Xmas Cooking

Reporter: Vassil Malandris

Most south Aussie families make it the biggest and best meal of the year... After all, it wouldn't be Christmas without all that delicious food and all the trimmings... But if you're starting to panic about how much you think you need to spend for your Christmas feast... Then panic no more...We've found a fantastic menu - its mouth watering, simple and for a family of four will only set you back fifty dollars. Vassil malandris explains

Kim "What's your usual budget Jen?"

Jen "it usually blows out to about $150!"

Christmas may be fast approaching but amid soaring grocery prices many of us won't have much left in our wallets to splash out on what ought to be the most festive meal of the year

"It's really tight at the moment most families are doing it tough" says Jen

Vassil "however today tonight has a rescue plan ... Our yuletide tradition of feeding a family of four a delicious 3 course Christmas spread for just $50 and who better to take on the challenge with tightened purse strings ... than 4 ingredients co -founder Kim Mccosker

"Ok Kim you have $50 to feed a family of four, can you pull it off?"

A seasoned bargain hunter Kim will be shopping and cooking for sally dizall her twin daughters Kiah and jakoda and nana Jennie of valley view

Kim "I've got 3 courses, I've bought things for 2 dips we're going to have a ham on the bone that's beautiful . with a beautiful glaze ... some roast vegies and then Christmas cake and coconut balls ... oh gorgeous!

What a feast! But how will she afford the 21 ingredients required for the spread?

First stop the central market for cheap but fresh fruit and veg

Kim "Ok this is exactly what you want when you're entertaining at xmas time you got a lot of people coming over, look for things where they are pre bagged so big bags, bigger savings, all items here $1 now I'm taking these carrots they look fantastic, your zucchinis darker skinned ones better? And firm as well. And so all of this I'm getting for just $3! Happy doing business with you

Also on Kim's list generic brand condiments from the local supermarket finally a fresh south aussie ham from the butcher

Kim "I'm down to $22.20 so whatever you can give me for $22.20 would be fabulous.. oh you'll get a nice sized ham for that

TOTAL COST $52.70

Just a fraction over budget however Kim promises to deliver a mouth watering menu ... including sweet and savoury dips baked orange - glazed ham ... roasted and sautéed vegetables and a scrumptious Christmas pudding

(Menu created by 4 Ingredients' Kim McKosker)

STARTERS

Cinnamon Dip

MAKES 1 CUP

250g sour cream

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tbs. brown sugar

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Chill for at least 2 hours prior to serving to allow flavours time to develop.

Serve with a platter of fresh fruit and dried apricots for dipping.

Easy Creamy Dip

MAKES 1 CUP

? cup creamy mayonnaise

? cup sour cream

1 garlic clove, crushed

Mix all ingredients together and serve chilled with fresh broccoli, cauliflower florets or carrot sticks.

Hint: Always use equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream when making this dip.

MAIN MEAL

Baked Orange Ham, Roasted Vegetables with Zesty Lemon Greens

(**Ham purchased at O'Connell's Meats, Central Markets Adelaide**)

Baked Orange Ham (from O'Connell meats, Central Market)

SERVES 8

1kg Baked Ham

150g ham glaze or a jar of marmalade

Whole cloves

Preheat oven to 170C. Remove outer skin of ham and reserve (use when storing ham to keep moist). Using sharp knife, score the fat into the diamond shapes.

Place ham on a rack in a roasting tray, push cloves into the corners of each diamond and brush with glaze. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups of water into roasting pan. Bake ham for 25 minutes until golden, remove from oven and set aside. If there is a liquid in the base of the pan, place on the stove and reduce over medium hear until syrupy. Pour over ham before serving.

Roasted Vegetables

Potatoes, carrots (in season, or on special)

Cut to portion, lightly oil and salt. Place in a hot oven, turning once until tender to eat.

Zesty Lemon Greens

1 bag beans, zucchini or frozen peas

1 lemon

Cook greens until tender to eat. Lightly mix with the juice and zest of one lemon.

DESSERT

Christmas Fruitcake Served with Cream

Christmas Cake

1kg Mixed Fruit

2 cups orange juice

2 cups SR flour

Thickened Cream

Preheat oven to 125?C. Soak fruits in juice/tea and sherry overnight. Stir flour into soaked fruit and mix well. Put into large lined baking tin. Bake for 2? hours in the bottom of your oven on 130?C. Remove and leave to cool. Put in container and wrap in foil. Keep for 2-3 days before cutting. Serve with thickened cream.

Optional: Arrange Almonds on the top for decoration prior to baking.

Christmas Balls

4 cups dessicated coconut

100g pkt glace cherried

Tin condensend milk

1 lemon

Preheat oven to 180?C. Place coconut, condensed milk and zest in a bowl and mix well. Add cherries and stir until the pink of the cherries runs through the mixture. Using a tsp. roll mixture into balls and place on two paper lined baking trays approx. 3cm apart. Bake in oven for 12?15 minutes, swapping trays half way through, or until balls are lightly browned. Remove and cool before serving.

*Written by Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham, 4 Ingredients books can be purchased online or in any bookstore in Australia including Myer, Target, Kmart, Big W.

*Please log onto www.4ingredients.com.au for more wonderful recipe ideas.