Hosts with the most: Top chefs dish up their tips and recipes for hosting a stress-free Christmas
“If you make your own jam do it way ahead and store it in the fridge.”
1 x 8kg-9kg whole smoked leg ham 200g soft-set pineapple jam with lime, vanilla and star anise (see recipe opposite)
100g soft light brown sugar
2 tbs Dijon mustard
Whole cloves, for garnish Using a sharp knife, cut around the shank of the ham, about 10cm from the end. Run the knife around rind and underneath the skin, then remove it in one piece by running your fingers between the rind and the fat. Trim excess fat on the surface of ham if it’s too thick, but ensure you leave a layer of fat to protect the meat during glazing.
Carefully score fat in an even diamond pattern, about 2mm deep. Stud the centres of each diamond with a clove. Place ham on a large baking tray lined with baking paper.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and remove all oven shelves except the lowest shelf. Put the jam, sugar and mustard in a bowl and stir to combine well. Brush half the glaze onto the ham, in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the remaining glaze onto the ham, then bake for a further 15 minutes. Baste the ham with the pan juices and melted glaze and cook for a further 15 minutes. Repeat this step twice more for a further 30 minutes’ total cooking time. Remove the ham from the oven.
Let the ham rest and cool in the tray for 30 minutes, then transfer to a serving board. Just before serving, brush some of the pan juices onto the ham to give it a lovely sheen.
Grip the shank of the ham like a handle and use a long, thin, very sharp knife to carve. Start by cutting a wedge of meat halfway into the ham and reserve, then cut thin slices to expand the cavity, ensuring each slice has some of the glaze.
PER SERVE • 72G PROTEIN • 4G SAT FAT • 33G CARB • 28G SUGARS • 6395MG SODIUM • 570 CAL (2380KJ)
SOFT-SET PINEAPPLE JAM WITH LIME, VANILLA & STAR ANISE
“This recipe makes double the quantity of jam you need for the ham – it won’t go to waste, though. It can be stored in the pantry for up to three months. Refrigerate it after opening for up to a month.”
Makes 8 x 275g jars
1.5kg pineapple flesh (from about
35g pectin (available from Woolworths) 1.5kg caster sugar
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped Finely grated zest and juice of 4 limes 16 star anise
Whiz the pineapple flesh in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Mix the pectin with the sugar and place in a large heavy-based saucepan with the pineapple and vanilla seeds. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula to ensure it does not catch on the base of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook the jam for 40 minutes or until it reaches 103°C on a digital thermometer. Be careful – the jam tends to spit and splatter as the temperature increases.
Once the jam reaches 103°C , remove the pan from the heat and add the lime zest and juice. Stir well and leave to cool a little. Put two star anise into each of eight 275g sterilised jars, then ladle or pour the jam into the jars. Store in the pantry for up to 3 months. Refrigerate after opening and use within a month.
GRILLED PRAWN COCKTAIL
“This kitsch salad has made many comebacks. I’ve added lime, chilli and coriander so it’s not a traditional version of a prawn cocktail. Serve it as part of a shared table of dishes or plated individually. Marinate the prawns a day ahead to save time on the day and prep the other salad ingredients apart from the avocado.”
24 uncooked king prawns, heads removed, peeled and deveined cup (80ml) olive oil
2 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped with seeds (optional)
2 garlic cloves, crushed Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 bunch coriander, leaves and stalks finely chopped separately
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 baby cos lettuce, leaves removed, torn into large pieces 1 avocado, peeled and sliced 3 spring onions, thinly sliced on
3 egg yolks
1 tbs lemon juice
1 cup (250ml) light olive oil
2 tbs tomato sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sriracha sauce or hot chilli sauce 1 tsp grated fresh horseradish or storebought horseradish cream
½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbs brandy
Put the prawns in a bowl with 2 tbs oil, the chilli, garlic, half the lime zest, chopped coriander stalks and 2 tsp salt flakes. Mix well and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight to really get all those flavours in there.
Meanwhile, for the cocktail sauce, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, 2 tbs warm water and a pinch of salt in a tall, narrow measuring jug and process well using a hand-held blender.
While continuing to blend, add 1 tbs oil to the jug and process until it emulsifies, then add the remaining oil in a thin, steady stream. Continue to blend in an up and down motion until you have an emulsified mayonnaise. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well. Season. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line a small baking tray with baking paper and place tomatoes cut-side up on tray. Drizzle with remaining 2 tbs olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes to soften, then remove and set aside at room temperature.
Heat a barbecue hotplate or preheat a grill to high. Grill the prawns for
2-3 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until slightly charred but barely cooked through. Slight charring and a just-cooked prawn is great – overcooking, not so great. Transfer the prawns to a plate.
Arrange the lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Top with the sliced avocado, tomatoes, coriander leaves and prawns. Sprinkle with the remaining lime zest and sliced spring onion and serve with the cocktail sauce.
PER SERVE • 14G PROTEIN • 7G SAT FAT • 4G CARB • 4G SUGARS • 920MG SODIUM • 450 CAL (1885KJ)
PORK RACK WITH CRACKLING
“Marinate the pork early on Christmas Eve. Rub off the marinade early on Christmas Day, then leave the pork to dry out for a few hours, giving more chance for that crackling to shine.”
1 tbs fennel seeds, toasted and ground 3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbs chopped fresh sage
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme
100ml olive oil
1 x 3kg pork rack
Apple sauce, to serve Combine the fennel seeds, garlic, sage, thyme and oil in a bowl.
Using a sharp knife, make 4mm-deep score lines in the pork skin, about 3mm apart. Rub the fennel seed mixture all over the pork. Transfer the pork to a dish and season all over with salt and pepper. Wrap the dish really well with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a roasting tin with baking paper. Remove the pork from the fridge and use paper towel to wipe off marinade and pat the pork dry, ensuring you dry well between the score lines. Leave for 1 hour to bring to room temperature.
Liberally rub 2 tbs salt flakes into the skin and scored grooves, then place the pork, skin-side down, in the prepared tin. Roast for 1¼-1½ hours until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 55°C on a digital thermometer.
Remove the pork from the oven and turn the rack skin-side up. Turn the grill on high and return the pork to the oven, on the middle rack, with the oven door open. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the skin is crisp. Remove from oven and rest for 15 minutes, then serve with the apple sauce. PER SERVE • 67G PROTEIN • 22G SAT FAT • 1G CARB • 0.5G SUGARS • 2420MG SODIUM • 820 CAL (3435KJ)
“Prep the turkey the day before, cover it and refrigerate it overnight. Remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.“
1 x 1.5kg turkey breast fillet
16 fresh sage leaves
12 large, thin, round slices mild pancetta 125ml light olive oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
150ml dry white wine
185ml chicken stock
60g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
Trim the turkey breast and cut it into 12 even pieces. Cover each with plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until about 8mm thick. Season with pepper only and place a sage leaf on top of each (remaining 4 leaves are for the sauce). Wrap a slice of pancetta around each piece of turkey, holding the sage in place.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Heat 2 tbs oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Place 4 pieces of turkey in the pan sage-side down. Cook for 4 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 4 minutes. Transfer to the tray. Repeat with remaining turkey pieces, 4 at a time. Place the turkey in the oven and turn the oven off.
For the sauce, heat remaining oil in the pan over low heat. Add shallot, a few grinds of pepper and a pinch of salt and sauté for 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium and deglaze pan with wine, scraping up any bits stuck on the base. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, then add the stock and again reduce by half. Squeeze in a few drops of lemon and add remaining sage. Bring to the boil, then whisk in the butter a cube at a time until smooth and shiny.
Serve turkey with the sauce and a slaw. PER SERVE • 62G PROTEIN • 12G SAT FAT • 1G CARB • 0.5G SUGARS • 1290MG SODIUM • 625 CAL (2625KJ)