Everyone knows that Christmas is all about culinary indulgence. That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of some of the island’s best local chefs to share some mouth-watering seasonal dishes with us. First up, James Ferguson prepares some gorgeous canapés to ensure you kick-start your festive feast in style. Happy cooking!
A locally-trained chef, James is the face and the flair behind Cooked by James Ferguson. He’s been at the helm for six successful years, providing creative menus for corporate and private parties.
James was previously at Sueco, where he helped launch the popular cookery school sessions, and he’ll be working with the College of FE in the future to share his skills with a new generation of chefs. He has a genuine love of canapés and world flavours – if he could eat Nasi Goreng all day long, he would!
Avocado chips & Herb dipping sauce
Preheat oven to 220°C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Place the eggs and flour in two separate, shallow dishes. Combine the breadcrumbs, garlic, basil and chopped chilli in another shallow dish.
Dip the avocado into the egg, then flour, before coating in the breadcrumb mixture and placing on the lined trays. Spray with olive oil spray and season before baking for 10-12 mins or until golden and crisp. Alternatively, you could deep fry.
Meanwhile, to make the herb dipping sauce, combine the mayonnaise, sour, cream, chopped basil and parsley in a small bowl.
Sprinkle the avocado chips with sliced chilli and serve with the herb dipping sauce, sprinkled with basil leaves.
Originally from the UK, Nigel trained at the Royal Bath Hotel, partnered with Bournemouth
College, before coming to Guernsey in 2002. He and his family moved to Herm in 2004, where he was Head Chef of the Mermaid and the White House Hotel. Returning to Guernsey a decade later, Nigel worked with Sueco, The Pavilion and La Fregate before joining the Duke of Richmond as Head Chef and subsequently becoming Head Chef for the OGH.
Nigel is a volunteer with the Guernsey Sea Cadets, teaching boating and sailing, and is an Associate Lecturer for Highfield College, providing training on food hygiene. He is passionate about Guernsey’s seafood offering and the high quality of local produce from small artisan suppliers.
Roast beef and gravy
Remove your beef from the fridge ½ hour prior to cooking to allow to come to room temperature. Heat your oven to 200ᵒC/fan 180ᵒC/gas 6-7.
Place the joint fat-side down in a roasting tin and put it on the hob. Sizzle to release some of the fat, then turn the beef in the fat to seal and colour it all over, about 5 mins. Remove the joint and place on a plate, place the leeks, carrots, onion, celery and thyme into the tray (this forms a “trivet” allowing the beef to roast evenly in the tray) and place the beef back on top.
The joint can now be roasted, fat-side up, allowing 10-15 mins per 450g for medium-rare,15-20 mins per 450g for medium, 20-25 mins for medium-well and 25-30 mins for well done. Once roasted, remove the beef from the pan and leave to one side, loosely covered with foil, to rest for 15-20 mins.
Whilst your beef is resting, make your gravy, place the roasting tin on the stove top, add enough flour to the tray to absorb the fat from the beef. Cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes to cook out the raw flour, stirring constantly so as not to burn.
Add the red wine and stock, allow to come to the boil stirring constantly, adjust the thickness and seasoning to taste and pour through a fine sieve to get rid of all the vegetables and thyme sprigs.
Slice your beef thinly and enjoy with your homemade gravy!
Heat oven to 220ᵒC/fan 200ᵒC/gas 8
Pour a good 2cm of sunflower or vegetable oil evenly into two 4-hole Yorkshire pudding tins or two12-hole non-stick muffin tins, place this into a deep roasting tin and place both in the oven to heat through - (placing the muffin tray into a roasting tray ensures any accidental overflow does not drip into your oven/surface).
To make the batter, tip140g plain flour into a bowl and beat in the eggs until smooth.
Gradually add 200ml milk and carry on beating until the mix is completely lump-free.
Allow mixture to stand/rest for 30 minutes at room temperature (this allows the mixture to relax and will give a better lift to your puddings).
Once the mixture has rested, gently stir in seasoning and the vinegar (this again adds to the lift and lightness of the pudding mix)
Pour the batter into a jug, then remove the hot tins from the oven. Carefully and evenly pour the batter into the holes.
Place the tins back in the oven and leave undisturbed for 20 mins until the puddings have puffed up and browned. Then CAREFULLY open the oven door very slightly to allow moisture to escape. Close the door and reduce temperature to150ᵒ for 10 minutes. This allows the puddings to become crispier.
Remove from oven and serve immediately
Helder Jose Da Silva Leca
Helder started his career by training in food hygiene and safety, working as an environmental health inspector in Madeira.
His grandmother instilled a passion for cooking at an early age; he enjoyed fishing in the morning then preparing food for his friends and family who encouraged him to consider taking up cooking as a profession.
Helder moved to Guernsey in 2014 to work at Petit Bistro and train at the College of Further Education. He then transferred to the Duke of Richmond as a Commis Chef where he's worked for the last 7 years progressing to Head Chef in July this year.
There are a lot of similarities with Madeira and Guernsey with fantastic local seafood and produce, which is the idea behind the open fish pie created using only local produce from farm and sea.
The Duke’s Open Fish Pie
Add all fish trimmings with white vegetables and water and leave to simmer for one hour before passing through a sieve – keep liquid.
To make your own herb oil blanch a mixture of fresh green herbs by adding to boiling water for 5 seconds then cool quickly in iced water, passing through a sieve.
Add 5 cloves to the onion then add the milk and bring to the boil. Prepare a roux cooking the butter and flour in the same quantities adding the milk previously boiled slowly. Once thickened add smoked cheese.
Clean and prepare all fish.
Dice celery, carrots and prepare the tenderstem broccoli.
Boil three potatoes and mash them making two quenelles for plating.
Add fish stock to the cheese sauce.
Mix the cheese sauce with the peas, diced carrots and celery, arrange on the plate on top of the mash.
Pan fry fish (excluding scallops) for approximately 5 minutes. Pan fry scallops for 2-3 minutes depending on size and arrange them on the top of the cheese sauce.
Finish with samphire, tenderstem broccoli, herb oil, and micro herbs.