“There’s just something so good about the combination of the rich tomatoey lamb, the smooth,…
It’s been a strange and challenging year for Canberra’s beloved hospitality scene.
After a marathon 12 months of smoke, bushfire, hail and COVID-restrictions, we’re wishing Canberra hospos a very merry Christmas, filled with food, wine and family.
But while they’re sitting down to their favourite dish on Christmas Day—you can be too!
We’ve asked six Canberra chefs to dish on their favourite Christmas recipes, so you can have the best of Canberra’s food scene at your Christmas table.
Giving us a big dose of Aussie Christmas nostalgia is Emaleigh Brookshaw from NewActon’s Morning Glory, who is serving up one of her favourite dishes from her childhood.
Tell us about your dish. Why did you choose it?
My dish is a very simple salad option because Christmas is often too busy and too hot to be slaving in a kitchen all day.
My Nan has made this salad every Christmas for as long as I can remember, and I almost always eat a bowl of this over all the other options. Also eating cold seafood and crispy iceberg lettuce during summer, I mean, how can you go wrong?
To me, Christmas is…
Christmas is family. I have family all over Victoria and often Christmas day is spent driving all over so Christmas eve is the better day in my opinion. We sit outside at my grandparents’ house with all our family and over the course of the afternoon/evening we have people come and go.
Time for dinner and Nan pulls out all the cold sliced meat she cooked the day before and gets all her salads and desserts out.
Usually, the only hot element of our Christmas Eve meal is some BBQ-cooked sausages. Sitting In the backyard listening to the Melbourne Christmas carols on the TV inside through the open windows surrounded by friends and family most of whom we don’t see often IS Christmas and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What are your plans for Christmas 2020?
Thankfully the [Victorian] borders will be open, so as per usual my parents, my brother and myself will make our way to Melbourne from our respective homes as we’re the only ones out of state and we will have Christmas in the backyard at my grandparents as always—just with a lot less guests one, would assume.
Tell us about one ‘high’ and one ‘low’ of 2020
The low is a pretty big one for me, I was due to fly overseas and continue travelling for a couple of years. Goes without saying that was all put on hold.
The high Is maybe a little more complicated, getting something so big taken away at what was really the last minute was pretty hard on the soul and mind.
I went through some mental struggles trying to work out what this meant for me and my five-year plan with the uncertainty of international travel.
Thankfully, Morning Glory stayed open and powered through the lockdown, getting to work with the team we have during these crazy times allowed me to grow as a person and as a chef.
So, the high had to be the personal growth I went through which will be invaluable on my future travels. I walk away from 2020 thankful for the Morning Glory team and for giving me the space to grow.
What are you looking forward to in 2021?
I’m being as optimistic as possible and still hoping to head off on my overseas travels. The backup plan at this stage is to continue my growth as a chef and a human and work on being the best me I can be.
Makes 8-10 side salads
- Prawns, raw unshelled 1.5kg
- Seafood extender, 500g
- Mayonnaise 100g
- Cream 150ml
- Tomato sauce 100g
- Worcestershire 20ml
- Tabasco 10 splashes
- White pepper 10g
- White Vinegar 100ml
- 1/2 an Iceberg lettuce
- 2 Lemons
Bring a large pot of water to the boil with the white vinegar. Once boiling add in prawns whole, when the pot as returned to the boil cook for 5 minutes, strain prawns and place n a bowl with ice water or run under cold water for a few minutes till cool.
In a bowl combine mayonnaise, cream, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, Tabasco and white pepper. Whisk together and place in fridge till later. Wash the Iceberg lettuce, slice finely and place in a bowl in the fridge until ready to serve. Wash lemons and cut into wedges.
Take your cooled prawns and peel them down to just the flesh. Place prawns in a bowl and add the seafood extender by breaking it up gently with your hands.
Pour your already made sauce over the seafood and fold through. In bowls, place shredded lettuce and top with seafood. Serve with lemon wedges.
NOTES: This sauce recipe is a good base for any seafood you prefer. If you don’t have access to fresh raw prawns you can purchase cooked peeled prawns.
Belconnen Fresh Food Markets has the freshest ingredients for your Christmas.
Before you make Emaleigh’s Seafood Salad, make sure to pick up prawns and seafood extender from Sea Harvest and your Iceberg lettuce from Ziggys Fresh.
WANT MORE CHRISTMAS INSPIRATION FROM CANBERRA CHEFS?
PHOTOGRAPHY Emma Kennedy @thecasualcreator