Smoked salmon with dill guacamole & Jamon with hazelnut frangipane tart and cranberry chutney

Christmas is weird. So completely warped from its original incarnations – a hotchpotch of pagan and religious traditions evolved into some single all-conquering, global mid-winter indulgence.

Don’t get me wrong it’s great, but the whole thing’s so over the top that the most common question you hear is of the ‘true meaning’ variety. Family and shiny new things seem to be about right. And food of course. And drink. Lots and lots of food and very large amounts of drink. When you’re young the booze is about celebrating and partying. When you’re old and miserable like me, you need a stiff drink or five to get through it..

As usual I’ll be pretending my selfish act of shutting myself in the kitchen and doing some of the things I love most – drink, listen to music and fannying about with nice food, is simply selfless graft in order to feed people I love. That’s it! That’s the properly true spirit of Christmas (and perhaps humanity in general) – conspicuous acts of self-service disguised as generosity and kindness..

rsz_dsc_0300

Ignore me I’ve hit the wine already. Here are two simple ideas for Christmas lunch starters. They don’t take long, can be prepped in advance and are not too filling. All the better for stuffing your face when the real deal hits the table.

rsz_dsc_0298

Jamon with hazelnut frangipane tart and cranberry chutney:
I made a savoury-ish frangipane tart using ground hazelnuts instead of almonds (steady on the sugar, bit more salt). Then mixed onion chutney with cranberry sauce to accompany a nice slice of Spanish ham.
Ingredients: jamon, hazelnuts, egg, butter, sugar, salt, pastry case, onion chutney, cranberry sauce

Smoked salmon with dill guacamole and tortilla chip:
I crushed some squishy avocado with salt, lime and loads of dill. Then browned some olive oil brushed tortilla wraps in the oven, before serving with a silky sliver of smoked salmon.
Ingredients: smoked salmon, dill, avocado, lime, salt, tortilla wrap, oil 

rsz_dsc_0294

Merry Christmas! Thanks for reading me!