Let’s face it, by the time we get to Christmas, we are usually so smashed by the end of the year that the thought of cooking up a big Christmas dinner can be daunting.
That’s why I usually do Christmas dishes that include familiar Christmassy ingredients but with a clever twist that makes them easy to prepare and don’t need the long cooking times associated with roasting a whole bird or boiling a pudding. It is Summer in Australia at Christmas-time after all!
A beautiful prawn salad begins my menu this year. Serve it on a large platter to share, or you can easily portion it onto individual plates if you are having a formal sit down dinner. The price of prawns goes up so much close to Christmas that it is wise to buy them frozen a few weeks before when they are cheaper (trust me, the ones you a few days out from Christmas have definitely been frozen and thawed anyway…).
I have included a pasta course too, and this Rotolo has all the colours of Christmas combined with the flavours of Italy. It is quite easy to prepare in advance (you can even freeze it), just requiring boiling before being sliced and served on tomato sugo.
For that Christmas turkey fix with less fuss, try filling a rolled turkey fillet. Not only is it leaner and faster too cook, but it is quite impressive presentation wise. If you have never prepared one before, you will find detailed tips on the recipe but if you are not so confident, then just order one already butterflied from a good poultry shop. The antipasto style filling and salty prosciutto wrapping gives this turkey such a big bold flavour that no gravy is needed and it is just as good served cold as part of a buffet, maybe with a bit of pesto on the side if you like.
The dessert course is definitely perfect for an Aussie Christmas – meringue, mango, macadamias – what’s not to love? And, if you feel like baking, there are also some of my favourite bikkies to serve with coffee….and they just happen to be dairy and egg free.
It is always a great idea to share the load so get together with a few other happy cooks to each make a course, toss in someone to mix a few cocktails, and all of a sudden the pressure is off and you can put a little extra time into making the setting spectacular.
May your Christmas table be filled with family, friends and fabulous food to share…that’s what being Foodcentric is about, after all…
Merry Foodie Christmas!
Photography: Louis Petruccelli