Donna Hay takes the stress out of Christmas cooking and entertaining with this must-have collection of more than 170 stunning yet simple festive recipes. Featuring all the nostalgic favourites and some fun twists on the classics, this is the only cookbook you need for the festive season.
From easy starters to show-stopping mains - including a cheat's glazed ham that doesn't need studding or basting - to dazzling desserts that are sure to impress, and some special edible gifts, these recipes are peppered with Donna's best-ever tricks and shortcuts to make it the most relaxing Christmas yet. You'll also find plenty of beautiful styling tips to add some extra sparkle to the festivities.
And make sure you catch the accompanying television series currently streaming on Disney+.
1 x 6-7 kilograms ham leg
1.25 litre fresh orange juice
310 millilitres white wine vinegar
250ml tonic water
1.2kg firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp juniper berries
6 bay leaves
8 sprigs lemon thyme
1. To make the juniper glaze, place the juice, vinegar, tonic, gin, sugar, juniper berries, bay leaves and lemon thyme in a saucepan over high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until reduced by a third. Strain the glaze into a jug, reserving the juniper berries. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 220C.
3. Use a sharp knife to score the skin around the sides and hock of the ham, before using your fingers to gently remove the rind. Trim any excess fat. Wrap the hock of the ham with non-stick baking paper, then aluminium foil. Pour the glaze into a deep-sided roasting pan. Carefully place the ham, top-side down, into the pan and brush with the glaze. Roast for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 200C. Remove a third of the glaze and place in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until reduced and thickened.
5. While the glaze is cooking, turn the ham over and brush with the roasting pan glaze. Cook for a further 15 minutes.
6. Brush the ham with the reduced and thickened glaze and cook for a further 10 minutes or until golden.
7. Place the ham on a serving platter and brush with any remaining glaze before carving to serve.
Tip: This recipe calls for a whole leg of ham, with the bone in, that has been pre-cured and pre-cooked. If you can't buy a pre-cooked ham in your part of the world (sometimes the case in the UK), ask your local butcher for a cured leg and follow their cooking instructions before glazing.
525g store-bought lemon curd
Lemon yoghurt cake:
180ml light-flavoured extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
60ml lemon juice
280g plain thick yoghurt
385g caster sugar
300g self-raising flour
Lemon and tonic syrup:
55g caster sugar
125ml tonic water
1 tbsp lemon juice
60ml gin (optional)
600ml double cream
600ml pure cream
2 tbsp pure icing sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
440g caster sugar
150ml egg white (about 4 eggs), at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line a 20cm x 30cm slice tin with non-stick baking paper.
2. To make the lemon yoghurt cake, place the oil, eggs, lemon rind and juice, yoghurt and sugar in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Sift in the flour and whisk until smooth. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.
3. Cool in the tin for five minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut the cake into 5cm x 7cm rectangles and set aside.
4. To make the lemon and tonic syrup, place the sugar, tonic water and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cook for two minutes or until thickened slightly. Remove from the heat. Stir in the gin, if desired. Set aside to cool.
5. To make the whipped cream, place both the creams and the icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. Set aside.
6. To make the Italian meringue, place the water, cream of tartar and 220g of the sugar in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for four minutes.
7. Place the egg white in the clean bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. With the motor running, gradually add the remaining sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whisking for 30 seconds before adding more. Gradually add the hot sugar syrup in a thin, steady stream and whisk for a further four minutes or until the meringue is thick, glossy and cooled.
8. To assemble, place the lemon yoghurt cake pieces in the base of a four-litre-capacity glass dish and drizzle with the lemon and tonic syrup. Spoon over the whipped cream and top with the lemon curd. Dollop the Italian meringue on top and use a small kitchen blowtorch to lightly toast the meringue until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Tip: Be sure to use fresh, room-temperature eggs - this will help the egg whites to become more voluminous when beaten.
1kg rock salt
1.5kg sebago potatoes
75g unsalted butter, chopped
11/2 tbsp caster sugar
3 tsp dry yeast
675g plain flour
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
3 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup thyme leaves
80ml extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 220C.
2. Place the rock salt on a baking tray and top with the potatoes. Prick the potatoes all over with a metal skewer and roast for one hour or until soft. Allow to cool slightly. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl, discarding the skins. Set aside.
3. While the potato is cooling, place half the milk in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to just below the boil. Remove from the heat, add the butter and sugar and stir until the butter is melted. Add the yeast and the remaining milk and stir to combine. Set aside in a warm place for five minutes or until the surface is foamy.
4. Place the flour, salt, eggs and the yeast mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and beat for five minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
5. Sprinkle the dough with the potato and gently knead to combine. Divide the dough into roughly 34 x one tablespoon portions and roll into balls.
6. Line a 24cm round cake tin with non-stick baking paper, allowing 3cm of the paper to extend above the edge. Lightly grease an 8cm-tall x 8cm-wide ovenproof ramekin and position it in the centre of the tin. Place the parsley, rosemary, thyme and oil in a small bowl and mix to combine. Roll the dough balls in the herb mixture and place in the tin. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until risen.
7. Preheat oven to 180C.
8. Bake the bread for 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. While still warm, remove the ramekin and allow the bread to cool in the tin for five minutes, before turning out and serving.
It's important the ramekin is at least 8cm tall, as the dough will continue to rise as it bakes.
A sprig or two of fresh bay leaves or rosemary, pushed into the baked bread, makes a lovely addition to the wreath. Place it in the centre of the table for easy sharing and it will double as a festive centrepiece.
micro coriander leaves (optional), to serve
store-bought grissini, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve
Spiced crispy chickpeas:
50g white rice flour
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp ground coriander
1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
vegetable oil, for shallow frying
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp hulled tahini
1 clove garlic, crushed
cup (80ml) lemon juice
60ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 tbsp water
1. To make the hummus, place the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the water to thin the hummus if necessary, processing to combine. Refrigerate for one hour or until chilled.
2. To make the spiced crispy chickpeas, place the flour, paprika and ground coriander in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Add the chickpeas and toss to coat. Heat 1cm of vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the chickpeas, in batches, for four to five minutes or until crisp and golden. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the extra paprika.
3. Spoon the hummus onto a serving plate and top with the crispy chickpeas. Drizzle with the extra oil, sprinkle with coriander leaves and pepper and serve with grissini and lemon wedges.
Makes 2 1/2 cups.
Tip: Micro herbs are available from greengrocers, farmers' markets and select supermarkets. If you can't find any, use regular herbs.
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