Its became something that appealed to me this year, food that also served as a bit of a decorative table adornment as well! When I was thinking of what other things to possibly try out for something a bit different for our Christmas drinks, I thought about a cheese ball. One of my friends in Brissie was always obsessed with cheeseballs, and at the time I didn't totally understand the obsession, but they sure look cool! I had to make it Christmasy though, which of course means either spices of cranberry to me! I also have been reading a lot of British cookbooks lately and they seem to be somewhat keen on meat wrapping other food, so I thought I could do that too, but what's better than meat wrapping meat.... meat wrapping seafood!!!!!
Recipe 3: Cranberry, almond and cheddar cheeseball
I made this cheeseball ahead of time (the previous day) and wrapped it well in foil and cling wrap and simply rolled it in the cranberries on the day, so it was very low effort on the day. The only thing that I would recommend would be to serve it in an environment where guests have two hands free, as they need to use a little cheese knife to put some cheese on a biscuit. Nobody would put Pete's mulled wine down to do such a thing, so it became a bit of a mess in the end!!
2 tablespoons of soft butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
1 dash of worcestershire sauce
1 dash of tobasco sauce
Salt and pepper
3 oz of cheddar
1 tablespoon of mango chutney
2 oz parmesan cheese
25g almond flakes
60g dried cranberries
1. Combine butter, cream cheese, lime juice, worcestershire sauce, tobasco and salt and pepper. Beat with electric mixers until all combined and smooth.
2. Grate cheddar and parmesan into the cream cheese mix.
3. Crush almonds (I put them in a little freezer bag and hit them with a rolling pin, great stress relief!) and put in the cheese mixture.
4. Combine all ingredients (except for the cranberries) and form into a ball. If you are serving right away, continue to next step. If you are making a day or two ahead, roll into ball and wrap with cling wrap. Seal with foil and keep in a protected spot in the fridge until you are ready to prepare and serve.
5. Cut the dried cranberries into small pieces and cover chopping board so that there is a layer of cranberry.
6. Roll the cheeseball gently in the cranberries, making sure each part is covered in berries. Cover any little "bald spots" by hand as it gets difficult to continue rolling without ruining the cranberry-covered ball.
7. Serve with crackers, sticks, carrots or whatever crudites you fancy!
Recipe 4: Pancetta wrapped scallops
Sometimes its fun to create things using many ingredients that create a complex set of flavours, and other times, the more simple the better! This is particularly true of these scallops! They couldn't really be any easier!!
And that, is all!
1. Cut strips of pancetta in half as each strip will do two scallops.
2. Wrap one scallop in half a piece of pancetta and secure with a toothpick.
3. That is for preparation.... keep them refridgerated until you are ready to serve them.
4. Heat a pan with a splash of oil and place the pancetta-wrapped scallops in. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the pancetta has crisped up. The scallop inside will cook in this time don't worry, but perhaps cut one open to check before serving! Even though tenderness is sometimes compromised, I still maintain it is better to have slightly chewed seafood rather than undercooked, so if you are doubt, always go another minute!!
5. Serve and eat! Thats all. Now, we were debating this on the night, I feel that they need a little dipping sauce but couldn't think what would be the best accompanying sauce. I got hollandaise in my head and that is all I could then consider. Does anyone else have any ideas??? A seafood cocktail sauce perhaps...
I will do another post for the sausage scrolls and fruit-mince-pie-cake-puddings. I didn't actually get time to photograph the sausage scrolls before they were destroyed, and well, I still need a name for the latter!