Kitchen Tips

Nici Wickes’ Christmas menu

Planning your Christmas menu just got easier, with the help of Nici Wickes’ top festive recipes. Get inspiration for every course, from main meal masterpieces all the way through to tasty sweet treats.

First featured in New Zealand Woman's Weekly, Nici Wickes shares her top tips on how to plan the ultimate Christmas spread. All of these recipes are simple to make, and many can be made days before so you can be calm and prepared come Christmas Day, with a completely satisfied belly.

Festive edible gifts

Why not give the gift of deliciousness this Christmas? These recipes keep well, so now's the time to make them and wrap them up. Nici's recipe for pistachio and goji berry biscotti is so much tastier than the store-bought version, or these Christmas crisps are a sweet and crunchy treat.
If you want to be more creative, buy cute little boxes, or recycle some, and gift these gorgeous homemade bliss balls and truffles to your friends and family for Christmas. Or you could make the most of summer's beautiful fruit supply with this recipe for plum and strawberry jam, which has a lovely festive flavour.

Main meals for a day of indulgence

Skip the big bird this year in favour of a perfectly cooked chicken or a beef fillet - each of which will make a great centrepiece for your Christmas table. Whether you've got lunch or dinner planned for the big day, these recipes will provide a feast for the whole family.
This roast chicken recipe is crammed full of butter and tarragon, and served with caramelised shallots. After one tender, succulent mouthful no-one will miss the turkey! Or you could go with this beef fillet with parmesan basil béarnaise, which is as impressive as it is easy to cook and serve for a crowd. Nici's unique take on a béarnaise goes beautifully with the beef for a fantastic Christmas meal.
You could pair either of these festive centrepieces with our ideas for feast-worthy side dishes. Beautifully colourful and festive, these stuffed capsicums can be made a day ahead and reheated for ultimate convenience. Or try Nici's recipe for roasted potatoes with crispy herbs, which are crunchy, buttery and just magical. For seasonal goodness, whip up this recipe for chargrilled asparagus with mustard crème - it's delightfully zingy and will bring a plateful of summer to your Christmas table.

Indulgent desserts

It's a day to indulge in every way, so whether you decide to have one or all of these festive desserts for your Christmas Day feast, be sure to treat yourself to a double-helping, with cream, without guilt.
The best thing about Nici's meringue and berry layer cake is that the meringues and fruit can be made ahead of time, so it's just a quick assemble on the day for a decadent dessert. This raspberry and white chocolate tiramisu is also extremely easy to put together, without compromising on the heavenly flavour.
Fresh cherries burst with deliciousness in this gorgeous tart recipe. Covered with beautifully crispy shredded coconut, the flavours melt perfectly together to create a festive dessert. Or if you really want to impress your guests, try a modern take on a traditional dessert with Nici's Christmas pudding recipe. Crammed full of cranberries, currants and raisins, and topped with homemade honeycomb, this will bring the wow factor to your Christmas table.

Party pieces

If you're worried about being too full from your extravagant main course and want a lighter option for dessert, try these ideas for sweet nibbles. They're all no-fuss, can be prepared ahead of time and, even better, they're eaten with fingers and a napkin!
These citrus coconut balls are an excellent after-dinner treat, and are the perfect size for anyone to enjoy. You could also go for a less-traditional Christmas dessert with these doughnuts - make the batter the day before, then simply fry them up on the day and have a bowl of silky-smooth caramel sauce ready to be dipped in.
For an incredibly easy dessert try these mini fruit and custard tarts. Or perhaps some after-dinner mint bark will be your winning idea? It's crispy and crunchy to bite into, while being a smooth and creamy to eat – a sweet delicacy you won't be able to resist.
This originally appeared in New Zealand Women's Weekly.