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Festive food

for a Sunny Coast Christmas

How do Santa, Christmas crowds and festive foods successfully traverse the path from snowmen to sandcastles? In our southern hemisphere summer, an outdoor barbie may replace the indoor oven, but in most other ways, it looks like Sunshine Coast locals settle for traditional fare – albeit with prawns and lashings of seafood.

Champagne makes an early appearance – even on Christmas morning for some families – along with Christmas puddings, pavlovas, glazed hams, roast pork and the humble barbecue chook.

This year, we talk to Sunshine Coast locals about their choice of culinary delights for Christmas and in the spirit of giving, they share their favourite recipes with our readers.

Martin Duncan – Sunshine Coast Foodie, Sconetime host, brand ambassador Bassett Barks

Martin Duncan with Tanya from Bakies Cafe Caloundra

Martin says for him, a great Christmas day dinner means enjoying a picnic on the beach.

“However, this year is a bit sad as my dear mum is down south and has been locked down for months and will stay down in New South Wales.”

In keeping with the Christmas spirit of sharing and caring, Martin is bringing together a circle of friends and food.

“I’m rounding up my closest friends who can’t get to family and we will celebrate life, friendship and how blessed we are to live on the Sunny Coast.”

As a food lover, Martin starts festive feasts on Christmas Eve.

“Christmas Eve will be traditional fare with leg ham, prawns and pavlova and/or Christmas pudding,” he says.

“My favourite Christmas treat is a glazed ham, and my favourite thing is to bring out the ham on Christmas Eve with little hot rolls with butter and mustard whilst having a beverage or two,” he adds as a warm smile wafts across his face.

“Oh, my – yum!” he exclaims.

While Martin says he does enjoy a fine Christmas pudding, there is one special delight that takes his fancy.

“I love, love, love a good pavlova (must have berries and passionfruit on top of cream),” he explains.

On Christmas Day neighbours and friends are descending on Martin’s home to share in something a
little different.

“As most of us used to like to travel we are having a French feast with oysters, pate, terrines and Yule log for dessert,” he says.

Ginger glazed ham

Recipe from Buderim Ginger

  • Half leg ham
  • 3 tsp dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Jar Buderim Ginger Original Ginger Marmalade
  • Cloves


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (fan forced 160°C).
  2. Use a small knife to cut around ham shank about 10cm from the end. Run a knife under the rind, around the edge of the ham. Gently lift the rind off by running your fingers between the rind and the fat. Score fat making a diamond pattern.
  3. Place ham in a baking tray, cover with foil and cook for 1.5 hours.
  4. Meanwhile combine mustard, orange juice, sugar and marmalade in a saucepan, stir over medium heat for five minutes until marmalade dissolves (some whole ginger pieces may not completely disolve). Remove from heat and cool.
  5. Stud the ham with cloves and brush evenly with the glaze.
  6. Bake in oven, basting occasionally, for one hour or until golden brown.

Michelle Christoe – Director, Food Focus Australia, Malt Shovel Taphouse and NightQuarter

Michelle says due to COVID, hospitality work demands and relatives living interstate, she misses being with her immediate family. However, that doesn’t mean being alone. Instead, she has her in-laws and a large work family to celebrate with throughout the festive season.

On Christmas day, she says: “I have grown up around our beautiful beaches so traditionally we head out for a surf followed by croissants, mangoes and champagne.

“We always sit around the family table with bonbons dismantled with paper hats goofily on our heads, enjoy fresh prawns, honey glazed ham, turkey, cranberry sauce and chat potatoes…  all smothered in gravy of course.”

Nevertheless, despite all that tasty food, there’s really only one thing on Michelle’s mind: “To be honest, I never eat much of the main course. For me, it is all about dessert and the brandy sauce! I have a teaspoon of Christmas pudding, three tablespoons of ice-cream and then fill the rest of my bowl with brandy sauce. It is my grandmother’s recipe and I look forward to having it every year. I treasure the brandy sauce and always make too much, so I can savour it for days as a special treat.”

*Michelle has shared her Nan’s Christmas cake recipe and brandy sauce recipe.

Serving tip

Add a seasonal summer twist to your pudding and serve with fresh mandarin or preserved blood orange.


Soak mixed fruit in brandy and leave covered till ready:

  • 225g currants (or chopped dates), 225g chopped raisins, 225g sultanas,125g chopped mixed peel
  1. Butter a large pudding bowl.
  2. Cream 225g butter with 225g brown sugar.
  3. Beat in four eggs (one at a time).
  4. Add 225g breadcrumbs (from stale bread not packet), ¾ cup SR flour, ½ tsp of each – salt, mixed spice, ground nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and bicarb soda,125g almonds.
  5. Add mixed fruit soaked in brandy.
  6. Add small glass rum.
  7. Place in pudding bowl with lid.
  8. Steam in saucepan of boiling water (water one-halfway to top of bowl) for four hours adding more water as necessary.
  9. Reheat on day for around two to two-and-a-half hours.

To serve – turn out onto plate

To flame – heat a little brandy gently in saucepan, ignite and pour over pudding on table.


  1. Cream ¼ cup butter with 1 cup brown sugar.
  2. Add 2 tbs brandy slowly.
  3. Add three well-beaten egg yolks and ½ cup cream
  4. Cook in saucepan over low heat and stirring at all times with wooden spoon for ages (about 10-15 minutes) until thick and creamy (until it thickens on the back of the wooden spoon).
  5. Remove from heat
  6. Add three stiffly beaten egg whites when cool.

Todd Widdicombe – Husband and father of four, 92.7 Mix FM Drive announcer

“Our family is bang up for a good old Aussie Christmas feast no matter where our mob has gathered. This year it’s at our joint here at Warana and we’ll be celebrating with a mix of hot and cold culinary delights,” he says.

“We always have a solid triple smoked ham on the go, there’s a coupla barbecue chooks, a hot La’Mackle (boneless lamb roast wrapped in crackling.”

Todd doesn’t hogg the job all to himself, he dutifully entrusts his bro-in-law to curate a perfectly roasted pork on the Webber.

“It’s a five-can job,” he explains.

However, Todd takes full responsibility for the prawns, which for the Widdicombe household appears as an esky full of world-famous Mooloolaba prawns.

“It wouldn’t be Christmas without prawns,” he emphatically states. “This year I’m thinking of bringing back the good old ‘Strayan’ prawn cocktail as an entrée with my not-very-secret homemade seafood sauce. As long as there’s plenty of prawns for the prawn peeling comp, she’ll be apples.”

As always, there’s no discussion when it comes to dessert choices: “A firm favourite every year is my mum’s trifle. Sure, the pav’s a treat and we all love a good plum pud, but the classic trifle is KING. Also, because my mum Jen is 88 now, it’s a bowl of brandy with a dash of sponge, jelly and custard in it! Happy days.”

Tips for storing prawns

Most prawns are snap frozen at sea – just like baby peas are snap frozen to lock them in their prime. Unless you know your prawns have never been frozen, prawns (cooked or raw) can be refrigerated for two to three days between 0–4ºC.

Leave them in their shells, place them in a single layer on a plate or tray, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the coldest part of the fridge.

If your prawns have never been frozen they can be stored in the freezer for up to three months at -18ºC or below.


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