Memories of my childhood Christmas’ were that it was always hot; with the soaring summer temperature boosted by the humble oven, heating the house to an unbearable degree. Only the aroma of turkey and ham, wafting from the kitchen could lend logic to the insanity of this tradition. Hours of sweltering until the Christmas faire arrived at the already heavily laden table and a feeding frenzy would follow, before retirement for an afternoon nap.
Now with more emphasis on gourmet food and cooking, the family and friends festive soirees have taken on the simpler, more casual (and cooler) format of the oven barbecue.
Smaller flavoursome birds such as marinated duck and stuffed quail are now on the menu, with barbecue pork loin, and plenty of seafood making a stronger presence. Whole red throated emperor or ruby snapper stuffed with Asian herbs and limes and bound in banana leaves, bakes magnificently in a BBQ oven. Simply throwing some skewered prawns or scallops on the ‘Barbie’ makes for a good starter.
That heavy traditional Christmas ‘Pud’ is now being replaced by lighter and cooler delicacies such as creamed mango or plum pudding ice cream and lots of fresh berries and tropical fruits and nuts. Christmas may have gone gourmet but certainly more casual.