Christmas cooking

When it comes to Christmas cooking, planning ahead is key. By putting some time and effort into your menu before Christmas day you will find it will help it to run a little more smoothly. Whether you are hosting the meal or visiting friends and family, it?s not great to be the stressed out one in the kitchen while everyone is enjoying Christmas day.

Our menu plan is designed to take the pressure of Christmas cooking and ensure that you enjoy the day. We?ve included a salad, main and dessert that tap into the traditions of Christmas, but with a lovely Kiwi twist.

Salad: Christmas corn, tomato and avocado salad

This salad is the perfect accompaniment to a main meal on Christmas day. It?s light, delicious and easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cobs of corn
  • 4 rashers of bacon
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 2 avocadoes cut into chunks
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1/2 cup shredded basil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • white wine vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Microwave the corn with husks on for up to 1 minute and 30 seconds.
  2. Leave to cool for five minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cook the bacon until crispy and crumble into the salad bowl.
  4. Add in shredded basil, cherry tomatoes, avocado chunks and spring onion.
  5. Remove husks and silk from corn cobs and remove corn kernels using a sharp knife.
  6. Add to salad bowl.
  7. Toss in a tablespoon of olive oil and teaspoon of vinegar. Serve immediately.

Main meal: Christmas Roast turkey with stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 3 kg turkey
  • Quantity of stuffing
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour

Instructions:

  1. Remove the neck and giblets form inside the turkey. Wash turkey well and pat dry inside and out with paper towels.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  3. Make the stuffing you prefer and loosely stuff inside the turkey cavity. Tuck the wings underneath and join the cavity together using a skewer.
  4. Tie the legs together.
  5. Place turkey on a rack on a baking dish.
  6. Roast for two hours basting with the combined oil and ½ cup of the stock.
  7. Make sure to cover the breast and the legs with foil after one hour if the turkey starts to brown too much.
  8. Remove from oven, cover and leave to rest for fifteen minutes.
  9. To make gravy, drain off all except 2 tablespoons of pan juices from the baking dish. Place the dish on the stove over low heat add flour and stir well.
  10. Stir over medium heat until browned. Gradually add the remaining stock, stirring until the gravy boils and thickens.
  11. Serve the turkey with the salad.

Christmas country Sage Stuffing:

Ingredients:

  • 45g butter
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 sliced celery stick
  • 10 shredded sage leaves
  • 2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 lightly beaten egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

Instructions:

  1. Melt the butter in saucepan.
  2. Cook finely chopped onion and celery stick in butter until the onion has softened.
  3. Transfer to mixing bowl and add in all other ingredients.
  4. Stir until well combined.

Dessert: Christmas cake recipe

This cake can be prepared well in advance of Christmas Day.

Ingredients:

* 2 cups sultanas * 1 ½ cups walnuts
* 2 cups raisins (chopped) * 250g unsalted butter
* 2 cups currants * 1 cup soft brown sugar
* 1 cup mixed peel * ½ cup orange marmalade
* ½ cup red glace cherries * 5 eggs
* ½ cup chopped glace ginger * 2 cups plain flour
* 2/3 cup chopped glace apricots * 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
* ½ cup brandy * 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* ½ cup orange juice * 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Place all the fruit in one bowl, making sure to break up any clumps.
  2. Stir in the brandy and orange juice
  3. Cover the mix with plastic wrap and leave overnight so the fruit can absorb the liquid.
  4. The following day, pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade.
  5. Grease and line a 23cm round or 20cm square cake tin.
  6. Bake the walnuts on a baking tray for 8-10 minutes until lightly roasted. Cool, then chop up roughly.
  7. Beat the butter, sugar and marmalade in a large bowl with electric beaters until the mix is creamy and light.
  8. Make sure to keep scraping the mix down the sides using a rubber spatula.
  9. Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
  10. At this point the mix may appear curdled but this is normal.
  11. Add the butter mixture and walnuts to the soaked fruit.
  12. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices over the top.
  13. Mix gently until the contents are completely absorbed and there are no pockets of flour to be found.
  14. Spoon the mix into the tin and tap the tin gently on the bench to remove air bubbles.
  15. To prevent the cake burning on the outside during cooking time, fold several sheets of newspaper to wrap round the side of the cake tine.
  16. Make sure it comes a little higher than the tin itself and tie round the tin securely using string.
  17. Place the tin itself on several layers of folded newspaper on the oven shelf.
  18. Bake for 3 to 31/2 hours or until a skewer dipped in the centre of the tin comes out clean.
  19. Cool in the tin before turning the cake out.

Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1-3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup pure icing sugar sifted.

Instructions:

  1. Whisk the egg white until just foamy.
  2. Beat in one teaspoon lemon juice.
  3. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until the mix is thick and white.
  4. Pour the icing over the top.
  5. Using a palette knife, smooth the icing to the edge of the cake and let it run slowly down the edge of the cake.
  6. Let the icing set a little before decorating with a selection of freshly chopped fruits of your choice.