Impress December guests by using the best of seasonal produce in these luxury dishes from Glovers Alley chef Andy McFadden.
Warming spices add a seasonal twist to this well-balanced dessert dish, making it a great way to end a festive meal.
For the red wine granita 350ml cabernet sauvignon
150g caster sugar
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 fresh bay leaf
For the fromage frais mousse 100ml double cream
1 gelatine leaf (titanium strength), softened in cold water
180g fromage frais
2 eggs, separated
1 lemon, finely grated zest only
75g caster sugar
For the red wine granita:
1. Combine the cabernet sauvignon, caster sugar, star anise, cinnamon, bay leaf and 350ml water in a saucepan over a medium heat.
2. Bring to a gentle simmer, stir and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
3. Strain and discard solids, pour mixture into a shallow tray and freeze, scraping with a fork at hourly intervals to form crystals, until frozen (4-6 hours).
For the fromage frais mousse (makes about 750ml):
4. Bring the cream to the boil over a medium heat.
5. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine, add to the cream and stir to dissolve. Then strain through a fine sieve.
6. Whisk the fromage frais and egg yolks in a large bowl.
7. Add in the cream mixture and lemon zest.
8. Mix to combine.
9. Refrigerate until chilled (30 minutes).
10. Whisk the egg whites and sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
11. Fold into the chilled fromage frais mixture.
12. Spoon into 4 small glasses and refrigerate until set (2-3 hours).
Top the mousse with the red wine granita and mint leaves and serve immediately.
This was one of the first soups I learned how to make as a chef. Pumpkin season extends long past Halloween and you should make use of this versatile and nourishing ingredient all winter.
450g pumpkin, coarsely chopped
10g root ginger, finely chopped
30g caster sugar
30g dry white wine
500ml chicken stock
35ml double cream
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.
2. Add the pumpkin, ginger, sugar and a pinch of salt. Cover with a lid and stir occasionally until the pumpkin is tender (20-30 mins).
3. Remove the lid, then stir occasionally until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds.
4. Add the wine, reduce by two-thirds, then add the stock and cream. Simmer until flavours are combined.
5. Process in a blender until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve.
6. Season to taste.
7. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan and add pumpkin seeds and a pinch of salt. Warm over a low heat, stirring occasionally until the seeds are golden brown.
Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Top with the toasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of toasted seed oil. Serve with some good quality bread.
Venison is the star ingredient on my deluxe festive menu," says Andy McFadden, head chef at Glovers Alley restaurant at the Fitzwilliam Hotel on Dublin's St Stephen's Green. This year, Andy was awarded Best Chef in Dublin and Best Overall Chef at the Food & Wine awards. Here's his recipe for enjoying venison's special flavour at home
100ml double cream
6 garlic cloves
2 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary
3 large (1.3kg) Maris Piper potatoes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
3 large (1.2kg) swedes, thinly sliced on a mandolin
Butter, for greasing
1 tbsp olive oil
2 pieces venison strip loin (750g each), trimmed of sinew
The swede & potato gratin:
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
2. Combine the milk, cream, garlic and herbs in a large saucepan and cook over a very low heat until infused (about 20 minutes).
3. Remove from the heat, cover and stand for 30 minutes, then strain (discard solids).
4. Place alternate layers of potato, swede and cream mixture in a buttered 2.5-litre-capacity ovenproof dish, seasoning to taste as you go and finishing with a layer of cream mixture.
5. Cover with foil and bake until cooked through (1½-2 hours).
6. Remove the foil and cook until the gratin is golden and the liquid has evaporated (about 20 minutes).
7. Set aside to rest for 20 minutes and keep warm.
1. Heat a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat, and add the butter and oil.
2. When foaming, add the venison and season to taste.
3. Cook until golden, turning once (1-2 minutes each side).
4. Transfer to an oven and roast to medium-rare (3-5 minutes).
5. Remove from the oven, cover and rest for 10 minutes.
Slice the venison, season to taste and serve with the swede and potato gratin.
Glovers Alley is now accepting lunch and dinner bookings in the run-up to Christmas. See gloversalley.com