Maggie Beer Penguin, $49.99 IF I had to choose who I’d most like to come calling at my place over Christmas, Maggie Beer would rate a very close second to Santa Claus. A festive spread prepared by one of Australia’s best-loved cooks would bring as much joy as tearing the wrapping paper off a sparkling jewellery trinket. The Barossa Valley-based co-host of the television series The Cook and the Chef will surely be tied up with meal preparations for her own family this year, but all is not lost. This festive volume serves up a feast of easy-toprepare holiday dishes to satisfy even the most picky of diners. How about swapping those plates of prawns with Marie Rose sauce for Beer’s white gazpacho with blue swimmer crab as an elegant Christmas lunch starter? And at least one turkey can breathe a little easier now that roast goose with marmalade and cumquat stuffing accompanied by goose-fat potatoes has rocketed to the top of the menu plan (perhaps with a nice side of figs with burrata and mint). Eversensible Beer has all contingencies covered, from nibbles to complement pre-Christmas drinks and a light Christmas Eve supper through to a New Year’s Eve dinner for eight. And could leftovers get more glamorous than a lobster salad with potatoes, preserved artichokes and tarragon mayonnaise?