Our Christmas Day Lunch is always an Australian English hybrid, I’m the Brit who prefers salad and cold meats, the other half is an Aussie who loves roasted vegetables and gravy. Christmas Day is surprisingly calm. We cook to our strengths and always have a room full of very full people with smiles on their faces! Here’s how we do it.
The list writing started two months ago, what is our key dessert? How many are we feeding? Shall we go for formal or informal this year? It’s really important to write things down, that way we all know where we stand.
Apple Notes in Collaboration mode is a simple easy way for us to both write our notes in the same place at the same time.
Platters are your friend
Cheese helps you metabolise alcohol (we’ll come back to that later) and if you have strategically placed platters dotted around, their presence can help you overcome any tardiness, or mishap that may occur in the delivery of the lunch. I always mix cheese and antipasto, grissini (breadsticks) and dips with some fruit, and crudites (raw veg). It’s a surefire combination that will never let you down.
Check out these Donna Hay combinations
Potatoes are the staple of our diet. I’d rather have a baked spud than anything else… So Roasties are always on our list, we boil them the night before, rough them up a bit and chill them hard. Then they go in smoking duck fat and are blasted in the oven on the morning of, along with a boneless stuffed chicken roll, which our local butcher preps for us, stuffed with Grandma Noreen’s secret recipe.
Salads, Salads, Salads
I always go overboard on the salads. I’m first in the supermarket as soon as it open on Christmas eve morning (if we lived somewhere that opened 24 hours I’d be going in the middle of the night; I’m not a people person, no time for small talk in the aisles) and I stock up on all the freshest produce. I love the occasional dash of fruit in my salad, a segment of blood orange here, a slice of nectarine there, mixed with good cheese and peppery rocket. Make the dressing but don’t toss the salad until just before serving. No-one likes soggy greens.
The trick to a seamless Lunch, is in the planning and preparation. If you do as much as you can the day before, you’ll have a breeze on the morning of; opening presents and having a cheeky Mimosa. If you don’t prepare, you’ll be having a meltdown and trying to work out where you can steal four extra chairs from, because you just realised that you don’t have enough. Doing as little ‘cooking’ on the day as you can is the key to success.
Let the Champagne Flow
If your guests have full glasses then they will be less inclined to notice that you are running late with lunch. A word of warning though, if you don’t have the platters out to soak up the alcohol you could get into it with a boozy uncle at 1pm. My best advice, don’t panic. You’ve got the cold food as a backup and everyone loves a salad for Christmas lunch, don’t they?
These cocktails from Nigella will warm your cockles: