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I like to experiment with food, but at Christmas time I prefer it (relatively) traditional—much to the dismay of my wife Yvonne. In the past, though, we spent a lot of time every year just getting the recipes together. We're now working from the following overview, though of course we'll change things.

Hors d'œuvres and entrées

This is the one area where we change things from year to year. Typically we have no hors d'œuvres and only a light entrée; the rest of the meal is challenging enough. Typically we'll have smoked salmon with bread, or melon and ham.

Turkey

A traditional Christmas dinner should probably involve duck or goose, but both are relatively difficult to find in Australia, and probably with good reason: turkey really does taste better.

Turkey stuffing

You don't have to stuff a turkey, but it seems wrong not to, even at the expense of spending another day or two eating left-over turkey. Here's my recipe.

Sauce for the turkey

“What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”, but that doesn't apply to turkeys. I've taken my cue here from the British cuisine (yes, there is one), and make two sauces: a sauce demi-glace, in other words a traditional brown sauce, and a bread sauce.

Vegetables

Traditionally turkey is served with vegetables that are available in late autumn or winter, such as Brussels sprouts and root vegetables. We take a cue here from the Australian cuisine (yes, there's one of them too, though here it's probably indistinguishable from the British) and serve fried potatoes, carrots, onions and Brussels sprouts. Unlike the tradition, which cooks the potatoes, carrots and onions in the oven, we deep fry them, which makes them crisper and not as hard. Brussels sprouts are a particular problem, because in the middle of summer it's difficult to get small ones, and the bigger ones don't taste as good. Yvonne has a special recipe for Brussels sprouts which I'll put up here some time.

Ham

Instead of turkey, we sometimes eat glazed baked ham.

Dessert

I don't normally eat desserts, but of course Christmas is the time for an English Christmas pudding and rum butter. Nobody else in the family likes it, unfortunately, so we tend to buy a ready-made pudding and just make the rum butter; again, recipe to follow. The rest of the family eat something else, like the Australian dish, Pavlova.


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