So I arrive once again at December for the Month’s Recipe, mindful that not all find this time of year one of Joy and Happiness. It can invoke so many memories of days past and they in turn trigger whatever you feel about Christmas and New Year.

Mine of cold winter mornings huddling round the fire in the kitchen (no central heating in those days) having run from the bedroom, the windows iced with the cold. Thoughts of chocolate treats from the Christmas tree and sacks full of presents from aunts and uncles and of course a huge Turkey and Lunch – that of course was a long time ago.

These days’ thoughts of friends near and far, memories of adventures past and thoughts of things to come. Gathering with some friends enjoying a snack or three and also maybe the odd glass of wine. Not all self indulgent however. A thought for neighbours and acquaintances who may be on their own and a pop in or call with a cheerful note. I am also inspired by a dear friend, a retired American pastor now living in Thailand who introduced me to RAK. (Random Acts of Kindness) there is a website too. Mind I do try all year round not just at Christmas time.

So say hello to strangers, give people a hug, give a pot of homemade jam, make some cookies or a casserole to a needy person, invite people to share your table for a meal. Make that little bit extra when making a meal and give to someone who would appreciate a home cooked meal. You may never know just what a difference something very simple can make to a person’s day or life.

So for recipes. I often revert at this time of year to old favourites but there is always room for something new and adaptable. This month’s I found recently and have enjoyed serving it with crackers as a cocktail canapé as well as serving it with toast as a starter. I have frozen it in ramekins so I can pull it out as needed so I hope you enjoy it too.

Potted Salmon with Pickled Cucumber

Rillettes of Smoked and Poached Salmon with Pickled Cucumber.

1 Med. Cucumber

200 ml White Wine Vinegar

1 Med Onion – slice very thinly

1 tsp mustard seeds (I used peppercorns)

4 tsp Sugar

Small bunch of Fresh Dill – chopped

  1. Half the Cucumber and remove the seeds – slice at and angle
  2. Boil together the Onion, Mustard Seeds, Sugar and Vinegar for a few minutes and leave to cool slightly. Then pour over the Cucumber and chill – Then add the Dill.

325g of Cooked poached Salmon Fillet

75g Smoked Salmon finely chopped

125g Softened Butter

1 tbsp Thick Yoghurt

Small Bunch of Chives –chopped

Juice of ½  Lemon

  1. Mix together the Butter, Yoghurt, Chives, Lemon Juice and Smoked Salmon.
  2. Carefully fold in the Salmon Fillet.

To serve, drain the cucumber – serve the Rillettes at room temperature in bowls, on a plate with hot toast or crackers and the Pickled Cucumber.