Merry Christmas and Happy 2012

Things get frantic around Christmas time don’t they? It’s been a while since I’ve been able to find time to put any of my cooking escapades up here and now I have a backlog of stuff to catch up with. The nice thing is that all the craziness culminates in a wonderful Christmas day which I find to be one of the more rewarding meals of the year to focus my attention on, as it is appreciated by those that I love the most.

So Christmas dinner at my house consisted of the following tasty treats. I hope you enjoy reading about them and maybe even trying them for yourself.

Table settings

I put fake holly (would have preferred to use real holly but couldn’t source any in time), a few Christmas Lindt chocolates and a name tag in each wine glass. The family thought it looked a treat.

Christmas coloured canapés.

Baby bocconcini, grape tomatoes, baby basil leaves and balsamic glaze on fresh baguette.

You could use any type of bread for this, or even toast them but I chose to have one soft fresh canapé and one toasty canape and kept this one cold and fresh.

Simply halve the baby bocconcini and grape tomatoes, arrange on the bread with a sprig of baby basil leaves then drizzle with thick sweet balsamic glaze.

Anchovy, parmesan, tomato paste and basil mini bruchetta

Spread a small amount of tomato paste on the bread of choice, place on one anchovy (the nice soft ones in oil, not the hairy salty ones in jars), parmesan and shredded basil.



1. Kipfler potato salad with fresh herbs and whole egg mayonnaise

Peel 1kg of kipfler potatoes, place in cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for about four minutes or until just done then remove from heat and rinse in cold water to stop them from cooking. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile finely chop a handful of parsley, chives and dill. Gently mix through the potato and add whole egg mayonnaise (I use the japanese kewpie mayo because I love it) until potato is coated to your liking. My dad was a big fan of this salad. The kipfler’s are a great potato for salad as they have a beautiful yellow colour and buttery flavour.

2. A simple green salad with baby bocconcini, grape tomatoes, spanish onion and aged balsamic

Basically chop up the ingredients, mix in a bowl, drizzle with a little balsamic and serve. Do get good balsamic. Some people don’t like the tart taste of balsamic and a good quality aged balsamic has a much smoother flavour. So much so that balsamic haters won’t even realise what it is.

Seafood dishes

1. Snapper stuffed with ricotta, basil and spanish onion then wrapped in prosciutto.

Again this is easy. I baked two smallish snapper but you could use one large one or any other type of whole white fish that you like. Last time I made this I used a massive jew fish but snapper is lovely.

I put a generous helping of ricotta into the cavity of the fish with a few basil leaves and some slices of spanish onion. Then I lightly score the flesh of the fish, rub in a little olive oil, salt and pepper then lay strips of prosciutto over the top. It goes in the oven on about 180ºC for about half an hour (or until done for whatever size fish you have).

2. Fresh prawns, oysters and crabs served with seafood sauce and lime wedges

Too easy. Buy good quality seafood and serve.

Cold meats

We’ve never really been big on cooked foods on Christmas Day. It’s always hot in Australia so the climate is more suited to cold meats and seafood which makes serving up guests a nice easy task leaving you more time to spend with them on the day. I served ham and cold roast chicken for those who don’t like seafood and those who are suckers for the Christmas ham. I bought an organic chicken and if you can get a good quality organic chicken I highly recommend. I find the meat to be more tender and whiter. Even the thigh meat was really pale coloured and the juice ran beautifully clear when the roast was done.

I baked it on 200ºC for one and a half hours with a slice of bacon over the breast for the first half of the cooking time. I also made my mum’s awesome stuffing.

Mum’s awesome stuffing

8 slices of stale white bread sliced into 1cm cubes
1 handful of finely chopped herbs
2 tbspns milk
1/2 a large yellow onion finely chopped
1/2 tspn curry powder

You can really use whatever herbs you like for this but my favourite combination is thyme, rosemary, chives and parsley.

Mix bread, herbs, curry powder and onion together in a bowl (with your hands) then add in a little bit of milk at a time until the bread feels soft and ‘like fresh bread’ again and starts to cling together.

Shove the mixture up the chooks bum then close the opening with toothpicks.

Mum’s contribution. Mango, coconut meringue roll.

This is heaven and I don’t currently have the recipe so you’ll just have to drool in wonder.

I hope you had as wonderful a Christmas as I did, spent with loved ones enjoying time together. I’d love to do it all over again. Happy and prosperous 2012 to all.


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