8 tips to a supercharged Christmas menu
The festive season has arrived yet again, and boy do I have some ridiculously good Christmas menu ideas, as well as some eco-friendly gift options.
This celebratory season is all about love, connection and gratitude, as well as the best food you’ll cook all year! Here, I share my favourite festive recipes to share with family and friends over the Christmas break.
My latest book, Supercharge Your Life, uses food as the catalyst for pleasure, enjoyment, love and connection. To ramp up the love even further, I’ve put a huge focus on how our food and entertaining choices can be a gift to heal our planet.
Give thoughtful gifts: Common Christmas gifts like phones, clothing and fashion accessories are encased in layers of styrofoam and plastic packaging. To eliminate waste, opt for experiences such as tickets to a concert or shout them a cooking lesson. If kids are into video games, get them off screens and into a real life go-karting class rather than giving them more “stuff”.
Buy second-hand or recycled: Buy a bundle of unique clothes, accessories, books or retro ceramics from your local thrift store as gifts and invest into the circular economy. Chances are that if they’ve survived one person’s ownership, they’ll be of the quality that can be enjoyed for years to come.
Full tummy, empty bins: To cut down on waste, be sure to carefully plan your Christmas day spread, being mindful not to over-cater. Ask your guests to bring along some containers so that they can take leftovers home for Boxing Day lunch rather than tossing all that beautiful food into the bin. Compost or worm farm all your food scraps — it’s good for the garden and the planet.
Ditch plastic tableware: Straws, cups, plates and other plastic tableware are simply terrible for the environment and often find their way into the ocean. Stick to your regular ceramic ware and metal cutlery or invest into some bamboo eco tableware that is more durable and biodegradable.
Make a Mason jar snow globe: Skip on the plastic Christmas ornaments and make your own out of mason jars and desiccated coconut. Simply glue small ornaments or beautiful small items already available to you into the inside of the Mason jar lid. Place a handful of the coconut into the jar, screw the lid on and place upside down for your very own DIY snow globes.
Make a herb garland: Herbs are the perfect Chrissy decoration because not only do they reflect the theme of greenery for Christmas, but they’re also an edible decoration! Weave together herbs like rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, bay leaf branches, mint or any others you like. Add red chillies, cherries or garlic bulbs for hits of other festive colours. Give sections of it away as gifts or use them to flavour your meals.
Use brown paper bags and newspaper: Instead of using wrapping paper, opt for leftover newspaper or brown paper bags to wrap your gifts. Tie with ribbons or twine and poke some foraged flowers, foliage or herbs into the bow.
Cook festive foods: If you really want to create a show-stopping meal this Christmas, get organised, roll up your sleeves and throw yourself into the joy of creating and devouring these festive recipes.
Roasted whole turkey
- 1 x 6kg turkey, giblets removed
- Large handful flat-leaf parsley
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 170g butter, softened
- Zest & juice 1 lemon
- Large handful thyme
- Small handful sage
- 3 bay leaves (optional)
- 2 brown onions, peeled & halved
- 2 leeks, pale part only, halved lengthways
- 4 baby carrots, halved
- 2 celery stalks, halved lengthways
- 2 garlic bulbs
- 1L chicken stock
- Preheat the oven to 210°C.
- Pat the turkey dry with paper towel. Place the parsley in the cavity. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and place in a large roasting tin. Spread the butter all over the bird. Drizzle over the lemon juice, sprinkle over the zest and tuck the remaining herbs under the bird.
- Arrange the onion, leek, carrot, celery and whole garlic bulbs around the turkey, and then pour in the stock. Cover the tin with foil and roast for 45 mins, then reduce the oven temperature to 170°C and roast for a further 3–4 hours. About 10 mins before the end of cooking, remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 200°C and roast until the turkey skin is golden brown and crisp and the juices from the thickest part of the leg run clear.
- Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for at least 15 mins before carving.
- 310g fresh cranberries, rinsed & drained, or frozen cranberries
- ½ cup rice-malt syrup, plus extra as needed
- 125mL filtered water
- Zest 1 orange
- 1 tbsp apple-cider vinegar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer, stirring, for about 10 mins or until the mixture thickens.
- Taste for sweetness, add more rice-malt syrup if necessary, then cool and seal in a sterilised jar until ready to use.
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