Christmas time is stressful enough without the extra pressure of long and difficult recipes. We want to be celebrating with friends and family, not chained to the stove. Fast Christmas contains all those favourite festive recipes but with hacks that mean they can be on the table in no time at all.
Spicy prawns with guacamole salsa
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, bruised
1 fresh long red chilli, seeded, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
24 uncooked medium king prawns (1.2kg), shelled, deveined, with tails intact
30g butter, chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
lime wedges, to serve
2 medium avocados, chopped finely
1/2 small red onion, chopped finely
1 medium roma tomato, seeded, chopped finely
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
1. Cook oil, shallots, garlic and chilli in a small saucepan over low heat for five minutes or until oil begins to sizzle. Add paprika; cook for a further two minutes for flavours to infuse. Remove from heat.
2. Thread each prawn onto a skewer, starting at the tail end. Place skewers on an oven tray; season and dot with butter.
3. Make guacamole salsa.
4. Preheat grill. Cook prawns under grill for one minute or until just cooked through. Place prawn skewers on a large platter.
5. Remove and discard garlic cloves from warm oil mixture; drizzle oil over prawns. Serve prawns with guacamole salsa, coriander leaves and lime wedges.
Guacamole salsa: Combine ingredients in a medium bowl; season.
Tip: Soak bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes before using to prevent burning when cooking.
Serving idea: Serve with tortilla chips.
Roast pork wreath with stone fruit
1.25kg pork fillets (see tip)
6 fresh bay leaves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
40g butter, chopped
1 small red onion, quartered
3 medium yellow peaches, halved, stones removed, cut into wedges
3 nectarines, halved, stones removed, cut into wedges
1 1/4 cups sparkling wine
fresh red currants, optional, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 220C.
2. Create a wreath with the pork fillets by tying the two ends together with kitchen string, overlapping by 4cm.
3. Tie string at 5cm intervals around the fillets, tucking in bay leaves. Season pork all over.
4. Heat oil and half the butter in a flameproof roasting pan over high heat. Cook pork wreath, bay leaf-side down, for three minutes or until well browned. Turn pork. Add onion, peach and nectarine to pan, arranging around the wreath. Roast for 15 minutes or until fruit is just starting to blister.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 180C. Add 1/2 cup of the wine to pan; roast for a further 10 minutes or until pork is just cooked through and fruit is soft and just holding its shape. Transfer pork, onion and fruit to a platter, cover loosely with foil; rest for 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, place roasting pan over high heat. Add remaining wine; bring to the boil. Simmer for six minutes or until reduced by two-thirds. Stir in remaining butter with any resting juices from pork until smooth. Cook for one minute or until combined; season.
7. Serve pork wreath with roasted fruit, onions and sauce. Top with red currants, if you like.
Tip: Pork fillets can range in weights from between 300-600g, so you may need more than two to make this recipe.
Meal prep: Pork can be tied a day ahead; refrigerate covered until ready to cook.
Green mango slaw with chilli-lime dressing
1/4 medium red cabbage, sliced thinly
1 large carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
1 large green mango, peeled, cut into matchsticks
5 shallots, sliced thinly
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup fresh Thai basil leaves
1/4 cup white sesame seeds, toasted
1/3 cup (80ml) lime juice
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp fish sauce (see swap)
30g palm sugar, grated finely
2 fresh long red chillies, seeded, chopped finely
1. Spread cabbage in a single layer over an oven tray; stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to dry (this will help stop the colour bleeding).
2. Place cabbage and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Make chilli-lime dressing.
4. Just before serving, drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to combine.
Chilli-lime dressing: Place ingredients in a screw-top jar; shake well until sugar dissolves. Season to taste.
Tips: If you want a creamy slaw, add a little Japanese mayonnaise to the dressing. To save time, start this recipe at step two; be aware colour may bleed from the cabbage.
Swap: Use soy sauce instead of fish sauce to make this vegetarian.
Serving ideas: Leftovers are great in baps or bread rolls with leftover sliced ham or pork.
The night-before Christmas ice-cream cake
800g purchased square dark fruit cake
1 litre good-quality vanilla bean ice-cream, softened
2 tbsp brandy or rum
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp finely grated mandarin or orange rind
1/4 cup dry-roasted almonds, chopped coarsely
150g (41/2oz) frozen mixed berries
fresh or frozen berries, extra, to serve
10 vanilla mini meringue drops, crushed lightly
1. Grease a 20cm springform pan; line base and side with baking paper, extending the paper 3cm above the edge.
2. Cut fruit cake into three layers horizontally. Place a slice in the centre of the pan. Trim remaining slices to fit the gaps; reserve remaining trimmings. Using your hands, flatten fruit cake to form a level base without any spaces. Cut trimmings into small pieces.
3. Spoon ice-cream into a large bowl, add brandy, nutmeg, rind and almonds; stir to combine. Spoon half the ice-cream mixture into pan, then scatter with reserved fruit cake pieces and frozen berries; smooth surface to level with a spoon. Top with remaining ice-cream mixture; smooth surface to level with spoon. Freeze for four hours or overnight until firm.
4. To serve, transfer ice-cream cake to a cake stand or plate. Top cake with extra berries and crushed meringue.
Meal prep: Make the cake to the end of step three up to three days ahead.
- Fast Christmas: Christmas favourites made quick, The Australian Womens' Weekly, 2019, $14.99.