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Recipies & Ramblings

Large Gatherings Menu & Recipes for Christmas Day

The silly season is well and truly upon us. In case you missed the recipes in the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly I thought I’d share my ‘feed a crowd’ recipes for you here. The rest of the photos are over in my portfolio! Happy cooking!


Large gatherings and big celebrations create a lot of fun- but don’t spend all your time in the kitchen! Enjoy these easy make-ahead recipes for when you need to cater for a crowd.


a combination of different seafood’s make up an interesting starter, if you’re not sure of your guests taste you could always add a few pots of hummus, dips and antipasto goodies- remember to put out a good selection of breads and crackers.

Christmas Feed a Crowd


a classic smoky spread that everyone will love.

250-300 gms smoked salmon pieces
250 gm cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon freshly chopped dill or paste
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 lemon zest and juice
Cracked pepper to taste
Salmon eggs to garnish

Blend all together in the food processor until smooth, spoon into a serving dish and garnish with salmon eggs or a swirl of olive oil, extra capers & herbs.


who could resist a little pot of Prawns with creamy tangy dressing?

800-1kg gms thawed shrimps or prawns
3/4 cup aioli
2 finely chopped gherkins
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
Dash Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Cracked pepper

Drain and pat the shrimps dry, mix the aioli, gherkin, chives and Worcestershire sauce together and toss with the shrimps. Serve in little pots with extra chives and lime on the side.


serve the scallops hot from the oven and let you guests dig in and scoop up with French bread or serve them in little individual ramekins.

30 gms butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup plain flour
2 cups hot seafood stock
600gms scallops, quartered
½ cup finely grated parmesan
Crusty bread for dipping

Heat the butter and gently cook the onions, garlic and ginger for 2 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add the wine and let reduce until nearly evaporated. Sprinkle over the flour and cook stirring for 2 minutes until sandy texture. Gradually add the hot stock stirring constantly until smooth and saucy. Simmer for 2-3 minutes then add the scallops and cook gently for a further 2-3 minutes. Transfer to an oven proof dish and sprinkle over the cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve with crusty bread.


it’s not Christmas without a glazed ham, the more you baste your ham the more caramelised and luscious it will look!

1 ham (size dependant on number of guests)
1-2 small granny smith apples
1-2 tablespoons cloves
¼ cup lemon juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1-2 cups cider

Pre-heat the oven to 170 degs. Line a deep roasting dish big enough to fit the ham with cooking paper. Carefully remove the thick skin layer from the ham using your hands and discard. Score the fat in a decorative pattern with the tip of a knife. Slice the apple into rings and soak in the lemon juice for 2 minutes then arrange on the ham securing with cloves. Combine the residual lemon juice, brown sugar and mixed spice and enough cider to make a runny glaze. Place the ham in the lined dish and poon or brush over the ham and apple slices, add remaining cider to the roasting dish and cook for 30-40 minutes basting every ten minutes with remaining glaze and roasting juices.

Serve with mustard, chutneys or fig paste.


this is a unique way to take cheese to the next level, it’s super tasty and gooey when it’s warm.

1 large wheel or 2 smaller wheels brie cheese
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, chopped + extra for garnish
1 small red onion, finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cracked pepper

Crackers and French stick slices

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degs. Place the brie on a large round of cooking paper on a shallow baking tray. Combine the chilli, garlic, red onion slices, rosemary and 1 tablespoons of the oil and pile in the centre of the brie. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the brie is soft and topping just starting to caramelise. Transfer to a serving plate serve warm with crackers and bread.


this is a really simple salad but looks effecting with its different sized tomatoes, use heirloom tomatoes or different colours if you can find them. You can add peppery rocket, avocado slices or cucumber ribbons if you want to extend it. the balsamic drizzle is available from the supermarket.

2-3 large vine tomatoes
2-3 heirloom or specialty tomatoes
1 punnet cherry or gourmet tomatoes
Pinch sugar / sea salt
250 gms buffalo mozzarella balls
1 small shallot, finely sliced
Small bunch basil leaves
¼ cup balsamic drizzle
2-3 tablespoons premium olive oil
Black pepper

Slice the larger tomatoes thickly and cut the smaller ones in halves or wedges. Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle with the sugar and salt. Tear the mozzarella balls into bit sized pieces and scatter over the tomatoes with the shallots and basil leaves. Just before serving drizzle over the balsamic glaze, oil and grind over black pepper.


this show stopper looks really impressive but is super easy to make. It has a chewy fudge brownie base and Christmas scented ice-cream top. The berries and silver pearls make it special.

125 gm butter
125gms dark chocolate
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ cup self-raising flour
¼ cup cocoa

2 cups cake fruit mix (or a combination of dried apricots, glace cherries, cranberries & raisins)
2 tablespoons Cointreau
2 litres vanilla bean ice-cream, semi-thawed
Berries and silver pearls to decorate

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degs. Soak the fruit mix in the Cointreau for at least an hour. Melt the butter and chocolate together stirring until melted and smooth (either in the microwave or double boiler). Stir in the brown sugar and eggs with a spatula then mix in the sifted flour and cocoa. Spoon into a 23cm lined spring form tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm but still fudgy in the centre. Allow to cool completely then run a knife around the edge to loosen the brownie from the tin.

Stir the marinated fruits into the soft ice-cream until evenly mixed then spoon over the brownie base; swirl the top then freeze for at least 4 hours or until firm. Run a knife around the ice-cream and gently release the tin. Transfer to a serving plate or cake stand and decorate the top with berries and silver balls.

Serves at least 16

 *things you can do ahead

Make salmon pate & aioli dressing the day before

Make and freeze cassata cake up to 2 days before

Make rocky road up to 2 days before

On the morning make scallop mix, topping for cheese, mix prawns, score ham


melt 1 bag chocolate melts in the microwave or over a double boiler until smooth and glossy. Stir in 1 cup roughly chopped jubes, ½ cup pistachio nuts and 1 cup mini marshmallows. Spoon onto a lined shallow cake tin and smooth out evenly. Allow to cool and set for at least 3-4 hours.


half fill a jug or bottle with ice and combine equal quantities lemonade, ginger ale, tropical fruit juice and add a few lime wedges and mint sprigs.