Australia’s celebrity cook Poh Ling Yeow has offered her secrets to hosting the perfect Christmas feast — from her go-to three ingredient canapes to her favourite no-bake dessert.
Every season, the popular TV presenter and her family enjoy a pot luck buffet with all the trimmings.
“Christmas is always around exorbitant amounts of food,” Poh tells 7Life.
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“The key to a stress-free day is reducing your personal workload. And I can’t think of a better way to get into the festive spirit than sharing preparations for the big day with family. It’s always pot luck at the Yeow family Christmas.
“The pot luck buffet is always eclectic with curries sitting next to a trifle and ham.”
With the festive season fast approaching, Poh says Christmas will be extra special for her this year.
“My 50th birthday falls close to Christmas, and my dad wants to combine the two celebrations this year,” she says.
Celebrity cook Poh Ling Yeow has offered her secrets to hosting the perfect Christmas feast. Credit: Supplied
When creating a festive menu, she always focuses on one or two centrepiece mains.
“Then tell your guests to bring a salad,” Poh says.
“One of the most common mistakes home cooks make is trying to cook too many dishes and leaving too much to do on the day.
“Prepare everything you can the day before or even several days before so that you’re ready to just plug and play on the day of. Prep is truly the key to any successful Christmas feast.
“The less you can do on the day, the more time you have to actually enjoy yourself.”
Poh says she always serves baked ham, a trifle “made strictly with packet ingredients”, fresh strawberries and prawns on the table every year.
When it comes to side dishes, she keeps the salads simple yet delicious.
“I love a grated beet, chickpea and mint salad with white balsamic that’s full of crunch and almost like a pickle,” she says.
“Also, a Thai roast chicken and glass vermicelli salad and a Korean japchae sweet potato noodle salad.”
Every season, the popular TV presenter and her family enjoy a pot luck buffet with all the trimmings. Credit: Poh Ling Yeow
The cook always sticks to making canapes with three ingredients or less: Melon and prosciutto; fresh prawns with sriracha and Japanese mayo; and fresh oysters with tabasco and lemon.
She says it’s worth investing in quality appliances so you can create a stress-free lunch or dinner.
“Things where you can set a timer then walk away, like a rice cooker, pressure cooker or an air fryer,” she says.
“As someone who didn’t grow up with roasts, cooking a big piece of meat is an ongoing phobia so I have to give props to the handy integrated temperature probe in the air fryer too.
“For anyone who is might be worried about under or overcooking that Christmas roast – the temp probe will definitely alleviate any fears and deliver the perfect ‘fineness’ or cuisson as the French would say.”
Poh says the icing on top to her festive feast is her favourite no-bake dessert.
“My family, bless them, loves a proper retro trifle,” she says.
“It starts with making finger jello by adding one tablespoon of powdered gelatine to a raspberry or strawberry jelly so you can easily cut them into cubes after it’s set.
“Then it’s just a matter of layering sliced, store bought jam rollettes drowned in (regular) strawberry jelly mixture, tinned peaches, fresh strawberries, custard made with powdered custard mix, fresh cream then piling on the prepared jelly cubes.”
With the festive season fast approaching, Poh says Christmas will be extra special for her this year: She’s turning 50. Credit: Poh Ling Yeow
As for the leftovers after her family’s Christmas feast, Poh swears by the three dishes she always makes over the following days.
“For repurposing leftover ingredients, I rely on the three S’s. Throw them into stews, soups and salads,” she says.
“Don’t be afraid to just try something new — I always tell novices to just have a red hot go because disasters can often teach you so much more than the successes.”
Poh has partnered with Philips to find out how her homemade dishes stack up against the new Philips 7000 Series Airfryer XXXL.
New research from Philips found while the majority of Australians (72 per cent) find it more affordable to cook at home, half of us still feel intimidated to approach recipes that require equipment beyond standard pots and pans (50 per cent).
Many felt scared by recipes with too many ingredients (49 per cent) or they weren’t sure how to incorporate new or unfamiliar ingredients (38 per cent) into their diets.
If you’re in the market for a new air fryer, check out the gadget shoppers can’t get enough of.
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