Now that the first doors are open on our Advent calendars, it’s time to think about entertaining. Today’s recipes are perfect – cheesy arancini balls make a wonderful starter or light meal, and Simon’s pavlova with chocolate and raspberry is a fantastic way to finish.
Arancini are deep-fried balls made from leftover risotto. The word arancina literally means ‘little orange’ because of their shape and golden colour. Here, Simon stuffs each ball with a piece of mozzarella for an oozing cheesy centre. He serves the arancini with fresh tapenade to cut through the richness of the dish.
- Serves 6
- Preparation time: 30 mins
- Cooking time: 3-4 mins
For the tapenade
- 100g/3½oz pitted black olives
- 100g/3½oz sun-blushed tomatoes, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 100g/3½oz mayonnaise
For the arancini
- 25g/2oz unsalted butter
- 225g/1lb arborio rice
- Splash white wine
- 1L warm vegetable stock
- 100g/3½oz sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 5 spring onions, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 150g buffalo mozzarella, cut into cubes
- 2 free-range egg, beaten
- Plain flour, for dusting
- 1L vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- For the tapenade, blend together all of the ingredients (except for the mayonnaise) until smooth. Stir in the mayonnaise once blended.
- For the arancini, melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the rice and cook for 2-3 minutes on a low heat. When the rice starts to become a little translucent around the edges, add the wine and cook for another minute.
- Add a ladleful of warm stock and stir well. When the stock has almost been absorbed, add another ladleful. Continue adding more stock until it has all been added and the rice is cooked.
- Fold in the sun-dried tomatoes and spring onion and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside to cool.
- Beat the egg in a bowl, sprinkle the flour onto a plate.
- Roll the rice into small balls, then make a hole in the middle and place a piece of mozzarella in the middle.
- Cover the hole, then dip the balls in the beaten egg followed by flour.
- Half-fill a deep, heavy-based saucepan with vegetable oil and heat to 170˚C/325˚F (check using a digital thermometer).
- Deep-fry the arancini for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.
- Serve the arancini with the tapenade.
This Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova is a deliciously decadent dessert. Simon has jazzed up a traditional meringue with chocolate flakes, as well as rippling raspberries and jam through the whipped cream. This is a perfect pudding for the festive season, and Christmas parties in particular, because it can be prepared in advance and served whenever you’re ready.
- Serves 10
- Preparation time: 20 mins
- Cooking time: 40 mins
For the meringue
- 6 free-range egg whites
- 300g/6oz caster sugar
- 50g/1oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), grated
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp sherry vinegar
For the topping
- 100g/3½oz best quality raspberry jam
- 350g/12oz double cream
- 100g/3½oz icing sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped out
- 200g/7oz raspberries
- 50ml/2fl oz raspberry liqueur
- Grated chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk in the sugar one tablespoon at a time until glossy.
- Fold in the grated chocolate, cocoa powder and sherry vinegar with a metal spoon.
- Spoon the mixture in a circle shape onto a baking tray. Flatten the middle with the back of a spoon.
- Put the meringue into the oven and reduce the temperature to 150˚C/300˚F/Gas 2 immediately. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the meringue has hardened on the outside but is still soft and chewy in the middle.
- For the topping, mix the raspberry jam with 50ml/2fl oz boiling water until it has a syrup-like consistency. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, whip the double cream and icing sugar together until soft peaks form. Fold in the vanilla pods, raspberries, raspberry liqueur and cooled jam.
- Spoon the cream raspberry mixture onto the pavlova base and top with grated chocolate.
Head to our Recipes section to browse all the other recipes from the show.
Naomi, PR and Social Media Executive