Classic accompaniments with a twist, including sausage, bacon and potato bake, salmon and beetroot rolls and sprouts in tempura batter
As much as I love the Christmas roast, it's the accompaniments that really do it for me. Side dishes that complete the plate, such as brussels sprouts glistening with butter, roast potatoes, all crispness without and fluffy within, little sausages and the nutty stuffing. Good as the classics are, I don't want them for every festive meal, so here are a few suggestions for those who like their Christmas accompaniments as much as I do, but want to ring the changes with something a little different.
Red cabbage with apple sauce
It wouldn't be Christmas without red cabbage. I usually add apple to mine, but this year I have made an apple sauce which I stir the cabbage into. A truly lovely accompaniment to beef, pork, ham or turkey.
cooking apples 2 large
star anise 3 whole
red cabbage a half
groundnut oil 2 tbsp
coriander seeds 10
juniper berries 8
cider vinegar 3 tbsp
Peel the apples, then core and cut them into large dice. Put them in a heavy-based saucepan with the star anise and 4 tablespoons of water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and let the apple boil down to a slushy purée, taking great care it doesn't burn.
Finely shred the cabbage. In a separate pan, warm the oil, then add the sliced cabbage and let it cook, together with the coriander seeds and juniper berries, lightly crushed, stirring regularly till it is soft and bright in colour. Pour in the cider vinegar, let it sizzle then cover with a lid so the cabbage continues cooking in the steam.
Transfer the apple purée to the cabbage, stir gently together and serve.
Sausage, bacon and potato bake
Designed as a side dish, this also makes a fine main course in its own right.
floury potatoes such as King Edward 1kg
smoked streaky bacon 16 rashers
sage leaves 4
Peel the potatoes, cut into roasting size pieces, then boil in deep, salted water for 12-15 minutes or until almost tender.
Drain the potatoes, shake the pan gently, so the edges of the potatoes are softened - it will help them to crisp perfectly - then set aside.
Cut the sausages into short lengths, then fry them in a little oil in a non-stick pan so they are golden all over, then put them to one side. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.
Butter a baking dish about 20x30cm. Place six of the rashers diagonally across the base, leaving small gaps between them.
Toss the potatoes and sausages together, then put them into the baking dish, flattening them into one layer where possible. Season them with salt and pepper, a little more butter, then tuck the sage leaves among them.
Place the remaining rashers of bacon, in a lattice pattern, over the top of the buttered potatoes.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, till the bacon is crisp and the potatoes are golden.
Salmon and beetroot rolls
Sausage rolls with a difference.
Makes 6 large rolls
cooked beetroot 150g
creme fraiche 3 heaped tbsp
green peppercorns in brine 1 tbsp
puff pastry 325g
beaten egg 1, for brushing
Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Remove and discard the skin from the salmon and cut the flesh into small dice. Finely dice the beetroot and mix with the salmon, creme fraiche, green peppercorns drained of their brine and a little black pepper and salt.
Put the pastry on a board with the long side facing you. Pile the filling along the bottom of the pastry, leaving a small border bare. Brush this and the rest of the edges of the pastry with beaten egg, then roll the pastry up from the bottom edge making a long, fat sausage.
Slice into 6 large rolls, brush the outside with beaten egg then cut a small hole or slit in the top of each. Bake for 20 minutes or so, till golden and sizzling.
Bloody Mary salad
The world-famous hangover cure becomes a crisp, refreshing salad. Great for cold turkey.
chestnuts cooked, 200g
chopped tomatoes 1 x 400g can
Tabasco sauce a half teaspoon
Oloroso sherry 2 tbsp
Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp
fresh horseradish 3 tbsp, grated
celery salt 2 tsp
olive oil 3 tbsp
parsley 6 sprigs
Lightly peel the cucumber, remove the seeds and cut the flesh into small pieces. Trim the celery, saving a few of the leaves, then chop the ribs into small pieces. Warm the chestnuts in a shallow pan until they smell nutty, then crumble them and toss with the celery and cucumber.
In a blender, mix the tomatoes, Tabasco, sherry, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, celery salt and olive oil to a thick dressing then toss with the nuts and vegetables. Pick the leaves from the parsley and add to the salad. Serve in bowls or glasses, with a sprig of celery in each.
Brussels sprouts in wasabi tempura batter
Crunchy batter, tender sprouts within.
plain flour 100g
sunflower oil 2 tbsp
sparkling mineral water 175ml
wasabi paste 2 tbsp or to taste
Brussels sprouts 500g
egg white 1
oil for deep frying
Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the oil, water and wasabi paste, then set aside. Trim the sprouts, then slice them in half. When the batter has rested, heat a deep pan of oil. Beat the egg white till almost stiff then fold into the batter mixture. Dip the sprouts into the batter, lift them out, then lower them, a few at a time, into the oil. Leave them to cook, turning them from time to time, for about 7 minutes until crisp and golden. Lift the fritters out with a draining spoon and put them briefly on to kitchen paper. Scatter over a little salt and serve them immediately, while they are still hot and crisp.
Photo: Red cabbage with apple sauce. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for Observer Food Monthly