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18 Christmas recipes and tips from Curtis Stone

I love cooking for family and friends during the festive season. Get ready for your own celebrations with my recipes, ideas and handy tips to help you on your way. Enjoy!

  1. “Here's a delicious Middle Eastern inspired dip to fire up everyone’s appetite. If you don’t have a barbecue, cut the capsicums into flat pieces and cook them under a grill, cut-side down, until charred. Heat the pita under the grill or in a frying pan.”

  2. “With a simple spice rub of coriander, smoked paprika, cumin, and fennel seed, these slow-cooked ribs are a favourite at my restaurant, Gwen. Grinding whole spices adds amazing flavour but you can use ground spices if you like. If using ground coriander, reduce to 3 tsp. The fennel and cumin quantities remain the same.”

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    "Dill and seeded mustard creme fraiche works perfectly with the spicy smoky salmon in this easy dish. The toasted baguette, salmon and mustard crème can be made ahead – store the bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 8 hours, and the salmon and mustard crème in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 1 day."

  4. “This fun technique, known as beer-can chicken or standing barbecue chicken – gives great results and gets people talking. If you don't want to barbecue the chicken on a beer can, marinate chicken cuts (thighs, drumsticks, breasts and wings), then barbecue over direct medium heat to add a nice charred flavour to the meat.”

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    “Lobster tails and corn are delicious barbecued quickly and basted with a simple ginger-flavoured butter. Prefer prawns? They’re a perfect replacement for the lobster – use 1kg Coles Black Tiger or Banana Prawns, peeled and deveined with the tails left intact.”

  6. "Maple syrup, orange, black pepper and Dijon mustard combine to make a sweet, savoury and slightly spicy glaze for a classic Christmas ham. To get ahead, make the glaze the day before and store in the fridge overnight."

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    TIP

    How to glaze ham in your BBQ

    “No more room in the oven? Here’s my secret to cooking your ham in the barbie. Prepare a covered gas barbecue for indirect cooking. Heat one burner on medium-high, leaving the other burners off. Line a large heavy rimmed baking tray with foil. Place your prepared ham on the tray and position the tray on the side of the barbecue that is off. Close the lid and leave to cook for about 1.5 hours or until ham is cooked through. Cook for a further 1 hour, basting with glaze every 15 mins, or until the ham is evenly caramelised.”

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    "The red wine vinegar pickled onion and parsley salad looks Christmassy and helps cut through the richness of the crackling pork roast. You can pickle the onions up to 5 days ahead and keep them in the fridge. It's a good idea to air-dry the pork roast uncovered in the fridge up to 1 day before roasting, too."

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    TIP

    How to make perfect roast potatoes

    “Here’s my tip for perfect roast potatoes – cut the potatoes diagonally. This will give you more surface area and more corners, which means more parts of the potato to crisp. Find my ultimate roasted potatoes recipe here."

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    "The fritters would make delicious finger food on their own, but they're also perfect for sopping up juices from the succulent souvlaki-spiced roast lamb. You can make and shape the fritter mixture up to 12 hours before cooking and store, covered, in the fridge. If you need to reheat cooked fritters, just pop them in a 200°C oven (180°C fan-forced) for 5 mins."

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    How to make a salad dressing

    “I always make my own vinaigrette – in just a few minutes you can take a salad to the next level. Here’s how to do it. Combine equal amounts of your favourite vinegar and good-quality olive oil in a jar with a pinch of salt and some chopped shallots. Give it a good shake and it’s ready.”

  12. "Inspired by Thai flavours, this Asian style slaw is great with barbecued meats but can satisfy all dietary restrictions that show up at the table – it’s dairy free and vegan. To make it gluten free, use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari. If there’s a nut allergy, peanuts can be omitted."

  13. "This fresh take on Italian panzanella makes the most of all those beautiful summer veggies like eggplant, capsicum and juicy ripe tomatoes. To get ahead, fry the bread and barbecue the veggies the day before, then store the veggies in the fridge and the bread in an airtight container at room temperature."

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    How to cut mangoes

    “Here’s a tip for getting the most fruit from a mango. The mango seed is roughly the same width as the stem – slice down each side as close to the stem as possible to remove each cheek.”

  15. “This is a great alternative to trifle when you want something cold and refreshing. Feel free to add other fresh seasonal fruits to this dessert – try it with cherries and raspberries.”

  16. "Here's what to make when you love the flavours of christmas pudding but don't want a warm dessert. This ice cream pudding can be made up to 1 week ahead – cover and keep in the freezer. The glazed cherries can be made up to 8 hours ahead – cover and place in the fridge, tossing cherries occasionally."

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    TIP

    How to store pavlova

    “When it comes to the classic pav, it’s good to know you can make your base ahead of time. But keep in mind that heat and humidity allow it to absorb moisture and become sticky and chewy. To keep your pavlova base crisp with a perfect marshmallow-like centre, it’s best to bake up to 1 day in advance and place in an airtight container. Store the container in a cool, dry place, away from heat and moisture.”

  18. "Trifle is always a crowd-pleaser at Christmas and this one’s a beauty. It’s inspired by the classic pav, but you don’t have to turn on the oven – too easy! You could make it as individual trifles in glasses if you like. To save time on the day, make the custard up to 2 days ahead, cover and refrigerate. Then assemble the trifle, without topping with meringues, up to 4 hours ahead, cover and refrigerate.”