With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can serve a magnificent Christmas lunch for under $100. In this episode, Alex speaks with Lydia Hamilton, Director of Classic Food Co, about how to produce a Christmas spread without breaking the bank. Christmas is a wonderful time of the year but it can have a nasty effect on the budget. So, make sure you tune into this episode so you can save money at Christmas by being smart with your lunch menu.

About Lydia Hamilton

Lydia has always loved food – in fact she was baking meringues for weddings from the age of 16! After years raising children and a corporate career, Lydia has finally yielded to the many demands of family and friends and set up a catering business and a weekly meal service. She feeds hundreds of people of every week with her meal service and is in high demand for her wonderful event catering.

Saving Money at Christmas

Under the supervision of food expert Lydia, Alex has designed two Christmas menus that will feed between 6-8 people for under $100. Both menus will also offer substantial leftovers so you should be able to truly relax on Boxing Day!

Menu 1 – Traditional Christmas Lunch

Alex and Lydia’s families both choose the traditional Christmas meal. Although this menu does require a little more cooking and preparation time it is incredibly good for the budget leaving you with some decent change from your $100 bill!

Starters

Blinis with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Dill – $13.90

Main

Roast Pork with Crackling – $10

Roast Turkey Thigh Roll – $20 (approx)

Sides

Roast Potatoes – $7.60

Honey Carrots – $2.20

Peas – $1.70

Dessert

Pavlova with Fresh Fruit – $11.47

Christmas Pudding with Custard- $11

Grand Total – $80.37

Blinis with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Dill

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of self-raising flour (can use gluten free if required)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup of milk (can use almond or soy if necessary)
  • unsalted butter (can use oil if you want the recipe to be dairy free)
  • 250g tub cream cheese (you’ll have leftovers!)
  • 100g smoked salmon
  • dill

Method

  1. Place the flour and a pinch of sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, crack in the egg and add 1 tablespoon of oil, then beat into the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk until you have a smooth batter.
  2. Drop a knob of butter into the fry pan. Once its melted, add tablespoons of batter to the pan. Cook for 1 minute each side and then flip when you see bubbles forming.
  3. Transfer the cooked blinis to a plate and continue until all the batter is used up.
  4. Smooth some cream cheese on each blini, break the salmon into small pieces and place on the cream cheese. Top with dill.
  5. Should make approximately 20-22 pieces

Notes

  • If you don’t have cream cheese, consider using sour cream or creme fraiche.
  • The leftover dill can be used with the honey carrot recipe below.

Roast Turkey Roll

Follow instructions on packet.

Tips

  • Follow cooking instructions on packet.
  • Once cooked, it can be removed from foil and browned before serving.
  • Can be served with Cranberry Sauce – there is room in this budget!

Roast Pork with Crackling

  1. Preheat oven to 230C.
  2. Pat dry the pork rind before rubbing the salt and oil onto the rind.
  3. Place the pork in a large baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the rind starts to crackle.
  4. Reduce the temperature to 180C and bake for a further 1-1.5hrs.
  5. Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Tips

  • If your rind isn’t cracking, turn the heat back up with 230C for the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.
  • Serve with apple sauce – plenty of room in this budget!

Tip: If your rind hasn’t crackled enough near the end of the cooking time, turn the heat back up to 230C for the last 10 minutes.

Roast Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 kgs potatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Cut potatoes into quarters. Place in large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  4. Mix with a wooden spoon so all potatoes are evenly coated.
  5. Place on baking paper on oven trays and into the oven.
  6. Roast for approximately 1 hour, turning during cooking.

Honey Carrots

Ingredients

  • 8 carrots, sliced in quarters
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs butter

Method

  1. Steam the carrots until they are tender.
  2. Combine the honey and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, stir until the butter has melted.
  3. Place the carrots in the frying pan in a single layer. Gently coat the carrots in the glaze. Serve.

Peas

Follow instructions on packet to prepare.

Pavlova

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 1 punnet blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and gradually beat in the sugar. Beat until the mixture is thick and the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Carefully fold in the cornflour and vanilla essence.
  4. Spoon onto the baking paper on the tray. Reduce the oven heat to 150C and place in the oven to bake for 1 hour.
  5. When cool. Whip the cream with 1 tablespoon of icing sugar and place the berries on top.

Christmas Pudding with Custard

Invest in a Christmas pudding from your supermarket and some pouring custard. So much cheaper than making it!

Menu 2 – Contemporary or Cold Christmas Lunch

Starters

Arancini Balls with Aioli – $17.67

Main

Glazed Baked Ham (3 kgs) – $28.19

Roast Turkey Thigh Roll – $20 (approx) – served cold

Sides

Potato Salad – $10.67

Asian Slaw – $10.67

Tomato and Mozzarella Cheese Salad – $11.24

Dessert

Christmas Chocolate Log – $10.71

Grand Total – $98.36

Arancini Balls

Arancini balls are the perfect starter to any celebratory gathering. This recipe makes around 24 balls which are around the size of a golf ball. And the best thing – they can be made ahead. Just reheat in the oven for 180C for 10 minutes! Enjoy. x

Ingredients

Baked Risotto

 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion , finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups risotto rice (arborio)
  • 1/2 cup white wine or stock
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth/stock
  • 1 cup milk

Rice Mixture

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley , or 1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper

Coating

  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Melt butter in a frypan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft.
  • Add rice and stir until grains turn translucent. Add wine (or stock) and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook until liquid is mostly absorbed.
  • Add chicken broth and milk. Stir, bring to simmer, cover, then transfer to oven. Baked, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool. Add Rice Mixture Ingredients and mix to combine. Cover and transfer to refrigerator for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

Coating

  • Mix flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl, eggs in another (lightly beaten) and panko in a third shallow bowl.
  • Measure out a level (packed) ice cream scoop of rice mixture (about 2 1/2 tbsp) and roll into a ball.
  • Roll in flour, then in egg mixture, then coat in panko, pressing to coat. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Cook

  • In a medium saucepan, pour in 2.5cm depth of oil and heat over medium high heat.
  • Toss in a breadcrumb and if it starts sizzling immediately, the oil is hot enough.
  • Carefully transfer a few balls into the hot oil, using a spoon. Turn frequently so they cook golden evenly, and when they are a deep golden brown, remove onto a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  • Repeat with remaining balls.
  • Serve with Aioli.

Baked Sugar Glazed Ham

Ingredients

1 x 3kg leg ham
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbs honey
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tbs butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Combine the sugar, honey, mustard and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut through the ham rind 8-10cm above the shank. Use your fingers to gently lift the rind away from the layer of fat underneath. Discard the rind.
  4. Score the fat to make a diamond pattern and wrap the end of the shank in alfoil to prevent it burning.
  5. Place the ham in a large baking dish and brush 1/3 of the glaze all over the layer of fat. Reserve the remaining 2/3 of glaze.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the ham from the oven and brush on another 1/3 of the glaze.
  7. Cook for 20 minutes, before basting the ham with the last 1/3 of the glaze.
  8. Cook for a further 10 minutes, then remove the ham from the oven.
  9. Allow the ham to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Roast Turkey Roll

Follow instructions on packet.

Tips

  • Follow cooking instructions on packet.
  • Once cooked, it can be removed from foil and browned before serving.
  • Can be served with Cranberry Sauce – if there is room in your budget!

Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 1kg desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 1 small lemon, juiced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 100g shaved 97% fat-free honey leg ham, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, finely shredded

Method

  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook potatoes, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender when pierced with a skewer. Drain. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Combine mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, onion and salt in a small bowl. Pour half over warm potato (potato will absorb flavour while still warm). Stir gently with a plastic spatula (this prevents potato from breaking up) to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Spray with oil. Add ham and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool. Add ham, basil and remaining dressing to potato. Stir gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Note: recipe courtesy of Taste Magazine. It receives a 5 star rating!

Asian Slaw

Asian Slaw with Peanut-Ginger Dressing

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

Slaw

  • 2 cups shredded white cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/2 red capsicum, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 stalk green onion, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Stir until the peanut butter has dissolved.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the slaw. Add the dressing and toss well. Let sit for 10 minute so the vegetables have the chance to absorb the dressing.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Method

Prep – 10 mins
  1. Place tomato slices, alternating with mozzarella slices, on a large serving platter.
  2. Combine oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake well. Drizzle over tomatoes and mozzarella; sprinkle with basil.
  3. Enjoy!

Christmas Chocolate Log

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 85g golden caster sugar
  • 85g plain flour (less 2 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g butter
  • 140g dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 284 mls double cream
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2-3 extra strong mints, crushed (optional)
  • icing sugar and holly sprigs to decorate – ensure you remove the berries before serving

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan or 180C/gas 6
  2. Grease and line a 23 x 32cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper
  3. Beat 3 eggs and 85g caster sugar together with an electric whisk for about 8 mins until thick and creamy.
  4. Mix 85g plain flour (less 2 tbsp), 2 tbsp cocoa powder and ½ tsp baking powder together, then sift onto the egg mixture. Fold in very carefully, then pour into the tin.
  5. Now tip the tin from side to side to spread the mixture into the corners. Bake for 10 mins.
  6. Lay a sheet of baking paper on the work surface. When the cake is ready, tip it onto the parchment, peel off the lining paper, then roll the cake up from its longest edge with the paper inside. Leave to cool.
  7. To make the icing, melt 50g butter and 140g dark chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Take from the heat and stir in 1 tbsp golden syrup and 5 tbsp double cream from a 284ml pot. Beat in 200g sifted icing sugar until smooth.
  8. Whisk the remaining double cream from the 284ml pot until it holds its shape.
  9. Unravel the cake, spread the cream over the top, scatter over 2-3 crushed extra strong mints, if using, then carefully roll up again into a log.
  10. Cut a thick diagonal slice from one end of the log. Lift the log on to a plate, then arrange the slice on the side with the diagonal cut against the cake to make a branch.
  11. Spread the icing over the log and branch (don’t cover the ends), then use a fork to mark the icing to give the effect of tree bark. Scatter with unsifted icing sugar to resemble snow, and decorate with holly.

Note: recipe courtesy of BBC Food. It receives a 5 star rating!