Venison Wellington.

Serves 2.
Recipe by Freddie Bates.

Fillet of venison (8oz/225g should be enough for 2)
Wild mushrooms (if you can't find, button or chesnut will do)
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 onion
Few spigs rosemary
200ml double cream
1 bag spinach
Pre-rolled puff pastry
Butter
1tbsp oil (for frying)
Small glass of white wine

Heat a frying pan to high with oil. After seasoning the meat, seal quickly all over, adding a knob of butter. Remove meat from pan but keep the butter, oil and juices. Allow it to rest while you fry the onion on a medium heat in meat juices to soften. After five minutes, add garlic and rosemary. Don't let the garlic burn, so turn down if necessary.

Add mushrooms and cook on medium heat until nicely browned. Add wine and reduce to almost nothing then add the cream. Reduce cream on a good boil by three quarters or more - you need a good thick paste when blended. Take off the heat and season. Using a blender, blitz to a thick paste and allow to cool. Meanwhile, wilt all the spinach in a small amount of water. When cooked, squeeze out excess liquid and sit in a sieve so any extra comes out.

Roll out your pastry on a floured surface and smear your paste on top, leaving about an inch all round. Spoon the spinach over and place venison in the middle. Using the melted butter, brush the edges and fold one to the other, leaving a lip on the bottom side to fold back. Press down around the meat to get all air out, then, using more butter, fold the bottom lip back and press all round to create a seal. Using a fork, press all around the seal. Ever so lightly decorate with crosses or patterns. Not necessary but pleasing to the eye.

Brush the parcel all over with butter. Place on a heated baking tray on greaseproof paper, and stick in a hot oven on the top shelf for 15- 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. This should leave the meat medium rare.

Egg Nog Martini.

Recipe from The Wick at Both Ends.

1 egg white, whipped
1 splash double cream
1 shot dark rum
1 shot amaretto
1 teaspoon sugar
2 dashes vanilla essence

Beat your egg white until fluffy in consistency, then mix all the ingredients together. Use a cocktail shaker if you have one.If not then just put in a sealed tupperware tub with a dozen ice cubes and shake. Top with freshly grated nutmeg and serve neat.

Hot Buttered Rum.

Recipe from The Wick at Both Ends.

2 shots rum
1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar
75ml boiling water
Small knob of butter (approx 10g)
A squeeze of lemon

Put your rum and sugar in a sturdy glass, then add the boiling water and stir in your butter until it's melted. Finally, raid your spice cabinet and give it some life. We like to use cinnamon and cloves but nutmeg and star anise work well.

PHOTO BY SARA HILL.
COOKING BY FREDDIE BATES.


Festive Date and Fig Mince Pies with Walnut Pastry.

Recipe by Komal Khan.

Fruity Goodness:
200g sultanas
250g pear (finely diced)
150g dates (chopped)
150g dried figs (chopped)
300g soft muscavado sugar
Zest and juice of 3 oranges
2 tsp mixed ground spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Good glug of Cointreau, Brandy or other favoured tipple

Pastry:
250g butter (cold and diced)
400g plain flour
50g ground walnuts (blend or put in a bag and bash with a rolling pin)
50g icing sugar

Heat all your fruity ingredients together in a pan big enough to hold it until it's soft and your kitchen smells amazing. Rub together the pastry ingredients and add enough water to bring it together, forming a rough dough. Chill for two hours. Roll out the chilled pastry to about the thickness of a pound coin, cut out circles using the rim of a glass or something circular that fits your mince pie tins and line the tin with them. Add a dollop of the gooey fruit stodge and some more pastry on top - be it stars, circles or whatever shape you fancy. Cook until golden and bubbly. Cool slightly before eating and enjoy.

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