If you’ve enjoyed the best of traditional fayre over Christmas, with turkey or goose on the big day and beef or gammon for cold cuts for Boxing day and beyond, the chances are that a hearty meat feast is not exactly what you are craving for New Year’s Eve. We’ve come up with some delicious cheese-based vegetarian recipes, ideal for a New Year’s Eve dinner party and for providing the wow factor without the meat overload.
Cornish Kern, Onion and Thyme Tartlets
Cornish Kern is made by Lynher Dairies, best known for their nettle-wrapped Yarg. Derived from a Gouda style recipe the cheese is made using Alpine starter cultures, resulting in a hybrid Dutch / Swiss cheese with a close texture, rich caramel notes and a deep, savoury aroma.
Ingredients (to make 12)
For the pastry:
175g plain flour
75g butter at room temperature plus a little extra for greasing
40 g finely grated Cornish Kern
½ level teaspoon mustard powder
1 large egg, beaten
For the filling:
1 large onion
200g finely grated Cornish Kern
12 small sprigs fresh thyme
1 small knob of butter
1 large egg
120 ml single cream
¼ level teaspoon mustard powder
salt and freshly milled black pepper
Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the flour in a large bowl. Use your fingertips to pinch the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the 40g of finely grated Cornish Kern, mustard powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Add about 1½ tablespoons of cold water to make a smooth dough and bring it all together with your fingertips. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put it into the fridge to rest. While you are waiting, grease the cups of a standard muffin / bun tin and then pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
Once the pastry dough has chilled for at least half an hour, roll it out as thinly as you can without it tearing and cut out 12 rounds of pastry. You want them slightly bigger than the muffin cups so that the pastry stands slightly proud of the tin to allow for shrinkage. Prick the base of each pastry round and coat with the beaten egg. Place them in the oven for ten minutes or until the pastry is just cooked through, and cool on a wire rack.
Make the filling by peeling and finely chopping the onions and cooking them gently in the butter in an uncovered pan, stirring frequently until they are golden brown and soft. Set them aside to cool.
In the meantime, separate the egg yolk from the white and beat the yolk with the cream, mustard and grated cheese in a jug and add some salt and pepper. Whisk the egg white separately and then fold it gently into the cheese and egg mixture.
Next, spoon a little of the onion mixture into each pastry case and pour some of the cheese and egg egg mixture on top. Dip each sprig of thyme in some olive oil and garnish each tartlet before sprinkling lightly with cayenne pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is slightly browned.
Radicchio and Grana Padano Risotto (serves 6)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 knobs of butter
200ml red wine
1 large Venetian radicchio or 2 Treviso radicchio (can substitute with chicory if unavailable) finely shredded
400g Arborio Risotto rice
1 litre vegetable stock
200g Grana Padano, finely grated
Melt one of the knobs of butter gently in a large pan.
Fry the onions slowly until they are translucent and golden brown. Add the shredded radicchio and cook gently for 3-4 minutes until softened and add the crushed garlic.
Pour the rice into the pan and stir it for a minute or two until coated and mixed with the radicchio and onions. Pour in the red wine and stir it gently, keeping the heat medium low.
Once the red wine has absorbed into the rice, add a cupful of the hot stock, and keep stirring.
Add the last knob of butter and mix it through.
Add another cup of stock and keep stirring gently until absorbed. Repeat. This should take about 20 minutes, but taste the rice after 15 minutes to monitor how it is doing. You want it to be soft with a very slight bite in the centre.
Once you are satisfied with the consistency, stir through ¾ of the cheese, keeping the rest back for people to sprinkle on the top of their meals. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Mince Pies with Stilton
The simplest but tastiest desert of all!
Either buy or make your favourite mince pies.
Take some Stilton (any self-respecting household has some leftovers from Christmas) and place a thin slice of it on the top of each mince pie.
Warm the pies gently for few minutes until the Stilton starts to melt.
Enjoy with a glass of Paxton & Whitfield Vintage Port.