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Traditional Christmas Day food

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I am a pretty traditional Christmas day foodie. As a kid, all I cared about was getting the turkey leg, whether I’d find money in the pudding and grabbing a spoon of hard sauce every time I passed the freezer in the weeks leading up to the big day (we made about four times what we needed so we could do it).

Lunch was always about 30 people and it was fun – a pack of little kids running around on a Santa high, lots of Pimm’s consumed as we open presents after church, fun family banter with some of us not having seeing each other all year. Don’t get me wrong – there was always a drama as I am sure is the case in all families. But if I really sit down and think about the day, there are always so many memories to make me smile like I am while writing this.

So the moral of this is that it’s worth all the effort – and, yes, it does take a bit. So as usual, take an hour to sit down and plan what you need to buy and do. I used a turkey breast as I find it so much easy and, to be honest, far more delicious!

Family and friends mean everything so enjoy each other over the holiday period. And Merry Christmas!

Smoked salmon with avocado, cress, pickled vegetables and horseradish cream (serves eight)

You’ll need:

  • 24 slices of smoked salmon
  • Bunch cress, washed
  • Two avocadoes
  • Pickled vegetables
  • 600 mL cream
  • 2 tablespoons of horseradish cream
Then you:
  1. On an entree plate, place a small amount of cress with three slices of smoked salmon on top, then a few slices of avocado.
  2. Whip the cream through the horseradish.
  3. Top with the horseradish cream or mayonnaise and sprinkle with cracked pepper.
  4. Beside this place some pickled vegetables.

Pickled vegetables

You’ll need:

  • 1 leek, julienned
  • 1 red capsicum, julienned
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of castor sugar
Then you:
  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes.
  2. Leave to cool in the pan.
  3. Store in fridge (it will keep for a few weeks).

Mayonnaise

You’ll need:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1½ tablespoons of seed mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 to 1½ cups of sunflower oil
  • 1½ tablespoons of white vinegar
Then you:
  1. Process the egg yolks, mustard, salt and pepper in a food processor for five minutes.
  2. With the motor still running, add the oil in a fine stream adding ½ tablespoon of vinegar for every ½ cup of oil. The end result will be a mayo with thick creamy consistency.
  3. It will keep in the fridge till the expiry date of the eggs you have used in it.

Turkey breast with herb and pistachio stuffing (serves eight)

You’ll need:
  • Large turkey breast
  • Cooking string
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped finely
  • 2 to 2 ½ cups (fresh) breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup of thyme
  • 1 cup of shelled pistachio nuts
  • ½ cup raisins (preferably organic)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped finely
  • 50g melted butter
  • ½ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Sea salt and pepper
Then you:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a frypan and cook chopped onion till soft and slightly browned.
  2. In a bowl, add all the ingredients including the onion and mix till well incorporated.
  3. Slice the turkey breast through the middle lengthwise and open out ‘flat’, placing the stuffing onto the bottom side of the open breast.
  4. Wrap the tail of the breast over the stuffing and bring the top over to make the breast shape as it was.
  5. Secure the breast with string at one-inch intervals.
  6. Place in a baking dish with water halfway up the turkey and cover with alfoil.
  7. Cook in a preheated 180-degree oven for about 40 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil and baste and return to oven for a further 20 minutes. For larger breasts, you will need longer cooking time.
  9. Rest before slicing.

Redcurrant and orange sauce (serves eight)

You’ll need:
  • 1½ cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter
  • Pepper
  • Teaspoon of sea salt
Then you:
  1. Combine stock, orange juice and redcurrant jelly in saucepan and simmer till reduced by half.
  2. Whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove from heat till ready to serve.
  4. Heat through just before serving (this can be made a couple of days before and stored in the fridge!)

Best-ever roast potatoes (serves eight)

You’ll need:
  • 32 chat potatoes
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Sprigs of rosemary
Then you:
  1. Place the oil in a baking dish in a preheated 180-degree oven for two to three minutes.
  2. Cut the chats into halves or quarters depending on the size.
  3. Add to the oil and return baking dish to oven.
  4. Cook for about 45 minutes turning every 12 to 15 minutes and adding the rosemary with the last turn.

Vegetables (serves eight)

You’ll need:

  • 3 bunches of asparagus
  • 4 yellow squash, cut into four slices each
  • 350g green beans
  • 2 large carrots, cut into ‘batons’

Then you:

  1. Steam all the vegetables together and serve on a large platter.

Green salad (serves eight)

You’ll need:

  • 2 coral lettuce
  • Punnet of red cherry tomatoes
  • Punnet of yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 8 button mushrooms, quartered
  • Telegraph cucumber, sliced
  • 2 mangos, sliced

Vinaigrette (serves eight)

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • ½ cup of balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup of ordinary white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of seed mustard
  • 1½ tablespoons of castor sugar
Then you:
  1. Whisk all ingredients together and store in a jar in the fridge.
Plum pudding

You’ll need:

  • 250g butter
  • 500g brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ Granny Smith apple, grated
  • ½ orange juiced
  • 200mL milk
  • 200mL brandy
  • 200g flour
  • 300g breadcrumbs
  • 250g sultanas
  • 300g currants
  • 200g raisins
  • 200g glace cherries
  • 200g blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • Old pennies (optional)

Then you:

  1. Cream the butter and brown sugar.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time.
  3. Add the grated apple, orange juice and brandy.
  4. Fold in the flour and the breadcrumbs alternately with the milk.
  5. Add the spices.
  6. Add the dried fruits and nuts.
  7. To make a large pudding, cut a calico square about 75x75cm, flour well and place mixture in the middle. Pull the calico up around the pudding and secure with string.
  8. To make small/individual puddings, cut smaller pieces of calico and fill with about two to three tablespoons of mixture using the same method as in step seven.
  9. To cook, bring a large saucepan to the boil and place the pudding(s) in. Keep topping up the water and cook for about four to five hours for the large pudding and two hours for the small.
  10. One they are cooked, hang to ‘dry’. In cooler climates, they will last for months but in Sydney, a few weeks maximum unless you have a cellar.
  11. To serve, boil again for about an hour so it plumps up again and is hot the whole way through.
  12. Serve with hard sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Hard sauce

You’ll need:

  • 150g butter
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoon of Brandy

Then you:

  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar in a food processor until is really creamy.
  2. Add the vanilla andBrandy and incorporate well.
  3. Place in plastic container and store in freezer (if kept in the freezer, it will last for about two months).

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Published: Saturday, December 11, 2010

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