The conversations about “What are you doing for Christmas?” seem to start earlier and earlier every year. “Oh, it as my place and I’ve got, 12 for brunch or 20 for lunch or as one of my friends has 35 coming for dinner!”
It is overwhelming to me who this year has two for lunch, just my 90-year-old Mum and I.
The balance of our family lives interstate. No cast of thousands for us, just Mum and Me.
In the recent past, Mum and I have gone to a restaurant for our Christmas celebration as we’ve both wanted a special day, a lunch worthy of two months of conversation and planning.
However, I’m someone who loves to cook; I’m inspired to make a few of the special dishes that have been paraded across TV cooking shows for the last two months, or some of the wonderful delights that are featured in every glossy magazine at the supermarket checkout.
I’d also like to include some of the dishes from previous Christmases, ones my memory associated with my family Christmas.
Sadly when I pulled out my faithful folder of festive recipes, torn from previous years Christmas food magazines and handwritten recipes from friends of dishes I’ve cooked in past Christmases, I was hit by the fact that they feed 8 to 12 or more. They will create so much more food than Mum, and I need, even if I build in the ritual leftovers for Boxing day.
It’s time for a rethink on Christmas lunch and festive celebrations….
….time to claim them back for the Hidden Majority…
…time to design celebration menus for small households! Afterall we are the majority of households in Australia.
With that vision in mind, I’ve been thinking, planning and testing menu ideas for the big day for the last two months. In this time I’ve talked to lots of people about their Christmas day meals, and I’ve been struck by how many others are just two or three for lunch.
After much thought and taking Mum’s and my wishlists into consideration my final menu is:
Starter: Smoked salmon with a salad of asparagus, cucumber, capers and green leaves with mustard and dill creme fraiche, with rye bread
This is a classic combination of flavours that both Mum and I love. It looks summery and tastes of luxury. Easy to prepare, not a big hit on the budget as you only need one bunch of asparagus and one pack of smoked salmon. I think this is a winner.
Main: Panko crumbed turkey, sage and pine nut meatballs with cherry and rhubarb chutney, mashed potatoes, honey carrots and buttered snow peas.
These meatballs are amazing! They taste like a classic roast turkey meal, stuffing included. They are wonderful hot and even better cold. I’m going to serve them hot, but my recipe makes 12 large meatballs (3 each on Christmas day and 6 for leftover for Boxing Day. They make great sandwiches in rye bread).
The flavour of the stuffing is important in this recipe. I love pine nut and sage stuffing and used my old recipe as the basis for the meatballs. Pine nuts really make the meatballs sing Christmas to me and are worth the expense and effort. You only need two tablespoons full for the meatballs, Using only 500 g of turkey meat, so much less expensive than a whole roast. The panko breadcrumbs are available at most supermarkets and give a beautiful crunch to the meatballs.
Add vegetable sides of your choice here. You need about 350 – 400 g of vegetable per person for a generous amount of side dishes. I did one large potato per person, and it was plenty but if you love mash feel free to do three large potatoes for two people.
The jam element could be cranberry, redcurrant, lingenberry or your favourite chutney or fruit jam. The tart-sweet jam lifts the dish and saves the need for gravy – not something Mum and I are into.
Sweets: Honey ice cream and rum fruit mince frozen puddings with praline crumb
This is so easy and tastes even better than it looks if that possible! Whipped fresh cream with honey and liquid glucose, frozen in a mould with a booze-infused fruit mince from a jar. Mine has rum as Mum like the taste of rum and raisin ice cream. And after all its Christmas.
Afters: Coffee and Boiled fruit cake and slices of my 5 treasure style panforte
The Boiled Fruitcake, as we always have fruitcake at Christmas and Mum and I like a light one. I’ve sized it just for us in my Bake Club. See here for more information.
My version of a panforte – 5 treasure cake is a recipe I make each as Christmas as gifts and keep one for me to share with my coffee.
So, there it is after months of planning and testing (I made the full menu for the friends the other week for a final test and to take the photos) my menu for a small household on Christmas Day.
I’m really looking forward to it.
What are you planning to have for Christmas day? What’s your menu for your New Year’s celebration?
What are the dishes/flavours that for you represent the festive season?Print
Turkey, sage and pine nut meatballs
Turkey, sage and pine nut meatballs served with mashed potato, cranberry sauce and vegetable makes a great Christmas lunch for a small household.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 12
- Category: main meal
- Method: oven baked
- Cuisine: Modern Australian
50 g (1 sliced) wholemeal/rye bread, in 3 cm in pieces
100 g water/milk
1 onion peeled and cut in half
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried sage leaves or 1 tbsp fresh leaves
2 tbsp of pine nuts
2 strips of pancetta, dice in 2 cm pieces
500 g turkey mince (or make your own with turkey meat 7 sec/speed 6)
4 tbsp plain flour
salt and pepper to taste
100 g panko crumbs for coating
Place bread in mixing bowl and crumb 10 sec/speed 5.
Place breadcrumbs in a bowl with milk/water and allow to sit to soften for a few minutes.
Place onion, garlic, sage, pine nuts and pancetta in mixing bowl and chop 7 sec/speed 7. Scrape down sides.
Add turkey mince and soaked bread with water and mix 10 sec/speed 6.
Add flour and mix 10 sec/speed 6.
Use a spoon and one wet hand to shape into 12 large round balls.
Place panko crumbs in a bowl. Roll each meatball to fully coat. Place on a tray and cover. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or till ready to cook. I leave them overnight to develop a better flavour.
Pre-heat oven to 180C non-fan (160C) fan. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the meatballs, a few at a time till golden in colour. Transfer to a tray and place in oven to finish cooking for about 15 minutes.
Serve hot with mashed potato, cranberry sauce and vegetables of your choice. I work on about 400 g of vegetables per person.
Or serve cold with salads of choice.
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 336
- Sugar: 3.4g
- Sodium: 256.2mg
- Fat: 19.5
- Carbohydrates: 11.5g
- Fiber: 1.5g
- Protein: 29.3g
- Cholesterol: 98.3mg
Frozen honey ice cream fruit mince puddings
A light icecream pudding with the taste of traditional Christmas pudding. Easy to make and refreshing on a hot Christmas day.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
- Category: Pudding
- Method: Freezer
- Cuisine: Modern Australian
5 tbsp premade fruit mince (from the supermarket)
2 tbsp booze of choice (brandy, rum, orange liquor or port)
400 g good quality high fat (35%) fresh cream with no thickening in it
2 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp liquid glucose (from the baking section in supermarket)
Toffee nuts, milled to fine powder for garnish (optional)
Place fruit mince and booze in a small bowl and mix with a fork to incorporate. Set aside to allow flavours to mix. (if I’m organised I do this the night before I make the puddings when pushed for time it has about 30 mins)
Inset butterfly into mixing bowl and add cream, honey and liquid glucose and whisk on speed 3 till cream is at firm peak stage.
Place 2 tsp of the booze flavoured fruit mince in the bottom of each mould. Using a spoon half fill with whipped cream. Tap mould on the bench to ensure no air pockets.
Add a tablespoon of fruit mince to the centre of each mould and top with more cream. Again, tap on the bench to remove air pockets. Cover top of mould with foil or cling film and freeze for at least 4 hours.
Take moulded puddings out of the freezer about 10 minutes before you plan to serve. To un-mound, wrap a wet warm cloth around each mould and tap on the plate.
Spoon a little remaining mince mixture over the top of each pudding and dust with crumbed toffee nuts that have been milled to a fine crumb.
The recipe makes 4 x 100 g moulded puddings. I have little jelly mould I use but you can use any container you can freeze. I make the boozy fruit mince the day ahead if I’m organised. If not 30 minutes soaking will be ok.
- Serving Size: 100 g
- Calories: 419
- Sugar: 17.1g
- Sodium: 39.2mg
- Fat: 37 g
- Carbohydrates: 137 g
- Fiber: 0.2g
- Protein: 2.1g
- Cholesterol: 137mg