Thank you to Marie-Claire and Michelle, the Country Living Chefs, for making us so welcome at the Christmas Fair this week.

Ideal to feed a crowd, these colourful ‘pass and share platters’ make a welcome start to a lazy morning during the holiday season. 

Sage and butternut squash tortilla with red onion confit (vegetarian and gluten free)

To feed four hungry guests, you will need –

6 medium free range eggs

1 small butternut squash or half a medium squash – washed, de-seeded (no need to peel) but cut into bite size pieces.  Place on baking tray and drizzle with tablespoon of olive oil.  Season and roast at 180 C for 20 minutes until tender.

Jar of red onion confit or three small red onions finely chopped and cooked slowly in a frying pan with 3 tablespoons olive oil until soft

8 -10 fresh sage leaves, washed and roughly torn

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly ground nutmeg

To serve

Handful of perpetual spinach leaves

50 g Dorset Blue Vinny to crumble over (optional)

Preheat oven to 180 C Gas Mark 5

Prepare butternut squash and red onions.

Crack eggs into a large bowl and whisk together.  Season with freshly grated nutmeg, sea salt and pepper. Add three tablespoons of onion confit (if using) and stir to combine

Preheat frying pan and add olive oil. Gently soften onions if not using confit.

Carefully pour egg mixture into the pan and then add the cooked squash.

Reduce heat and allow the egg to begin to set.

Scatter the torn sage leaves over the tortilla and transfer to the middle shelf in the oven and continue cooking.

The tortilla is cooked when it is slightly risen, the egg is set and golden brown.

Allow to cool slightly and cut into wedges to serve on a large platter with winter salad leaves or perpetual spinach.

This tortilla is great on its own or try crumbling Dorset Blue Vinny and serve warm.

When feeding a crowd, this tortilla is great to make ahead the day before.  Allow to cool, omit cheese and wrap well.  Store in the fridge.

To serve – remove from fridge and cut into wedges whilst cold.  Bring to room temperature before serving with a crisp salad and a generous platter of Spanish style potatoes.


 You will need

1 pint double cream

¼ teaspoon tartaric acid (available online or home brew shops)

Prepare a cheese cloth or muslin to strain the mascarpone into a clean bowl.  This needs to be four ply.

Pour the double cream into a thick based saucepan and place on the hob (medium heat) stirring all the time.

As soon as the cream reaches scalding point (it will start to shimmer) remove from heat and add the tartaric acid.

Continue to stir until small flakes appear in the cream and then strain.

Cool quickly and stir into a sterilised jar.  Store in the fridge and keep for three days.

The mascarpone will set as it cools.

Winter salad of roasted carrot and citrus with beetroot fritters and homemade mascarpone dressing (vegetarian and gluten free)

To feed four guests, you will need –


3 medium beetroot, washed well and trimmed or peeled if necessary, finely grated

1 large free range egg, beaten together

2 tablespoons of rice flour

1 bunch spring onions, washed, trimmed and finely chopped or a handful of garlic chives finely chopped

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil or rapeseed oil for frying

Prepare the vegetables and grind the spices together in a pestle and mortar.

Place the grated beetroot into a bowl (squeeze excess liquid and remove if necessary) along with spring onions or chives.  Mix well.

Add the flour and spices.  Mix together along with the beaten egg.  Season.

Make eight small patties using a tablespoon.

Preheat a non-stick frying pan and add a tablespoon of oil.

Cook the patties in batches and on both sides.  Transfer to a piece of kitchen paper to drain and keep warm.

Carrot and orange salad

1 bunch heritage carrots, trimmed, scrubbed well and cut into even sized pieces. Reserve tops for pesto to make another time.

2 medium oranges

Tablespoon of olive oil or rapeseed oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bunch of rocket or mizuna or a green oak leaf lettuce – washed and carefully dried

To serve

Pumpkin or sunflower seeds

Set oven to 180 C Gas mark 5

Place carrots on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast for twenty minutes until tender when tested with a knife.

Meanwhile wash the oranges, remove the zest and pith.  Cut into slices or segments as preferred.

Set aside.

When ready to serve.

Arrange the salad on a large platter along with the beetroot fritters.   Drizzle with freshly made mascarpone and a scattering of seeds.