completely before carefully removing from paper. Alternatively, you could make chocolate stars: spread melted white chocolate on baking paper to 3-4mm thick then use a small star cutter to cut out shapes before the chocolate has hardened completely.
Story: Jo Wilcox
Photographs: Kieran Scott
Stylist: Claudia Kozub