Christmas lunch in the Blue Mountains is an annual affair for most of the Sweet Magazine team, who live in it’s rugged surrounds. While it sounds like the setting for a white Christmas, temperature extremes of up to 40 degrees celsius are common in Summer and shooting this feature for Issue Five of Sweet Magazine left us a little toasty, even with sunscreen! Christmas means something different for everyone, but in Australia from family holidays to lunch with friends, Christmas is most definitely a Summer affair![x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]wildflower heirloom tomato bruschetta[/x_custom_headline]
This delight for the senses is the perfect Summer time entree. Thinly sliced, toasted bread is topped with finely sliced tomato, and a drizzle of the finest olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh pesto.
Pile up some chopped heirloom tomatoes and layer with baby rocket and torn buffalo mozzarella. The Parklands Head Chef adds a variety of fresh edible flowers grown on the venue’s grounds and a final balsamic drizzle to finish.
Not all flowers are edible, and some of them are poisonous. Don’t ruin Christmas! Do some thorough research or find a specialist deli that sells edible blooms. If you can’t do either, then leave them out – this dish is delicious as is![x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]pork belly[/x_custom_headline]
If you can’t tear yourself away from a traditional Christmas roast, but you want something other than turkey and ham this year, try a delicious slow cooked pork belly for your main course.
[container][column type=”1/3″]2kg pork belly, de-boned, skin on
1 brown onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1L white wine
1 bunch of thyme
Olive oil [/column] [column type=”2/3″ last=”true”] Chop onion, carrots and leek into small, equally sized pieces. Heat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat and sauté onion, carrots, leek and chopped garlic in a small amount of olive oil.
In a very large roasting tray, place the pork belly, sautéed vegetales, water, and white wine. Cover the tray with aluminium foil and roast at 120 degrees celcius for 8 hours.
You’ll know the pork belly is cooked when the meat is tender and falling apart.
For crispy skin, take the cooked pork belly and fry in clarified butter, skin side down in a large frying pan on the stove.
Parklands Executive Chef Andrei suggests serving your pork belly with apple puree, or caramelised apple and a simple rocket salad.
Bon appétit! [/column][/container] [x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]floral table runner[/x_custom_headline]
Arranging flowers in vases is an art form that comes from a practiced hand. Creating a floral runner at home, and impressing your guests, could not be simpler.
Fo our Christmas Lunch table centrepiece, Edith from Floral Ink created a floral runner. It’s a quick, simple, and relatively inexpensive way to dress your table if you can get to your local flower market. Choose a miz of flowers and greenery, and try to avoid flowers with a scent. We use our noses when we eat, so we don’t want to interfere with the aromas of delicious food!
Start by finding your centre. We’ve created a cluster of natives with a large protea for a little bit of height. Try not to put anything too tall on the table, leaning around flower arrangements is annoying, and disruptive to conversation.
Virtually all of our flowers and greenery are natives (protea are native to South Africa), so they’re fine to be sitting on the table without any water. Fi you use roses or flowers that need water, grab some floral foam from a craft shop, soak it in water, then wrap in foil. Poke your flowers into the foam and use the greenery to cover it up. Our protea is sitting in a small jar to keep it upright, the flowers and foliage cover up the vessel and create one main focal point.
Once you’re happy with your centre, go to either end of your table and work in. Start by laying your leaves and other greens and twigs on the table. Poke your flowers and in and around the leaves.
If you’ve got guests sitting at the end of the table, pop down a plate so you can gauge how far down the table you want your floral runner to extend. If you’re having a serve yourself style lunch, put placeholder dishes on the table and create your runner around the plates. If you don’t make room for the dishes now, you’ll be juggling hot plate while you quickly shove all that hard work out of the way!
At the end of the night, take bunches of flowers and wrap with brown paper and string for your quests to take home as a lovely gift.
Photography Sweet Magazine | Floral Design Floral Ink | Styling Penny Lane Studio
Venue + Food Parklands Country Gardens and Lodges | Napery House of Baltic Linen
Hand Lettered White Ceramic Tags Marley and Lockyer