The pleasures of Christmas come in many forms — quality time spent with those closest, a long-awaited respite from work, or even the inexplainable energy that declares the festive season has begun.
One aspect that inspires agreement is the joy of indulging in phenomenal food. Whether you’re in charge of whipping up some appetising entrees, a showstopping main, or easy Christmas desserts, now is the time to start planning your impressive spread.
Below, we share our favourite Christmas lunch ideas to help you feel inspired to cook up an unforgettable occasion.
Appetiser: Baked Gruyère in Pastry with Rosemary and Garlic
When it comes to Christmas baking recipes, a savoury approach can be taken for an unbeatable appetiser.
Golden pastry and caramelised cheese are a heavenly pair, and this recipe is impressively quick and easy — perfect if you’re short on time during the rush of the day.
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 450 g gruyere, fontina, or a mix, cubed
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 – 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 teaspoons honey, plus more for serving
- 1 egg, beaten
- Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Lay the puff pastry flat on a 10 – 12 inch baking tray or pie dish lined with baking paper. Pile the cubes of cheese in the centre of the pastry.
- Combine the rosemary and garlic together, then sprinkle over the cheese. Drizzle with honey.
- Fold the four corners of the pastry over the cheese to meet in the centre. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the pastry is deep golden brown and the cheese becomes bubbly.
- Serve with extra honey and black pepper, dipping in your favourite bread or crackers.
Recipe and image by: Half-Baked Harvest
Main: Roast Salmon With Herb Crust And Brown Shrimp Butter
While ham and turkey are timeless classics, serving this salmon is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression during the main event. The crunchy herb crust and buttery potatoes offer an exciting journey for the senses, bursting with texture and flavour.
It’s also a wonderful alternative for a pescatarian Christmas lunch, keeping many of your guests content.
- 2 tbsp sea salt flakes
- 2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
- 1.5 kg side salmon, skin on
- 1 kg new potatoes, halved
- 150 g butter, diced
- 70 g pack brown shrimp
- 2 lemons, juiced
- ½ a small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- ½ a bunch dill, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp English mustard powder
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- 1 lemon, zested
- 50 g capers, drained and rinsed
- 150 g soft white breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine the sea salt and coriander seeds, then sprinkle over the flesh of the salmon. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, then rinse under gently running cold water and pat dry with paper towel.
- Place the potatoes in a large pan of lightly salted cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 8 – 10 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork. Drain well.
- Heat a fan-forced oven to 200°C. Put the parsley, dill, mustard powder, peppercorns, lemon zest and a pinch of salt into a food processor, and mix until finely chopped. Add the capers, breadcrumbs, and oil, and pulse until combined.
- Put the salmon, skin-side down, into a large roasting tray surrounded by the potatoes, then pack the herbed breadcrumbs on top of the fish. Spread the butter all over the potatoes and season, then roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Add the brown shrimp into the potatoes and butter after 20 minutes, then cook for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven, drizzle with lemon juice, and serve with roasted carrots and greens tossed in more of the buttery juices.
Recipe and image by: Olive Magazine
Dessert: Fig and Caramel Trifle
Of all the Christmas dessert recipes, trifle has remained a highly-anticipated treat to finish any festive feast. This version is truly something special, with the soft texture of caramel, cream, and decadent caramelised figs perfectly contrasting lightly-toasted panettone.
- 1 kg store-bought panettone, ends trimmed, cut into 2.5cm-thick slices
- ⅓ cup (80ml) Pedro Ximénez sherry or orange juice
- 2 cups (500g) mascarpone
- 2⅓ cups (580ml) thickened cream
- 100g unsalted butter, chopped
- ¾ cup (180g) firmly-packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (175g) golden syrup
- 1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
- ¼ cup (55g) raw caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon coffee sugar crystals
- 6 figs, halved lengthways
- To make the caramel, combine the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup, and single cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and stir occasionally for 10 – 12 minutes or until thickened, then set aside to cool.
- To make the caramelised figs, combine the caster sugar and coffee sugar in a medium bowl. Place a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat. Dip the cut side of the figs into the sugar to coat and add them, cut-side down, to the pan. Cook for 10 – 20 seconds or until caramelised. Remove from the pan and allow to stand until the sugar is set.
- Preheat oven grill to medium heat. Brush the panettone slices on both sides with the sherry. Arrange on an oven tray and grill for 30 seconds – 1 minute or until golden. Turn the slices over and repeat. Cut each panettone slice into three strips.
- To assemble the trifle, whisk the mascarpone and thickened cream with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Cover the base of a 4-litre glass dish with half the panettone. Spoon over half the mascarpone cream and half the caramel. Repeat the layers once more with the remaining panettone, cream, and caramel, then finish with the caramelised figs.
Recipe and image by: Donna Hay
Each wonderful in their own way, but even better served together, these Christmas menu ideas should help you to begin visualising the ultimate spread this season!