What's on Abi's Menu this Festive Season?

Abi shares some mouthwatering recipes that she's planning to prepare for her (lucky) guests this Christmas.

It's no secret that I am a massive foodie and flicking through recipe books and dreaming up menus is like therapy. It truly relaxes me and takes my mind away from the biz for a bit.

It gives me great pleasure to hear the oohs and the ahhs when I start to serve our feast. 

I've chosen a fish starter by the wonderful 'Donna Hay' and a woodland inspired cocktail that I would really like to share with you guys.

Beetroot Cured Ocean Trout, served with a Buttermilk Dressing,

and a Cos Salad with a Jalapeno Crumb

Beetroot Cure

-250gm each Raw Caster Sugar and Rock Salt.

-2 Beetroot coarsely grated.

-1/2 cup chopped Fennel Tops & Dill.

-Finely grated rind of Lemon.

-50ml Gin.

-1 side Ocean Trout (1.2kg) skin off.

Buttermilk Dressing

-2 tsp Fennel Seeds. 

-1/3 cup chopped Herbs (Dill, Chives, Flat Leaf Parsley)

-Grated rind of Lemon.

-Dijon Mustard for brushing.

-250ml Buttermilk.

-250 Sour Cream.

-1 1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

-2 tbsp Lemon Juice to taste.

Cos Salad

-1 x Green Jalapeno finely chopped or 1 tbsp Chopped Pickled Jalapeno.

-200g sourdough, crusts removed, torn.

-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

-20g Grated Pecorino.

-4 Baby Cos Lettuce.

-Chopped Chives.

For the Cure:

- Combine all ingredients except fish in a bowl.

- Spread half mixture in the base of a non reactive container.

- Place trout on top and spread remaining mixture over.

- Cover and refrigerate overnight to cure.

- Remove trout from cure, wipe off mixture and pat dry.

- Toast fennel seeds (approx 30 seconds), crush with a pestle and mortar, transfer to bowl with herbs and rinds and mix well.

-Brush trout lightly with mustard, scatter over herbs and press into trout.

-Refrigerate until required. 

Buttermilk Dressing:

- Whisk buttermilk, olive oil, sour cream and lemon juice in a bowl and season to taste. Serve.

Cos Salad

- Combine jalapeno and bread and bake for 40 minutes or until crisp in an oven set to 140C.

- Crumble over lettuce, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with pecorino and serve.

- The buttermilk dressing for the trout works perfectly over the top of the salad too. 

For me it's also about all the added little extras, and this year I'm experimenting with a few cocktails too. This Woodland Cocktail caught my eye and it tastes sooo good.

A Woodland Inspired Cocktail:

Sloe and Wood Sorrel Sour

- 300ml Sloe Gin.

- 100ml Lemon Juice.

- 20g Wood Sorrel Heads.

- 4 Egg Whites.


- Pour gin, lemon juice, and wood sorrel heads into a cocktail shaker. 

- Stir egg whites with a fork to loosen add to shaker and shake. 

- Add ice, shake again and once shaker is really cold strain into a chilled glass with more ice and a garnish of wood sorrel. 

- Enjoy.