A festive menu for an Aussie summer

A festive menu for an Aussie summer

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In a land where barbecues and beach days define the holiday spirit, seafood has claimed its throne on the festive table for many families. Traditional British and European Christmas spreads are taking a backseat, and our menus are reflecting the Australian way of celebrating the holidays —a laid-back gathering under the summer sun, a cool drink in hand, surrounded by good company.

As the temperature rises, and the kitchen threatens to turn into a furnace, this seafood-forward menu with clear Japanese influence ensures you will spend more time with your guests and less time orchestrating a hot stove ballet. It's a gift to yourself, allowing you to be present in the moment, savouring the joy of the season without the stress of a bustling kitchen.

Fresh Oysters
Start the feast with arguably the most indulgent thing on the table — freshly shucked oysters. Serve on a bed of ice or salt with your favourite topping for oysters. Some stand outs that would work with this Asian fusion theme:

Salty Yuzu Spritzer
This is a perfect drink to serve before it all kicks off – lightly boozy and effervescent, and extremely refreshing with a touch of citrus salt to whet the appetite. In a shaker with ice, add 60ml gin, 60ml yuzu juice, 1-2 generous pinches of yuzu salt. Shake well. Strain into a highball glass with fresh ice, top with cold soda water and garnish with shiso (or mint) and a final sprinkle of yuzu salt.

Cured Kingfish with Wakame and Ponzu
This low effort, maximum impact main is delicately cured and served with a bright, citrusy ponzu dressing, lots of fresh herbs and crispy fish skin ‘crackling’. Get the recipe here.

Japanese-Style Potato Salad
It's not a Christmas in summer without potato salad, and a Japanese version fits in perfectly with the flavours of the cured kingfish. Mix the soft, squishy cloves of a whole head of roasted garlic with Jimoto Fresh Yuzu & Chilli Dressing, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Fold this sauce through diced potatoes that have been boiled and cooled, then top with fried shallots and bonito flakes.

Quick-Pickled Cucumbers
A balance of sweet and tangy, these cucumbers are still slightly crunchy and are a refreshing side you can whip up in minutes. Using a vegetable peeler or knife, cut four cucumbers into long thin ribbons and mix with a teaspoon of salt. Let sit for 10 mins, then rinse off the salt and squeeze out excess liquid. Make a dressing of rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, grated fresh ginger, soy sauce and a little sugar and toss with the cucumber strips. Garnish with dried chilli flakes and toasted sesame seeds.

Butter Lettuce Leaves
Their tender, cup-like structure serves as a vessel for a little bit of everything on the table, much like a Korean ssam wrap. Take a lettuce cup, pop in some fish, potato salad, pickled cucumber, drizzle on some extra ponzu and top with crumbled fish skin crackling.

So, as we prepare to embrace an Aussie Christmas, let's kick off a new tradition—one that celebrates the flavours of the fresh, amazing quality seafood we’re so lucky to have access to, the warmth of the sun, and the company of those we hold dear. Cheers to a silly season that's relaxing and filled with amazing food.

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