Healthy Eating

After fresh ideas for meals that are healthy but still pack a flavour punch? We've got salads and vegetable-packed bowls to soups and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller before 24th July, 2017 and receive 6 issues for only $35!

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Twelve Christmas shortcuts

With so much on at Christmas, why not take a few shortcuts in the name of merriment? Pour the wine, kick back and let the good times roll.

Some people are great at Christmas: six months ahead, the fruit is already soaking, the pudding hanging, the bird fattening. Then there are those of us who are better at other festive necessities, such as pouring wine (generously) or readying Santa's mince pies (he likes two, with his whisky neat). While it's admirable to make your feast from scratch, Christmas doesn't have to involve hours (or months) in a hot kitchen, mincing, brining, boiling and roasting. In fact, some would even suggest there's wisdom in pouring another glass of wine and leaving it all up to the experts. This Christmas, the choice is yours. We've searched high and low for the tastiest shortcuts, offered by some of the best chefs, butchers, bakers and providores in the country. Consider these cheats our gift to you.

1 Snacks
A good snack-plate sends many messages, but mainly it says here is an organised host, with all bases covered. To kick things off, we suggest Hudson Meats' venison terrine with gin and cranberry ($89.95 per kg), teamed with Edmond Fallot cornichons ($16 per 190gm jar) and potted duck rillettes ($34 for 250gm) from Victor Churchill with crusty bread.

2 Condiments
Whether it's a turkey, ham or seafood spread, condiments are key. Matt Wilkinson's brown sauce ($9.95 for 250ml) and white meat make a great pairing, or try his piccalilli ($11.95 for 360gm) for a hint of spice, both available from Hams & BaconKitchen by Mike's Cumberland sauce ($12), meanwhile, will add zing to your Boxing Day rolls.

3 Stuffing
Good stuffing should have some moisture but not be soggy, and crunchy, but never dry. Phillippa's stuffing ($13.50 for 250gm) is a bread stuffing that ticks all the boxes with hits of flavour and texture from cranberry, pecan and rosemary. Simply add water, butter, a splash of brandy, and you're done.

4 Ham & Glaze
Put your feet up and let Feather and Bone, provider of sustainably farmed meat, brine, smoke, cut and score a free-range bone-in ham ($27.50/kg for 6kg-8kg), ready for glazing. Come Christmas day, all you'll have to do is remove the skin, spoon on their Half-Cut Glaze ($12 for 300gm) - a mix of Young Henry's apple cider, honey, Dijon mustard and orange juice - and baste regularly.

5 Turkey
A pre-stuffed turkey breast is a great for small gatherings (or small ovens). Hudson Meats' free-range pre-stuffed turkey breast ($29.95/ kg) comes in a neat parcel packed with your choice of sage and thyme or cranberry and roast chestnut stuffing, as is Victor Churchill's juniper and tea-brined version ($80 for 1.3kg-1.6kg).

6 Biscuits
We're all for festive biscuits - ginger trees, chocolate baubles and iced stars make great emergency gifts as well as decorative additions to the post-feast table. Santa will love them, too. Our favourites are Phillippa's iced chocolate vanilla stars ($15.90 for nine), Jocelyn's Provisions ginger trees ($11 for four) and the Sweet Envy Santa pack ($8.50, for a pack of decorated carrots, milk bottles and cookies).

7 Sweets
There's always plenty of visitors dropping in over the break, so it's best to be prepared with something sweet stashed in the cupboard. We suggest a dense, rich Margherita panforte ($17 for 250gm), combining honey and almonds with spiced and candied fruit, or the Torta Lucia with hazelnuts and cocoa butter ($33 for 400gm) - both sure-fire crowd-pleasers, available from Fratelli Fresh.

8 Christmas Cake
Christmas ain't festive without fruitcake. Soaked in a cocktail of rum, brandy and orange juice, and topped with pecans, Jocelyn's Provisions Christmas cake ($60 for small, $80 for large) is a classic that's mighty tasty and, quite possibly, one of the prettiest around.

9 Pouring Custard
Where there's pudding, there has to be custard. Merna Taouk uses quality ingredients in DessertMakers' crème Anglaise pouring custard ($7 for 200ml), including Nixon's free-range eggs (just the yolk, in this case). It's good enough to drink straight from the vintage-style milk bottle it comes in.

10 Mince Pies
We like our mince pies boozy, with plump spicy fruit and just the right amount of crumble in the pastry. Nadine Ingram at Sydney bakery Flour and Stone does, too. She makes her mince pies ($4 each, $24 for six, $48 for 12) with a unique mix of rhubarb, vanilla, candied orange and confit ginger - pretty damn fine.

11 Pudding
It might not be your nana's recipe (which required hanging back in May), but Coles Finest vintage pudding ($18 for 900gm) is hung the traditional way and matured for 12 months by the good folk at Pudding Lane. It combines Australian vine fruit such as currants, raisins and sultanas with brandy from the Barossa Valley. Best served with generous dollops of custard or a healthy scoop of brandy cream - or preferably, both.

12 Panettone
Simon Johnson suggests serving his SJ 25 Year Anniversary Panettone ($59 for 1kg) with cherries, ground almonds and sugar crumbs. With quarter of a century under his belt as one of Australia's leading providores, it's advice best heeded. The panettone comes beautifully packaged in one of three artist-designed gift boxes and makes the perfect festive gift.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
This is how the founder of Aerin throws a dinner party
31.05.2017
Outdoor dining
01.03.2017
The Gourmet Traveller Christmas Boutique extends opening hours
14.12.2016
Flutes & saucers
05.12.2016
Our second homewares range is out now
22.11.2016
Our pop-up Christmas Boutique is now open
22.11.2016
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Christmas gifts under $25

Who said secret Santa gifts had to be mundane (we’re looking...

Gourmet Traveller's best books of 2013

We’ve seen a bumper crop in food publishing. Pat Nourse pick...

In full bloom

While the dining table is at the centre of any Christmas cel...

In full bloom

While the dining table is at the centre of any Christmas cel...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×