How to host Christmas at home

This Christmas will be the very first time our events manager Chris Gordon hosts the day from her own home in Australia. Here, she shares what she’s planning to dish up for her guests.

Being a mother I’m going to start the day relatively early and I plan to do so with a strong coffee, closely followed by a sparkling wine. I may eat chocolates also… And given the indulgent opener, I’m thinking an easy summer lunch for friends and family is in order. I don’t want to be checking the time, or feeling hot and bothered in the kitchen. Nor do I want any anxiety. I want easy and delicious food for a day spent rejoicing. And I’m determined this will all be possible as long as I prepared to put in some yards the day before.

For my opener I’m planning to serve oysters and prawns. I’ll simply cut lemons and arrange. No recipe books needed so far, just an order placed to the fishmonger.

To follow, inside Luke Mangan’s Salt Grill there’s an excellent recipe on page 52 for ‘Smoked Salmon and Potato Terrine’. I’ve given it a go before and despite sounding fussy, it’s not at all – though you do need to prepare it the day before. Luke recommends serving it with a beetroot salad using red and yellow beets. While I’ve never seen yellow beets, I’m hoping to source some as the salad sounds perfectly festive, not to mention easy. Once ingredients are gathered it seems just a matter of pulling together. I’ll also serve a green salad, with ingredients picked straight from the garden. The cucumbers and tomatoes should be ready to pick.

Moving on to sweets, I’ve got Karen Martini’s Everyday on hand because, despite the title, some dishes in here are simply not ‘everyday’. On page 225, Martini has an excellent-sounding choice for my finale – ‘Pavolva with Chocolate Ganache and Balsamic Strawberries’. Oh, be still my beating heart.

(And really, how delicious does that sound?)

To send my friends on their way, I’ll be wrapping treats. Kathy Tsaples’ Sweet Greek has a variety of food sorts dripping in honey and goodness. I’ll be using her to steer me to making the very best ‘Baklava’ and ‘Revani’. As the evening approaches, I’m quite sure my family will be on the couch, watching a movie together and despite being full, wiping flaky pastry from our lips.

Certainly this is not a traditional Christmas meal but it does sound like an Australian celebration of the very best. We are fortunate to have available to us a variety of food sorts, balmy days – and to be able to sing carols while dressed in shorts. Our thoughts will be with those that are not as lucky.

To that end, I’ll be collecting on the day for The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and making sure that my pre-Christmas planning also includes making donations of food and money to this organisation. Join me?

Chris Gordon is the Events Manager for Readings and is a committee member of The Stella Prize.

Sweet Greek: Simple Food: Sumptuous Feasts

Sweet Greek: Simple Food: Sumptuous Feasts

Kathy Tsaples

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