Start this recipe one day ahead. It's a gamechanger come Christmas Day – just bring the meat to room temperature then shove it in the oven. That's what Christmas is all about: minimal fuss, maximum impact and the greatest time possible with the people you love.
1 x frenched rib roast (about 3kg), tied at intervals with kitchen string so it holds its shape while cooking (ask your butcher to do this for you)
STICKY MULLED WINE MARINADE
3 cups red wine
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup balsamic vinegar
5 strips of orange zest
2 cinnamon quills
2 tsp ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to season
1. For the mulled wine marinade, add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and place over low-medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture takes on a sauce-like consistency and coats the back of the spoon. It should reduce by almost half.
2. In a large bowl or container, lightly brush the beef with olive oil. Pour over the marinade then cover and place in the fridge overnight.
3. Bring the beef to room temperature at least an hour before cooking.
4. Preheat the oven to 220C.
5. Strain the beef from the marinade (reserving the marinade), shaking well as the sugar content will cause the sauce to burn so you don't want too much of it dripping all over your tray.
6. Stand the beef on a lightly oiled roasting pan then roast for 15 minutes to brown (don't run over time on this temperature setting or the marinade may burn).
7. Reduce heat to 180C and continue to roast, basting regularly with cooking juices and reserved marinade for 1¼ hours for rare. Continue roasting for 15-minute intervals until the beef is cooked to your liking. Rest for 10-15 minutes before plating and carving.
8. While the beef is resting, pour the reserved marinade into a saucepan and bring to the boil. The amount of remaining marinade may vary depending on how much basting you did during the cooking time. Boil for a few minutes, strain to remove the cloves, peel and cinnamon, then pour over the beef before serving, or serve on the side for guests to help themselves.