Posts tagged Christmas

Easy yet indulgent Christmas ideas

There's a tree! It's officially Christmas.

Let’s get the Christmas recipe ball rolling. I mentioned over on Facebook that last year I made this Orange and Marmalade Roast Turkey. It was really fiddly, but I was only cooking for 6 people so it was kind of do-able (especially after an afternoon of bubbles).

This year, I’m focusing on SIMPLE and EASY food that will spoil the loved ones with a minimum of fuss. I’m on the lookout for some yum side dishes that I can take across town to pop on the buffet table at a big Christmas dinner. Do you have any suggestions?

In return, here are a couple of my favourites – quick, yet impressive recipes that I’ve made a few times and guarantee are great…

My favourite from recent years is this dressing, from the Tetsuya Cookbook, which is perfect for drizzling over any seafood.

Tetsuya’s Vinaigrette

1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
6 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp lemon juice

Mix it all together and drizzle it over fresh oysters. Top them with chives and a tiny spoonful of ocean trout roe. Delicious, sublime. You’ll be licking the shells, the plates, your fingers, the mixing bowl etc etc.

If you’re sticking to seafood, this decadent tart is unbeatable and can be made the day before…

Smoked salmon & swiss cheese tart

1-2 sheets shortcrust pastry
200g smoked salmon
Egg white (for brushing)
3 eggs, lightly whisked
200ml cream
100g swiss cheese
1-2 tsp fresh dill

Grease a 22cm flan tin with melted butter. Line it with pastry. Cover with baking paper and pastry weights (or rice) and bake at 190C for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights, brush pastry with egg white and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove. Leave to cool.

Scatter salmon evenly around the tart. Mix together eggs, cream, cheese, dill and pepper. Pour over to fill the case. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just set.

You can eat this cold or reheated. It’s rich, just a small slice will do.

If the whole pudding thing seems too hard, try a meringue & cherry parfait. The cherry sauce here is delicious. Pop it in tall glasses layered with thickened cream, brandy sauce and crushed meringue – very festive and looks fancy! You can make mini meringues easily, up to a week before Christmas (they taste HEAPS better than store-bought). I’ve made “Sue’s Meringues” from Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion a few times and they’ve always turned out well.

And I hear you shouting – what about the kids?? Mine do join in with Christmas dinner – they will generally eat all sorts of roast vegies so long as they’re smothered in gravy. But let’s face it, after a champers or two I couldn’t really give a stuff about their nutrition. It’s Christmas. They can just eat the entire contents of the Cadbury stocking that Santa brought for all I care.

Now about those side dishes you’re all going to suggest…..

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….

a pattern for a paper snowflake to make with your kids

Nothing says 'Aussie Christmas' as much as a bit of fake snow

Ok, it’s officially December. Being born in late November, I refuse to do anything with tinsel or Bing Crosby until after my celebration of me, but that was last week and I’ve got no more excuses to keep stalling. Time to breathe deeply and tackle the whole enormous festive task.

When do the Christmas negotiations begin at your place? For us, it’s somewhere around June that the first hints start being dropped and the tentative seasonal foreplay begins. Will we lunch here, or travel to there, “Do you think you’ll be heading our way this year?”, “How about you come to us?”, “Last year you did…” You get the idea. Trying to make everyone happy and yet somehow leaving everyone vaguely cranky with you. By mid-October plans are firming and this year we’re biting the bullet and acknowledging that after a couple of years off, we’ll be spending a nice big chunk of Christmas day on the freeway between cities so that we can fulfill all of our family commitments.

At least it gets me out of cooking the turkey. So all that’s left on my list of things to do is… ummmm… everything, actually. Possibly you are in the same boat as me? So to get things started and ease a bit of Christmas cheer into your life, here’s a paper snowflake to make. Just print it (onto coloured paper if you have some), fold on the dotted lines and cut on the solid ones. And voila! Straight to top of the class at The Northpole-Elf-Craft-Academy.

paper snowflake to snip

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

And as another Christmas sweetener, for the next few days I’m offering a giftwrap service when you buy a copy of the Vegie Smugglers cookbook. Just write ‘giftwrap’ in the special instructions when you order and I’ll deliver it to you in a lovely bright giftwrap, complete with ribbon…

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