Lift your Christmas dinner to all-new heights with modern takes on the feasting essentials

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Lift your Christmas dinner to all-new heights with modern takes on the feasting essentials


Prep 30 mins + Resting | Cook 3 hours | Serves 8

4.5 kg whole turkey, trimmed

2 tbsps olive oil

2 cups water Gravy, to serve


15 g butter

3 rashers rindless bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, trimmed, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

½ cup port

2 tbsps chopped rosemary leaves

4 cups fresh breadcrumbs

½ cup craisins

½ cup frozen or fresh pitted cherries, chopped

1⁄3 cup finely chopped pistachios

2 tbsps chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to moderate, 180 C.

2. Pat turkey dry with paper towel.

3. PORT & CRAISIN STUFFING In a frying pan, melt butter. Saute bacon, onion, celery and garlic 4 to 5 mins. Add port and rosemary. Cook 1 to 2 mins. Transfer to a large bowl. Cool. Season to taste. Mix in breadcrumbs, craisins, cherries, pistachio and parsley.

4. Press stuffing into turkey cavity. Secure open cavity with a skewer. Using kitchen string, tie legs together.

5. Place turkey on a wire rack in a large baking dish. Tuck wings under body. Brush all over with oil and season to taste. Pour water into dish. Cover with foil.

6. Bake 2 hours. Remove foil. Bake 30 to 40 mins until cooked through. Rest, covered. Carve and serve with potatoes or salad, if preferred. Drizzle over gravy made from pan juices.

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Wash a calico bag in a solution of 2 cups water and 1 tbsp white vinegar. Wring out. Cover ham with reserved rind or baking paper. Place in damp bag and store in coldest part of fridge for up to 3 weeks. Rinse bag in solution and replace paper every 2 to 3 days to keep ham moist and fresh.


Prep 10 mins | Cook 1¼ hours | Serves 16

6 kg cooked leg of ham


¼ cup Dijon mustard

2⁄3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1⁄3 cup pineapple juice

1 tsp chilli powder

1. Using a sharp knife, cut through the ham rind about 10 cm from the shank end of the leg. Remove rind from ham by sliding your hand between the rind and the fat layer. Reserve rind (see Chef’s Tips). Score across the fat in lines at 1-cm intervals, cutting lightly through the surface of the fat (not the meat).

2. PINEAPPLE-MUSTARD GLAZE In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients.

3. Preheat oven to moderate, 180 C.

 4. Place ham in a large deep baking dish. Wrap shank in foil. Brush ham with half the glaze. Bake 30 mins. Brush with remaining glaze and bake further 40 to 45 mins until caramelised.

5. Cover loosely with foil to rest, 15 mins. Slice to serve.

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Switch pumpkin for swee t potato and add coo ked egg plant. Top with avocado.


Prep 15 mins | Cook 20 mins | Serves 8

½ whole Japanese pumpkin, seeded, 2-cm wedges

2 tbsps olive oil

250 g baby heirloom tomatoes, some halved

150 g baby spinach leaves

¼ cup roasted flaked almonds

100 g feta, crumbled

1 bunch chives, snipped


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 

¼ cup red-wine vinegar

2 tbsps maple syrup

2 tsps wholegrain mustard

1. Preheat oven to hot, 200 C.

2. Toss pumpkin with oil on a large oven tray. Bake 15 to 20 mins until just tender and golden.

3. MAPLE-MUSTARD DRESSING In a small jug, whisk all the ingredients together. Season.

4. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, tomatoes, leaves and almonds. Season. Drizzle with dressing, tossing well. Top with crumbled feta and chives to serve.

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Prep 15 mins | Cook 80 mins | Serves 8

1 kg desiree red-skinned potatoes, peeled, quartered

½ cup duck fat, or olive oil

1 large sprig fresh rosemary leaves

Flaked sea salt

1. Preheat oven to very hot, 220 C.

2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil on high. Boil 12 to 15 mins until just tender. Drain well, shake lightly to rough up. Tip: To completely dry potatoes, toss them over low heat before baking.

3. Place duck fat into a baking dish. Heat in oven 5 to 10 mins.

4. Add potatoes to hot fat, turning to coat. Bake 30 mins. Turn, sprinkle with rosemary. Bake 20 to 25 mins until golden and crisp. Season to taste.