Recipe for a stress-free Christ­mas

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Your Generation - Tanya MacNaughton

IT will be celebrity chef Anna Gare's turn to host the fam­ily for Christ­mas this year and she is plan­ning to cel­e­brate the hol­i­day stress-free at her Fre­man­tle home.

“We do Luc's (hus­band Luc Lon­g­ley) fam­ily one year and my fam­ily the next,” Gare said.

“So I'll be hav­ing all of my fam­ily over, and see­ing as my mum's sig­na­ture dish is cau­li­flower cheese, I think I'll prob­a­bly be putting on the spread.

“But I'm go­ing to do all day-be­fore cook­ery so on the day I can just re­lax.”

The mother of four adult chil­dren and re­cently ap­pointed Ther­momix am­bas­sador said she loved a freshly baked warm ham glazed with her dad's home­made jam.

“I spark it up with a bit of cin­na­mon and al­co­hol, get it all ready and just pop it into the oven on the day,” Gare said.

“Then the se­cret is to put it into a poly­styrene box (from a fish mon­ger or veg­etable store) and it will stay nice and warm and juicy for about an hour and a half and no flies can get in.

“That's the only thing I really heat up, but other than that I'll be do­ing ter­rines, a poached side of trout and then prob­a­bly three sal­ads. And if I was do­ing seafood, I would rec­om­mend you do some­thing like scal­lops that take two min­utes to cook.”

For those preparing a tur­key, Gare sug­gested rub­bing it with but­ter and cov­er­ing it with bak­ing pa­per while cook­ing to pre­vent it dry­ing out.

“A 5kg bird will take about four or five hours in the oven at about 160C,” she said.

“The best way to make sure it’s cooked is to use a meat ther­mome­ter and stick the ther­mome­ter into the deep­est bit of thigh. It should be at least 75C, no less, to be safely cooked.”

Gare rec­om­mended turn­ing tur­key left­overs into a soup or Viet­namese-style salad, and loves “fried ham for Box­ing Day break­fast”.

The bud­get-con­scious can ease the pres­sure by re­plac­ing tur­key with chicken, stuff­ing it with cran­berry, fresh herbs and nuts.

“Don't get stuck think­ing you have to have all those tra­di­tional things like fruit minced pies and plum pud­dings, be­cause they can cost quite a bit of money,” she said.

“I like a fes­tive chocolate pavlova – they're really cheap with four eggs, a cup of sugar, a pinch of this, a pinch of that and you've got a pav. Or use fresh fruit which is cheap, de­li­cious, and oh so Aussie.”

Gare said she would be re­leas­ing her third book and a cloth­ing range in 2016 and work­ing on her kitchen col­lec­tion.

Anna Gare is plan­ning ahead so she can enjoy a stress-free Christ­mas Day.

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