Getting help plan a Christmas menu- including a great summer menu

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For many, Christmas is an exciting time. It means fun and excitement with family and friends. While for others, it is a time of stress -buying gifts, providing food, the cost of it all and the inevitable weight gain from too much eating and drinking.

Enjoying Christmas has become a challenge – to relax and have fun without ending up looking like a Christmas pudding yourself! Well, with a little planning it IS possible to survive the silly season. 

The Christmas menu

The concept of a healthy Christmas may seem foreign; after all, traditional Christmas foods like roast pork with crackling, plum pudding with brandy butter, Christmas mince pies, shortbread and chocolate – not really good for the waist line.

Foods like salmon, prawns, glazed ham on the bone, turkey, a succulent fillet of beef, nuts, berries, cherries, mangoes, melons, figs, fresh asparagus and avocadoes are "a source of special delight and pleasure" to most people and are foods that are every bit at home on a Christmas menu as the traditional fare that reflects our English heritage. Concentrate on these foods and you will have delighted and satisfied guests. Enjoy small portions of chocolate, cake and dessert as well, but as trimmings to these delicious foods, not as the main players. For more about healthy ideas for Christmas fare go to http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/lifestyle-and-environment/christmas 

Using Pinterest to help you

I did a few Pinterest searches for Christmas Lunch Menu and here is my pick of the links to take a look at:

Summer Christmas Lunch (https://nz.pinterest.com/explore/summer-christmas/). Lots of yummy ideas here.

Christmas deserts search I found -Kiwifruit Christmas tree desert. http://www.desireempire.com/2014/12/kiwi-fruit-and-strawberry-christmas.html I love this one because I live in New Zealand and kiwifruit is a national icon. 

Using google to help you

Google is a great source of inspiration too. Lots of chefs have free menus that you can use and even your local supermarket has lots of great ideas.

Here are some ideas from my local supermarket- https://www.countdown.co.nz/recipes

Starter/nibbles

3 ways with dips (https://www.countdown.co.nz/recipes/1915/three-ways-with-dip )

Main

Lemon and Tarragon Chicken (https://www.countdown.co.nz/recipes/2005/lemon-and-tarragon-chicken) OR

BBQ Prawns with Wasabi Aioli (https://www.countdown.co.nz/recipes/1672/bbq-prawns-with-wasabi-aioli)

Roast Vegetables 3 ways (https://www.countdown.co.nz/recipes/1676/three-ways-with-roast-vegetables)

Desert

3 ways with trifle (https://www.countdown.co.nz/recipes/1677/three-ways-with-trifle)

My favourite Christmas recipe

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​Sherry Trifle

(Edmonds cookbook)

You can make this as one big trifle or use pretty glasses to make it into individual servings.  

Ingredients

200g Three-minute Sponge

¼ cup raspberry or apricot jam

¼ cup sherry or fruit liqueur

2 cups fresh berries or poached fruit

CUSTARD: 

4 Tbsp Edmonds custard powder

3 Tbsp sugar

2 cups full-cream milk

TO DECORATE:

300ml cream, whipped

1 Tbsp toasted slivered almonds

Method

​1. Cut the sponge in half horizontally and fill with jam, then cut it into large cubes and put in a pretty glass bowl.
2. Spoon sherry or liqueur over the sponge, then arrange the fruit and any syrup over the top. Set aside while you make the custard.
3. Mix the custard powder, sugar and ¼ cup of the milk to a smooth paste. Add the remaining milk and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens.
4. Remove from the heat, cover and leave until cool, then pour the custard over the fruit. Chill for 1 hour then cover with whipped cream and toasted almonds, or other decorations.
(See: http://edmondscooking.co.nz/recipes/cold-desserts/sherry-trifle)

Happy Christmas everyone. Happy cooking. Happy eating. 

Kerri Bainbridge

One half of the Anywhere Team New Zealand

 

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