Stilton Shortbread

…with butternut panna cotta and candied pine nuts (makes 20 canapès)

Ingredients

For the shortbread

200g plain flour | 100g butter 100g Parmesan, grated | 50g Stilton Salt and pepper | 1tsp dried mustard powder | 2-3 tblsp milk

For the panna cotta

1 butternut squash |1 cloveof garlic | 1 large shallot | 100g double cream | 100g vegetable bouillon | 4 leaves gelatine | Salt and pepper to season | 100g pine nuts | 25g caster sugar | Splash of water

Method

Shortbread

Place all the dry ingredients into a magmix until they form a sandy texture. Add in the milk to form a firm ball. Roll out the pastry and brush with a little more milk. Cut out with a rectangle cutter or a Christmas star. Bake at 160°C for 15 minutes.

Panna cotta

Peel and chop the garlic, shallot and butternut squash, sweat off the vegetables and then add the cream, stock and cook until the butternut is soft. Place the mixture into a blender and blend till smooth. Meanwhile soften the gelatine in cold water and add to the blender. When smooth pass the mixture through a fine sieve and set into shallow baking trays lined with cling film. Chill until set.

To get crispy pine nuts dissolve the sugar with a dash of water over a gentle heat, when it starts to colour, add the nuts. Once caramel turn out on to non stick baking paper. Once cool crunch up for the garnish.

To serve

Cut the panna cotta to shape and place on top of the shortbread, decorate with the pine nuts.

Gin & Tonic Cured Salmon

…on a blini with cucumber caviar (makes 20 canapès)

Ingredients

For the salmon

400g salmon fillet | 900g table salt |100g sugar |8 crushed juniper berries | 1tsp coriander seeds | 1 orange peeled | 1 lime peeled | 1tsp fennel seed

For the blini

375g Maris Piper potatoes, boiled and peeled | 300g crème fraîche | 3 eggs | 2 egg yolks

For the ‘caviar’

1 cucumber | 1 lemon grass stick | 2 sprigs mint |3g agar agar |crème fraîche for assembly

Method

Salmon

Blend all the ingredients except the salmon in a food processor. Cover the salmon with the mix and dry marinade overnight, wash dry and slice thinly.

Blinis

Mash the potatoes, then whisk in flour, crème fraîche and the egg, season to taste. Bake in a shallow baking tray for 20 minutes at 160°C, chill and cut into 20 x 3cm rounds.

‘Caviar’

Bash the lemon grass, and add two sprigs of mint and the peeled roughly chopped cucumber in a muslin and squeeze well. Keep the juice and then warm, use this to dissolve the agar. Combine and allow to chill. Once chilled this can be raked with a fork and to appear like caviar.

To assemble

Make a curl out of the salmon and place on top of the blini with a blob of crème fraîche.Finish with the caviar and garnish with micro herbs.

Bombe Noël

Makes 1 large Bombe Noël

Ingredients

9 egg yolks | 150g caster sugar | 225ml double cream | 225ml Greek yoghurt | Zest and juice of 2 limes | Zest and juice of 1 orange | 1lb mixed dried fruit | 6 dried apricots | 1tsp cinnamon

Method

Simmer the fruit on a low heat in the juice and zest of the oranges and limes.

Line a 1.2 litre (2 pint) bombe mould or pudding bowl with cling film and place in the freezer.

Mix the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and cook over a pan of boiling water on the hob. Whisk for 10–15 mins until thick and doubled in volume. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk until the mixture is cold.

Whip the cream to the same consistency as the yoghurt and lightly fold into the egg mixture with the yoghurt. Fold in the dried fruit and place in the mould in the freezer. Stir after an hour. Leave in the freezer until you are ready to eat it.

Rhubard Gingerbread Men

Makes 12 gingerbread men

Ingredients

140g unsalted butter | 100g dark muscovado sugar | 3tbsp golden syrup |350g plain flour |1tsp bicarbonate of soda |2tsp gorund ginger | 1tsp ground cinnamon

To decorate

50g icing sugar | Pink glitter Chocolate buttons

Method

Heat oven to 200°C fan. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.

Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. Mix the flour, soda, spices and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in the butter mix to make a stiff dough. Roll out dough to about 5mm thick. Cut out the gingerbread men

Bake for 12 mins until golden. Cool 10 mins on the sheets, then lift onto cooling racks.

To decorate: mix icing sugar with a few drops of water until thick and smooth.

©Rhubarb Food Design, and Gaggenau