An Early Christmas

December 19, 2010 § 5 Comments

Have I ever told you how much I love menu planning? I don’t think I have, but I REALLY love it!  At any given moment I’m likely to pull out a notepad and pen and start jotting down ideas, incase I was to be called upon to cater for a baby shower or a Lebanese wedding. I was sitting on the train the other day doing exactly this when an elderly Italian man came over to ask what I was was studying. When I told him I was planning a menu he smiled and asked which country I was from. Australia, I replied. He shook his head and asked again. No really, Australia. He laughed and said I was a rare breed – a 22 year-old Australian planning menus on public transport – he probably thought that was something only done by the Nonna’s back home. Anyway, this time of year is perfect to fulfill all my menu desires, from the sexy dinners and friendly brunches to elaborate dress-up party canapes! YES!

This week, NB and I also celebrated Christmas together before I fly home to be with The Duck on the 22nd. It was midweek and we knew we had a full-on party weekend ahead so I kept everything simple and fun with some grilled meatballs, spinach and ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers, chicken fillo pastry parcels and this broad bean/asparagus salad. For dessert we went stress-free and festive with a bowl of set ice cream that had been mashed up with m&ms, berries and almonds. Add a chilled bottle of white and serve everything on the outside table to ‘help yourself’ – now that’s an Aussie Christmas!

Tell me Blushers, what’s your dream menu event?

An early Aussie Christmas



Asparagus, Broadbean and Cherry Tomato Salad

Serves 2

Remove the woody ends from one bunch asparagus and saute in a pan with olive oil. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and 1 clove crushed garlic and toss to combine. Blanch 1 cup frozen broadbeans in boiling water and refresh. In a large bowl, add broadbeans, asparagus and 1/2 punnet of halved cherry tomatoes. Toss with torn basil leaves and another drizzle of balsamic and olive oil. Optionally also add some torn bocconcini.

Festive Ice Cream Bowl

I got this idea from the December issue of delicious. magazine, the front cover recipe is ice cream towers that they had shaped in champagne flutes. After this didn’t quite work out for me, I decided to mashe extra pieces of deliciousness into the ice cream and set it in a large round bowl. I used one round piece of baking paper on the base to prevent sticking and remember to chill the serving plate to stop the ice cream melting too fast.

  • 300g good quality vanilla icecream (I’ll always be a Blue Ribbon girl at heart)
  • Whatever would take your fancy in a Cold Rock world – I used m&ms, raw almonds and berries…some caramel topping could be fudgingly good as well!

Mash bits through slightly softened ice cream, scoop into prepared bowl or glasses and set for 3+ hours. Transfer to chilled plate, top with fresh berries and a big spoon.


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