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Fresh and fabulous food

Australian prawns, ripe sunburnt-coloured mangoes, salty roast pork dripping in rich gravy, and fresh ham. When it comes to Christmas food, we Aussies know how to do it well.

My Life

Fresh and fabulous food

Australian prawns, ripe sunburnt-coloured mangoes, salty roast pork dripping in rich gravy, and fresh ham. When it comes to Christmas food, we Aussies know how to do it well.

With fresh locally-sourced produce at our fingertips, Sunshine Coasters have the pick of the bunch. Whether it’s a big Christmas or a quiet affair for two, we have some recipes and tips to make your tastebuds sing.

Tequila prawns with pineapple salad

Serves 8 (pictured above)

The team at IGA Marketplace Wises Road share this fresh and fabulous combination of festive summer flavours. By shopping at IGA you are supporting local families and farmers.

  • 1.2kg peeled large green prawns, tails intact
    • 500ml tequila, plus extra 2 tbsp
    • 1 ½ fresh pineapples, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 250ml olive oil
    • 2 tsp lime zest, grated
    • 2 tbsp lime juice
    • 2 red capsicums, thinly sliced
    • 2 fresh jalapeños, seeds removed and finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra for garnish


  1. Place the prawns, 500ml tequila, 4 tbsp sea salt and 500ml of water in a bowl. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 10 minutes
  2. Spread the pineapple slices evenly over a large serving platter. Drizzle ½ cup oil over the pineapple and sprinkle with sea salt.
  3. Make the vinaigrette by whisking lime zest and juice with remaining olive oil and tequila. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. Drain the prawns, reserving the tequila marinade. Place the marinade and 2 cups of water in a large frying pan and bring to the boil. Add the prawns and simmer for 60 seconds then remove pan from the heat and stand for 10 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked and almost firm.
  5. Drain the prawns, discarding the cooking liquid, then allow them to cool.
  6. Toss the capsicum, prawns, vinaigrette and parsley in a bowl. Scatter the prawn salad over the pineapple on the serving platter. Garnish with jalapeños and parsley sprigs.

Did you know?

Prawns place third on the list of favourite Aussie Christmas foods, coming behind ham and Christmas pudding.

Source: Marine Stewardship  Council.


Smoked salmon eggs benedict

Recipe from IGA Marketplace Wises Road

Fill a large saucepan 8cm deep with cold water and a splash of vinegar. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. With a large spoon, spin the water in a circular motion. Crack an egg into the centre of the pot and cook for 3 minutes. We love Forage Farm Eggs, they are fresh and free range, giving the best results when poaching. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Keep warm while you cook the remaining egg. Then, toast halved English muffins and spread thickly with butter. Place 2 halves on each plate and arrange each with baby spinach, Huon Premium Smoked Salmon, a poached egg, a dollop of Maille Hollandaise Sauce, chives, and season with salt and pepper.


Seafood extravaganza

Nothing says Christmas like fresh seafood straight from the waters off Mooloolaba.

And when it comes to quality, it’s pretty hard to beat the product the Sunshine Coast is known and loved for.

Just ask Gary Heilmann (pictured) who has spent the better part of the past two-and-a-half decades dishing up prawns, fish, crabs and oysters.

Mr Heilmann is the owner of Sunshine Coast wholesale fishery, DeBrett Seafood. Based in Mooloolaba, DeBrett’s supplies product to Japanese, Canadian, European and Australian retailers, including his three other businesses – Fisheries on the Spit, Bridge Seafoods and Noosa Junction Seafood Market.

It’s a fair feat for a man who began his career in banking.

“I left Westpac in 1995 when the country went through a mass recession. I put my hand up and took a redundancy and went to work for a fisherman who had been one of my customers. I helped him build his business down in Tasmania.

“We had some inquiries out of Queensland so we came over here, loved it and decided to move the business here.”

Now the sole owner, Mr Heilmann purchased the Noosa and Kawana businesses only 18 months ago and is gearing up for a busy holiday season.

He has access to spanner crabs, sand crabs, reef fish, tuna and Mooloolaba’s famous prawns from the trawlers that dock on his wharf on a day-to-day basis.

All of the product is processed on site at DeBrett’s – around 250 tonnes of prawns, 100 tonnes of tuna and 200 tonnes of spanner crab a year.

Mr Heilmann, who sits on the board of the Tropical Tuna Management Advisory Committee, says Sunshine Coasters who purchase local product can rest assured that they are eating sustainably-caught seafood. His businesses alone will sell around 4000 oysters and 10 tonnes of Mooloolaba prawns in the 10 days around Christmas

“Most people don’t understand that 99 per cent of the prawns you buy are frozen on the boat. You won’t get fresher than that. They are absolutely perfect.

“We focus on Australian product and people are genuinely supporting the local industry. We’ve got a good product to give to the community, not just us, but all of the local suppliers.”

Top tips

Gary Heilmann says when buying seafood look for the freshest product. Fish fillets should have a shine and the bloodline should be red, as that indicates freshness. Prawns should have a glossy appearance. It is also important to keep seafood as cold as possible. It’s best to store larger quantities in an esky between two layers of ice.

Store cooked and fresh seafood separately.

While cooked prawns are the preferred purchase, Mr Heilmann encourages seafood lovers to give green prawns a go.

“Take them home and barbecue them. You can also buy live mussels in a bag. Throw them in the frypan with a bit of wine and garlic. Cook them up and stir through a nice tomato passata. Add a little chilli and it’s great.”

Place an online or phone order with your local seafood store to avoid the Christmas rush.


Expert tips from Kim McCosker

  1. Choose your ham wisely. This year I highly recommend the IGA Naturally Smoked, Bone-in Ham. It’s 100 per cent Australian grown – buying local and Australian is one of the greatest gifts we can give our farmers.
  2. Remove the hard, tough skin and any excess fat; just a really thin layer of fat is all I leave.
  3. Use a flavourful glaze. I recommend another local product – Buderim Ginger marmalade. The sweetness of it mixes perfectly with the saltiness of the ham.
  4. Decorate. Food is first eaten with the eye, wrap some baking paper or hessian around the knuckle with a pretty ribbon and a posy of fresh herbs. Something so simple, creates something so spectacular.


Sweet marmalade – It’s ham on the bone

Serves 8

Internationally-celebrated queen of cooking, Kim McCosker, shares a recipe for a Christmas favourite.

  • ½ ham on the bone
  • Jar of Buderim Ginger marmalade
  • 30 cloves
  • 24 fresh, plum cherries


  1. Preheat oven to 160C and line a large roasting tray with baking paper.
  2. Remove outer skin and any excess fat.
  3. Using a sharp knife, score the fat into diamond shapes; scoring on an angle one way, then again on an angle the other way.
  4. Place the ham in the roasting tray and spoon over half the jar of marmalade (I just use my fingers to pat the marmalade into place) then push the cloves into the corners of each diamond.
  5. Bake ham for 1 hour in the lower half of the oven until golden, remove and set aside.
  6. When ready to serve, transfer to a large platter surround with plump red cherries and spoon over any yummy syrup in the base of the tray.


Angel Wings

Makes 24

200g white chocolate, broken or chopped, 24 plump, dried apricots, ½ cup pistachios, chopped

Line a baking tray with baking paper. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate, stirring every 30 seconds, until nice and smooth. One at a time, dip the apricots into the melted chocolate, covering only half, and then into the pistachios (if easier just sprinkle with pistachios). Place on the tray. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or until set.

Pop in an airtight jar or container and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  For more recipes visit


The 4 Ingredients Christmas 2nd Edition book features more than 80 classic and contemporary recipes ranging from brunch, sides, sauces, mains and desserts. To purchase, visit


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