$50 Xmas Lunch

Reporter: Michelle Vella

Silly season over-indulgence hits our hips and our hip pockets...But can you still treat your family without blowing the budget....it's a yuletide Today Tonight tradition, we set the feed a family of four for fifty dollars Christmas lunch challenge to help viewers celebrate and save...but with the cost of living going up, can it still be done?

We set foodie Sue Redman author of the book "Cooking with Confidence" this very task and she did it...."... it just means planning your food look at what you want to cook and you can have a gourmet lunch."

This year we've managed a mouth-watering three course menu and even a little Christmas cheer, a $5.99 bottle of champers...."I managed to get in a bottle of champagne not a little bottle a full 750 ml bottle of champagne so that's pretty good isn't it."

Sue says the key to having a merry Christmas is shopping around. "Look in the brochures that come through the letter box cos they'll give you specials. Look at what you'd like to do for Christmas as an entree main and dessert. Plan your menu then make a shopping list even take a calculator and just head for the markets." And that's just where we went armed with our chrissy food shopping list.

Then Sue paid a visit to a major chain supermarket to pick up the turkey breast roll at $14.99, bacon, salmon and eight prawns. The Christmas pud cost us $5.98 and Sue even threw in a garlic bread for 99 cents. Then it was off to the swish Royal Hotel in Kent Town to whip up this fantastic feast and chef Andrew was on hand to help out.

The Baker family volunteered their taste buds to put the food to the test and it didn't take them long to settle into the Christmas spirit....All up this Christmas lunch cost $53 dollars and 98 cents... slightly over budget but pretty good for 2006 prices. All our ingredients came from the central markets and a local supermarket....and our well fed family gave the feast five stars.

Sue Redman's website is http://www.sueredman.com.au/

Recipes

Russian Egg Mayo
Served with Smoked Salmon &Prawns

Makes 16 (Russian Eggs)

8 eggs
medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 x 250g bottle Heinz traditional egg mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Bundaberg caster sugar
2 level teaspoons Epicure French mustard
1 tablespoon Vine Valley sweetened spiced vinegar
1large packet of smoked salmon
Prawns, peeled
1 avocado, sliced

Place eggs in cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until they become hard, this will take approximately 5 minutes.
When cooled, peel and cut in halves. Place eggs with the yolk facing up, in a shallow serving dish.

In a medium bowl, place finely chopped onion and parsley and mix well. Add mayonnaise, caster sugar, mustard and vinegar. Combine ingredients well. Pour evenly over eggs and sprinkle a little extra chopped parsley on top for decoration.

Lay 8 even slices of the smoked salmon on serving plates.
Using a large spoon, scoop up 1-2 eggs and place on top of the salmon. Arrange prawns with sliced avocado & garnish with parsley.

The sauce for this recipe can be made a day or so before serving.

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Turkey Breast served with Rosemary

1 kg Turkey breast
Oil
Butter
Tablespoon chopped butter
Rosemary
Season with cracked pepper & salt
Chopped parsley

Place turkey breast on foil. Pour at little oil over the turkey, top with butter, a little rosemary& season with cracked pepper & salt. Fold foil covering the turkey completely.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180deg for about 1hr or as per instructions. For the last 20 minutes bake with foil opened to help brown the top of the turkey.

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Roasted Cocktail Potatoes

Cocktail potatoes, peeled and chopped into quarters
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

Place chopped potatoes into a large bowl. Drizzle the potatoes with oil and toss until all potatoes are well coated.

Line a roasting dish with baking paper and layer potatoes evenly. Place tray on to the middle rail of the preheated oven until browned (approximately 50 minutes). During cooking, turn potatoes once to brown evenly.

Once the potatoes have cooked, remove from oven and serve with brown gravy.

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Carrots served with Parsley Butter

1 carrot ( per person) cut into Julienne strip
teaspoon of butter or more if desired
Chopped parsley
Season with cracked pepper

Boil carrot with a knob of butter until just tender, drain. Leave carrots in pan. Add butter, parsley & cracked pepper stir over low heat until butter has melted & thickens slightly.
Serve carrots drizzled with parsley butter & extra peppercorn.

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String Beans served with Crispy Bacon

3-4 lean bacon short cuts (cut in small strips)
1/2 teaspoon butter
6-8 string beans, cooked ( per person )
Season with cracked pepper

Place butter & bacon in a small non stick pan, season with cracked pepper & cook on medium heat until bacon has browned.

Add cooked string beans & stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Serve beans topped with bacon garnished with parley.

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Mini Chocolate Coated Christmas Puddings

MAKES ABOUT 15

200g Christmas pudding
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
100g diced dried apricots (optional)
200g rich dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening (copha) or more if required
50g diced apricots, for decorating

Crumble the Christmas pudding into a large bowl add the brandy and apricots, combine well. Roll heaped teaspoons of the pudding mixture into balls and place onto a large tray covered with baking paper. Once all the mixture has been rolled place into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will make them easier for dipping.

Place chocolate into a small, deep bowl and microwave for 50 seconds. Remove and stir well. Place in microwave again for another 40 seconds. Remove from microwave. Add the copha, stirring until a smooth consistency.

Immerse each pudding separately into the melted chocolate making sure they are completely covered. Using a fork or dipping wand, pick up the pudding and gently bounce the fork or wand on the side of the bowl allowing the excess chocolate to drip off. Place onto foil and leave, at room temperature, until slightly set.

Decorate the tops of the chocolate-coated puddings with small amounts of dried apricots. Refrigerate to set. Once they are set, place them into small truffle paper cups to serve.

They are a great Christmas gift idea to give to friends. Just package them into cellophane bags and tie them with a Christmas ribbon.

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Toffee Spears

1 cup sugar
¾ cup water

Place sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over low heat until
sugar dissolves.

Increase heat to medium and gently boil, without stirring. Boil for12-15 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat.

Wearing kitchen gloves & working quickly, pour toffee evenly over a lightly greased baking tray, tilting the tray for even coverage. Put aside to set slightly. Using a knife gently lift the toffee in sections, breaking it into your desired spear shapes.

Toffee can be made a days ahead kept in an air tight container.