The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

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Mango recipes

Nothing says summer like mangoes. Go beyond the criss-cross cuts - bake a mango-filled meringue loaf with lime mascarpone, start off the day with a sweet coconut quinoa pudding with sticky mango, or toss it through a spicy warm weather Thai salad.

Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

Dark chocolate delice, salted-caramel ganache and chocolate sorbet

"The delice from Source Dining is a winner. May I have the recipe?" Rebecca Ward, Fitzroy, Vic 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.

Summer feta recipes

Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.

Koh Loy Sriracha Sauce, David Thompson's favourite hot sauce

When the master of Thai food pinpoints anything as his favourite, we sit up and listen.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

Gifts under $100 at our pop-up Christmas Boutique

Whether it's a hand-thrown pasta bowl, a bottle of vodka made from sheep's whey or a completely stylish denim apron, our pop-up Christmas Boutique in collaboration with gift shop Sorry Thanks I Love You has got you covered in the $100 and under budget this Christmas.

Father Fergus

Christmas is a moveable feast and has taken a turn for the better since we've taken control of the reindeers' reins.

The musk of game roasting, the port decanter full, walnuts, the gnaaah of Stilton, bowls of fruit, corks popping, a chill in the air heightening the appetite. The turkey is being stuffed with a chestnut stuffing. Stuffing is a kind of jazz thing. As long as you have the essentials - chestnuts, sausage meat and apples - the rest is improvisation. Think about the stuffing's role in life and just follow that vibe. (I have an image of a generation who will try stuffing their pyjamas into the chicken's bottom not knowing what should have been there.)

Red Burgundy is breathing, over-excited children are being sent off to wrap presents, the first snowflakes winnow their way down. It is going to be a white Christmas. Quick, turn on the radio, it's the King's College Choir carol service.

Make stock for the gravy, with turkey giblets. Brandy butter needs to be made too. There's a slight tingling on the liver as you mix the butter, brandy and sugar together.  Pick the sprouts - very sobering, with freezing water trapped in the leaves.

Oh damn! The drain is blocked and the plumbing hasn't yet dealt with the festive season. My sister is threatening to leave the home because of some argument with mum, which has been exacerbated by Christmas tensions.

Supper is pheasant cooked in cream and Calvados. Next comes a little Scottish wine, my jovial father's name for malt whisky. "Well, I don't mind if I do."

Christmas morning… ahh. The little darlings are hyper on natural adrenalin and mum has already put the turkey in the oven. No wonder people think turkey is a dry bird. The poor thing doesn't stand a chance.

The Christmas pudding is a wonderful thing: suet and fruit left to mature for a year, during which they break down into something dark and delicious. No sign of any Penicillium forming, nothing that a healthy splash of brandy can't deal with. Put it on the stove to steam away, a few bottles down already.

Twenty-four hours into Christmas and all is remarkably well. The bird is carved at the table, your plate is groaning, your stomach taut, and the prospect of Stilton and Christmas pudding yet to come is overwhelming. There's something daunting about a plate full of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, bread sauce (the best bit), roast potatoes, sprouts. It almost defeats you before you've started, but eat you do, going in for seconds and yet more eating. Don't forget to drink and drink. This one lunch will keep you in cold turkey and Christmas pudding (which is very good fried in butter) and Stilton for days.

I fall off my chair into a slumped position with eau de vie to help digestion, hoping there will be a James Bond film on TV. Roger Moore's dulcet humour might be all the excitement my battered frame can take at this point.

Uncle Charles is on the phone from Australia, lighting the barbecue. The youth are waxing their surf boards, suntan cream is liberally applied, a snowman doesn't stand a chance. Let's open a few more cold beers.

Is that Father Christmas taking the shade under that tree, an Esky by his side? He's taken off his red jacket, using it as a cushion for his head, he's kicked off his big boots and he's sporting a fine pair of flip-flops.

It's a funny old world.

Happy Christmas.

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