Maggie's Christmas cookbook a respite

LISA INESON
Last updated 05:00 22/12/2013
Maggie Beer
CHRISTMAS CHEER: Maggie Beer's love of all manner of celebrations is contagious.

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Ah Christmas. Yes, you can't escape it so why not embrace it in style under the guidance of beloved Australian cook and writer Maggie Beer.

Indeed, if you are already fatigued after battling the rest of the human race in the country's supermarket aisles and shopping malls, then enjoy the respite Beer offers in this oasis of calming Christmas cheer wrapped up in a suitably festive cover. Her love of all manner of celebrations is contagious as she takes us through recipes for all occasions from pre-Christmas nibbles to Boxing Day leftovers, ideas for New Year's Eve celebrations and food for the beach house, all the while beaming happily from the many lovely pictures.

Known as a champion - and producer - of verjuice, it's not surprising it features reasonably prominently throughout, and is readily available or easily substituted depending on your preference. However, it certainly does add a certain piquancy so is well worth trying if you haven't before.

My ditherings over a Christmas ham glaze are now over thanks to her pickled-fig glazed version (if you can't find pickled-figs contact House of Fine Foods, houseff.co.nz) and I think I may have discovered my new BFF pudding with her amazing espresso and amaretto jellies, which combine all my favourite after-dinner treats in one. (Although the baked peaches with ginger and lemon shortbread are pretty delicious, too.)

She shares a fascinating slow-cooked fillet of beef recipe inspired by fellow Australian Kylie Kwong, where a whole fillet is slathered with herbs and orange zest and cooked at a low temperature for more than three hours with incredible results. This terrific book will make for a very merry Christmas.

MAGGIE'S CHRISTMAS Maggie Beer Lantern/Penguin RRP $60

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