Aussie Christmas classics with a 2020 twist

Giving the traditional Christmas menu a twist.
Giving the traditional Christmas menu a twist.  Photo: Getty.

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It has been a hectic year, and it's probably set to be a pretty unusual festive season.

Given that 2020 will be remembered for all its tumultuous shifts and changes, we've decided that Christmas may as well get that treatment too – but this time, in a positive way.

Here's our guide to giving our Christmas menu classics a twist this year, because something good has to come out of 2020, and it might as well be food.

The prawns

Prawns are an essential for any Aussie festive spread – but if you want a change-up from the stock standard cooked and peeled type this year, then dress them up.

Try marinading them in rice wine, chilli, ginger and sugar, then flash-frying them to serve.

Go prawn tacos for a Mexican twist; or make your own prawn toast by mixing some smoky bacon fat into the prawn paste – you won't regret it, we promise.

The ham

We've had the honey-roast ham, the marmalade-glazed ham and the cola ham to boot, but how does ham with a hit of pomegranate sound?

In a bowl, mix together a few splodges of sweet and sour pomegranate molasses with a little fruit juice (your choice) and some brown sugar.

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Snap up Coles' award-winning (as well as free-range and sow stall free) Finest Free Range Triple Smoked Ham, drizzle over the glaze and roast until caramelised and golden (anywhere upwards from half an hour, depending on the size of your ham), basting every now and again.

Serve with pomegranate arils scattered over the top.

The pav

Is it even Christmas Day if there's no pav? This year, why not jazz up your pavlova by adding some locally-produced ingredients to close off your meal?

Folding some crushed pistachios into your meringue mix will zing up any pavlova.

Or if you're going tropical with your toppings (think Aussie mangoes) then try sprinkling some finger lime pearls over the top, right before serving.

Your guests will get little pops of fragrant sourness with every mouthful (against crisp, sweet meringue and cool, billowing cream – can you imagine the deliciousness?).

Not convinced? Then a handful of chopped, toasted macadamias is a crowd-pleasing option (and is particularly delicious if your trifle is seasonally cherry-topped). Then again, you could always do all three..

Jazz up your pavlova.

Jazz up your pavlova. Photo: Getty.

The Christmas cake

Not everyone likes Christmas cake. That's just a fact. For some, it's all that fruit; for others, the booze; and for most of us, it's that big fat layer of stodgy marzipan and seemingly pointless white fondant (royal icing is marginally better, we concede).

One of the best ways to make it delectable to all, though, is by a) removing all intrusions masquerading as icing, and b) by way of the ultimate Christmas hack: chocolate.

Replace a few tablespoons of your recipe's flour allocation with good-quality, Dutch process cocoa, and/or a handful of dark chocolate chips, and proceed as normal.

Suddenly a fruit cake becomes a fruit-studded chocolate cake, and who wouldn't want to eat that? Thank us later.

The beverages

More and more people are going alcohol-free, so cater with some mocktails this Christmas lunch.

Not only does it mean that you won't be hungover by 6pm, but everybody can get involved too. (Kids in particular will love drinking their "special drinks" alongside the adults.)

A simple kombucha base will open all kinds of doors into flavour – add some fresh passionfruit pulp or a spritz of lime, grate in some ginger, top with crushed ice and add a few sprigs of fresh mint to the top and you've got yourself a mighty fancy-looking drink.

Don't like kombucha? Use ginger ale or even sparkling apple juice.

And if it gets to a point where alcohol becomes a necessity rather than a choice, just slog in a couple of shots of what-you-fancy into your adult-sized glass. Rum – in all its sugary caramelness – is always a good idea.

Coles Finest Triple Smoked Leg Ham is made using 100% Free Range RSPCA Approved pork from Aussie farms. It's lovingly triple smoked over Beechwood giving it a rich, deep smoky flavour. Making it extra delicious for your Christmas.

Head to coles.com.au/Christmas to help make your Christmas a little easier, so you can enjoy Christmas the Australian Way.