Christmas Complementary Condiments, December 2021

I’m a big believer in sauces, relishes & dressings. Shiny olive oil vinaigrettes oozing over-ripe tomatoes, tangy chutney to smear over a leg ham sandwich, a dollop of creamy citrusy zing to make those prawns zing. Plops of double cream, coating custard over pudding and caramel syrup dripping over grilled peaches. A lot of slip slop slap of luscious extra-ordinary flavour to help the party food come to life.

It helps to get the sauce section organised as part of preparations. Popping sauces into little bowls with spoons, even onto the serving or buffet area just gets you in front of the game. Christmas gravy can be made in advance if you are pre-cooking turkey, ham, and or chicken. Keep all those pan juices, add fresh rosemary, thyme, or parsley, a spoonful or red currant jelly for sweetness. Simmered till reduced to a thinnish syrup is enough these days, a roux-based gravy might be a little too heavy for a hot Australian celebration.

Try a salad dressing this year with pomegranate molasses.

Into a 500 ml glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, add

250 ml of extra virgin olive oil

60 ml of pomegranate molasses

The juice of one lemon

1 tsp of hot English mustard (or mild/seeded)

1 teaspoon of sea salt, ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Give it a great shake to emulsify, and use constantly over bright spinach salads, over roasted kumara, eggplant or asparagus. Used sparingly, it melds well with smashed avocado, poached eggs & dill.

For raised eyebrows in the pudding department, adding sparkle to your whipped cream can be anything from fresh vanilla beans squished out of a pod, the zest of an orange, or finely grated white chocolate, or use golden syrup to sweeten instead of sugar.

I hope you have a blessed Christmas season, and you see as many of those you love in person as possible. Joy to your world, Bernadette xxx