Christmas parties everywhere! 'Tis the season for entertaining and we appreciate it can be a little overwhelming, but nonetheless a very joyful time. Greet your guests with a steamy glass of mulled wine and put a smile on their face with our golden pork and apple sausage roll - sizable enough to feed a whole family! These recipes go hand in hand with a lovely, informal evening of entertaining.

Monkfish Sharing Canapé

Makes 25

Ingredients

Monkfish

350g monkfish or cod cheeks (or skinless fillets portioned into approx 2cm x 6cm strips)

100g plain flour

3 eggs

200g panko

Citrus Mayonnaise

1 lemon, zested

1 orange zested

1 egg

1 egg yolk

Pinch of mustard

250g neutral sunflower oil

Pickled Cucumber

200g cucumber (½ large)

10g dill

5tbsp Gherkin pickling liquid

Method

1. Firstly prepare the monkfish cheeks by removing any sinew from both sides, then divide each cheek into three or two equal size pieces. Place in the fridge whilst preparing the panné.

2. To prepare the panné you will need three separate tubs. In the first tub place the flour with a good pinch of salt. In the second tub place the eggs which have been whisked together and strained through a fine sieve. Finally in the third tub zest the lemon and mix with the panko breadcrumbs.

3. Remove the prepared cheeks from the fridge and panné by first coating in seasoned flour, then coating in the sieved egg and finally in the lemon panko breadcrumbs. Each cheek should have an even distribution of breadcrumbs over its surface. Once this is achieved place into the fridge on a wire rack to chill until service.

4. Meanwhile prepare the mayonnaise. In a blender place the egg yolk, egg, mustard powder and a pinch of salt.

5. Begin to drizzle into the machine, slowly at first ensuring a stable emulsion is forming. Continue to drizzle slowly until all the oil is incorporated.

6. Once all the oil has been added remove the mayonnaise from the mixer and season to taste with the citrus zests. Place into the fridge covered until ready to use.

7. Now prepare the cucumber. Cut four finger length pieces of cucumber. Using a mandolin or knife cut 2mm thick slices leaving the skin on but stopping once you reach the watery core. Repeat on remaining 3 sides.

8. Take the 2mm thick slices of cucumber and cut into 2mm thick julienne. Then petit brunoise the cucumber.

9. Once the cucumber is diced mix it with the gherkin liquid and finely chopped dill. This can be used straight away but benefits from marinating in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Assembly

1. To assemble the cheeks preheat some vegetable oil to 180⁰.

2. Recheck the mayonnaise for seasoning and place into a piping bag.

3. Deep fry the cheeks for 2-3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on tissue paper and season lightly with salt.

4. Place a small amount of the mayonnaise onto the serving plate, the monkfish cheek on top of that and garnish with a small spoon of the pickled cucumber and serve.

Latticed Pork and Apple Sausage Roll

Ingredients

400g pack pork and apple sausage - about 6 fat sausages

1 roasted red pepper from a jar, patted dry with kitchen paper

1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)

2 tbsp tomato purée

Salt and pepper

Flour, for dusting

250g ready-made puff pastry

1 large egg – glazing only

Salad, to serve

Method

1. Heat oven to 220C/425f/200C fan/ gas 7. Place a sheet of parchment on baking tray, set aside.

2. Remove the meat from the sausage skins by snipping off the ends, then squeezing the sausage meat into a bowl.

3. Cut the pepper into small pieces with scissors. Add the red pepper, the chilli flakes (if using), tomato puree, salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork or clean hands. Set aside covered in the fridge until ready to assemble the sausage roll.

4. Sprinkle some flour on the work surface. Cut the pastry into three pieces, 1 x1/2 the pastry, 2 x ¼’s. Using a rolling pin, roll out one of the 1/4 pastry block into a rough rectangle shape, 1 pound coin thickness (3mm), approx 12 x 25cm. This is the base of the sausage roll, place on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Now spoon the sausage meat onto the middle of the pastry base in a sausage shape – leave a 2cm border of pastry all the way around the sausage meat. Set aside in the fridge while rolling out the rest of the pastry.

6. Take the 2nd 1/4 of the puff pastry, roll into a rectangle this piece needs to be thinner and larger than the base ideally 2mm.

7. Break the egg into the cup with a pinch of salt, beat with a fork until well combined.

8. Taking the sausage roll base out of the fridge, brush the beaten egg around the border of the pastry. Place the newly rolled rectangle on top of the sausage meat. Gently press the pastry to seal it from the top of the sausage meat down to the border (you need to remove as much air as possible from under the pastry so it is a snug fit), ensure the border is pressed down securely. Use a sharp knife to neaten up the edges. Set aside while you roll out the final piece of pastry.

9. Roll the final ½ of pastry into a rectangle approximately a pound coin thickness (3mm approx.). Do not worry if it is a similar size to the current sausage roll. Take a ruler and a small sharp knife, starting at one edge of the pastry, make 1 inch incisions down the pastry with a 1 inch gap between each. Leave 1cm between each row and continue the incisions to the other side of the pastry.

10. Pick up the pastry and gently pull the pastry to prize open the incisions so they are holes. Do this to the whole sheet. Brush the top of the pastry that is sitting on top of the sausage meat all over. Place the latticed pastry on top of the egg washed pastry and gently press down to seal. Using a sharp knife trim away excess pastry from the edges of the pastry so all the pastry layers are flush at the edges.

11. For best results, place the pastry in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until it is firm prior to baking.

12. Bake for 35-40 mins or until the pastry is golden brown and the sausage meat is piping hot.

13. Serve hot or cold with salad and your favourite chutney.

LEITHS MULLED WINE

Ingredients

4 x 75cl bottles of full-bodied red wine

570 ml/1 pint orange juice

290 ml/ ½ pint water

1 orange studded with 12 cloves

150ml/ ¼ pint orange liqueur

2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

225g/8 oz granulated sugar

Method

1. Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan and dissolve the sugar over a low heat.

2. Bring up to simmering point and add more sugar to taste if necessary

3. Keep warm but do not boil as the alcohol will be evaporated.

Gin Fizz

Ingredients

5 large lemons

900g granulated sugar

2 teaspoons citric acid

½ tablespoon tartaric acid

2 tablespoons epsom salts

1 litre boiling water

Gin to mix (also delicious without gin, just mix with soda over ice)

Method

1. Peel the zest from the lemons in large strips using a vegetable peeler. Try not to remove too much of the pith. Put it into a large heatproof bowl. Squeeze the juice from the lemons.

2. Put the rest of the ingredients into the bowl with the lemons and pour on the boiling water.

3. Cover and leave overnight in a cool place. Strain into sterilized bottles and store in the fridge.

4. Half fill a glass with ice cubes, add a measure of gin and a measure of the mix. Top up with soda water to taste...

...Add a handful of raspberries for a pink Gin Fizz!

Mulled Apple Juice

Ingredients

1l apple juice

Strips of orange peel

1 cinnamon stick, plus extra to garnish, if you like

3 cloves

sugar or honey, to taste

Method

1. Simmer the apple juice with the strips of orange peel, cinnamon stick and cloves for about 5-10 mins until all the flavours have infused.

2. Sweeten to taste.

3. Serve each drink with a little orange peel and a piece of cinnamon stick, if you like.


Don't forget to stay tuned with our Leiths Advent Calendar, and follow #LeithsAdvent on Instagram, for more Leiths recipe inspiration, tips and treats from leading chefs and exclusive foodie giveaways!


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