Time is fast approaching to plan food for your Christmas festivities. This year the extended family are celebrating Christmas on Boxing Day at my sister’s beach house. The weather could be anywhere between 18 – 40C (65 – 105F) (Melbourne is so unpredictable) and the sun could be shining or it might be pouring down with rain. So the plan is to be prepared with foods that might not require the oven or can be prepared in advance. My sister and I will be preparing a spread of mainly Italian food that can be eaten buffet style – with a focus on seafood (in true Australian Christmas style) and lighter dishes as starters. I hope to have received my “care pack” of charcuterie I made at the Agrarian Kitchen in Tasmania in August this year to add to the Christmas feast. Here is a selection of antipasti or starters from my blog archive that are on my short-list of what to make. And in case you are looking for Christmas desserts to make, here is the link to last year’s Christmas round-up post. Happy Christmas feast planning!
1. Scallops on the shell
These moist, tasty and super-simple scallops can be made in the oven or in the griller. Last time I made these the guests were licking the buttery garlicky sauce from the shell (really, they were). You will need to make sure you have good quality and fresh scallops for this recipe, the link is here.
2. Bresaola, rocket and Parmesan cicheti
This is such an impressive dish – and takes a couple of minutes to assemble. You should always have the ingredients for this one in the fridge to serve with a drink to guests who have popped in unexpectedly. A winner. The recipe is here.
3. Zucchini, eggplant and red pepper rolls
I made a massive platter of these a few Christmases back for an afternoon party and they disappeared in about 10 minutes flat. They are a bit time consuming to make but are a tasty and healthy alternative to other heavier Christmas foods. There are three types of rolls (eggplant, red pepper and zucchini) and the recipe is from Antonio Carluccio. Here is the link.
4. Cauliflower fritters
This is a vegetarian Sicilian dish, which contains soft currants, pine nuts and lots of parmesan cheese. They are delicious served warm and can be made gluten free. The recipe is here.
5. Sarde in saor (Sardines in a sweet and sour sauce)
These are a huge hit with my family and something that was often in the fridge at home growing up as they were a favourite of my father. Sardines are fried and then layered with soft cooked onions, pine nuts, pepper corns and currants. The dish is Venetian but eaten with slight variations in towns all along the northern boundary of the Adriatic Sea. These may not look pretty but they are amazing. They are best eaten a day or two after they are made, cold from the fridge, with a thin round of bread. The link to the recipe is here.