My Christmas Spread..

Hopefully you're all super organised this Christmas, and not sprinting to the finish line on Christmas Eve trying to get everything done. So says the person who hasn't even started Christmas shopping yet!

Well at least I'm planning the food side of Christmas day early, and I've got my order in with the butcher for turkey breasts and a small leg of ham to glaze. In our household we like to have some traditional dishes and some more modern ones for a big lunch, so we can all crash on the couch for the rest of the afternoon. The traditional ones include a glazed ham and stuffed turkey breast (so much nicer than a whole bird) with a yummy Cranberry & Pistachio Stuffing, plus roast vege on the side. While the more modern dishes include a salmon entree and a multi layered pavlova for dessert. Not much food really - just enough to feed a small army!

Merry christmas to everyone out there in blog land, and I'm looking forward to putting together some interesting posts for you all in the new year.


2 turkey breasts (med - large) 
sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Pistachio & Cranberry Stuffing:
 tbspn olive oil
75 g dried cranberries - diced
2 cloved garlic - crushed
2 eggs - lightly whisked
1 tsp salt 
2 tsp olive oil


2 small brown onions -finely diced
55 g unsalted pistachio kernels - diced
245 g fresh breadcrumbs
 c chopped parsley
1 tsp feshly ground pepper

To make stuffing heat 2 tbspn olive oil in a large non stick fry pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cranberries, pistachio, and garlic and cook stirring for 8 - 10 mins or until onion softens. Set aside to cool for 5 mins. Place the pistachio cranberry mixture in a bowl, add the breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. 

Pre heat oven 190
°C. Slice the turkey breasts open horizontally, and beat the meat gently between 2 pieces of glad wrap to flatten slightly. Place stuffing mixture down the centre of each turkey breast and fold the side over to form a roll. Tie with string or pin with toothpicks, ensuring the ends of the stuffed turkey breasts are closed to prevent the stuffing popping out during cooking. Roll any extra stuffing into balls, and set aside.

Line a roasting pan with baking paper and place the turkey breasts on the paper. Brush with the second quantity of oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast the turkey breasts for 45 mins or more, depending on the size of the turkey breasts. A
dd the stuffing balls to the pan approx. 15 - 20 mins before removing the turkey breasts from the oven. Check regularly and remove from the oven when the turkey juices run clear. Cover the turkey breasts with foil, and rest for 10 mins before removing the string/toothpicks and slicing. Serve with the extra stuffing balls and all the trimmings.

Serves 6 - 8 

I prefer to make pavs as individual serves (less mess when trying to cut), but you can make a single large pavlova instead if preferred. Over time I've tried a few different recipes, but this one adapted from a recipe by Julie Le Clerc is an all round favourite.  The addition of nuts gives it a lot more flavour and texture, and we often have trouble controlling who goes back for seconds, thirds, & on the odd occasion fourths!

Adapted from a recipe by Julie le Clerc

6 egg whites
120g ground hazelnuts

To Serve:
300 ml cream
borage flowers
icing sugar

2 c caster sugar


washed fresh berries - strawberries (halved), blueberries, raspberries
raspberry sauce (recipe below)

Pre heat oven to 150°C, and line 2 - 3 baking trays with baking paper. To make the size/shape of the pavs consistent draw three medium - large circles on the paper for a single large pavlova, or 18 small circles for 6 individual serve pavlovas. Remember the pavs do spread a bit during cooking so make the circels smaller than required. Turn the paper over so the circles can be seen through the paper.

In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form and hold their shape ( 3 - 4 mins). Add 1 tblspn of the sugar, and beat to combine. Whisk in the remaining sugar slowly, a little at a time, until the mixture is thick and glossy. Using a large metal spoon gently fold in the ground hazelnuts.

Gently spoon the mixture onto the circles, smoothing the surface of each as you go. Try not to make them too thick or too thin. Bake for 50 - 60 mins till crispy on the outside but not coloured. Cool the pavs for 30 mins and they can be stored in an airtight container overnight - don't refrigerate.

Put the pavs together approx 2 hours before serving, by placing the bottom pav layer on a serving plate, followed by a layer of  of the whipped cream, ⅓ of the mixed berries, the second pav layer,  of the whipped cream, ⅓ of the mixed berries, the final pav layer, final  of the whipped cream and ⅓ of the mixed berries. Sprinkle a few borage flowers on top of each pav and sprinkle sifted icing sugar on top just before serving with the Raspberry Sauce. 

Raspberry Sauce:
½ c apricot jam
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp brandy
1½ c raspberrries (fresh or frozen)
¼ c water

Place all ingredients, except brandy, in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring until the jam melts and raspberries are crushed. Simmer for 5 mins, then press the mixture through a sieve to remove the raspberry seeds. Stir in the brandy and set aside to cool. 

Serves 6 

You might know that I have quite a sweet tooth, and can’t resist cake when offered some. Luckily once a year Christmas comes around which gives me the excuse to eat cake – and lots of it! Everyone seems to get into the Christmas vibe and has Christmas Cake to sample.

I always keep coming back to my favourite mega fruit or stained glass cake or what ever you want to call it. There’s no beating massive amounts of dried fruit, with a hint of spice and alcohol thrown in. OK it’s probably not on the Weight Watchers points table – but it’s only once a year so why not live a little. You can deprive yourselves for the other 50 weeks of the year.

I always make two of these cakes at a time, as they keep really well in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. To serve cut thin wedges of the cake with a nice port – yummm!

Adapted from a recipe by Julie le Clerc

125g dried papaya pieces
125g dried apricots
125g dried dates or figs
100g red glace cherries
70g blanched almonds 
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract 
½ c self raising flour - sifted

Elaborate Cake Finish:
4 tbspn apricot jam
125g dried pineapple pieces
125g dried mango pieces 
100g green glace cherries
2 tbspn dark rum
70g brazil nuts or macadamias 
½ c firmly packed soft brown sugar 
100g butter, melted & cooled 
1 tsp mixed spice 

approx. 50g of each of the above dried fruit

Pre heat oven to 150°C, and lightly grease a 22cm ring cake tin. Dice bigger pieces of fruit & cut brazils in half. Place all fruit and rum in a bowl, and allow to soak for up to an hour. 

In another bowl beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light and frothy. Stir in melted butter, sifted flour, and mixed spice. Pour mixture over the fruit, add nuts, and mix together. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin, making sure the fruit and nuts are evenly spread. Press mixture down firmly.

Bake uncovered for 50 mins. Cover with foil and bake for another 40 mins. Test regularly with a skewer to prevent over cooking. Stand cake in tin for 20 mins to firm before tipping onto a wire rack.

Store the cake wrapped in foil for up to 6 weeks in an air tight container in the fridge.

For a plain cake sift icing sugar on the top before serving. Or for a more elaborate cake the top can be finished with additional dried fruit and nuts. Heat the apricot jam in a small saucepan on the stove, paint 1/3 of the jam on the top of the cake. Place fruit and nuts decoratively on the top of the cake, finish off by glazing the fruit and nuts with the remaining apricot jam.

- If using a fan bake oven adjust the temp down by 20°C or shorten cooking time.

All Images © Deborah Aspray - Motif Lifestyle Images Ltd 2012


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