The festive season is all about enjoying family, friends and food. And traditionally speaking, overindulging a little in the latter. Lucky for us Australians, it falls over summer where a lot of fruit and veg is in season and at its most delicious. This doesn't mean ditching all our Christmas favourites like roasts and dessert, but instead means more options for incorporating fresh produce into our recipes.
To help us celebrate, Cancer Council NSW has released a free Festive Cookbook e-book, with 30 fabulous recipes and lots of achievable tips for a healthier approach to Christmas. Here's a taster:
3 easy tips for healthier eating:
- To reduce cancer risk, Cancer Council NSW recommends eating a small serve (65g) of red meat each day or 2 serves (130g) of red meat 3-4 times a week.
- For everyday meals, fatty cuts of meat are best avoided. Small, leaner servings are recommended.
- To accompany the meat, fill the rest of your plate with lots of different coloured vegetables.
Christmas Day menu
Serves: 6 (with leftovers)
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 1 hr 45 mins
- 2kg boned and rolled pork loin, skin scored
- 1 tbsp table salt
- 1 small red cabbage
- 2 medium brown onions, sliced
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 green apple, thinly sliced and cut into strips
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced and cut into strips
- ¼ small green cabbage, finely shredded
- ¼ cup small mint leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C fan forced.
2. Pat pork dry with paper towel and rub salt into the skin. If time allows, cover flesh of pork with plastic wrap, leaving skin exposed and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. This dries out the skin for extra crispy crackling.
3. If refrigerated overnight, stand pork for 1 hour at room temperature before cooking. Remove plastic wrap. Place pork in a roasting tray and roast for 45 minutes or until skin starts to crackle.
4. Meanwhile, combine cabbage, onion, vinegar, sugar and allspice in a roasting tray and toss.
5. Reduce oven to 180°C fan forced and cook pork and cabbage for 1 hour or until pork is cooked through. Stir cabbage every 15 minutes to avoid catching.
6. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add apple, celery, cabbage and mint, season with salt and pepper and mix.
7. Serve pork with braised cabbage and apple slaw.
- Ask your butcher to bone, roll and score your pork loin for you.
- Keep your meat portions small and pile your plate high with beautiful salads and sides.
- Keep crackle for special occasions. Although delicious, it’s high in saturated fat and salt and generally best to avoid for better health.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
- ½ cup Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp tahini
- ½ cup coriander leaves
- 1 cup baby rocket leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan forced. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
2. Thinly slice whole cauliflower into slices about 5mm thick and place on prepared oven tray with any cauliflower leaves. In a small bowl, combine oil and coriander. Drizzle oil over cauliflower and rub to coat. Roast cauliflower for 35 minutes or until tender and edges just start to burn. Add hazelnuts for the last 10 minutes to toast.
3. Meanwhile, in a small food processor, combine yoghurt, tahini and coriander and process until smooth.
4. Serve cauliflower drizzled with yoghurt and topped with rocket.
- Vegetables are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals which, in combination, help to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
- Adding herbs provide a depth of flavour and reduces the need to add salt to the dish.
- Inclusion of hazelnuts and olive oil to the recipe adds healthy fats to the meal.
Prep time: 40 mins
Cook time: 2 hrs (Plus 3 hours cooling)
- 300g Anzac biscuits
- 50g unsalted butter, melted
- 500g cream cheese, softened
- 350g firm ricotta
- ¼ cup apple puree
- 1½ cups caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, beaten
- ¾ cup water
- 3 egg whites
- Thinly sliced pineapple, banana, mango and kiwi fruit, to serve
- Passion fruit and small mint leaves to serve.
1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease and double line the base and sides of a 20cm round springform pan with baking paper.
2. In a food processor, process biscuits to a fine crumb. With the motor running, add the butter and process until crumb comes together. Transfer crumb to the prepared pan, spread evenly over the base of the pan and press firmly. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and ricotta until smooth. Add the apple puree, half the sugar and the vanilla and beat for 4 minutes to dissolve sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Spoon cream cheese mixture over the biscuit base and smooth surface.
4. Place a roasting tray in the base of the oven and fill with water. Place cheesecake on the shelf above roasting dish and bake for 1 hour or until just set in the centre. Turn the oven off, leave door ajar and cool cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. Refrigerate cheesecake in the pan for 3 hours.
5. In a small saucepan, combine water and remaining sugar and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase to medium heat and simmer until the mixture reaches 115°C on a sugar thermometer. Do not mix. Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Just before sugar reaches the correct temperature, beat whites to soft peaks. When sugar is at temperature and with the electric mixer motor running, gradually pour the sugar syrup into the whites in a slow and steady stream. Beat for 10 minutes, until cool. Dollop meringue over cooled cheesecake. Use a blow torch to toast the meringue if liked.
6. Top cheesecake with fruit and mint leaves to serve.
- Fruit makes a great choice for dessert, it is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals and can be used in a variety of ways.