The Fulton clan loves Christmas. And every year, much negotiation goes into deciding what will be cooked for the most important feast of the year. Here are four Fulton favourite recipes which appear year-after-year on our Christmas table.
Fennel and pink peppercorn gravlax
Kate: Home cured salmon or ocean trout beats the smoked variety at Christmas. It’s a much cheaper option and the quality is better than anything I’ve tried. Plus, there’s more to go around. We nickname this fish Robert’s gravlax, after my dad, and it appears with that name in my grandmother Margaret’s Christmas cookbook. We take turns making it, and my version includes fennel seeds and pink peppercorns, plenty of vodka. Gin also works really well. The essential ingredients are the sugar and salt, which appear in equal quantity and actually cure the fish. The rest is all about happy, festive flavours. I love the dill and pink peppercorns at Christmas, as the colours look so festive on the plate.
Kate: My husband Ben decided on lobster rolls for Christmas snacks when we first met and he joined my family for Christmas. They were such a hit we’ve served them ever since (he was obviously a hit as well).
I use my grandmother and mother’s piroshki dough for these, but instead of filling the uncooked dough with onion andspeck, I create larger rolls and freeze them ahead of time. On the day, all that is required is to defrost, then a char on the barbecue or in a hot pan. They’re incredible filled with Australian crayfish, but picked crab with light mayo and loads of finely chopped herbs works well as well.
Stuffed pistachio and apple roast pork
Kate: The debate of what meat should appear on the Christmas table is not forgotten at the Fulton clan’s houses as Christmas approaches. Some love a turkey, there’s always a free-range glazed ham that lasts a few days, and I love a stuffed roast pork. Because cracking! Because stuffing! The stuffing is packed with flavor, and the prunes and apple add a sweetness that goes so well with pork.
Kate: Trifles are back, and I’m so pleased. There was a time when trifles were only served at the least fashionable tables, put together with little concern for quality, weighed down with too many types of fruit and not enough texture. I love doing individual serves in glasses, offering in season berries or mango, crunchy from amaretti, and wobbly, silken pannacotta instead of traditional jelly. We never go without Christmas pudding on the day, but these trifles are impressive and not too sweet, and they always disappear at our place.
- 1 side salmon or ocean trout, skin on, totalling about 1.3kg
- Grated rind, 1 lemon
- 1 bunch dill, chopped
- ½ cup salt
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup vodka
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly toasted and crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 2 tbs pink peppercorns, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 1 sourdough baguette, thinly sliced diagonally and lightly toasted, or rye or black bread, thinly sliced and lightly toasted
- Crème fraiche, to serve
Using tweezers, remove any protruding pin bones from the fish.
Make a soggy mixture of the lemon rind, dill, salt, sugar, vodka, fennel seeds and half the pepper. Spread half the mixture into a large plastic container large enough to hold the fish flat. Place the fish skin side up on the mixture, then cover with remaining mixture, rubbing it into the skin. Seal with a lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate 2 days. Turn the fish every 12 hours.
Start carving from the tail end, holding the knife to produce thin slices as you would smoked salmon, cutting the flesh away from the skin as you do. Serve with crème fraiche and toast.