Merry Christmas! Last night, I was put in charge of our family’s Christmas dinner. So instead of last year’s roast, fresh prawns and lobster mornay, I decided to stock up on some oysters, scallops and green king prawns. I also did the gingerbread baking a day in advance!

www.jenius.com.au - christmas 2006 family dinner: fresh oysters

Barilla Bay oysters from Sydney Fish Markets
Nothing beats fresh oysters with a few drops of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon juice.
I adpated the Cashew-Crusted Prawns with Honey-Lemon Sauce recipe from the Coles Christmas Magazine. And instead of using cooked Australian Black Tiger Prawns, I opted for the uncooked Green King Prawns… The prawns were shelled and deveined , but I left the head and tail on (to look fancy).
1/2 cup plain flour
2 eggs
1 cup dried breadcrumbs
100g cashew nuts, chopped finely
18 king prawns, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup peanut oil
HONEY-LEMON SAUCE
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
50g butter
1. Place flour onto a plate. Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl. Combine breadcrumbs and cashew nuts in a separate large bowl.
2. Dip each prawn in flour first, shaking off excess, then dip in egg wash and finally roll in breadcrumb mixture, pressing firmly to secure. Place on a tray sprinkled with breadcrumbs and put in fridge for 20 minutes.
3. Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes till slightly thickened.
4. Heat oil in non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook prawns in batches for 2 – 4 minutes each side til golden. Drain on paper towel. Serve with honey-lemon sauce.

www.jenius.com.au - christmas 2006 family dinner: cashew-crusted prawns with honey-lemon sauce (adapted from the Coles Christmas Magazine)

Cashew-Crusted Prawns with Honey-Lemon Sauce.
For our mains, I turned to Al Dente La Collezione (published by Hardie Grant Books, for Barilla Australia) – a compilation of pasta dishes by chefs around Australia.

www.jenius.com.au - christmas 2006 family dinner: fettucine with cajun seared scallops and coriander pesto

fettucine with cajun seared scallops and coriander pesto
120ml olive oil
1 leek, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 red chillies, finely chopped
4 tablespoons of sundried tomatoes, chopped
120g napoletana sauce
100ml cream
2 tablespoons of chives, chopped
24 large scallops
2 tablespoons of cajun spice
500g fettuccine or tagliatelle
CORIANDER PESTO
1 bunch coriander leaves, washed and dried
3 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts
salt and ground black pepper to taste
60ml olive oil
1. To make the coriander pesto, blend all the ingredients in a food processor. With the motor running, drizzle the oil down the feed tube until all are combined.
2. Heat 60mls of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add leek, garlic and chilli and cook, stirring often, until the leek is transparent. Add the sundried tomatoes and Napoletana sauce and cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to reduce.
3. Pour in the cream and simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the chives and season to taste.
4. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, pat the scallops dry with a clean tea-towel. Dust the scallops with Cajun spice.
5. Heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Cook the scallops in batches for 30 seconds on each side.
6. Drain the pasta and return to the saucepan. Add the sauce, and toss over a low heat until combined.
7. Arrange the pasta onto serving plats, and top with scallops and a dollop of pesto. Serve immediately.

www.jenius.com.au - christmas 2006 family dinner: mixed salad leaves (including baby spinach, rocket, raddicchio)  and fresh mango with a honey, lemon, soy and chilli dressing

mixed salad leaves (including baby spinach, rocket, raddicchio) and fresh mango with a honey, lemon, soy and chilli dressing

www.jenius.com.au - christmas 2006 family dinner: roast potatoes with rosemary and sea salt

roast potatoes with rosemary and sea salt
And last but not least, for the gingerbread, I drew inspiration from Helen (GrabYourFork)’s post.
125g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarb
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup
ICING
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar
1 egg white
4 drops lemon juice
food colouring
1. Cream the butter and sugar
2. Add egg yolk and mix in remaining gingerbread ingredients.
3. Combine and keed until dought forms. Roll out dough and cut out shapes using cookie cutters or knife. Continue to remove excess dough for re-use.
4. Bake for 10 minutes in a moderate oven (180C).
5. Remove immediately and place on a cooling tray.
6. Whisk the egg white, then gradually add the icing sugar. Ensure that there are no lumps, then add lemon juice and food colouring.
7. Decorate as you like.

www.jenius.com.au - christmas 2006 family dinner: gingerbread men/santas and stars

gingerbread santas and stars

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Jennifer is the founding blogger of I Ate My Way Through (originally, Jenius.com.au). Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. When not running her two companies (she is also the Managing Director of The Bamboo Garden online marketing agency), Jen can be found exploring old-world charms at vintage markets and delving into local eats around the world. She has a weakness for fried chicken.