It can't really be only 10 days to Christmas. although today I witnessed queues of children and their parents waiting to chat and be photographed with Santa in a shopping centre. The scene seemed a little incongruous. There was a traditionally dressed Santa, woolly red suit and heavy boots and fur trimmed hat sitting in a beach hut, in a tropical resort setting with palm trees decorated with Christmas baubles. I thought that this summed up perfectly how Christmas is celebrated in Australia - some tradition with adaptions and changes for the climate. Probably the most popular change to accommodate the summer heat has been the inclusion of seafood for Christmas dinner.
Why seafood for Christmas? I think the original reason was it was too hot to light the oven in the kitchen to cook a roast meat and vegetables dinner ( Christmas temperatures can be up to 40 degrees C) and it was just too hot to eat it. It now can be argued with most houses having air conditioning that this reason is no longer valid? I guess the other reason is that beautiful fresh seafood is available here in summer . Besides it tastes good, and somehow seafood seems to suit the summer lifestyle of most Australian families.
There is not much point in offering a seafood recipe as the most popular Christmas dish is lots of fresh seafood served as a cold seafood platter. However, accompanying sauces and dressings vary, for example, tomato based seafood sauces, aioli, avocado. lime and lemon based dressings. I think the ultimate accompaniment for fresh prawns is mango salsa. Mangoes are also a summer fruit in season at Christmas time, so the combination seems to be quite compatible. Here is Chef Luke Mangan's recipe from www.lifestyle.com.au
Now all that's left to do is "slip another shrimp on the barbie" for Christmas lunch....