A simple Christmas menu for friends and family by Annabel Langbein. Yvonne drinks Lorkin’s matches
Annabel Langbein with Tarragon and Garlic Butterflies. Photo by Annabel Langbein Media
I’ve been thinking lately about what makes a meal perfect for Christmas lunch or dinner (ours is always dinner, served around 3pm). Yes, it’s a family together, but when are they
How do you instill that Christmas spirit, contentment, and joy around the people who love you the most when you’re not around? I can see some of you rolling your eyes and remembering the squealing and grumpy Christmas meals when Sally got into a fight with Barry, when Uncle John was drunk and obnoxious, or when you were left alone to handle the enormous task of feeding everyone and/or the boss. cleaning mission. Yes, I guarantee Christmas can be stressful.
Despite all this, Christmas dinner remains one of our most cherished, time-honored, anchored rituals. The year would not have been the same without him.
Abroad with kids these days, we often run into waifs and Christmas dinners. The loneliness of having to spend Christmas Day alone. Friends who don’t have family around, people who live on their own, really, anyone we know who isn’t organized to be in one place to be on Christmas Day, is more than welcome to share our table with open arms. It always makes for a lot of fun.
Choose a flavor theme (Mediterranean, Moroccan, Indian, Asian, Pacific, etc. Get your best china and clean the silver. Set the table with crackers so everyone can wear silly hats and tell the world’s worst jokes. Bring out little bowls of cherries and figs and almonds. Light the candles, put on some carols (or Christmas tunes if that’s your vibe), and set a (small) budget to bring everyone a happy gift.
Assemble a large plate to serve with fresh, crusty bread as a first course.
Satisfy all culinary tastes with vegetable dishes — roasted passion fruit, parsnip, beetroot and/or pumpkin bowl topped with fresh orange juice or pomegranate molasses, olive oil and toasted pumpkin seeds; baby leaves, peas, edamame, avocado, thinly shaved fennel, crumbled creamy feta and a big salad of delicious Dijon vinaigrette, roasted carrots with Greek yogurt and dukkah sprinkles, maybe a bowl of ratatouille or caponata. Always new potatoes tossed in butter with fresh mint.
The scene is set, the tasks are shared, it’s time for a fun, light and delicious Christmas dinner.
Melon plate with mint and prosciutto. Photo / Manja Wachsmuth
You can mix this salad with melon, papaya or tomato, replace the mozzarella with creamy feta or marinated buffalo cheese, use slices of cold smoked salmon instead of prosciutto, or serve it on the side. Whether you choose to put it together, a plate like this makes a great first course.
Ready in 20 minutes
250–300 g fresh watercress tips or rocket leaves
1 tablespoon of pure olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
½ rock melon, peeled and thinly sliced
½ honeydew melon, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice
20 mint leaves, finely chopped
8–10 very thin slices of prosciutto, wrapped in a loose rosette
2 limes, halved and thinly sliced
Drizzle the leaves with oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on a large plate.
Arrange the sliced melons on top. Drizzle with lime juice and sprinkle with mint leaves and lime wedges.
Top with prosciutto.
Tarragon and Garlic Buttermilk Chicken. Photo / Annabel Langbein Media
When I was growing up, fried chicken was such a treat. It’s one of the cheaper protein options these days, but spend a little more on organic or free-range poultry and you won’t be disappointed. Fried chicken remains one of the most delicious dishes served on any special occasion. Brushing the chicken with a simple herb and garlic oil before roasting adds great flavor for very little effort. Butter is also delicious tossed through new season potatoes.
Ready in 1¼ hours
2 large (size 14 or 16) whole organic or free-range chickens
18–20 shallots, peeled and cut in half
4 tarragon sprigs
TARRAGOON GARLIC BUTTER
100 g of butter, at room temperature
6 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of salt
Preheat the oven to 180C fan and line a large baking tray with baking paper for easy cleaning.
To make the tarragon garlic oil, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.
To butterfly the chickens, use sharp kitchen shears or shears to cut the backbone off each bird (you can cut both sides of the backbone and remove it, or just cut off one side and leave it on). Place the chicken skin side up on a clean board and press flat with the palm of your hand until it forms a butterfly. Spread butter evenly on both sides of each chicken.
Place the chickens, skin side up, in a roasting pan with the shallots and tarragon. Roast until the hens are golden brown, the juices run deep into the thickest part of the thighs, and the juices inside are brown rather than red (about 40–45 minutes, depending on size). Transfer to a board, cover with a clean tea towel and let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into pieces.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with cooked shallots.
Strawberry limoncello tiramisu. Photo / Manja Wachsmuth
It is very easy and very good. If you don’t have limoncello, the same amount of Cointreau or another orange-flavored liqueur works well with strawberries. For a non-alcoholic version, use lemon syrup instead of limoncello.
Ready in 30 minutes + cooling
300g plain sponge cake cut into 3cm cubes
Fresh strawberries, peeled and cut
4 eggs, divided
½ cup powdered sugar
400 g of mascarpone
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Zest of 1 finely peeled lemon
1 cup of sugar
½ cup of water
½ cup lemon juice
¾ cup limoncello
300 ml of cream, chilled
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of finely chopped almonds, walnuts or pistachios
Prepare sponge cubes, divide into three piles. Peel and slice the berries. Put all that aside.
Make a syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stirring until dissolved. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and limoncello. Divide the syrup into thirds (use a lot at first so you don’t run out).
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy. Stir in the mascarpone and lemon zest. In a separate clean bowl (and clean stand-up paddles, if using), beat the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk or electric mixer is lifted. Gently fold into the mascarpone mixture. Let cool.
Place one-third of the sponge in a single layer in the bottom of a 10–12-capacity glass dish. Pour about a third of the syrup onto the sponge, making sure every portion is coated. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the top. Cover with half of the strawberries, then another layer of sponge pieces. Brush or drizzle another third of the syrup. Fold in the rest of the mascarpone mixture, followed by the rest of the strawberries.
Place the last layer of sponge on top and cover with the last third of the syrup. Chill for at least 2 hours or cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
Before serving, whip the cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over tiramisu and garnish with pistachios.
Match these with…
By Yvonne Lorkin
(Rocket, melon, mozzarella and prosciutto plate)
Yalumba South Australian Organic Viognier 2021 ($22)
The great Annie Lennox once said, “Stop what you’re doing, get down on your knees, I have a message for you to believe.” He said there’s no better partner for prosciutto than viognier (we-yong-yay). For fans like Moi, Yalumba is like my Graceland. A place of pilgrimage and worship. Their head winemaker, Louise Rose, expertly infuses each bottle with apricot, orange zest, jasmine, white pepper, nectarine and hard-to-get acidity in every bottle. And this year is especially tasty, especially sweet and especially long. Blackmarket.co.nz
(Tarragon and Garlic Butter Chicken)
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2020 ($90)
You get five decent sized glasses from one bottle. Here’s what I think you should do. You and four mates can enjoy a bottle of this and share it with Annabelle’s Champion Christmas Chicken for $18. With exotic intense caramelized oak and grilled nectarine notes, a seductively energetic core, a flinty, minerally mid-palate and juicy, citrusy notes, it moves across the tongue and gums like a liquid Rolls-Royce. Superstar. Villamariawines.com
Strawberry and limoncello tiramisu
Manly Spirits Small Pack Flavored Limoncello 700ml ($60)
Luckily, chemical engineer and founder David Whittaker only made a “small batch” of this limoncello, because a big batch would bankrupt me. I would buy anything! From the lovely silver koi carp in the cap to the eyebrow-raising, hand-distilled, lemony intensity on the nose and palate, it’s incredibly clean, with hints of honey, lemon myrtle, eucalyptus, and the most delicious thing. . With great length of flavor and individual hops, this is one of my favorite limoncellos for summer sipping. Society.liquor.co.nz