Westfield: When should you start food shopping for Christmas lunch?
Angie Hong: I order my ham and suckling pig a week before Christmas to ensure I get the right size to feed all my guests and enjoy plenty of leftovers. A few days before Christmas, I shop for the staple pantry items, non-alcoholic drinks and liquor.
For the more perishable items, like oysters, prawns, cherries, mangoes and salad ingredients, I get these on the 23rd December. I love to go to Flemington markets for the fresh food, where I buy a dozen red flowering pot plants for decorations, which can be used as emergency gifts on Christmas Day.
W: What elements are always part of your Christmas Day meal?
AH: I like to have a leg of ham and prawns first as they don't require any cooking. Then I create assorted platters with a mix of cheese and fruits. Look for delicious in-season summer fruits such as watermelon, mangoes, cherries and lychees. For the hot dishes, I like to have a couple of vegetarian options. I stir-fry a big plate of egg noodles with carrots, snow peas, French beans and mixed mushrooms.
Then I do a mixed rice dish with freshly cooked brown rice or arborio rice combined with garlic, butter, parsley and vegetable stock topped with prawns or ham. Vegans can have these, minus the prawns and ham. If I have time, I like to make fresh rice paper rolls with noodles and prawns.
See Angie in action as she goes head-to-head in a Christmas cook-off with her son, Dan Hong. Dan's the executive chef at Mr Wong and created innovative menus at Ms. G's and El Loco for Merivale group.
The battle of the Hongs is happening Saturday December 10 at Westfield Eastgardens. View details here.