Alex Dalland

If you’re getting tired of the same old Christmas dinners with ham, turkey, roast vegetables and gravy then look no further – because Sydney Observer is bringing you great new ways to energise your Christmas dinner, from beginning to end!

Appetisers/Finger Food

One of the easiest starters that will complement any meal is Haloumi – the high melting point of the cheese makes it perfect for grilling. Fry it on skewers, drizzle it with a mixture of honey and lime and then sprinkle with paprika and cinnamon.

If you want to take advantage of the abundance of seafood available at this time of year, try serving oysters – but jazz them up with a blend of light soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and half the amount of sesame oil, and top the oysters with shallots for a seafood appetiser with an Asian infusion.

Christmas Mains – Ditch the Turkey!

For alternatives to the conventional ham and turkey, try the everyday but underrated main course staples like beef roast or pork shoulder and add a bold new flavour!

If you’re looking for a beef roast twist, Better Homes and Gardens suggest adding a tin of anchovies, smashed garlic, black pepper, red wine vinegar and fresh rosemary as a roast rub that will give a perfect salty flavour.

When it comes to pork shoulder, there is nothing better than the traditional Puerto Rican Christmas favourite – ‘pernil’; a slow-cooked pork shoulder marinated in ‘adobo’ sauce. Food Network recommends pureeing a large amount of garlic, oregano, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper and rubbing this all over the pork. Once the pork is roasted, serve with lime juice and coriander for an unforgettable main course that will have your guests coming back every Christmas!

Christmas Desserts

After a big Christmas feast, a small dessert might be just the thing you need. If you’re a fan of Banoffee (banana toffee) pie, try serving miniatures to your guests. BBC Good Food suggests blending digestive biscuits and butter to make a rich crunchy pastry when refrigerated, and topping this with caramel, whipped cream, banana chips and chocolate shavings.

If you have a sweet tooth and dessert might just be your main course, why not try taking an Aussie favourite and creating something new? Recipe website Foodiful suggests a Tim Tam cheesecake – made by blending the tasty biscuits with butter to make a base layered with a mix of cream cheese, sugar and melted white and dark chocolate. Then all you need to do is layer the mixture in your cake tin, refrigerate overnight, add sifted cocoa and serve!