ENTRÉE’S & NIBBLIES
Spicy Melon and Prawn Salad Serves 6
1 large rockmelon, cut into chunks
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, plus 1 tbsp extra
500g cookied prawns, peeled and deveined
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tsp each cumin, coriander and cardomom seeds
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
Tabasco, to taste
Rind of 1 lime, finely shredded
1 bunch rocket, well rinsed and spun or patted dry
- Sprinkle melon chunks with 1 tbsp lime juice and set aside in a serving bowl.
- Place prawns in another bowl, season with salt and pepper and scatter with coriander leaves. Set aside.
- Place the cumin, coriander and cardomom seeds in a small frying pan over moderate heat and shake until the spices are fragrant, about 3 minutes. Take care not to burn them. Cool slightly, and pulverise in a mortar or in a food processor.
- Combine the onion and oil in a small frying pan and cook over moderate heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic and cook for a further 1 minute. Stir in the pulverised spices and extra tbsp of lime juice, and season with Tabasco to taste.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Spoon the mixture over the melon, add the lime rind and toss gently. Add the prawns just before serving.
- Line a platter with rocket and pile the salad on top.
Prawn and mango wraps Serves 4
¼ cup extra light sour cream
¼ cup low fat mayonnaise
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Sea salt/pepper to taste
750g cooked prawns, peeled and de-veined, roughly chopped (=~400g meat)
1 large firm ripe mango
Zest of 1 lime
Finely sliced red chilli
4 x 25cm tortillas
1 bunch baby watercress or baby rocket, washed, stems discarded
- Process sour cream, mayo, basil and chives in food processor or bamix until pale green. Season. Transfer to a bowl, add prawns and mango, lime zest and chilli to taste. Combine.
- Heat tortillas in dry pan or microwave. Keep warm in a clean tea towel. Divide watercress or rocket between tortillas across the centre. Top with some prawn mixture, tuck in the ends then roll up tightly.
- Cut in half diagonally to serve. Tip: Could use rice paper rolls instead of tortillas.
Christmas Dip Serves 8
2 ripe avocados, flesh mashed
2 tsp lime juice
1 small red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
300g extra light sour cream
1 tblsp taco seasoning
1 ripe tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tblsp coarsely chopped fresh coriander
- Mash the avocado until almost smooth. Add the lime juice and chilli. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill a glass serving dish with mixture.
- Combine the sour cream and taco seasoning. Spread over the avocado mixture. Cover and place in the fridge to set for 2 hours.
- Combine the tomato & coriander in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the sour cream and avocado.
- Serve immediately with carrot, celery & capsicum sticks and some crackers or corn chips.
Asian ginger, soy sauce & sesame prawns Serves 12
1/3 cup salt reduced soy sauce
2 thinly sliced green shallots
1 tblsp honey
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed
24 cooked prawns, deheaded, tails intact
Toasted sesame seeds & extra shallot to serve
Mix all ingredients except prawns. Place prawns on an asian spoon or in a small bowl or ramikin. Spoon over 1 tblsp dressing over each. Top with sesame seeds and shallot to serve.
Christmas tomatoes Serves 12
2 x punnets cherry tomatoes
100g light cream cheese
50g Danish fetta
2 tblsp finely chopped fresh basil, plus extra leaves to serve
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tblsp lemon juice
- Slice tops from cherry tomatoes. Scoop out seeds and discard.
- Put all remaining ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Transfer to a small piping bag (or a zip-lock bag and snip the corner off)
- Pipe the mixture into the tomatoes and arrange on a serving platter. Top with a baby basil leaf.
THE MAIN EVENT
Pork Leg with Roasted Pears, Rosemary and Honey Sauce Serves 6
1.2 kg boned leg of pork
Spray olive oil
4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
freshly ground pepper
Spray olive oil
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 tsp black peppercorns
4 tbsp honey
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
400ml dry white wine
600ml chicken stock
1 tblsp light margarine
4 tbsp dark brown sugar
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 slightly under ripe pears, halved, cored and unpeeled
- Remove any obvious pieces of fat. Spray with olive oil then massage in the rosemary. Season well. Reshape the pork into a log, tie at intervals with string, then place into a roasting pan in a preheated oven 220C. Roast for a further ~3 hrs, or until juices run clear when skewered.
- Honey sauce: Spray a heavy based pan with olive oil and add the carrot, celery and onion. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are beginning to caramelise and turn golden. Add the peppercorns, stir through, and then pour in the honey. Increase the heat and cook until you can smell the honey caramelising, then add the white wine vinegar carefully (the mixture will spit). Boil until the mixture becomes thick, bubbly and caramelised, with only a tablespoon or two of liquid left, add wine. Stir in the stock and boil again to reduce the mixture to a syrupy sauce. Set aside. Let cool.
- Roasted Pears: Start the pears when the meat has only about 10 mins left in oven. Melt the margarine, sugar and vinegar in a large frying pan, toss in the pears and turn them in the mixture for a minute or two until well coated.
- When pork is cooked to your liking, remove baking pan from oven. Transfer pork to a board and cover loosely with foil. Set aside in a warm place to rest for 20 mins.
- Carve pork and divide between plates. Pour over the honey sauce and serve with roasted pears, roast potatoes and steamed green vegetables.
15 serves (about 200g per serve)
3kg half leg ham
1.5 cups brown sugar
275g jar cranberry sauce
- Place oven shelf in lowest position and ensure ham will fit in oven. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a large roasting pan with baking paper. Remove the rind from ham by gently running your thumb between the rind and fat or ham. Carefully pull back rind to expose the fat. Cut the rind off at shank, leaving the shank covered with rind. Trim fat to 1cm thick only.
- Using a small, sharp knife, score the fat in a diamond pattern about 5mm deep. Take care not to cut into the meat. Push a clove into the centre of each diamond.
- Combine sugar and cranberry sauce. Brush evenly over ham and ensure all the fat is covered.
- Bake for 15-20 mins or until golden. Brush again with mixture. Return to oven for 30-35 mins or until golden.
- Place on serving platter and carve using the shank for stability. May be served warm or cold.
Prosciutto wrapped turkey Allow 200g per person
Fresh or thawed whole turkey
120g fresh bread crumbs
170g dried cranberries
80g pistachio kernals, coarsely chopped
½ cup chopped continental parsley
1 tblsp finely grated lemon rind
12 (about 120g) thick slices prosciutto
12 sprigs fresh thyme
- Place shelf in oven in lowest position and ensure turkey will fit in the oven. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Combine the breadcrumbs, cranberries, pistachios, parsley and lemon rind in a bowl. Add the eggs and stir to combine.
- Remove excess fat and giblets from turkey. Wash the turkey & wipe inside and out with paper towel. Fill the cavity with the breadcrumb mixture. Tie the legs with un-waxed kitchen string. Tuck wings under. Add a small amount of water to the roasting pan and place turkey, breast side up, on a wire rack in the roasted pan.
- Arrange the prosciutto, overlapping slightly, over the turkey. Tuck the thyme sprigs underneath the prosciutto. Cover the turkey with non-stick baking paper, then cover the pan in foil. Roast in oven for 2.5 hours. Remove paper and foil.
- Increase the oven temperature to 200 degrees celcius. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until prosciutto is crisp and juices run clear when the turkey’s thigh is pierced with a skewer. Transfer turkey to plate and cover with foil. Set aside for 15 minutes to rest.
- Serve warm with roasted vegetables and gravy or cool overnight and serve with salads.
Christmas Salad Serves 6
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
25mL extra virgin olive oil
40mL red wine vinegar
2 shallots, very finely chopped
2 tbslp chopped coriander leaves
3 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed
3 buffalo mozzarella balls
- Mix the tomatoes with oil, vinegar and season to taste. Set aside for 30 minutes to marinate. Stir in shallots and coriander and set aside for a further 15 minutes.
- Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Drain and refresh in cold water.
- Tear each mozzarella ball into 2-3 pieces each. Arrange on serving platter then scatter asparagus. Top with tomato mixture, then serve.
Spinach, pea & zucchini salad Serves 8
4 zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
Spray olive oil
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tblsp olive oil
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 bag baby spinach leaves
1.5 cups fresh or frozen peas, blanched
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Spray tray with oil, lay zucchini on tray & spray lightly again. Scatter garlic over the top. Bake for 10-15 mins or until zucchini is tender.
- Squeeze garlic from skin and mix in a bowl with oil, vinegar and season to taste.
- Mix spinach, peels and zucchini in bowl. Add dressing and toss to combine.
Baby beetroot and brie salad Serves 6
½ cup walnuts
850g baby beetroot, drained, cut into bite size pieces or left whole, depending on size
250g brie, at room temperature
1 green oak lettuce, washed & dried
3 long stalks of celery, finely sliced
1 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp white wine vinegar
1.5 tsp wholegrain mustard
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Spread walnuts on an oven tray and bake for 4-5 mins or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool, then roughly chop.
- Drain beets and ensure uniform size. Cut brie into thin slices
- Arrange lettuce on individual plates (or in a large salad bowl). Scatter over celery. Top with beetroot and brie. Sprinkle with walnuts. Combine with dressing ingredients and season with salt & pepper to taste. Drizzle over salads and serve immediately.
Chilled Seasonal Fruit Bowl Serves 4
½ pink or champagne watermelon
400g low fat vanilla yoghurt
Remove the pips from the watermelon and cut into bite sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
Remove the grapes from the stalks and add to the bowl. Add the passionfruit pulp. Segment the oranges and add to the bowl. Toss the fruit and place in the freezer for 1-2 hours until icy.
Serve with vanilla low-fat yoghurt.
A great Christmas alternative to a heavy cake or pudding! Any fruit can be used such as berries, bananas or mangoes.
Last-minute moist Christmas cake Makes 24 pieces
375g mixed dried fruit
440g can crushed pineapple in natural juice
¼ cup squeezed orange juice
2 tsp mixed spice
1 cup dark jam
250g pitted prunes, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 cups wholemeal flour
2 egg whites
Place the dried fruit, pineapple and juice, orange juice, mixed spice, jam and prunes in a saucepan and cook over moderate heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and allow to cool. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 18cm square cake tin.
Sift the bicarbonate of soda and flour together. In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the fruit mixture and then the sifted flour. The mixture will be quite firm.
Spread into the tin and bake for 1.5 hours. Allow to cool thoroughly before inverting onto a platter.
Fruity Bon-Bons Serves 10
10 sheets filo pastry
1 x 250g jar fruit mince
2 tblsp almond slivers
Preheat the oven to 190 degree Celsius. Fold the filo sheets in half, then half again. The pastry parcel will be approximately 5cm wide.
Place 1 tbslp of the fruit mince into one side of the pastry, add a few almond slivers, and roll up. Tie the ends with the raffia or string. Transfer the rolls onto a lined baking tray. Repeat with the remaining pastry.
Bake for 15 mins until lightly golden.
This is a great low fat alternative to fruit mince pies!
Ricotta Christmas Cake Makes 36 pieces
250 g low fat ricotta cheese
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1.5 kg mixed fruit
½ cup red glace cherries
¼ cup honey
½ cup blanched almonds
1 ½ cups unsweetened orange or pineapple juice
2 ¾ cups self raising flour, sifted
½ cup plain wholemeal flour, sifted
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp brandy
- Combine ricotta cheese, bicarbonate of soda, fruit, honey, almonds and juice in a saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool.
- Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Stir in brandy.
- Spoon mixture into a greased and lined 23cm square cake pan. Bake at 160-179 C for 2-2 ½ hours or until cooked when tested with a skewer. If desired sprinkle hot cake with extra brandy and wrap in a towel to cool.
Low fat Iced Christmas Pudding Serves 10
2 tbsp candied pineapple, finely chopped
16 glace cherries, finely chopped
2 tbsp glace ginger, finely chopped
4 tbsp raisins chopped
4 tbsp brandy
1 small tin whole chestnuts finely chopped
12 meringues crushed
1 litre reduced fat ice cream, softened
- Place pineapple, cherries, ginger, raisins and brandy in microwave safe bowl, cover and heat on high for 2 minutes
- Remove from microwave, mix together, and stand for a further 10 minutes so the brandy soaks into the fruit.
- In a large mixing bowl combine chestnuts, meringues, and ice cream, then add the fruit mix.
- Pack into a 6-cup pudding basin or mould, cover and freeze until solid, preferably overnight.
- To remove, place mould briefly in hot water before upending it on a serving plate.
Christmas Berry Trifle Serves 6
200g (about 16) savoiardi (sponge finger biscuits)
2 x 9g packets diet or Lite raspberry-flavoured jelly crystals
1 tsp rosewater essence
80g unsalted pistachio kernals
4 x 150g cartons low fat Fruche or fromage frais vanilla
500g fresh or frozen mixed summer fruit (such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or cherries)
2 tsp icing sugar
- Break the biscuits into large pieces. Arrange over the base of a 2L (8-cup) capacity serving dish.
- Prepare the jelly following packet directions. Stir in the rosewater essence. Carefully pour the jelly mixture over the biscuits. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4 hours, or until the jelly is set.
- Meanwhile, place the pistachios in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool slightly. Coarsely chop.
- Spoon the fromage frai over the jelly. Top with the mixed summer fruit.
- Sprinkle with pistachios and dust with icing sugar to serve.
Christmas Spritzer Serves 6
1.5 L natural mineral water
12 mint leaves
- Cut strawberries into halves or quarters depending on size. Portion into 6 glasses.
- Bruise mint leaves gently (using your hands) and then add 2 mint leaves to each glass. Top with ice.
- Pour over mineral water & serve.
Berry Nice Christmas Punch Serves 6+
1 punnet blueberries
1 punnet strawberries
1.5 L soda water
6 mint leaves
3 ice cube trays
- Cut strawberries into small pieces. Place 1 piece of strawberry in each ice cube mould, fill with water and freeze overnight. Repeat with blueberries.
- Bruise mint leaves and place in bottom of a large jug. Add berry ice cubes.
- Top up with soda water and serve immediately.