Friday, 21 December 2012


Every time I hear the Christmas countdown I shudder a little inside. As the children open one more window on their Advent calendars and chant "Seven sleeps till Christmas!" "Six sleeps till Christmas!" I freak out a little more (We are now down to four sleeps till Christmas, by the way. You're welcome.)

Because I haven't done anything. Barely anything. For those of us who are lucky enough to work at this lovely Market, this is the Big One. The busiest time of year. And when you're trying to ensure everyone else will have their stock of turkey and cherries and crayfish, it is entirely possible that you will let your own needs slip. A little. Hypothetically speaking, that is of course.

So, let's face the cold hard facts. Christmas is coming. You've done diddly. The thought of a major shopping centre is, frankly, unspeakable. What to do, what to do?  You can run around in a flap for a bit (circles are always good, I find). Then sit down, take a few deep breaths and concentrate.

Now, first go look here. This charming post points out all the things you could've should've would've done far, far in advance, if you had been that way inclined. You are NOT that way inclined and hence are reading this. But there are some good tips to be had here still. Figure out your numbers, write out a brief menu. This is NOT beyond salvaging at this point.

The bottom line is to get our good traders to do as much of it for you as possible and finish up the rest yourself. So, let's start.


Duck into our Deli Arcade and pick up some lovely nibbles. A little something for guests to enjoy with a glass of sparking wine or pomegranate punch from Sweet Greek. This array came from Chasos's Deli - the marinated mushrooms are a knockout! Tip the contents into little bowls, slice up a sourdough baguette from Noisette and BANG. Done. That will keep everyone happy while you cruise on to the next course.


Prawns. Prawns prawns prawns. The great Australian Christmas tradition. Get a generous amount of cooked king prawns (note that Claringbold's don't take orders, so you stand the same chance as everyone else on Christmas Eve!), scatter some peashoots on a platter and plonk the prawns on top. Open a jar of good quality tartare sauce - the Gluten Free Providore stock Doodles Creek - or mix Kewpie mayonnaise from Lee's Asian Grocery with Tabasco or ketchup for a quick sauce. Let everyone sit down and get to work with their hands on this crustacean treat - don't forget the napkins!


Organised people have had their leg of ham labelled, numbered and booked since September. They probably drive out to the country each Sunday to inspect their pig running around in a paddock. You are Not That Person and You Never Will Be and that's okay.

All our butchers use free-range pork for their hams. You might not have had the slightly obsessive pleasure of naming your pig, but you know what? It'll still taste good. Serve up cold or skin, score and bake in the oven for a hearty meal. Chef Walter Trupp has a recipe on our website for Honey Baked Ham and it only takes an hour. Seriously, anyone can manage that.

Throw together one of Louise Harper's summer salads or scrub some vegetables and toss them in the oven. You are Almost Done.

Neil's Meats will glaze and bake ham for you -24 hours notice

Ice Cream Pudding

The plum pudding gelato at Fritz Gelato is justifiably famous - they've won gold medals for it.  Pick up a take home tub and pop it into the freezer. On the big day, simply remove from the freezer 20 minutes before serving and invert onto a cake stand. Top with red currants or cherries from one of our fruiterers.

Coffee and Biscuits

You could always do instant (then again you could also put on lederhosen and yodel Christmas carols). Jasper Coffee and Market Lane are happy to grind freshly-roasted coffee beans for you. Just pop it in the plunger and bring out a selection of biscuits and chocolates. Sink into an armchair and open your presents.

That wasn't difficult at all, was it? I can hardly wait until next year .... (only 369 sleeps people!)


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