Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cooking ~ Australian Cuisine

Christmas Down-Under is hot hot hot so as much as many of us would love to indulge in lots of traditional food, Aussies often "mix it up" and eat a mixture of hot foods and cold salads on the big day.

 Watermelon and Fetta Salad via Natasha in Oz

Saffron Butter Scallops
So, what would an Aussie Christmas taste like? Here are some recipes and a video from a very handsome Aussie chef to give you a bit of an idea.

Take it away Curtis Stone!

So, the turkey is cooking and now we need a cold beverage to wash down our yummy a delicious Christmas Punch!

1 L orange juice
1 cinnamon stick
Rind of 1 lemon
2 bottles of sherry
600ml pineapple juice
1 bottle of sparkling white wine
1.25 bottle soda water
Sliced oranges, lemons and fresh mint, to decorate

In a small saucepan, bring 250ml of the orange juice, cinnamon stick and lemon rind to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Combine sherry, the remaining 750ml orange juice and the pineapple juice.

Add the cinnamon mixture, stir and chill for several hours or overnight.

Just before serving, pour punch into chilled punch bowl, add the bottle of sparkling white wine and of soda water. Decorate with sliced oranges, lemons and fresh mint.

Cold seafood is always something special that Aussies love at Christmas. The following delicious recipes are from Australian House and Garden.

Yabbies on sourdough with lemon myrtle mayo

Prep: 20mins
1 cup (250ml) whole-egg mayonnaise
2 tsp ground lemon myrtle, or to taste
Good-quality sourdough baguette
32 yabby tails, cooked and peeled (or whole scampi or prawns, peeled, deveined and cooked)

1 Place mayonnaise in a bowl, add lemon myrtle and mix well.
2 Slice bread on the diagonal and spread with lemon myrtle mayo. Top each with 1-2 yabby tails, depending on size. Serves 8

Not into seafood? What about....

Spice-rubbed goose with apple stuffing

Prep: 45mins. Cooking: 2hrs 30mins.
1 whole goose or duck (about 2-2.5kg)

Spice rub
¼ tsp whole cloves
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Apple stuffing
2 tbsp goose or duck fat
8 apples, cored and sliced
½ cup (125ml) calvados (apple brandy)
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
½ orange
Prep: 20 mins, plus 1 hr chilling.
Cooking: 8-10 mins, plus decorating time.
Makes about 48
1 Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan). To make stuffing, heat goose fat in a large frypan over medium-high heat, then gently fry apples for 7-8mins, or until lightly browned all over. Sprinkle with calvados, cinnamon, sage and thyme. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2 Meanwhile, wash goose thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Remove neck and any visible lumps of fat. Prick skin very well, especially on breast, taking care not to cut into meat.
3 To make spice rub, grind spices together. Massage all over goose.
4 Spoon apple stuffing into cavity of goose, and seal opening with half an orange.
5 Lay goose, breast-side up, on a sheet of foil large enough to wrap over entire goose. Wrap goose with foil and seal edges. Place on a rack set in a baking tray. Make a hole in base of foil to allow fat to drain. Roast for about 2hrs, or until juice runs clear. Peel foil back, increase temperature to 220°C (200°C fan) and roast for 20mins or until browned, basting 2-3 times to prevent meat from burning.
6 Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil, and allow to rest for 15mins before serving. Serves 8

A salad is the perfect side dish on a hot summer's day!

Pumpkin salad with marinated fetta

Prep: 25mins. Cooking: 40mins.
1kg peeled and seeded pumpkin, cut into 2cm chunks
5 large cloves garlic
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup (80g) pine nuts, lightly toasted
100g marinated fetta, cubed
100g baby spinach leaves

1 Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan). Toss pumpkin and unpeeled garlic cloves with 2 tbsp olive oil and place in a single layer in a baking tray. Bake for 20mins, then remove garlic and turn pumpkin. Bake for a further 20mins, or until tender and edges are beginning to brown.
2 For dressing, peel roasted garlic and place in a food processor. Add lemon juice and remaining olive oil and whiz to combine.
3 Combine warm pumpkin with pine nuts, fetta and spinach, then gently toss with dressing. Season to taste and serve. Serves 8

Recipe Amy Willesee
Photography Louise Lister
Styling Yael Grinham

Ok, what to eat for sweets? How about.....

125g butter
100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
2 eggs
500g dried mixed fruit
60g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
80ml (1/3 cup) fresh orange juice
75g (1/2 cup) plain flour, sifted
75g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 tsp mixed spice
250g White Icing
10 drops green food colouring
36 red Smarties or M&M'S

Preheat oven to 170°C. Line twelve 80ml (1/3-cup) capacity muffin pans with cases. Use an electric beater to beat the butter, sugar and orange rind in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the dried fruit, walnuts and orange juice. Stir in the combined flour and mixed spice. Spoon into the lined pans and smooth the surfaces.Bake for 30 minutes or until cupcakes are firm to touch. Set aside in the pans for 5 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Knead the icing following packet directions. Roll out on a sheet of non-stick baking paper until 3mm thick. Use a round 7cm pastry cutter to cut 12 discs from icing. Place on the cupcakes.

Bring leftover icing together. Flatten slightly. Wearing gloves to avoid staining your hands, add food colouring and knead until well combined. Roll out on a sheet of non-stick baking paper until 3mm thick. Use a pastry cutter or a small sharp knife to cut 24 small diamond shapes from the icing. Arrange on cupcakes to make leaves. Roll remaining icing into small balls and use to attach Smarties or M&M'S to the cupcakes.

2 cups (300g) plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
185g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (220g) sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

2 cups (320g) pure icing sugar
2 tablespoons water
Food colouring (optional)
Silver cachous, to decorate

1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
2. Place butter and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 3 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla, then add flour mixture at low speed. Mix until just combined.
3. On a lightly floured surface, form dough into 2 balls, then flatten each into a disc. Wrap discs firmly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 190°C (170°C fan). Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
5. Roll out one piece of chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and use biscuit cutters to cut out shapes. Arrange on baking sheets, spaced 2.5cm apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, switching shelves halfway. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely. Allow baking sheets to cool before baking next batch.
6. Roll out remaining scraps of dough, cut out shapes and bake 8-10 minutes.
7. For the icing, combine icing sugar and water in a bowl and stir until smooth. Add more water if necessary for an easily spreadable consistency. Stir in food colouring, if desired.
8. Spread icing over biscuits. Decorate with silver cachous and allow icing to set before serving.
Recipe Loukie Werle
Photography William Meppem
Styling Kirsty Cassidy

It's so funny to think that as my friends in the Northern Hemisphere are tucking into hot roasts and puddings we will be dining on cold salads, cool and refreshing glasses of Christmas punch and cold seafood!

Wherever we you are this Christmas I hope that your food is delicious and that you share your day with people who are special to you.

Blessings and best wishes,


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  1. Yummy! Seafood for Christmas is a favorite of mine. I had a Floridian set of Grandparents that brought shrimp back on their trips to FL and we had it every Christmas. Have a Merry Christmas!

  2. Mmm, that seafood dish looks yummy - but I've never heard of "yabby" until this post! LOL!

    Try as I might, I can't wrap my mind around Christmas in the summer. I've visited Australia and experienced the "opposite season" effect, but not at a holiday time. It's so hard to imagine!

    Thanks for sharing, would love to read more posts about Christmas in the summertime. :-)

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Yum! I have that magazine - great isn't it!!! Seafood is the go for Christmas, I agree...

  4. This all looks fabulous, Natasha!
    You know, I currently live in Greece and while the rest of Europe is freezing we are actually experiencing spring type weather - roses are still in bloom! And Bethlehem is even closer to the equator than we are. At the time that Jesus was born it was one of the best periods in human history weather wise... so I think, that you in the Southern Hemisphere are actually experiencing more realistic weather as regards to the time of our Saviors birth! White Christmas - not for me!! Give me a sunny and warm day full of birds singing and butterfly's fluttering!!
    Many many blessings for this wonderful Christmas Week, dear Natasha!

  5. Love the spirit and vibe you have going on in your Christmas blog space, it is different down under but as you are showing, it sure can be a party!

  6. Καλημέρα!!! Οι συνταγές σου είναι απίθανες!! Το blog σου φανταστικό!! μπράβο φίλη μου!!!

  7. Hey Natasha, Good to hear from you!

    These all sound awfully good, might have to try one or two of these recipes.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful & Blessed Christmas and safe, happy, and healthy New Year!


  8. The pumpkin salad catches my eye. Although I'm not sure it would feel "Christmasy" to me. Funny how we're all so used to traditional food on Christmas so we naturally think everyone eats the same meal world-wide.

  9. What a delicious menu, Natasha! What are yabbies ~ potatoes?!? Haven't heard that word before. We'll be having baked ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, crescent rolls, and lots of desserts and my lime punch!!

    Happy Holidays, dear friend!

    Big TX Hugs,
    Angelic Accents

  10. Thanks for visiting me today. Your blog is lovely. I love christmas. Like your recipes and pics, very refreshing. Happy Holidays.

  11. Hi Stephanie. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I loved hearing about what you are going to be having for your supper on Christmas day. It sounds delicious.

    Just to answer your question, a yabby is a freshwater crayfish and they are found here in Australia. They are a perfect seafood over here as they are very hardy and they are able to withstand poor water quality and long periods of drought.

    Take care and enjoy that delicious Christmas feast!

    Best wishes always,

  12. It all looks wonderful! I'd never heard the term yabby tails before -- is it just a variety of shrimp or prawn?

  13. Oh goodness, my stomach's growling with hunger now. But what is a yabby??? I've never heard that word before!

    I think my MIL is making a turkey with all the fixings. I'm hoping for honey baked ham tho so we'll see!!!

  14. Hi Natasha! This is all so different for me. I think everything is so tradtional for know turkey, roast beef, ham etc. But this is what it's about...everyone's tradtions all over the world! It's different for everyone. Hope you enjoy your Christmas with your family and all of the foods.

    Merry Christmas,

  15. those scallops look delicious!!

    Greetings from Los Angeles,

    Happy HOlidays!

  16. what a beautiful post from a beautiful friend!! It all looks so yummy. I've never wanted to travel until I started blogging and seeing sights from bloggers eyes. Merry Christmas, Natasha and Happy New Year Blessings to you too!!

  17. My sweet friend,
    A silent night, a star above, a blessed gift of hope and love. A blessed Christmas to you!

  18. Wow! such delicious recipes. apple stuffing sounds yummy! I have not left your Christmas blog since I found it. Thanks so much for sharing Natasha. Cheers SpecialK XoXo


Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...
Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976

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