Now that you’ve decked your hedge with LED lights and hooked up your TV in the backyard, fully weatherproof and protected from pretty much anything you can throw at it, entertainment this Christmas is easy, even better if you have a pool to go with those hot summer night. So how about that outdoor Christmas spread to go with it?
Before you head to the nearest fast food drive through, there are some genuine Christmas meals that are easy to do that will have you looking like a master chef in a matter of minutes.
Luckily a big BBQ cook up is a standard Australian Christmas tradition, so you are sold there, all you need to do is add in some holiday worthy sides and a dessert to shovel in and you have the day made, with leftovers to see you through to New Years.
If you are catering for kids stop off at the deli section for some cocktail franks, and for adults pick up some kranksy, both go great on the grill or BBQ hot plate and are easy appetisers. You can get as creative as you like with dipping sauces for these guys as well.
To serve up a feast check our cooking times for your meat here, then add in some of these dishes that actually make vegetables fun.
Honey glazed carrots
Peel a kilo of carrots and cut them in half from top to bottom (or quarters if you have especially large carrots). Place the carrots on a foil covered baking tray.Make an incredibly tasty glaze with ¼ cup butter and 2 tablespoons of honey. Add in some seasonings like chopped rosemary and garlic powder (about ½ teaspoon of each). Top off with salt and ground black pepper. Stir these ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat until combined and pour over carrots.
Bake in the oven at 90 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Garlic Butter Mushrooms
You can cook these on the barbie or in the oven.
Take 1 kilo of mushrooms and clean them. (Any variety works, portobello, button, crimini, depending on your mood and cooking method- large portobello go well on the BBQ)
In a medium bowl whisk together 4 tablespoons of melted butter, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme (chopped) and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Cover the mushrooms with the butter mixture, add some salt and pepper and toss to coat. On a baking sheet or BBQ grill spread out your mushrooms evenly on their backs and hot roast for 15 to 18 minutes (200 degrees for oven) until golden and tender.
Grilled watermelon salad
Take 3 cups of cubed seedless watermelon and grill on the BBQ for about 2 minutes each side. While that grills up, whisk together ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and ½ a teaspoon of salt in a small bowl.
Place your watermelon in a salad bowl with1 cup chopped cucumber, 1 cup crumbled feta, ½ a cup sliced red onion and ½ a cup chopped fresh mint.
Pour the dressing over the top and toss through. Garnish with mint leaves and a sprinkle of salt.
Grilled pineapple salsa
Take a fresh pineapple, peel, core and chop it into large chunks. Brush with extra-virgin olive oil and grill, turning until all sides are charred. Allow that to cool before chopping into bite-sized pieces.
To make the salsa mix together the pineapple with 2 chopped peaches, 1 minced small red chilli, ½ a chopped red onion and the juice of a lime.
Season with salt and top with chopped fresh coriander.
Just like guacamole, only not pureed!
Cube 3 avocados and gently stir into a salad bowl with 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes (halved), a small cucumber, (halved and sliced), 1/3 cup corn kernels and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander. If you like some heat, a small red chilli finely diced or minced.
In a small bowl make the dressing with ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, the juice of a lime, ¼ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well and pour over salad, stir gently through.
Finish the meal off with fruit salad and pavlova, Christmas pudding with brandy custard or cherries and ice cream.
Set up some sturdy tables in the yard if you don’t already have a permanent outdoor setting, throw on a tablecloth, it’s a special occasion after all, and enjoy this easy and delicious Christmas banquet.