Time for something different: Mark Hix rustles up an alternative New Year's meal

Mid-way through the Christmas break and you might, finally, be tiring of leftover turkey and ham. Time, then, to try out some unusual yet festive-feeling recipes for our chef's lovely end-of-year meal

After writing this column for 12 years, it's quite tricky trying to think up interesting alternatives for a festive post-Christmas or New Year's Eve supper. But it doesn't have to be too difficult – be a bit different and with a small amount of effort you can give your guests a simple but interesting feast. Alternative doesn't have to mean overly fancy or fussy.

Anyway, you might be all turkeyed-out by now and so will feel thankful for something a little different, like this delicious three-course meal.

Salmon salad with pink grapefruit

Serves 6-8

This is a nice refreshing salad to serve as a dinner-party starter or a light main course.

However, you don't have to use salmon – prawns or even crab would also be a good match.

450-550g good-quality salmon fillet skinned and boned
1tbsp chopped parsley
1tbsp chopped chervil
1tbsp chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
120g small salad leaves

For the dressing

2tbsp juice from the grapefruit
1tsp Dijon mustard
4tbsp rapeseed oil

Peel the pink grapefruit and, over a bowl, segment them by cutting between the membranes with a small serrated knife, then squeeze the juice from the remains of the grapefruit into the bowl. Sieve out the pith and the pips from the juice. Whisk the rapeseed oil and mustard into the grapefruit juice and season.

Next, mix the herbs together and put them on to a plate. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and coat them in the herbs.

Heat the oil, preferably in a non-stick frying pan, and cook the salmon for about 3 minutes on each side, keeping it slightly pink in the middle. Remove from the pan and put to one side.

Arrange the salad leaves on plates with the grapefruit and spoon over the dressing. Finally, break the salmon fillets into 5 or 6 pieces and arrange on the salad.

Makes a change from turkey: Mark's roast saddle of deer chasseur (Jason Lowe) Makes a change from turkey: Mark's roast saddle of deer chasseur (Jason Lowe)
Roast saddle of deer chasseur

Serves 6-8

You will need to give your butcher a good bit of early notice that you want saddle on the bone as they often tend to get stripped of their fillets in advance of making it to the shops.

If you can't get it on the bone then the saddle fillets will work well: they will obviously need less cooking time. They can be simply pan fried or lightly roasted for 10 minutes in a very hot oven.

See the gamekeeper's potatoes below: you can place the deer on the potatoes for the last half of cooking so all of the juices are captured in the potatoes.

1 saddle of deer, weighing about 2-3kg
A couple of knobs of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2tbsp vegetable or corn oil

For the sauce

2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
50g butter
2tsp flour
1tsp tomato purée
200ml red wine
500ml good beef stock
150g piece of streaky bacon, cut into 1cm dice
250g wild or cultivated mushrooms, cleaned and cut into even-sized pieces

Preheat the oven to 220/gas mark 7. First make the sauce: melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan and gently cook the shallots for 2-3 minutes until lightly coloured. Add the flour and tomato purée and stir well over a low heat for a minute.

Gradually add the red wine, stirring to avoid lumps forming, and then gradually add the beef stock. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for about 20-25 minutes, giving the occasional whisk, until the sauce has reduced by about two-thirds and thickened.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add the mushrooms and continue cooking for a further 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain, then mix with the sauce.

Rub the saddle with butter, season and lay it in a roasting tray. Roast the saddle for 35-45 minutes for medium rare and another 10-15 minutes for medium to medium well done. Any longer and it will end up dry. Remove the deer from the roasting tray and keep warm in a very low oven, but don't let it cook any more.

To serve, with a flexible sharp knife carefully remove the fillets of deer from each side of the central bone and transfer to a chopping board. Slice the fillets up into ½-1cm slices on the bias and arrange back on the saddle or on plates and pour a little of the sauce over.

Mark's gamekeeper's potatoes will go well with his roast saddle of deer chasseur (Jason Lowe) Mark's gamekeeper's potatoes will go well with his roast saddle of deer chasseur (Jason Lowe)
Gamekeeper's potatoes

Serves 6-8

You can bake this as a completely separate, stand-alone dish or you can finish the saddle of deer or any roasting joint on top of the potatoes for the last part of cooking, depending on the size of the joint.

8 medium-sized waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2tbsp rapeseed oil
1ltr beef or game stock
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Heat the rapeseed oil in a heavy-based saucepan or frying pan and cook the onions on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, turning them regularly, until golden.

Next, take an ovenproof roasting dish and lay the sliced potatoes into it with the onions and thyme leaves and build up the layers; season every couple of layers with salt and pepper.

When all the potato is used up, pour over enough stock just to cover. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, brushing the top with some of the cooking juices every so often.

A festive floating island is Mark's festive version of the classic îles flottantes (Jason Lowe) A festive floating island is Mark's festive version of the classic îles flottantes (Jason Lowe)
A festive floating island

Serves 6-8

This is a festive version of the classic îles flottantes which, in one dessert makes good use of the whites and yolks, whereas often meringue-type desserts leave you with a leftover bowl of egg yolks. If you wish you can add some alcohol to the sauce like amaretto or brandy – up to you.

6 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
150ml double cream
200ml milk
3tbsp cranberry sauce
18-20 chestnuts, ready peeled in vac-pack or lightly roasted and peeled
½tbsp icing sugar

Put the cream and milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile mix the egg yolks with 70g of the sugar. Whisk the boiled cream mixture on to the egg yolks and sugar – mix well. Return to a clean pan on a low heat and stir every so often, ensuring you stir the bottom and sides of the pan.

When the sauce coats the back of a spoon (this should take 3-4 minutes) remove from the heat, give it a good whisk and transfer to a bowl. Heat the cranberry sauce with some water to form a spooning sauce-like consistency.

Put the chestnuts on a grill tray lined with foil, dust with icing sugar and cook under the grill for a few minutes, turning regularly until lightly coloured.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites. Use an electric food mixer with the whisk attachment, or an electric hand whisk (the bowl must be extremely clean with no signs of grease – rinse with boiling water and dry it first). Whisk the whites with the rest of the caster sugar for 3-4 minutes, until they are stiff and shiny.

Bring a large pan of water to a simmer and with a large kitchen serving spoon, lower four spoon shapes of egg white as neatly as you can into the simmering water. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side then transfer to a large plate, preferably lined with kitchen paper to soak up moisture. Cook a couple of batches if your saucepan isn't big enough.

Serve immediately with the warm sauce, or allow to cool to room temperature. Divide the sauce between pasta-type bowls and float a cooked meringue in the middle of each. Blob some of the cranberry sauce around in the sauce with a spoon. Break up the chestnuts and scatter over.

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices