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Inspiring Menus for the Festive Season

30 October, 2006

Inspiring Menus for the Festive Season

The Christmas issue of Cuisine is dedicated to fine festive fare and features five complete menus for the perfect Christmas meal.

“Christmas is all about bringing together family and friends over great food and wine. We’ve dedicated this issue to the festive season, and our food writers have contributed five unique menus to enjoy,” says Simon Wilson, editor.

For those after a long and luxurious Christmas lunch, Ray McVinnie suggests four rich courses for diners to linger over. Rather than sharing one large bird, he suggests individual poussin with porcini and red wine.

Lauraine Jacobs adds spice to her Christmas feast – starting with gently spiced seafood, followed by tangy roast beef, and turkey breast with spicy cranberry stuffing.

Ginny Grant takes a traditional Christmas menu and adds a contemporary flavour, swapping heavy sauces and winter produce for light, seasonal vegetables and fruit – part of a true Kiwi Christmas experience.

Natalia Schamroth prepares a seven-course Christmas feast for two – an extraordinary meal in celebration of the season.

To complete the Christmas quintet, award-winning Auckland chef Simon Wright, of the French Café, shares his take on a festive lunch.

Other features in the latest issue of Cuisine:
 Results from the annual Champagne and Méthode Traditionelle tasting, as well as top Pinot Noir picks, for the perfect toast this Christmas season.
 Fiona Smith adds a modern twist to Christmas mince pies, breads and cakes.
 Straight from Ponsonby’s latest hotspot, Celia Harvey of Blake St café suggests exotic dishes for perfect summer entertaining.
 Gabriela Llamas, Savour NZ presenter and Spanish cooking teacher, shares a menu of festive dishes she makes for Christmas in Madrid.

On sale from Monday 30 October, the Christmas issue of Cuisine retails for $8.90 and is available from all good bookstores and supermarkets throughout New Zealand.

The media recipe for issue 119 is Ginny Grant’s Cardamom-spiced meringues with strawberries and rose water – a light, but sweet dessert perfect to follow a rich Christmas main.

Cardamom-spiced meringues with strawberries and rose water by Ginny Grant

These lightly spiced meringues are dried to a crisp and perfect for an instant dessert. Stored in an airtight container, they should keep for weeks.


1 cardamom pod
160g caster sugar
3 egg whites

Crack the cardamom pod with the back of a knife and remove the seeds. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the seeds with 1 tablespoon of the caster sugar to a fine powder. Sieve to remove any lumps. Preheat the oven to 140°C. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the cardamom sugar and remaining caster sugar. Beat until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper or silicon sheets. Use a piping bag to pipe small meringues (or if you prefer a more rustic look use a spoon) on to the tray. Place in the oven and lower the heat to 100°C. Bake for 11⁄2 hours. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and allow the meringues to cool. Serve the meringues and strawberries (recipe follows) with lashings of lightly whipped cream, crème anglaise or crème fraîche. Dust lightly with icing sugar. Makes around 60.

Strawberries & Rose Water

2 punnets strawberries
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon rose water

Crush 6 strawberries with the sugar. Place in a saucepan with the water, lemon zest and juice. Bring to the boil then gently simmer for 2 minutes. Add the rose water and set aside to cool. Halve (or quarter if large) the rest of the strawberries and set aside. To serve, toss the crushed strawberries through the halved strawberries.


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