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A healthy Australian Christmas menu

09 December, 2014
traditional Christmas menu

Australians have always done things their own way, so much so that a “traditional Aussie Christmas dinner” is a bit of an oxymoron. Since awakening from the impossible dream of a white Christmas, most Australian families have introduced Christmas menus that are far more suited to our varied palates and warm summer days.

The perfect Aussie Christmas meal is a varied menu that shows you tried to cater for everyone, while still including your own personal style. Start with something Australian to set the mood. Follow it up with something traditional. Include a dish to cater for people with food allergies, and then finish with a light, irresistible dessert.

A local favourite

prawns, asparagus, basil aioli

This easy recipe for Prawns and Asparagus with Basil Aioli is a great starter for a Christmas lunch.

What you will need:  

1.5kg medium green prawns, peeled and deveined but with tails intact

5 bunches of asparagus (trim the woody ends)

2 lemons (juice and then finely grate the rind)

1 tbsp olive oil

Olive oil spray

40 bamboo skewers soaked in water for 15 minutes

2/3 cup of mayonnaise (low fat works well for this recipe)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbsp basil, freshly chopped

pepper to season

Prepare ahead

Place the prawns and asparagus in two separate dishes

Reserve 2 tspn of lemon juice for the aioli, and whisk the remaining juice, rind and olive oil in a jug. Season with a bit of freshly ground pepper, and then pour half the mixture over the prawns and the other half over the asparagus. Cover in cling wrap, and then place in the fridge to marinate for one to four hours.

Make the basil aioli

Make the aioli by mixing the reserved lemon juice, mayonnaise, garlic and basil in a separate bowl.

Season both the aioli and the lemon mixture with freshly ground black pepper.

Prepare to grill

Drain the prawns and thread, tail end first, onto the skewers.

Preheat your barbecue to high, and spray the drained asparagus and prawns with olive oil spray.

Throw the prawns on the barbie

Place the asparagus and prawns on the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill when the asparagus is bright green and crisp, and the prawns have changed colour.

Serve your sensational starter

Serve the prawns and asparagus alongside each other on the plate, with basil aioli drizzled over the top.

Original recipe and image sourced here

The traditional crowd pleaser

turkey, parsley, herb stuffing

If you only do one traditional Christmas dish, you may as well make it the turkey.

Good preparation is the key to fuss free turkey roasting on Christmas Day. If you’re using a frozen turkey, allow time for it to defrost. A 4-5kg turkey will take about three days to defrost. And the stuffing must be completely cooled before you stuff the turkey, so remember to prepare that well in advance.

What you’ll need:

4 1/2–5kg turkey

1 large brown onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tspn olive oil

3 cups coarse breadcrumbs (stale bread is perfect for this)

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

2 tbsp sage, chopped

2 tbsp thyme, chopped

zest of one lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

ground black pepper

kitchen string

Traditional herb stuffing

Heat half the olive oil in a large frypan. Add the onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Tip the onion and garlic into a bowl.

Return the frypan to the heat, and add the rest of the olive oil and the breadcrumbs. Brown for five minutes, and then add to the bowl with the onion and garlic.

Add the herbs, zest and lemon juice to the bowl, and season with black pepper.

Set aside to cool completely.

Preparing the turkey  

Rinse the turkey under cold water, and remove the neck and giblets.

Use paper towels to pat the inside and out dry.

Spoon the stuffing into the turkey.

If necessary, use skewers to close the cavity. Tie the legs together with string.

Place the turkey breast side up on a large baking tray, and spray with oil. Cover loosely with foil, and roast for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Baste the turkey every 20 minutes with juices from the pan.

Remove the foil, and roast for another 45 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the juices run clear when you pierce the flesh.

Remove from the oven and let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving. Serve with roast vegetables or salad.

Original recipe sourced from 

Be a Christmas angel

Icing sugar, Fruit mince, Pastry

Christmas time is a time of giving, and if you have friends or family with food intolerances then an inclusive menu is a gift they’ll really appreciate. Box up these gluten-free mince pies as gifts, or serve them fresh on Christmas Day.

For a dozen pies, you’ll need:

Fruit mince

250g dried mixed fruit

25g dried cranberries

1/2 apple, coarsely grated

1/2 large orange, zested and juiced

1 1/2 tbsp sunflower oil

75g dark brown sugar

25g blanched almonds, chopped (optional)

1 tspn ground mixed spice

2 tbsp brandy or rum

Gluten-free pastry

165g gluten-free plain flour, plus extra to dust

75g instant polenta

100g reduced-fat margarine or butter

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp cold water

Icing sugar for dusting

Fruit mince

Gently heat the fruit mince ingredients in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Continue cooking over a low heat for a further 20 minutes until the fruit has rounded out. Place the mixture in a bowl to cool for at least 20 minutes.


Sift the flour and polenta into a large bowl. Rub the cold butter or margarine into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Use a butter-knife to stir in the egg and water until the mixture begins to clump together.

Work the pastry into a ball in your hands, and then knead lightly on a work surface dusted with gluten-free flour.

When the pastry is smooth, wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.

Roll the pastry out to a 3mm thickness between two sheets of baking paper.

Using a 7-8cm pastry cutter, cut out 24 pastry rounds.

Fill a 12 hole pastry or muffin tin with half the rounds, and then fill each round with mince.

Place the remaining rounds on each pie, sealing the edges and cutting two small holes in the top of each pie.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Allow the pies to cool in the tin before removing and dusting lightly with icing sugar.  

Original recipe and image sourced 

Finishing with flair

raspberry jelly crystals, biscuits

Taking only 20 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to cook, this easy Christmas Berry Trifle recipe is the perfect end to an Australian Christmas dinner.

For 10 guests, you’ll need:

200g savoiardi biscuits

2 packets raspberry jelly crystals

1 tspn rosewater essence

80g unsalted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped

600g vanilla fromage frais

500g mixed berries (fresh or thawed)

2 tspn icing sugar

Break up the sponge biscuits into large chunks, and spread over the base of a 2L serving dish.

Prepare the jelly according to the directions on the pack, and add in the rosewater essence.

Pour the jelly mixture over the biscuits.

Cover the bowl with cling wrap, and place in the fridge until the jelly is set.

Lightly toast the pistachios by sautéing them in a shallow pan on the stove. Set aside to cool slightly.

Spoon the fromage frais onto the jelly, and top with summer berries.

Sprinkle the pistachios over the top, dust with icing sugar and serve.

Tip: For more time to relax on Christmas Day prepare this the day ahead, storing the pistachios in an airtight container and adding them and the icing sugar just prior to serving. 

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