It is very different as it is usually around 30ºC outside and most of the cooking is done on the barbecue. On top of that, shorts, flip-flops and sunglasses are the Christmas outfit of the day (you would not dream of wearing a Christmas jumper with this kind of weather).
I thought I would ask my good friend Lauren-Anne (she goes by L.A. so I will use it this way here) to tell me about her Australian Christmas. L.A. is a wonderful actress and lives in Melbourne. She is also a very good cook. My last birthday in Australia, she baked me thirty delicious cupcakes. It was such a surprise (and they were gorgeous!). And despite all the food intolerance she has, her dishes are always very creative and flavoursome (I would find it hard to cut out of my diet all the things she cannot eat anymore).
When I told her about the Six Christmases Project, she was really fast to answer and so happy to participate in it.
They start the meal with seafood cooked on the barbecue. The men of the family take care of that part of the dinner. The seafood consists mainly of prawns and calamari marinated with garlic, chillies and lemon juice.
For the main part of the dinner, they eat a roast turkey, a glazed ham and vegetables. The ham is usually prepared by L.A.'s aunt. The vegetables are roasted pumpkin, potatoes, parsnips and blanched green beans (last year, the latter was served with roasted almonds and bacon).
At the table, they also always have Christmas crackers. They pop them open, then read the jokes and wear the hats (and they keep them on until the end of the meal).
For dessert, there is a lovely selection of delicious sweet things. There is a Christmas pudding (that L.A. and her aunt try to 'set alight' every year) served with custard and cream. L.A. told me she made the Christmas pudding a couple of weeks ago. She used a new recipe by Maggie Beer.
There are also mince pies and rum balls shaped like Christmas puddings. These delicacies are sourced by her aunt from a great bakery.
There will also be some pavlova (a dessert that consists of meringue topped with cream and pieces of fruit) as they started serving it at Christmas for those who do not eat pudding.
L.A. also makes a Christmas cake and a White Christmas (I made a variation of the latter here). They have other things like shortbread and what L.A. is hoping to start doing as a tradition from now on: delicious buckwheat and ginger reindeer cookies.
I love that some of L.A.'s recipes for Christmas sweet things come from the 1960's. It is great to carry food traditions year after year.
L.A. and her family will also all sit around the room where the Christmas tree. Each family takes it in turns to pass out their presents.
I decided to create two recipes taking L.A.'s diet into account so she can also enjoy them. I cooked the prawns in the oven as I do not own a barbecue (first of all, it is not allowed in my building; second of all, who wants to stand outside in Ireland when it is 1ºC ?). I also decided to roast a gammon as I think it can be a nice alternative to a whole ham.