Christmas Newsletter

Merry Christmas, may you enjoy some festive cheer like champagne, frozen Christmas pudding and easy little Christmas cakes

Lots of recipes, hints, tips, Christmas markets & e-gifts: wherever you are in the world

Christmas comes but once a year – thankfully! when I was Food Director of The Australian Women’s Weekly, the ad team were always keen for us to do Christmas in July. As we devoted a large part of the November food pages to Baking and then December to Christmas, my food team couldn’t bear the thought of another month devoted to it. Now I love just concentrating on Christmas for a few weeks. so scroll down for lots to make your Christmas festivites stress free.
This will be my last update this year, the next will be in the second week of January. Thank you for all your feedback and comments this year. Always happy to respond personally. Wishing you all a safe, happy and relaxing Christmas and New Year.

Switch on  The Morning Show on Channel 7 tomorrow Thursday 19 December at 10.25am where I will be cooking some festive recipes from the Farmer cookbook.

Jump ahead to see:
New Youtube video
All About Hams
Seafood Extravaganza
Festive Fare
Christmas Desserts

This Week’s Best Fruit and Veg
Cheat’s Recipe of the Week

Drinks for Christmas & New Year
What’s On
Exciting Travel in the New Year
What to do with left-overs

New Youtube Video

Here’s my latest food hack. Prosciutto egg cups. Perfect for Christmas day breakfast, brunch or anytime. Fast &  fabulous like all these recipes. Watch in here, all in 1 minute.
or Full recipe here.

Last minute E-gifts for Christmas

I am proud to be an Ambassador for Barbecure for Cure Cancer. What a great spot for our publicity shoot, in front of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, in the exact spot Paul Hogan was shot to launch Barbecure some years back.

I am a fan of gifts you can buy online at this time of year, download tickets, certificates or books and it’s all done. No postage, no wrapping, no hustling Christmas crowds. Here are some ideas

Pledge to hold a BarbeCURE for Cure Cancer or Buy the e-BBQ book
Why not invite some people over for a Barbecure in the New  Year as your Christmas gift?
Barbeciure is a national awareness and fundraising campaign aimed at inspiring the Australian community to help find a cure for all cancer, one BarbeCURE at a time.
One Australian is diagnosed with cancer every twelve minutes.Fund raised via this campaign will support young cancer reserachers and help uncover Australia’s brightest scientific minds working to ensure that this is the last generation to die form cancer.
Put on a BarbeCURE to raise funds for research to help Cure Cancer. It can be the simplest sausage sizzle or a BBQ extravaganza. It doesn’t matter. Every little bit helps. 
Find out more about how to take part `

Nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge, also an ambassador, have helped produce a BarbeCURE e-book to give you some ideas.   Go to the Cure Cancer website, to download the book where it is only a $5 donation.
Or buy some of these for your friends for Christmas.

Give tickets to Taste Champagne in LONDON 2020

The global champagne showcase returns to London with a special discount for my readers!
Coming to you on 25 March 2020, Taste Champagne is a grand tasting of 286 cuvées presented by 55 champagne houses . You can stroll at your own pace between houses, growers and cooperatives, tasting their cuvées and discovering their stories from their chef de caves, brand ambassadors and importing agents.
Taste Champagne London Public Showcase
6-9pm Wednesday 25 March 2020
The Royal Horticultural Halls
The Lindley Hall
Elverton Street
London, SW1P 2QW

Full details, houses and list of cuvées on the website
Tickets are £50 but for my readers a special offer of £40 per ticket.
Use this link to book Coupon Code: LMUK2020

Everyone who purchases a ticket using the code will go in the draw to win a signed copy of The Champagne Guide 2020-2021.

All About Hams

A hot glazed ham is always a winner

I find Christmas hams really good value as you can feed so many people and they are perenially popular. 
Read my Christmas ham – tips and tricks blog.
Here is my recipe for 
Honey glazed ham with mustard fruits and cranberry relish.
Gourmet Traveller shares 17 Christmas ham recipes to impress
The Women’s Weekly shows 
How to carve a Christmas ham.
Here are the winners from all over Australia of the Australian PorkMark Ham Awards for 2019. The best Traditional Bone-In Leg Ham, Best Boneless Ham and Best Nationally available hams are all there as well as advice on choosing a ham and lots of recipes.Broadsheet shares their list The Best of Christmas Hams. And also ponder Is It Better Hot: Ham?

Seafood Extravaganza

Oysters with wasabi dressing, saffron prawns, calamari with Chimichurri sauce and Chipotle mayonnaise

Lots of people prefer to feast on sefood. Here’s a selection of my favourite recipes.
Grilled Salmon on lemongrass skewers
Smoked trout mousse with cucumber salad

Seafood platter with chimichurri sauce and chipotle mayonnaise
Roast salmon fillets with salsa verde, potato and rocket salad and heirloom tomato salad
Snapper in a Salt Crust with Gremolata

Festive Fare

Heirloom tomato salad, Roasted salmon fillets with salsa verde, potato and rocket salad

Many of these recipes come from my TV series Lyndey’s Cracking Christmas. 

Roast turkey with Italian sausage seasoning and vegetables. This recipe includes step-by-step how to carve the turkey and a lovely reduction sauce.
As an alternative, in our family we have been keeping the heat out of the kitchen and cooking our turkeys on the BBQ. We have anything up to 28 people so need to cook a lot of vegies too. For a gas BBQ, place the turkey in the centre of the BBQ with the two most outer burners set to medium (on a 4 burner BBQ) and close the lid. Allow 20 minutes per 400g for unstuffed, 25 minutes per 400g for stuffed. We cover ours with the ham skin to baste as it cooks.

Here’s how Jamie Oliver prepares and cooks his turkey
Roast beef rib with spiced salt and anchovy and parsley béarnaise
Here’s my Crackling Christmas roast pork – step-by-step guide
Many more on my website – use the search function

Find out more in my blog Ten Top tips for Making Christmas Day Easy.
And also my friend Fiona Beckett’s How to Relax at Your Own Party.

Classic Roast Turkey with Italian Sausage seasoning & Vegetables and R: Roast Beef Rib with Spiced Salt & Anchovy and Parsley Béarnaise

Christmas Desserts

L: Christmas Zabaglione Semi-freddo and R: White Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (in glass) & Raspberry Ripple Nougat Parfait

Frozen Christmas pudding
Baklava Dome Cake
This is very easy and if perfect if you’ve left it all to the last minute as it is best made on the day you eat itSago Christmas pudding with custard and brandy butter
10 Christmas dessert recipes

Slablova with Strawberry Curd
Festive Cheesecake

Christmas Zabaglione Semi-freddo
White Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse with berries in sparkling shiraz syrup
Raspberry Ripple Nougat Parfait
Gourmet Traveller’s Christmas Pudding Recipes

Cherries, Limes and a fruity Christmas tree of seasonal fruit


Fresh berries make the ultimate summer dessert.  Select from raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, red currants and strawberries all are in season. One of the easiest and impressive desserts to make ahead of entertaining is a fresh summer berry, mascarpone & chocolate trifle. Berries are at their very best for value and quality in December.

Medium-large sized rockmelons are great value. Look out for Queensland grown Candy melons with a golden smooth rind and a super sweet orange flesh.

Your local greengrocer has the most highly fragrant peaches and nectarines. These stonefruits will delight your senses and your budget. Consider buying the fruit by the tray as it is more economical and the fruit keeps better as it is handled less.

Celebrate the festive season with sweet eating cherries. For maximum quality use within 2-3 day of purchasing. Treat the family to roasted cherries served with turkey or ham or round off a festive meal with chocolate-dipped cherries.

Luscious, juicy mangoes are a summer favourite. There is plenty fruit available this week so prices are good.

Exotic and flavoursome; fresh lychees are a sweet summer sensation and now is the best time to make the most of lychees. To store lychees, place in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Blushing apricots make a scrumptious and nutritious snack but have you tried char-grilling apricots or adding them to a salad? Serve apricots with turkey or chicken or make tangy relish with these gems.

Put some zing in your day with Aussie grown limes, supplies have increased and prices have eased. Pop a kilo in the basket this week to use in cocktails, marinades, salad dressings ,to enjoy with seafood or whip up this scrumptious lime cheesecake with summer fruits.  Look for bulk buy specials.

Summer and tomatoes are synonymous and as the weather warms up tomatoes flavour intensifies. Cherry tomatoes ate the best buy at $3 a punnet. Accompany ripe tomatoes with simple flavours.

New-season grapes are firm and bursting with flavour.

Broccolini, Capsicum and myriad types of Potatoes


Sweet potato wedges made with kumara are delicious, alternative sweet potato makes are delicious gratin or add to a cold to a potato salad.

Fresh herbs make add flavour to festive cooking. Sprinkle fresh thyme sprigs across roasted vegetables, add sage and parsley to your meat stuffings. Team lots of basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, sliced heirloom tomatoes and black olives to serve as a side dish. Try our festive chilli, coriander & lime BBQ prawns

Perfect to roasting or a potato salad choose desiree, pontiac and brushed potatoes. Gourmet potatoes such as kipfler and Dutch cream are wonderful in warm and cold salads. Impress your guests with these
crisp little potato gratins.  Whether you are having a traditional roast Christmas lunch or a cold seafood fare potato are a must-have. Potato supplies are currently from Atherton, South Australia and Hillston.

Carrots are a bargain. Roasted carrots are deliciously sweet, sprinkle with fresh thyme for added flavour.

Broccolini is a top buy. Fast and easy to cook, serve broccolini warm with a dressing or toss cold through a salad.

For a festive coloured roast team chopped zucchini and red capsicum  together with garlic cloves and red onions.

Cos and Iceberg lettuce make refreshing salads and gluten-free wraps.

Cheat’s Recipe of the Week

Roast Duck with Cherry Sauce, Spiced Carrots & Asparagus

Roast Duck with Cherry Sauce, Spiced Carrots & Asparagus
So this is what you can do if you don’t want to have to cook too much and still have a great result. The ultimate cheat. Chinese BBQ ducks can be bought in Asian stores or from Chinese restaurants. Make sure you ask for whole duck and not chopped up or else just cut in four.

Serves 4
Preparation 5 mins
Cooking 12 mins

1 large Chinese BBQ duck
Cherry Sauce
2 cups (500mls) chicken stock
1 cup (250mls) rose wine
¼ cup brown sugar
300g pack frozen pitted cherries
Lemon juice or soy sauce, optional, to taste
Spiced Carrots
4 large (600g) carrots, peeled and trimmed
60g butter
1 ½ teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Barbecued Asparagus
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed & washed
2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced).
    For the carrots: Cut in half crossways. Thickly slice each piece lengthways, then cut into 5cm batons. Cook carrots in a medium saucepan of boiling water until just tender; drain. Heat butter in the same saucepan, add honey and ginger cook, stirring until melted. Return carrots to pan, toss to combine
  2. For the sauce: bring all ingredients to the boil over medium heat in a small saucepan and reduce by half, approx 10 minutes. Taste and if it is too sweet add a dash of lemon juice or soy sauce
  3. Cut duck into four using poultry shears if not already done. Place on baking tray in oven for 10 minutes or until warm. This will also render more of the fat.
  4. Meanwhile snap the ends off asparagus and toss with oil and garlic. Cook a on a heated, oiled grill plate (or grill or barbecue) until just tender. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Serve duck with sauce and vegetables.

Lyndey’s Note: Frozen berries are great for cooking and the cost does not fluctuate with seasonality. You could use blueberries or raspberries.

Drinks for Christmas & New Year

Aperol and Red Grapefruit Spritz

Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Regular readers will know I am a fan of sparkling red wine – any time of year, but at Christmas especially. For me it goes with everything from breakfast, to the ham, turkey or salmon on to the pudding. Sparkling red can be made from different red wines, and when looking at food matches it is the base wine that should be considered. A cabernet with minty, chocolate overtones could go well with chocolate. A pinot-based wine may go better with lighter food, such as seared tuna, perhaps with native pepper, as it can handle the spice. Wineries of all sizes are now making sparkling reds, and at all price levels.

Champagne and sparkling wines are ever popular at Christmas so you may like to read my blog about Champagne and sparkling wine.
Aside from that I love the modern style of Australian
Rosé which fnishes dry and on a hot day, the heaviest red I can go is a Pinot Noir, which can still go with everything from oysters and seafood to ham and turkey.
And if you’re not drinking sparkling red, the match for Christmas pudding is Pedro Ximenez, a style of sherry with rich caramelised, toffee flavours.

Here is my Christmas tip for keeping punch cold.

Here’s my recipe for Aperol and red grapefruit cocktail (pictured above).
The Upsider shares Eight Wine Grapes to Know.
Whatever you drink – be safe, be happy and enjoy.

What’s On

Christmas Markets are a fun way to buy food and gifts

In Sydney
Carriageworks Christmas Farmers Market Saturday 21 December 8am – 2pm
Double its usual size with more than 120 stallholders including seafood from Josh Niland’s The Fish Butchery, hams, cakes, gingerbread from Flour & Stone and cherry-pickling workshops with Cornersmith.
 All the regulars will be there too.

Paddy’s Christmas Markets Pop-Up from now until Sunday 22nd December 2019, Paddy’s HaymarketPaddy’s Market will have your Christmas shopping sorted with a sackful of new and exciting visiting traders popping into their Christmas Markets Pop-Ups. There will also be a visit from the Big Man himself as Santa and his elves roam through the Markets spreading Christmas cheer.  Christmas entertainment too.Northside Produce Market Saturday 21 December 8am – 12 pmAll the usual stallholders plus North Sydney Scouts selling fresh Christmas trees and Bruce Gibson’s wooden reindeers handmade from fallen brancjes collected from the area and Janet Gibson’s beautiful wreaths made with natural materials incluidng Australian native flowers.

In London
Here’s a round up of 25 of  London’s Best Christmas Markets

In Paris
The fabulous David Lebovitz has written a great piece on Things to do in Paris at Christmas.

Exciting Travel in the New Year

In front of trulli in UNESCO site Alberobello, Puglia

Why not treat yourself with a very special tour next year?
I love hosting tours and have done a lot in the last five years. All the organisation and stress is removed while lifelong friendships are made. What’s not to love? I am with my guests 24/7 and am able to offer visits and experiences both on and off the beaten track.
The next tour I am escorting is with By Prior Arrangement to Morocco 16-27 April 2020. This is an extraordinary destination, but one best visited with specialised knowledge and contacts to ensure a happy and seamless experience. Carol Prior of By Prior Arrangement focusses only on Morocco, a country she has known for 30 years and where she lived for over a decade.  I could think of no-one better to plan the tour with.

This trip will see us travel from Rabat the capital, to spiritual Meknes and Fes, and to Marrakech the red city. On the way you will explore the archaeological site of Volubilis, visit a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains, and relax by the coast in tranquil Essaouira. You’ll discover the delicacies of Moroccan and French food, dine in local eateries through to upmarket restaurants, and experience the making and flavours of Moroccan dishes during cooking classes. Luxury accommodation is in charming, authentic riads. sometimes in exclusivity. Only 10 – 12 guests$8850 pp shared, or $10,550 single.
Details here
Read my article Where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in Rabat
Off on The Road to Morocco in this Magnificent Life
Lyndey Takes Us On a, Exotic Food Journey Through the Cobbled Streets of Morocco.

Wonderful sublty spiced traditional Moroccan dishes. The salads (left) really transform seemingly ordinary ingredients like carrots

Culinary Adventures in Puglia 30 September – 6October 2020.
Puglia is a relatively undiscovered part, in the boot of the heel of Italy, it’s where Italians go for holidays! 

“I loved every moment of the tour, Lyndey is an excellent host, great fun & very  knowledgeable in wine & food while our tour guide, Max, knows the history of Puglia so well, which was great as we visited lovely old towns with amazing old buildings.Our accommodation was 4 to 5 star & wonderful & we had some truly amazing meals & wines.” writes Julie Tulloch, a fellow traveller in May last year.
It was such a fabulous experience, we are repeating it in October 2020 to share an unforgettable week of culinary and cultural exploration. Think hands-on bread, cheese making and cooking class; visits to wineries, olive farm, tours of UNESCO sites Alberobello & Matera & other cultural centres with local guides. All sensational meals and wines included. You only need money for the very inexpensive shopping you will find there.

Group size: an intimate 8-16 places only
Price: $5499 per person for all ground arrangements (single supplement $799)
Lodging in authentic, family-run noble estates and palaces
Operated by: Local Puglia specialist Southern Visions Travel: the leading experiential travel company in Southern Italy
Full brochure 

Read more about my adventures in Puglia
Explore Puglia in House & Garden Magazine
Seven dishes you must try in Puglia, Italy in the Sydney Morning Herald
Puglia, the undiscovered heart in Selector Magazine

Sea urchins fresh from the sea, ready to eat and a happy group last tour in Alberobello, Puglia

What to do with left-overs

L: Ham or Turkey Croquettes and R: Turkey or Ham Quesadilla

Christmas comes with such a great flurry of culinary activity and joy, then it’s over and those left-overs can hang on and on. Here are some ideas to help you transform ham, turkey and chicken into new meals.
Quick ideas

  • Mix up an Asian style dressing with lime juice, fish sauce, a little palm sugar, finely chopped fresh chilli, plus lots of chopped mint and coriander to toss through diced turkey.  Add some bean thread noodles for texture and serve in lettuce cups. You can also do this with left over salmon.
  • Stuff a split pide with sliced turkey or ham, avocado and tomato.
  • Toss warm cooked chat potatoes with chopped ham and a mustardy dressing.
  • Make a Spanish omelette by combining lightly beaten eggs with ham chunks, a few semi-dried tomatoes, olives and chopped parsley. Pour into a large frying pan and cook over low heat until just set.  Finish under a hot grill and serve in generous wedges with salad or smaller squares with a drink.
  • Fill crepes with turkey, ham and mushrooms in light cheese sauce.
  • Grab a sheet of puff pastry from the freezer for a quick freeform quiche.  Place the pastry on a baking sheet, crimp to create a 1cm pie edge, pour over beaten egg, top with a few spoonfuls of ricotta, diced ham and a generous sprinkle of thyme.  Bake until crisp.
  • Toss ham strips through just drained pasta and mix with beaten eggs, finely grated parmesan and lots of black pepper for a speedy pasta carbonara. I like to add a little chilli for bite. Recipe here.
  • Combine chunks of chicken and ham with wilted leeks, spinach and a little cream, top with mashed potato and bake until golden.
  • Add sliced ham or turkey to an American-style chef’s salad with quartered hard boiled eggs, baby cos leaves, cherry tomatoes and avocado.
  • Transform leftover steamed rice and diced ham into Chinese fried rice.  In a hot wok toss ham with frozen peas and sliced green shallots.  Add rice and mix until heated through.  At the last moment, add omelette strips, a few drops of sesame oil and a sprinkle of soy sauce for authenticity.
  • Stuff croissants with sliced ham and cheese and grill until the cheese melts.  Serve hot with a salad.
  • Jazz up a risotto bianco with ham, chicken or turkey.  Add mushrooms too and, just before serving, stir through some rocket or spinach until wilted.

Roast Vegetables
Blend your leftover roast pumpkin, potatoes and sweet potatoes with chicken or vegetable stock to make a chunky veg soup. Top with any leftover herbs you have leftover from Christmas cooking. Roast veg also makes for an easy frittata or quiche – all you need are eggs and cream or milk .as above. Herbs and leftover cheese grated from your cheese platter wouldn’t go astray in here either!

Leftover Roast or Poached Salmon
Flake leftover fish and remove all bones. For fish patties, add a cup of your leftover mashed potatoes, 2 eggs and leftover herbs (dill, parsley or coriander would be fab). Shape into patties, dip into flour, egg wash, panko breadcrumbs and fry until golden and cooked. You can also add leftover flaked fish to pasta or rice salads or stir through scrambled eggs for a luxe experience.

Leftover Ham/Turkey/Roast Beef
There’s more to your leftover Christmas roasts than just a sandwiches, salads and wraps (although those are fabulous too!) You can reinvent your turkey with a 
turkey curry, dice your ham to use in fried rice or thinly slice beef to wrap around lightly steamed veggies for a great Boxing Day picnic treat? Don’t forget to use your leftover bones to create beautiful homemade stocks which you can freeze for future use.

Leftover Desserts
Yes, I know this is a rare occurrence but there are a few fun ideas you can use your leftover sweets for! Use my leftover 
Cointreau dark chocolate truffles for a decadent hot chocolate – simply add 1-2 truffles per mug of milk and microwave for a minute at a time, stirring with each minute until the chocolate has melted for a chocolatey drink with a hint of orange. My white chocolate mascarpone mousse makes an excellent frosting or filling for cakes, especially with the berry topping swirled through. Freeze any leftover brioche or similar sweet breads (such as panettone or croissants) to make bread and butter puddings.Don’t forget! You can also freeze leftover wine, homemade stocks and herbs from your Christmas events for future meals.

Turkey quesadillas
Turkey salad with ginger and lime mayo
Ham or turkey croquettes
Panettone bread and butter pudding

Enjoy your seasons eatings and drinkings.
May you and yours have a peaceful, happy and safe festive season. I’m taking a break for a couple of weeks but you can keep up to date with my travels on all my social media channels:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Pinterest and my Youtube channel.

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