Anna Gare prepares stress-free Christmas

Anna Gare. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d446336
Anna Gare. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d446336

anna gare, christmas, luc longley, lunch, family

IT will be celebrity chef Anna Gare’s turn to host the family for Christmas this year and she is planning to celebrate the holiday stress-free at her Fremantle home.

“We do Luc’s (husband Luc Longley) family one year and my family the next,” Gare said.

“So I’ll be having all of my family over, and seeing as my mum’s signature dish is cauliflower cheese, I think I’ll probably be putting on the spread.

“But I’m going to do all day-before cookery so on the day I can just relax.”

The parent of four adult children and recently appointed Thermomix ambassador said she loved a freshly baked warm ham glazed with her dad’s homemade jam.

“I spark it up with a bit of cinnamon and alcohol, get it all ready and just pop it into the oven on the day,” Gare said.

“Then the secret is to put it into a polystyrene box (from a fish monger or vegetable store) and it will stay nice and warm and juicy for about an hour and a half and no flies can get in.

“That’s the only thing I really heat up, but other than that I’ll be doing terrines, a poached side of trout, and then probably three salads. And if I was doing seafood, I would recommend you do something like scallops that take two minutes to cook.”

For those preparing a turkey, Gare suggested rubbing it with butter and covering it with baking paper while cooking to prevent it drying out.

“A 5kg bird will take about four or five hours in the oven at about 160C,” she said.

“The best way to make sure it’s cooked is to use a meat thermometer and stick the thermometer into the deepest bit of thigh. It should be at least 75C , no less, to be safely cooked.”

Gare recommended turning turkey leftovers into a soup or Vietnamese-style salad, and loves “fried ham for Boxing Day breakfast”.

The budget-conscious can ease the pressure by replacing turkey with chicken, stuffing it with cranberry, fresh herbs and nuts.

“Don’t get stuck thinking you have to have all those traditional things like fruit minced pies and plum puddings, because they can cost quite a bit of money,” she said.

“I like a festive chocolate Pavlova; they’re really cheap with four eggs, a cup of sugar, a pinch of this, a pinch of that and you’ve got a pav. Or use fresh fruit which is cheap, delicious, and oh so Aussie.”

Gare said she would be releasing her third book and a clothing range in 2016 and working on her kitchen collection.

“I’m always writing more recipes,” she said.

“Every time I make something I write it down; if it’s delicious.”