Our family has always had big, happy Christmas dinners with all ages mixing and everyone sitting together at the table from babies in high chairs to elderly grandparents. This is extra special at Christmas when we have up to 30 people on Christmas day with extended family, visitors from overseas, and anyone whose family is not around.
This year will be somewhat different.
Even with smaller numbers and no likelihood of family or guests from overseas we still want to celebrate with all the joy of the season.
I’ve therefore created this menu to suit all ages with the two vegetable purees especially created for babies too.
You can watch Lyndey Milan below explaining how to glaze a ham on the Australian TV’s Seven Network’s The Morning Show. She also talks about her role as Happy Ali’s Food Director.
How To Make Cheese Biscuits
These can be rolled out and cut into any shape you like. Children love Christmas shapes but you can just use round cutters or cut into squares. Perfect with champagne as an aperitif which cleanses the palate between bites.
Yields 18 x 5cm stars or 12 x 7cm stars
Cooking time: 12 mins (5cm stars); 15 mins (7cm stars)
- 1 cup (150g) plain flour
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 120g butter, cold, cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- 100g (1 cup) grated strong cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons (40ml) milk
- 1 tablespoon small rosemary sprigs
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced)
Process flours and butter until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and cheese and process just till it starts to come together. Knead lightly.
Dust work surface and rolling pin and roll out thinly, to about 5mm. (For added ease roll between 2 sheets of baking paper lightly dusted with extra flour). Cut into shapes and place on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper.
Spread out on 3 baking paper-lined baking trays.
Brush with milk and top with a rosemary sprig, sprinkling of paprika or sea salt and black pepper.
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden.
Remove and cool on trays. Store in an airtight container.
Lyndey’s Note: you can just form the dough into a 12cm log, wrapped in non-stick paper, chill and slice of into rounds rather than using cutters. This makes 18 biscuits which take 15 minutes baking.
Roast Loin of Pork with Crackling
Order the pork well in advance from your butcher. Ask for a boned out loin with the skin well scored. Then make your stuffing a day before you want to collect your pork, drop it off to the butcher and ask him to stuff and tie if for you.
Preparation: 20 mins
Cooking: 1 hour 30mins +
- 2-kilo boneless loin, rind scored
- 1 tablespoon (20ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups (500mls) chicken stock
- 1 cup (250mls) white, rose or red wine
- ½ cup (125mls) tokay or port
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons cornflour (optional)
- ½ cup wine, extra or water
- 2/3 cup (110g) raisins
- 2 tablespoons (40ml) tokay, muscat or pork
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or butter
- 1 red onion (180g)
- 3 pears (780g) peeled, cored and diced
- Juice of ½ lemon (40mls)
- 2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the stuffing
Place raisins in a microwave-safe container, cover with tokay and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Reserve.
Place oil in a medium frypan over medium heat and cook onion until it is soft. Add pears and lemon juice and cook until pears are almost tender. Stir through spices and raisins. Season with salt and pepper.
For the pork
Pre-heat oven to very hot 230°C (210°C fan-forced).
Either have your butcher stuff your pork or lay pork skin side down on board. Place cold stuffing down the middle of the pork, roll up and tie firmly with string at 5cm intervals. Ensure the rind is well scored, if not, use a small sharp knife to make incisions all over it. Ensure it is dry, then rub over oil and salt.
Place on a rack in a baking tray and roast, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the rind begins to crackle. Reduce heat to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) and continue to cook for another 45 – 60 mins or until juices run clear. Place on a warm tray and cover loosely with foil to rest for at least 10 mins.
Place excess stuffing in an ovenproof bowl and heat in the oven for 10 mins.
For the sauce
Place stock, wine and mustard in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half,10 – 15 mins. If you want it thicker, mix the cornflour with a couple of tbsps water and whisk into sauce, stirring until it boils again. Reduce heat and simmer.
Deglaze baking dish with the extra wine or water and add this to the sauce. Bring to the boil. Taste for seasoning and then strain into a jug.
Break off crackling if necessary and carve pork thinly and serve with sauce and vegetables.
Lyndey’s Note: Dry skin makes the best crackling, so leave the pork uncovered in your fridge overnight.
If you prefer no alcohol in your food replace the tokay in the stuffing with apple juice and in the sauce with quince paste.
A meat thermometer is a great way to judge if your meat is cooked through.
Check pork and see if crackling is crackly enough. If not, as soon as the vegetable puree is piping hot, increase oven heat to 220°C (100°C fan-forced) and put the pork in for another 5 to 10 minutes
Preparation: 5 mins
Cooking: 5 mins
- 500g snow peas
- 500g sugar snap peas
- 500g peas, shelled
Boil, steam or microwave peas until just tender. Either do this separately or put the sugar snap and fresh peas (if using) on first then add snow peas (and frozen peas if using) after a minute.
Crisp Roast Potatoes
Preparation 10 mins
Cooking 1 hour
- 1.5k Desiree potatoes, peeled and halved
- 2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil
Par-boil or microwave potatoes until soft and the edges are crumbling. Place baking tray with oil in the oven until hot. Tip in the well-drained potatoes. This encourages a crisp outside.
Bake with pork for 45 to 60 mins or until golden, turning a couple of times during the baking.
Parsnip and Pumpkin Puree
The idea with this recipe is that it is suitable for any babies at the Christmas table (though you would want to leave out the salt and pepper and possibly the butter) and also delicious for adults!
Serves 8 (Makes 875g puree)
Preparation 5 mins
Cooking 10 mins
- 900g parsnips, peeled chopped coarsely
- 2 tbsp (40mls) milk
- 1 tbsp (20g) butter
- 1.2 k Queensland blue peeled and cut into chunks
- Salt and pepper to taste
Steam or microwave parsnips until soft, drain well then blend in a food processor with milk, butter and salt and pepper to taste.
Steam or microwave pumpkin until soft, drain very well then blend in a food processor with salt and pepper if desired.
In a large dish, put dollops of each puree alternately so you are creating a pattern. Alternatively, place in two separate bowls. Heat in the oven for about 20 mins or until hot or else in the microwave.
Lyndey’s Note: Jap pumpkin gives a lovely colour but is too watery unless it is very well-drained after cooking
To Drink: Viognier makes a classic match with pork. It has lots of intense ripe fruit yet a softness and length which stand up to the richness of the pork. Alternatively, try a dry rosé with enough firmness and dry finish to handle the pork.
This is a classic recipe but I have added orange rind for some extra zing. I used fresh strawberries and 500g frozen blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and cherries and 500g frozen raspberries.
Preparation 15 minutes plus resting overnight
Cooking 5 minutes
- 1kg mixed berries eg raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, youngberries, cranberries, mulberries
- 250g strawberries
- 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 14 slices approx white bread
- Zest of one orange
- 1 punnet fresh blueberries, to serve
- 1 punnet fresh raspberries, to serve
- Crème Fraiche or thick yoghurt, to serve
Pick over any fresh berries and remove any bruised ones. Rinse fresh only quickly in cold water. Cut any large berries, like strawberries into smaller pieces. Place in a medium saucepan with caster sugar and water and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until berries have softened and released their juice. Stir in orange zest. Taste and check for sweetness. Strain and reserve the syrup.
Remove crusts from the bread. Line a 7 cup (1.75-litre) deep pudding basin with plastic wrap. Cut one slice into a circular shape to fit the bottom of the basin. Cut remaining bread into two or three strips. Line the basin with the remaining bread, trimming it so that it fits snugly and overlaps just a little. Press it into the bowl. Reserve a few slices to cover the fruit.
Ladle the fruit into bread-lined bowl. Reserve ½ cup of the juice then moisten bread with the remainder, by drizzling around the edges. Fold over any bread which is above the line of fruit. Cover with remaining bread slices. Wrap with plastic wrap and weight the top with a plate plus something heavy on top.
Refrigerate at least overnight.
Shortly before serving, unmould onto a serving plate and baste any white patches of bread with the reserved juice.
Lyndey’s Note: these make delightful individual puddings too in which case use small ramekins and follow the same process. I have even frozen this pudding successfully.
To Drink: try a Muscat of Alexandria or a Moscato, as if there are bubbles, they help cleanse the palate. Remember to keep the sugar level in your dessert below the sugar level in the wine you are drinking or the wine will appear flat and dull.