The Perfect Christmas Dinner

13 Dec 2011

Ensure your Christmas dinner goes without a hitch with these exclusive recipes from Dubai’s best chefs


Salmon gravalax with oyster tempura, honey mustard mayo, and micro greens
By West 14th chef de cuisine Edi Pancamala

Serves: Four

500g fresh salmon
100g dill leaves
80g sugar
40g rock salt
1pcs lime
1pcs lemon
4pcs oyster no.2
100g tempura butter
500ml cooking oil
1 can soda water
30g honey mustard
60g mayonnaise

For the salmon
Remove the skin and portion at about 200g each. In a small mixing bowl mix the sugar, salt, lemon and lime zest thoroughly. Rub the mixture on to the salmon and squeeze the lime and lemon over it, ensuring you turn the salmon over several times to get equal curing. I personally like to use vacuum vac pack. It takes approx 12 hours to cure the salmon.

For the tempura butter
In a small mixing bowl add the tempura fl our, pour the cold soda water and mix it through and reserve on the side.

For the honey mustard mayo
Combine together honey mustard and mayonnaise and mix together, reserve on the side.

To serve, finely chop the dill and roll the cured salmon over it. Reheat the cooking oil to 190°C, open up the oyster and dip it into the tempura butter, then deep fry the oyster until crispy. While frying the oyster, slice the salmon and place it on the desired plate. Dribble the honey mustard mayo and garnish with micro greens.


Gratin of roasted winter vegetables
By Armani Hotel Dubai executive chef Emiliano Bernasconi

Serves: Four

200g celeriac, peeled & diced
200g pumpkin, peeled & diced
200g turnips, peeled and diced
200g savoy cabbage
200g carrot, peeled & diced
8 pcs baby shallot
200g chestnuts
40g butter
50g breadcrumbs
10g sage leaves
Salt and pepper

1. Blanch all the vegetables in salty water, drain and keep aside.
2. Bake the shallots in the oven for 30 minutes on 180 degrees, let them cool down and then peel.
3. For the chestnuts, make an incision in the skin; cook them on high heat in a pan and then peel.
4. In a sauté pan, melt some butter and add the sage for flavour. Then add all your vegetables. Toss them nicely and season with salt and pepper.
5. Put the vegetables in the roasting dish, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and bake for 10-15 minutes at 180°C.


Turkey Arabesque
By TV chef Suzanne Husseini (

8 litres of water minimum
2 cups of sea salt
A handful of whole peppercorns
2 tbs whole cloves
2 tbs caraway seeds
5 cinnamon sticks
A handful of star anise
2 tbs allspice berries
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
2 large onions, cut in quarters
2 oranges, sliced with peel
2 lemons, sliced with peel
A handful of parsley with stalks
1 cup pomegranate molasses
19kg turkey
½ cup melted butter
¼ cup vegetable oil

Day 1
1. In a deep container (one that will fi t in your fridge), place all of the ingredients to make the brine. Stir well to dissolve the salt and sugar.
2. Remove anything inside the turkey, wash well. Untie the strings. Slowly immerse the turkey into the infused brining liquid. Place the container with the turkey in the fridge overnight to soak up the flavours.

Day 2:
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
2. Remove the turkey from the brining liquid and pat dry with a towel one hour before stuffing and cooking. The turkey should be at room temperature before it goes into the oven. Fill the cavity with the stuffing, tie back the wings, secure the legs and tie them. Brush the turkey with a combination of oil and melted butter and place in a large roasting pan. Baste periodically with the juices in the pan.
3. Put in the preheated oven at the high temperature for half an hour. Turn down the heat to 180°C for the rest of the cooking time. A turkey this size will take approximately 4 1/2 to 5 hours to cook, although this can vary. Use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the bird to ensure the turkey is properly cooked. When poked with the tip of a knife the meat juices should be clear.
4. The most important step is to remove the cooked turkey and tent it lightly with a large sheet of foil, then leave it to rest for at least 20 to 25 minutes before slicing. Serve with extra stuffing.

Fruit and nut Freekeh stuffing
By TV chef Suzanne Husseini

¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
3 cups Freekeh (cracked smoky green wheat), rinsed well and drained
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp allspice
Sea salt and pepper
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup dried apricot, sliced
1 cup dried pomegranates (or cranberries) soaked in juice of 1 orange
2 cups of roasted chestnuts, peeled and cut into quarters
1 cup of toasted almonds
1 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup toasted pistachio nuts
Fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish
½ cup parsley, chopped

1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until soft. Add the celery and sauté for two minutes more.
2. Stir in the Freekeh.
3. Add the allspice, orange zest, salt and pepper. Pour in the chicken stock.
4. Add the apricot, pomegranates (or cranberries) with the orange juice, chestnuts and half of each of the nuts.
5. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and leave to simmer until the most of the liquid evaporates. Don���t cook thoroughly.
6. Remove about 3 cups and place in a shallow dish to cool before filling the turkey. Cover the remaining and continue to simmer until fully cooked. You might need a little more water. The Freekeh should have a little bite to it.
7. Garnish the fully cooked Freekeh pilaf with the remaining nuts and fresh pomegranate seeds and parsley.
8. Serve alongside the roasted Turkey Arabesque.


Butternut pumpkin & sweet chestnut strudel with buttered brussels sprouts and beetroot coriander pesto
By Madinat Jumeirah Resort wellbeing chef Gabriele Kurz

Serves: Four

For the strudel dough:

300g spelt fl our
125ml milk
25g soft butter
1 egg
1 dash acacia honey

For the filling:
1500g butternut squash, peeled, cut into chunky pieces and steamed
400g sweet chestnut, cooked, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, cut into dices
20ml olive oil
Salt, pepper
20ml melted butter for the finish
1 large beetroot (500g), cooked, peeled and cut into wedges
250g brussels sprouts, cleaned, cut into halves
1 tablespoon butter, melted
100ml low fat milk
5 bay leaves

For the pesto:
60g parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 chili, cut
2 garlic cloves
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
50ml olive oil

To prepare in advance:
For the strudel dough
Combine all ingredients by hand until a semi-firm dough is achieved. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes at room temperature.

For the filling
Braise the onions in olive oil until translucent. Mix and mash with the steamed and soft pumpkin pieces and chopped sweet chestnut. Season with salt and pepper.

Finish the strudel
Roll out the dough as thinly as possible, then brush with melted butter. Spread the filling all over and roll up. Transfer the strudel on to a buttered baking tray. Keep refrigerated until 20 minutes before serving if you do the preparation on the same day. Keep frozen if you prepare some days in advance.
2. Combine all ingredients for the pesto in a mortar and work through entirely. Keep refrigerated until serving.
3. Bring milk and bay leaves to a boil, allow to chill and macerate for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

To do last minute:
1. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Bake the strudel for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
Note: A frozen strudel needs to defrost beforehand in the refrigerator, around 6 hours before baking.
2. Steam the raw brussels sprouts for around 6 minutes and the cooked beetroot for around 4 minutes. Brush both with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Cut the strudel into portion-sized pieces and serve with coriander pesto.
3. Strain the bay leaves milk and bring to boil. Season with salt. Produce foam by blending the milk. Garnish the plate with a little bit of bay foam.

Super Spuds
By Nick Alvis, Table 9, Hilton Dubai Creek

Serves: 6-8 people

5 large potatoes (King Edward, Desiree, Marris Piper)
5 tablespoons of goose fat
Maldon sea salt
Black pepper

Pre-heated oven at 190°C

1. Peel and cut the potatoes to your preferred size (usually I get four nice pieces out of one potato).
2. Place in a lightly salted pan of cold water and slowly bring to the boil and cook for fi ve minutes.
3. Turn down the heat to a simmer and keep checking the potatoes until they just start to break on the edges. Drain off the water and return to the pan to dry a little on the stove for a couple of minutes. While you are doing this, start warming your goose fat in a solid roasting tray until it is hot enough to fry the potatoes.
4. In the pan, season the potatoes well with Maldon salt and ground black pepper, then add to the roasting tray and carefully stir to coat with the goose fat.
5. Place tray into the oven and let the potatoes roast without stirring them for twenty minutes so they begin to colour.
6. Now you must check and stir every five to ten minutes until the potatoes are golden and crispy.

Christmas pudding
By Blue Orange pastry chef Lisa Ann Meehan

225g shredded suet
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
100g self raising flour
450g soft brown sugar
225g white breadcrumbs
225g sultanas
225g raisins
560g currants
50g almonds (blanched, skinned and chopped)
50g mixed peel finely chopped
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
4 standard eggs
150ml warm water
150ml alcohol free malt drink
60ml vanilla essence

1. Place the suet, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar in a large bowl, mix thoroughly.
2. Add the dried fruit, mixed peel and almonds. Mix thoroughly.
3. Add the grated apple, orange and lemon zest and give a final mix.
4. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, water, malt drink and vanilla essence.
5. Pour 2/3 of the wet mixture over the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until fully combined. If need be, add the rest of the mixture (you can’t tell exactly how much liquid you will need as it depends on how much liquid the mixture absorbs). The mix should be the consistency of pancake batter.
6. After mixing, cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it overnight. The next day, grease four pudding moulds and pack the mixture into them right up to the top. Cover each of the pudding moulds with a piece of grease proof paper and tie with string.
7. Place the moulds in to a deep baking tray and fill halfway with water, bake at 160°C for eight hours, keep checking the water level and top up as required.
8. Once cooked allow to cool and refrigerate until needed.
9. To serve, place the pudding back in to the water bath and bake it at 150°C for two hours.