Australian Christmas lunch

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LIZ GAETE shows you how to prepare a laid-back meal that allows you to relax and enjoy the holiday

The sun is beaming down and the air conditioning has been switched on early mid-morning. The sound of kids splashing in the pool echoes throughout many suburban backyards. It’s summertime and Christmas day. There is no need to spend hours slaving over a hot stove. Chill out and have a cold style Christmas Aussie lunch.

 

Roast Chicken Drumsticks with Salsa

Serves 8

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

This dish should be prepared the night before Xmas, stored in the fridge overnight and ready for your Christmas lunch the next day.

2 kgs chicken drumsticks

1 lemon

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp lemon pepper seasoning

1 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of salt

Lemon wedges to serve

Preheat oven to 200 degrees or 180 degrees (fan forced). Place the drumsticks in a roasting dish. Cut the lemon into quarters and squeeze lemon juice over the drumsticks. Rub the oil over the drumsticks and sprinkle with paprika, lemon pepper seasoning and salt. Roast the drumsticks for 45mins – 1 hour, until golden brown. Cool and refrigerate until needed.

 

Salsa

4 ripe tomatoes

½ small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp Tabasco sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

Pinch salt

¼ cup chopped parsley

Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Dice the tomatoes into 1cm cube-sized pieces. Combine this in a bowl with the diced onion, crushed garlic, lemon juice and oil. Add Tabasco sauce and salt to taste. Stir through the parsley. Stand for and hour so to let the flavours develop.

When ready serve alongside chicken drumsticks.

 

Homemade Pesto Pasta Salad

Serves 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking times: 10 minutes

1 bunch fresh basil leaves

2 tbsp pine nuts

2 gloves of crushed garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

500g penne pasta

250g grape tomatoes

½ Spanish onion, thinly sliced

1 red capsicum, thinly sliced

 

Bocconcini cheese

Place the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic and cheese into a food processor. Pulse until well chopped. Slowly add the olive oil and continue to pulse food processor. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water as per the packet instructions. Once cooked, drain pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water. Place into a large bowl.

Add grape tomatoes; scatter thinly sliced onion and capsicum through dish. Add the pesto sauce and stir until well combined. Ready to serve!

 

Brown Rice Salad

Serves 8

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Preparation time: 15 minutes

The rice can be cooked in advance for this recipe. Slice and chop the vegetables beforehand and place in fridge until ready to serve

500g small cooked prawns

2 cups (22g) cooked brown rice (approx 2/3 cup uncooked brown rice)

1 medium red capsicum, chopped finely

3 spring onion, finely chopped

2 trimmed celery stalks, finely chopped

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp cream

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

1 tsp caster sugar

Shell and devein prawns, chop up into 1cm cubed sized pieces. Place brown rice in a large bowl. Add chopped prawns, sliced capsicum, chopped spring onion and chopped celery stalks. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, cream, chives and sugar together. Add to rice and vegetables. Gently toss through.

 

Green Salad with Mango

Serves 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes

3 Lebanese cucumbers

1 small red onion thinly sliced

2 medium mangoes, peeled and cut into matchsticks

400g mixed salad leaves

1/3 cup olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

2 tsp wholegrain mustard

Using a vegetable peeler, cut thin ribbons from cucumbers. Place cucumber in a large bowl. Add onion, mango and salad leaves.

Whisk together oil, lemon juice and mustard in a bowl until well combined. Add the dressing to the salad. Toss gently to combine. Serve

 

Sunset Pavlova

Serves 8

Total cooking time: 1 hour

Preparation time: 30 minutes

The Pavlova should be made the day before.

4 egg whites

1 cup castor sugar

2 tsp cornflour

1 tsp white vinegar

1 cup fresh cream

¼ cup flaked coconut

½ peeled, cored and thinly sliced fresh pineapple

1 peeled and sliced thinly fresh mango

2 peeled and sliced fresh bananas

2 fresh passionfruit

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees for a conventional oven or 150 for a fan forced oven. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the egg whites and a pinch of salt into a large and very clean glass bowl. Ensure the egg whites are at room temperature. Using an electric beater, beat slowly until the whites start to become a frothy foam, increase the speed of the beaters until the bubbles have become small and evenly sized. When the foam forms stiff peaks, add the sugar gradually, continuously beating after each addition, until the mixture is thick and glossy, and all the sugar has dissolved. Don’t overbeat the mixture otherwise it will become grainy.

Using a metal spoon, fold in the sifted cornflour and vinegar. Spoon the mixture into a mound onto the prepared baking tray. Lightly flatten the top of the Pavlova and smooth the sides. The Pavlova should have a cake shape. Bake the Pavlova for 1 hour, or until pale cream in colour and crisp on the outside. Remove from the oven while warm, and carefully turn upside down onto a serving dish.

Spread flaked coconut onto a baking tray with baking paper and cook for 2-3 minutes, until lightly toasted. Cool completely.

Using the electric beaters, whip the fresh cream until soft peaks form, then spread over the Pavlova.

Top the cream with thinly sliced pineapple, mango and bananas. Drizzle the Pavlova with the pulp of 2 fresh passionfruit, and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Cut into wedges and serve.