A glorious Feast for your Christmas table

May 04, 2018 By Southpoint Tuggeranong

Happy, happy, joy, joy. I love Christmas and everything it entails. The decorations, the music, the scented candles, Christmas movies like Home Alone, The Polar Express and Die Hard, the catch ups with friends and family, THE FOOD, the drinks (a lot of drinks), and the joy it brings to my children.  What I don't enjoy, though, is spending all my time in the kitchen while everyone else spends their time laughing and enjoying themselves. Which is why, this Christmas, it'll still be all about the food, but it'll also be about taking a few shortcuts so I can stay out of the kitchen and on the back deck with the family and a cocktail in my hand. As such, below are a couple of recipes that will impress your friends, taste delicious, and not keep you tied to the oven this Christmas Day. Cranberry and Macadamia Stuffed Lenards Turkey Breast
  • 1 roasted unstuffed Lenards turkey breast approx 1.7kg
  • 1 large onion
  • zest and juice of a lime
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 5 or 6 sage leaves
  • a sprig of oregano
  • 1/2c macadamia nuts
  • 1/2c dried cranberries
  • 1/3 garlic and onion sourdough from Woolworths, chopped roughly
Chop the onion and fry with a little olive oil until it's translucent. In a blender, blitz the bread, lime zest, herbs and the egg until well combined but still chunky. Add the nuts and cranberries and blitz a few times, you want the mixture to be quite textural, not a fine mince. Add the bread mixture to a bowl and combine with the cooked onions. Add a TB of lime juice and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Unroll the Lenards turkey breast, but save the elastic so it can be rolled back up for cooking. Take a cup of the stuffing and lay it out across the inside of the turkey, but don't overstuff the turkey as it will burst open when it's baking. Roll it back up, tie the elastic back around the rolled breast and lay in a roasting pan, spray with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Because the turkey breast is already cooked, all you need to do is heat it up as per the linked directions above. The leftover stuffing can be added to individual pans, or baked on a tray alongside the turkey. Bake the stuffing along with the turkey breast for around 20 minutes at 180, but check for doneness along the way. Too long and it'll dry out, too little and it'll be soggy and not crispy and crunchy deliciousness. Cherry, blueberry and mustard glazed leg of ham
  • 4kg Ye Olde double smoked ham from Woolies
  • 250gms fresh cherries
  • half a punnet fresh blueberries
  • 1Tb dijon mustard
  • 1/4c red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper
First thing you need to do is pit the cherries. Pop up to Sauvage Urbain and grab yourself the above implement. By the time you've finished pitting the cherries your kitchen bench will resemble a crime scene, but you'll have removed more pit than cherry in your endeavours and it's quicker than all the other methods I've tried. A trusty cherry pitter is a much needed tool in the kitchen at Christmas, believe me. Add the cherries, blueberries, mustard, and red wine vinegar to a small pot on medium heat and pop a lid on it. This will ensure that the liquid doesn't evaporate as you don't add any extra liquid during the cooking process. Cook bubbling away for 15 minutes. Take the lid off and stir for another 15 minutes so the glaze thickens and reduces a little, add some freshly cracked pepper and take the glaze off the heat so it cools down. Next up is to prepare the ham for glazing. Take it out of the plastic and put it on a foil lined tray. Cut the skin around the hock, and around the sides of the ham so it can be pulled off. Cut close to, but not down to the bone, you're going to remove the skin but leave all the fat attached so it can be scored and glazed and roasted and the ham doesn't dry out. Slip your fingers under the lip of the skin at the top front of the ham, and just work your fingers under and gently peel the skin off as you go. If you feel there is a thick layer of fat coming off, grab your knife and gently ease it between the fat and the skin, and continue on with the job. If you're still unsure what you're doing, jump onto YouTube and search for glazed leg ham. There are some very detailed videos on how to do this. Score the fat, but again, don't cut into the meat. You can do the clove trick which is very traditional, but I just don't have time to be that finicky. Once the skin is removed, and the fat is scored in diamonds as per the below ham picture, brush the glaze all over the fat on the top side of the ham, all the way down to the hock. You will be baking the ham for at least 40 minutes in a moderate oven, and basting with the glaze every 15 minutes. Keep going until you have a deep, dark, savoury glaze and the ham is heated through. You're not cooking the ham, you're just heating it through and making sure the glaze is deeply, lusciously, cloyingly almost, thick on the ham. Take the ham out of the oven and loosely cover with tin foil, but make sure it doesn't stick to the ham or the glaze will come off, until you're ready to carve it. I serve the glaze in a little bowl with the ham as it's almost a jam once it reaches room temperature. Both the ham and turkey will reheat beautifully the next day for leftovers. Both are perfect in salads, toasted sandwiches, cold pasta salads or sliced up and served on cheese platters with fresh bread, mustard, pickles and dried fruits. Cut the meat off the ham bone, wrap it in foil and then plastic wrap and bung it in the freezer for winter when pea and ham soups are on the menu. A ham bone this size will make enough ham flavoured soup for 4 adults, easily. You can also freeze leftover ham, as long as it's well wrapped and freezer burn doesn't get to it. I love leftover ham and turkey at Christmas time, I find it a wonderful challenge to come up with new ways to reinvent the protein into something the family is happy to eat. Over and over and over again. Merry Christmas from my family to yours, I hope Santa is good to you and yours. The Food and Wine Marshall        

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