Be honest, how many nights this week have you gone to bed full and how many mornings have you woken up with a hangover? It’s official, silly season is in full swing.
Christmas day is fast approaching and instead of feeling fun, it’s starting to feel a little foreboding. Another big meal (or two or three), limitless wine and enough dessert you’d be forgiven for thinking it was Easter is probably making you feel more fat than festive, am I right?
While it’s important to let yourself indulge, if it’s at the expense of your mood come Boxing Day, it’s worth setting a limit. To help you out, here are three recipes that are a little bit naughty and a little bit nice. Keep your portion control in check and you’re on your way to a healthy holiday.
For the side: Peas with mint sauce butter
4 cups mint leaves
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
250g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
1½ teaspoons sea salt flakes
cracked black pepper
blanched peas, to serve
micro (baby) lemon balm, to serve
Place the mint in a small food processor and process until finely chopped.
Add the sugar, vinegar, butter, salt and pepper and process until well combined.
Place the mint sauce butter on a sheet of non-stick baking paper and shape into a log.
Roll to enclose, twisting the ends to seal, and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.
Toss slices of the butter with peas and top with lemon balm to serve.
+ Tips and tricks… You can keep extra butter wrapped and refrigerated for up to two weeks.
For the main:roast turkey with pear and potato gratin
Serves 6–8. Ingredients
1 cup (175g) brown sugar
1 onion, quartered
1 bulb garlic, halved
2 cups (600g) rock salt
1 cup (250ml) apple cider vinegar
5cm-piece ginger, thinly sliced
5 litres water
1.25 litres dry ginger ale
80g unsalted butter, softened
cranberry sauce, to serve
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 William pears, peeled and chopped
¹⁄³ cup rosemary leaves, chopped
sea salt and cracked black pepper
¼ cup (95g) stem ginger+, chopped
1 tablespoon Djion mustard
½ cup (80g) toasted pinenuts
4 cups (280g) sourdough breadcrumbs
pear and potato gratin
2.5kg sebago potatoes, peeled
4 William pears, peeled
½ cup (125ml) hot single (pouring) cream
Place the sugar, onion, garlic, salt, vinegar, ginger and 1 litre water in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the salt.
Pour the brining liquid into a large (10-litre-capacity) non-reactive container++. Add the ginger ale and remaining water and stir to combine.
Using your hands, carefully loosen the skin of the turkey at the breasts. Place the turkey, breast-side down, in the brining liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours (but no longer).
For the pear stuffing
To make the pear stuffing, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 4 minutes.
Add the pear, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
Place in a large bowl with the ginger, mustard, pinenuts, breadcrumbs and egg and mix well to combine.
Remove the turkey from the container, discarding the brining liquid. Pat the turkey
dry and spoon the stuffing into the cavity.
Carefully spread the butter under the turkey skin, tie the legs with kitchen string and tuck the wings underneath.
To make the pear and potato gratin, lightly grease a 40cm x 29cm deep-sided oven tray. Layer the potato and pear in the tray, sprinkling with salt.
Pour over the hot cream. Top with the turkey. Cover with aluminium foil and cook for 1 hour. Remove the foil, reduce heat to 180°C (350°F) and cook for 1 hour
or until the turkey is golden and juices run clear when tested with a skewer.
Cover with aluminium foil and set aside to rest for 20 minutes before serving.
+ Stem ginger is ginger that has been preserved in sugar syrup. It is available from specialty grocers and Asian supermarkets.
If unavailable, you can use crystallised ginger instead. ++ Non-reactive materials include glass, plastic or stainless steel.
For the dessert: raspberry swirl pavlova wreath
Serves 6–8 Ingredients
225ml eggwhites (about 6 egg whites), at room temperature+
To make the raspberry swirl, place the frozen raspberries, sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3–4 minutes or until slightly reduced.
Strain, discarding the seeds, and refrigerate to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
Place the eggwhite in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting 30 seconds between each addition.
Once all the sugar has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and whisk for a further 6 minutes or until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
Place the vinegar and cornflour in a small bowl and mix to combine. Add to the egg white mixture and whisk for 2 minutes or until glossy and combined.
Draw a 22cm circle on a sheet of non-stick baking paper and place, pencil-side down, on a large baking tray. Place 12 heaped spoonfuls of the meringue mixture around the inside of the circle to create a ring.
Drizzle the raspberry mixture over each meringue and use a teaspoon to swirl.
Place in the oven, reduce temperature to 120°C (250°F) and cook for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.
To serve, top with cream, raspberries, pistachio and freeze-dried raspberries if using.
+ Be sure to measure your eggwhites carefully, as instructed in the recipe, remembering egg sizes do vary. Also, use fresh, room temperature eggs, as this will help the eggwhites to become more voluminous when beaten. ++ Freeze-dried raspberries are available from selected delicatessens and speciality grocers.
Now you’ve got Christmas dinner sorted, here’s how to put a healthy spin on your leftovers come Boxing Day.
Recipes and images from donna hay magazine issue 90: The Christmas Issue. Shop the current issue or subscribe to receive it on the reg.