The great thing about Christmas food (apart from eating it)? The sheer amount of festive options available, and the endless scope for creativity and reinvention of some of our favourite Christmas tastes. While so classic dishes are perfect just the way they are, many can always be updated with ingredients being added or removed, and fresh spins on dining menus can be introduced to suit food trends or dietary requirements.
Read on for tips on how to ace Christmas cooking this holiday period with some insider secrets from Singapore’s top chefs.
CÉ LA VI’s Chicken Roulade (their interpretation of the classic Christmas turkey)
- Butterfly the chicken (split into a thin layer) and tenderise with a “smashing” effect.
- Create an easy chestnut stuffing by combining cooked and chopped chestnuts, minced pork, herbs, and ricotta.
- Press in equal layers of the stuffing, additional sage, and meat.
- Roll it to perfection (this portion is highly technical, so use as much help from your elves as you can get) and sous-vide at 65 degrees Celsius for two hours.
- Give the roulade a nice sear on a pan to finish and it is ready to serve!
Crispy Porchetta By Chef Ammie Khoo, Rosemead
“My favourite Christmas dish is crispy porchetta and potatoes. When I visited France, I was inspired by how they sold roasted chicken from a rotisserie and piled potatoes at the bottom, soaking up all the drippings. I decided to try the same with porchetta. It soaks up the goodness and takes less time and effort, but packs in lots of flavour.
Starting two days before you want to eat it, scrub the pork belly skin with salt and a dash of vinegar. Rinse and pat dry the skin before pricking and scoring it. For the belly side of the porchetta, marinate with fennel seeds, chilli flakes, kosher salt, and black peppercorn.
For those who’d like to include a stuffing, save the trouble and buy some loose fennel sausage mix. roll up the stuffed porchetta and secure it with a butcher’s string. Tip: air dry the porchetta (for very crisp skin) in the fridge, bringing it out on the day of dining. Drizzle the skin with oil, season with salt, and roast it. Start at 150C for about two hours, until the internal temperature reaches 71C. Baste it every 30 mins with the drippings, then increase your oven temperature to 250C for another 20-30 mins, until your skin is golden crisp and blistered. Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing it up with a serrated knife.
If you want crispy potatoes with your porchetta (who wouldn’t?), boil some marble or fingerling potatoes when your porchetta is in the beginning stage of roasting. Drain the potatoes and smash them lightly. After the oven temperature has been increased to 250C, add potatoes to the porchetta pan and mix well with the drippings. Throw in some garlic cloves and rosemary, and it should be nice and golden once your porchetta is ready!”
Cranberry, Rose & Almond Shortbread, by Chef Joy Chiam, Co-Founder of Pâtisserie CLÉ
“Shortbread cookies are the easiest to master, especially for people who are starting out in baking and can be very fun with different cookie cutter shapes. For example, in my recipe, I’ve added dried cranberries, almonds and rose water. If you wish, you can also try your hand at adding other ingredients that are to your personal preference such as chocolate chips and other type of nuts. Or, if you are short on time, drop by Pâtisserie CLÉ to purchase these cookies ($25/tin) that also make great gifts for the season. Enjoy!”
120 grams of Butter
50 grams of Icing Sugar
1 gram of Salt
1⁄2 teaspoon of Rose Water
130 grams of All Purpose/Plain Flour
20 grams of Dried Cranberries
20 grams of Slivered Almonds or Almond Nibs
1. In a bowl, cream the butter, icing sugar, and salt together with a handheld or stand
mixer (at medium high speed, for about 4 to 5 minutes) until all is combined. The mixture
should look light, fluffy, and paler in colour.
2. Add the rose water into the dough and mix until it is well combined.
3. Slowly add the flour in 3 parts, until it is well incorporated with the dough. Stop mixing
once all the flour is added to avoid overmixing.
4. Add dried cranberries and almonds into the dough and mix till combined.
5. With parchment paper or cling wrap, wrap the dough and leave it in the chiller to rest
for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight, till the dough has hardened.
6. Remove the dough from the chiller and roll with a rolling pin to the desired thickness.
7. Cut the cookies into desired shapes with a cookie cutter. Once the dough is all cut out,
re-roll the remaining dough to further cut it.
8. Line baking tray with parchment paper and lay the cookies out.
9. Bake at 165oC for 10 to 15 minutes until the cookies turn golden brown.
10. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool completely, before enjoying.
ATLAS FRENCH 75, BY THE ATLAS TEAM
1 Dash Saline Solution
20ml Lemon Juice
15ml Simple Syrup
10ml Peach Liquor
40ml Colombo Gin (or any London Dry Gin)
30ml Champagne (to finish)
Glassware: Champagne Flute
Garnish: Candied Kumquat
- Build all ingredients (except champagne) into a shaking tin.
- Add ice and shake.
- Strain into a white wine glass or champagne flute.
- Top with 30ml champagne, and garnish with the candied kumquat.
10% Saline Solution (1:10): Dissolve 10g Table Salt in 100ml Filtered Water
Candied Kumquat (Garnish)
1 litre filtered water
1kg white caster sugar
Cut kumquat in halves and remove seeds
- Heat filtered water and white caster sugar in a large pot and dissolve fully.
- When sugar syrup is simmering, add halved kumquats and let it boil.
- Wait until kumquat turns transparent and is fully cooked.
Shelf life in refrigerator: 2-3 months