Feeling festive but not keen on Christmas cake? The turmeric polenta cake with cinnamon fruit and yoghurt cream is a tasty alternative. This recipe serves eight to 10 people.
Cake: 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature; 1 cup (200g) caster sugar; 3 eggs; 1 tsp vanilla essence; 2 cups (200g) almond meal; 1 cup (200g) instant polenta; 1 tbsp ground turmeric; 1 tsp baking powder; finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 tbsp lemon juice; 1⁄4 cup (20g) flaked almonds.
Baked cinnamon fruit and yoghurt cream: 1 bunch rhubarb, stalks cut into 5 cm lengths, washed; 250g strawberries, washed, hulled (extra-large cut in half); 1⁄2 cup (110g) caster sugar; 1 tsp ground cinnamon; 1⁄2 cup full fat natural yoghurt; 1⁄2 cup thickened cream.
To serve: icing sugar.
1. Preheat oven to 180 ̊C (160°C fan forced). Lightly grease and line the base and sides of a 23 x 12 x 7cm loaf pan with baking paper.
2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high until pale. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then fold in vanilla. Combine almond meal, polenta, turmeric and baking powder together in a bowl, then fold into butter mixture. Add lemon zest and juice, stir to combine well.
3. Spoon the batter into prepared pan and use the back of a spoon to smooth the top. Sprinkle almonds over the surface and bake for 1 hour or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 1 hour to cool, then lift cake onto a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely.
4. For baked fruit: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl to coat. Spoon the fruit mixture evenly over the base of a baking paper-lined baking tray, cover lightly with a sheet of foil, bake in oven at 160 ̊C until the rhubarb is tender – about 10 to 15 mins. Allow to cool.
5. Place the yoghurt and cream in a bowl and beat to stiff peaks. Serve the cake with baked fruit, yoghurt cream and a sprinkle of icing sugar. Recipe courtesy of McCormick Australia
Catering for family on Christmas Day can be a hassle. If you’d prefer to dine out instead, you could try your luck at the following venues:
Babbington’s Bar & Grill at the Apollo International, Charlestown Seafood and traditional roast buffet, plus gifts for the children (12 and under). Adults $154; 12-17 years $99; 4-11 years $70; 3 and under free. Seating from 11.30am. Phone 4943 6733 or email email@example.com.
Mercure Newcastle Airport Buffet lunch, noon to 5pm. Bookings essential: 4033 8905.
Charlestown Bowling Club Traditional three-course lunch, 11.30am to 2pm. Cost: $100 per person for members/ $110 for non-members/ $50 for children 4-12 years.
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Buffet lunch, 12.30pm to 4pm (noon seating sold out). Adults $195, includes four-hour beverage package; children’s prices vary by age and include a four-hour soft drink package. Phone 4991 0944.
The Mattara Hotel, Charlestown Buffet lunch, noon to 3pm. Tickets cost $30 to $99 at oztix.com.au.
Billabongs Restaurant, East Maitland Bowling Club Seafood feast plus traditional ham, turkey and warm Christmas pudding with custard. Session one: 11am to 1pm; Session two: 1.15pm to 3.15pm. Adults $66.60; 12-14 years $60.60; 9-11 years $50.50; 6-8 years $37; 4-5 years $25; 2-3 years $15. Phone 4934 5590.
Singleton Senior Citizens Centre Samaritans lunch, 11am to 3pm, for those otherwise unable to celebrate.
Esca Bimbadgen 12.30pm to 4pm, glass of Bimbadgen sparkling wine and oyster canapes on arrival followed by a five-course seafood degustation lunch. Tickets $80 to $100 at bimbadgen.com.au.
Shoal Bay Country Club Seafood buffet lunch, 11.30am to 4pm. Adult $109; 5-12 years $39. Phone 4981 1555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isla Canaries Cafe Tapas Bar, Belmont Lunch, $80 per person. Phone 0418 994 875.
Honeysuckle Hotel Buffet lunch; tickets $39 to $149 through oztix.com.au.
Nanna Kerr’s Kitchen December 19 to 22, pre-Christmas lazy grazing meals from 6pm. Gluten-free menu with vegan wines, beers and cider. Tickets $19 at kerrsorganic.com.au.
Rydges Newcastle Seafood and buffet dinner, 6pm to 9pm, plus a three-hour beverage package. Adults $125 per person; 12-17 years $109; 4-11 $69; four and under free. Phone 4907 5041.
Novotel Newcastle Beach Buffet lunch with a three-hour beverage package. Cost $180 per person (special pricing is available for children). Phone 4032 3705.
Kirkton Park Hotel Hunter Valley Lunch including buffet and beverage package $160 per adult, noon to 3pm seating. Dinner including pizza and beverage package $50 per adult. Phone 4998 7680 or email email@example.com.
Raffertys Resort Shared seafood platter, carvery buffet and classic Christmas desserts. Complimentary bon-bons plus tea and coffee. Adults $130; 4-12 years $60; 0-4 years $20. Phone 4972 5555.
The Deck at Soldiers Point Lunch with traditional favourites and fresh seafood. Cost $132.50 per person. Phone 4919 1502.
Rick Stein at Bannisters, Soldiers Point Tickets $165 per person; three-course meal and a welcome glass of bubbly. Phone 4455 3044 to be added to the waiting list.
Sails Eatery at Belmont 16s Traditional two-course lunch. Cost: $49 adults; $29 for children (under 12) plus booking fees. Gifts for children included.
Living Faith Global – Christmas Day Service & Free Lunch 10.30am onwards, Belmont Neighbourhood Centre, 359 Pacific Highway, Belmont North. Phone 0425 265 742.
Win a Snoop Dogg cook book
Snoop Dogg has released his first cookbook, From Crook to Cook. It features 50 of his all-time favourite recipes, ranging from staples like baked mac and cheese, chicken and waffles and baby back ribs to upper echelon fare like lobster thermidor and filet mignon. Weeknight favorites include soft flour tacos and chicken caesar salad. There’s even a gin and juice recipe and snacks to satisfy those munchies. Snoop Dogg first showed the world his cooking chops when he guest-starred on Martha Stewart’s show, Martha, in 2008. From Crook to Cook is out now through Hardie Grant, RRP $39.99. Food & Wine has a copy to give away. To enter, send the words “Snoop Dogg” with your name, address and number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries close on Monday, Dec 10, at 9am.