Unique twist on festive feast: Territory tapas

11-Dec-2015

CDU cookery lecturer Matthew Cook and pastry lecturer David Barker say a Territory tapas style lunch is more on-trend and better suited for Territorians planning their Christmas Day feasts

CDU cookery lecturer Matthew Cook and pastry lecturer David Barker say a Territory tapas style lunch is more on-trend and better suited for Territorians planning their Christmas Day feasts


The traditional Christmas lunch has been turned on its head by some of the Top End’s passionate cooks and bakers.

Charles Darwin University commercial cookery lecturer Matthew Cook has suggested that a Territory tapas style lunch was more on-trend and better suited for Territorians planning their Christmas Day feasts.

“Christmas is about family bringing dishes together to one table to share,” Mr Cook said. “What works well is a tapas style menu. It’s an opportunity to mix different flavours using traditional meats, rather than sweating in the kitchen to create a turkey or ham.”

Mr Cook suggested blending traditional fair with Territory flavours to create a new take on canapés that he has coined Territory tapas.

“There have been many small to medium size Spanish mackerel caught in the harbour so a great way to prepare them is the tapas theme,” Mr Cook said.

He said, once caught, to bleed the fish and ice as soon as possible, then fillet, skin and portion into a darne shape.

“Dust with corn flour, salt and pepper, add a little sugar, dried chillies and ground cumin, then fry till crisp,” he said. “In a separate pan prepare a sweet chilli sauce by combining chopped fresh coriander, squeeze of fresh lime, chopped garlic and ginger with a fine dice of onion.

“Season with a little salt and toss the fish into the chilli jam, coat to serve.”

He said salad was a great accompaniment to the fish on a warm Christmas day.

“Mum has put in a special request for my citrus and fennel salad with mango, which combines sweet and sour flavours with a bit of crunch.”

Commercial bakery and pastry lecturer David Barker said that Christmas was a great opportunity for people to try their hands at a number of sweet and savoury baked goods.

“When people think about Christmas baking they often think of gingerbread,” Mr Barker said. “Gingerbread cookies are a great way to get the kids involved and they also make a great gift idea. Royal icing is an easy way to dress gingerbread for serving and adds a lime zing.”

Mr Barker said making up a batch of homemade pita bread was also a great idea for entertaining expected or unexpected guests.

“Most people will have the ingredients in their pantry already,” he said.

“It’s a very easy bread to make and there can also be a bit of theatre involved when you throw them in the frypan or BBQ and they puff up like a balloon.”

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