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.

Tarta de Santiago

"Gordita makes a splendid version of the Galician almond cake Tarta de Santiago, with its dramatic design. Would you please publish the recipe?" Michael MacDermott, Taringa, Qld REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.

Pea and ham soup

Bread and butter pudding

Just what you need on a cold winter's night; a bowl of luscious pudding. Make sure to leave room for seconds.

Coffee culture: A history

Australia’s love affair with coffee is stronger than ever; it’s become a way of life. But exactly how did a beverage manage to shape our country’s culture?

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

The restaurant and hotel scene on Australia's favourite holiday island has never been more exciting and Australian chefs, owners and restaurateurs are leading the charge, writes Samantha Coomber.

Autumn's most popular recipes 2017

As the weather started to cool down, your stoves were heating up with spicy curries, hearty breakfast dishes and comforting bowls of pasta. You balanced things out nicely with some greens but dessert wasn't entirely forgotten. Counting down from 30, here are your 2017 autumn favourites.

Curry recipes

It's time for you to find a new go-to curry recipe. Here are 20 curries - from a Burmese-style fish version to a Southern Indian lobster number - we think you should try.

Ham hock soup

Christmas lunch with Jane Kennedy

There were tears. Absolutely. And a mood of disbelief. It was the year Auntie Ena dissed our Christmas spread because it was the year we went cold.

Living in Melbourne in the 1970s you could get stinking hot Decembers and after a spate of them Mum decided we’d take our cue from our northern Australian friends and have a cold spread.

Mum was an avid magazine reader and planned our daring change with utter delight. There were tear-outs on the kitchen bench featuring potato salads with spring onions, bacon and real mayonnaise. She had crazy thoughts of popping red and green capsicum in her rice salad, you know for that “festive touch”. And the pièce de résistance: plum pudding ice-cream. Yes, it was quite the departure. But it was the cold roast turkey that really did Ena in.

I remember piling juicy pieces of turkey breast from the special chilled platter onto my plate, squeezing them in next to my cold sliced ham and salads and feeling like we were terribly bohemian. Then it started.

“Oh, are we really going to eat this cold? Is there even any gravy?”

“No love, it’s too hot for gravy.”

“And where are the roast potatoes?” Mum now started to look a bit anxious.

“Here try this potato salad, it’s bloody delicious,” said Dad, who would happily eat a frozen fish finger if it meant we all got together for Christmas.

“No, thank you,” she sighed. “I’ll just wait for pudding.”

Auntie Ena had made a stand. She tried to lead a mutiny but we were a happy bunch and loved our summertime feast. That was, until Mum heard The Phone Call.

Ena excused herself to call a distant cousin.

(I suppose she needed to blow off steam.) “Can you believe it? She served cold Christmas lunch. I know. It was terrible. What was she thinking?”

What a bag. Mum was so upset, and my heart (and stomach) dropped because I knew that this would be the end of being groovy and we’d be back to traditional roasts with stuffing and hot kitchens and over-filling our bellies forevermore.

That was more than 30 years ago and dear old Ena has long since passed.

These days, my own family (that’s me, my husband and our five kids) travel as a mountain anywhere we go and it’s tipped our once manageable Christmas Day lunch into a bit of a circus. So for the past few years I’ve asked the family to come to ours, a Mohammed-to-the-mountain kind of thing. My mum, my sister and my auntie Val all pitch in with the cooking.

We’ve also been going a bit lighter for the past few years and even though I miss the sight of Dad nodding off into his bowl of pud from being full as a goog, I rather like the fact he’s still happily holding himself upright at 4pm with his Christmas hat perfectly in place. And the thing is, in this new non-boombah world (a phrase I coined when I wrote my first cookbook in 2009; a world where flavour isn’t compromised and is enjoyed, but where food is fresh and light), preparing the big feast is far less stressful.

We don’t go berserk with lots of canapés and nibbles, for example. Plum pudding is replaced with big, ripe strawberries. And I don’t feel pressure any more to serve 14 different types of vegies and salads with the main course. In the early years of cooking Christmas lunch, I remember freaking out about how we’d keep the beans hot and the peas warm. And how were we going to fit the potatoes and pumpkin and parsnip and onions in the oven with the turkey? And what about the carrots?

So here’s my stress-free, crowd-pleasing Christmas Day menu for this year, and guess what: it’s a mix of hot and cold. I’ll start with prawn cocktails served in baby cos lettuce cups, then we’ll go on to cold carved leg ham with a hot English mustard, horseradish and yoghurt cream and a hot roast turkey breast. Sides will consist of spicy roast pumpkin with chilli, salt, cumin, coriander and nigella seeds along with a crisp iceberg salad with radish and toasted sesame seeds and a simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil. And for dessert? My sister’s warm strawberries with balsamic vinegar and ice-cream. (Okay, I concede, mum will bring plum pudding for the traditionalists.) Either way, hot or cold, I hope you have a merry, non-boombah Christmas.

ILLUSTRATION ANTONIA PESENTI

This article is from the December 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Newsletter

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

Latest news
Focaccia's comeback
26.06.2017
July Gourmet Traveller out now
26.06.2017
Bacon Week 2017
19.06.2017
On the Pass: Jorge Vallejo, Quintonil
29.05.2017
Our June issue is on sale now
25.05.2017
What is rou jia mo?
28.04.2017
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...

Easter lunch recipes

With the cooler autumn weather, heartier flavours begin to e...

Cupcake recipes

Scaled down to little more than a mouthful, tiny cakes take ...

Thomas Keller's sandwich recipes

America's most famous chef takes the smarts and good taste t...

Grilling recipes

Dust off the tongs, fire up the barbecue, and get grilling w...

Neil Perry's Spice Temple recipes

At his new Spice Temple, Neil Perry calls on the more exotic...

Pickle and preserve recipes

When it comes to last-minute entertaining, a lovingly made p...

15 (shameless) chocolate recipes

Mousse, souffle, mud cake and more... welcome to the dark si...

Sexy salad recipes

A salad can be so good when it's done just right. Check out ...

Recipes from Australia's best chefs

Peter Gilmore's snow egg, Justin North's smoked duck egg wit...

Quick winter meals

Fire up the stovetop with these wintry dishes, ready for the...

Comfort food recipes

Take comfort in superb onion rings, juicy roasts, syrupy pud...

Braising recipes

Fire up the stovetop, it's time to braise. Our braising slid...

Comme Kitchen recipes

British-born chef Daniel Southern has made his mark in Melbo...

French alpine recipes

Bask in the warmth of French Alpine-inspired food. Ideal for...

French roast recipes

With books such as Pork & Sons and Ripailles, Parisian autho...

get the latest news

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

×