When we’re already facing temperatures well above 40˚C/104˚F, hot ovens and heavy meals are just too much, and that’s when our Christmas dinner takes on a distinctly Australian /Kiwi style. To many of us ‘Down Under’, the thought of a roasted dinner on Christmas day is a nightmare, and we’d much rather something a little cooler on our plate.

Whilst we’ll still enjoy a slice of cold ham with our salad, or even a bit of cold roast chook (that’s chicken for the non-Aussies and Kiwis), our minds are firmly on lighter fare. Specifically, seafood.

Our island nations have a magnificent amount of coastline, and an abundance of seafood right at our shoreline. I’ve spent many a summer exploring the beaches near where my family escaped the heat, and bringing home (our tent or caravan) my edible findings for tea.

Now, living in the colder northern hemisphere, I’m hankering for the tasty treats of this time of year from home. So, in an extra cook-a-long class this week, I’m going to share some of my favourite Australian recipes with you, including my Mum’s foolproof pav!

Australian Flavours

As a lot of our meals also tend to be cooked outside during these hot days. Australian’s tend to keep things pretty simple and low-fuss. A BBQ is always popular, and can be done by almost anyone who can be trusted with a set of tongs – almost anyone that is. We eat a lot of salads, like the potato and coleslaw salads we did earlier this year. But most of all, it’s our seafood that gets pride of place.

Given we’re also usually fans of Asian-inspired flavours, this is a great opportunity to play around with something different to our usual fare. That’s why the following recipes will be a little different to what some are used to. If you’ve never tried this infused baked salmon, give it a go. The pavlova is easy to make, and always a crowd pleaser, especially with kids who love to nick bit of chocolate from the top.

So, what will you need to create this menu, here’s our list:

Ingredients for an Australian Christmas:

Assuming you won’t be able to make it to a sunshine filled beach, these ingredients will help you feel warm from the inside out:

Plus the fresh ingredients as per the recipes below

Equipment for Christmas Dinner:

So, without further ado, here are this week’s recipes:

Baked Salmon

This baked salmon recipe is a favourite of ours. It's light and zingy, can be enjoyed straight from the oven, or cold on a salad the next day.
The marinade can be made in advance, and stored for a couple of days before use - this also gives it more time to develop some wicked flavour!
Course Appetizer, Entree, Lunch, Main Course, Salad, Starter
Cuisine Australian, New Zealand, World
Keyword baked, chili, chililies, fillet, marinade, salmon, soy sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinating 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 Portions

Equipment

  • Aluminium foil
  • Baking tray

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 125 ml Olive oil
  • 50 ml Lemon juice
  • 25 ml Soy sauce light or dark as you prefer
  • 3 Garlic cloves crushed
  • 20 g Ginger root grated
  • 20 g Brown sugar
  • 10 g Chillies, fresh finely sliced
  • 5 g Thyme dried
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1500 g Salmon fillet, or fish of your choice

To serve

  • 60 g Parsley fresh
  • 1 large Lemon sliced
  • 1 bunch Scallions sliced

Instructions

  • Combine all of the marinade ingredients together, and leave to infuse for at least 5mins.
  • Place the fillet of salmon in a large air-tight container, and pour the marinade over the top. Turn the fish at least once to ensure all the surfaces are coated. Leave to marinate for 30mins.
  • Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F, and prepare a sheet of aluminium foil - enough to wrap around the fillet of fish. Alternatively, use a shallow baking tray with enough foil to create a lid.
  • Place the foil on a baking tray, and place the fillet of salmon, and begin to fold the edges up to form a leak-proof pocket. Alternatively, use a the baking tray and foil lid.
  • Pour the marinade in on top of the fish, and seal before placing in the oven.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the fish easily flakes off. (note, if the fillet is thick, this can take a little longer).
  • To serve, place the salmon on a serving platter, or cut into portions, and scatter the parsley, scallions, and lemon slices over the top.

Notes

You can also cook this dish with the fillets pre-cut into portions. If doing this, make sure there is some space between each fillet, to allow for the marinade to infuse the fish. The cooking time will also be about half, but do check for flaking before eating.

Pavlova - Super Easy Vers.

This is my Mum's super easy pavlova recipe. It's been a family favourite since I was a kid, and has NEVER let her down. There's not many recipes that can boast 4 decades of triumph!
Course Afternoon Tea, Baking, Dessert
Cuisine Australian, New Zealand
Keyword dessert, egg whites, eggnog, meringue, pav, pavlova
Servings 6 Portions

Equipment

  • Stand mixer or Electric beaters
  • Mixing bowls
  • Baking plate, or large tray
  • Parchment paper
  • Spatula
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Scales

Ingredients

  • 4 Egg whites
  • 500 ml White sugar, caster/granulated (2cups)
  • 1.25 tbsp Cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 4 drops Vanilla essence
  • 3 tbsp Water, boiling

To serve

  • 200 ml Whipping cream
  • 25 g White sugar, caster/granulated
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence/extract
  • 100 g Chocolate; your favourite chocolate bar, for Aussies this includes peppermint crips, violet crumble, maltesers, etc
  • 100 g Fruit; preferably fresh. Whatever you prefer and goes well with your chocolate selection.

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160˚C/300˚F, grease and flour an oven-plate, or line baking tray with parchment.
  • Warm a mixing bowl, or stand-mixer bowl, before adding ALL ingredients, then beat until VERY stiff and glossy.
  • Pile the mixture onto the prepared plate/tray until it is approx. 20cm/8" wide, and place into oven ~ IMMEDIATELY turn it down to 140 degrees˚C/275˚F
  • Cook for 45mins, then turn the oven off.
  • Leave the pavlova in the oven until cold ~ with the door open/ajar

To server you pavlova

  • Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla together.
  • Pile in the centre of the top of the pavlova, push out evenly across the surface.
  • Crush the chocolate, and scatter evenly across the top of the cream.
  • Slice and serve with the fruit on the side. - You can place the fruit on the top of the pav, but it will encourage the pav to go soggy.

Smoked Mackerel Pate

This smooth and creamy pate makes a great starter to any seafood-based meal. It's especially great at Christmas time, as it uses tasty smoked mackerel and luxurious creme fraiche.
Course Appetizer, Bread, Condiment, Entree, Starter
Cuisine European, French, World
Keyword créme frâiche, fish, mackerel, pate, seafood
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chilling 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 Portions

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Frying pan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Terrines

Ingredients

  • 2 Mackerel, whole and smoked or 4 fillets
  • 5 gr Horseradish, freshly grated or 10ml horseradish creme
  • 15 ml Dijon mustard
  • Black pepper freshly ground
  • 50 ml Crème fraîche
  • 20 ml Lemon juice
  • 100 g Butter chopped

To serve

  • Scallions, finely sliced
  • ½ Baguette, cut into rings and toasted
  • 100 g Onions, red or brown finely diced
  • 20 g Butter
  • 10 ml Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Take the skin off the fish and place in a food processor - don't worry about one or two errant bones, the pate will be blended.
  • Heat the oil and butter, and cook the onions over med-high heat util golden in colour - but not dry and crunchy.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (not the caramelised onions) to the food processor, and pulse until the mix is smooth and free of lumps.
  • Stir in the caramelised onions.
  • Refrigerate for 30mins, or until firm. Then serve on slices of toasted baguette, or any other bread you prefer.

Prawn, Avocado and Mango Salad

This salad is vibrant, tasty, and oh so refreshing on a hot summer's day. It's a family favourite at many an Aussie Christmas dinner, and can also be enjoyed at any other time of the year too!
Course Appetizer, Entree, Lunch, Main Course, Salad, Snack
Cuisine Australian, New Zealand
Keyword avocado, mango, prawn, salad, seafood, spicy
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 25 ml Balsamic vinegar
  • 25 ml Lime juice
  • 50 ml Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 g Chillies, red, fresh
  • 50 g Red onion diced
  • 2 large Mangoes cubed
  • 2 large Avocados cubed
  • 200 g Prawns cooked and peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ head Iceberg lettuce, cut up roughly save a couple of leaves for presentation

Instructions

  • In a large serving bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in oil. Toss in mangoes, avocado and red onion to coat. Serve immediately.
  • Mix together the vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, and chillies in a small bowl.
  • Toss the prawns through the dressing, and allow to sit while preparing the rest.
  • In a larger bowl, mix together the cubed mangoes and avocado.
  • Assemble the mix of mango/avocado on a bed of lettuce, then scatter the prawns over the top.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Thanks for checking out this blog post on how to make baked salmon, how to make mackerel pate, how to make a pavlova, and how to make an avocado, mango, and prawn salad, it’s truly been a Christmas Dinner Australian style! I hope you’re able to join me, Chef Kit, online for the Eventbrite Cook-a-Long on Saturday, and if you do, please check back and post a comment. You can also share a photo on your social media accounts with the hashtag: #LarderPantryandGarden. 

Don’t forget, you can also follow LPaG on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and YouTube!

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