MasterChef’s Larissa Sewell shares ultimate 3-course Christmas menu for Adelaidians

Adelaide’s own MasterChef 2023 contestant, Larissa Sewell, shares a fantastic Christmas 3-course Christmas menu and her hot tips for for Christmas on a budget.

This Christmas, Adelaide’s own MasterChef 2023 contestant, Larissa Sewell, and the iconic Adelaide Central Market are teaming up to bring families a delicious yet budget-friendly holiday season.

Larissa, a mother of two, has designed a three-course Christmas menu that’s not only easy on the wallet but also bursting with local fresh produce.

Feeding a family of eight has never been so cost-effective, with Larissa’s menu coming in at under $20 per head. This includes entrées, mains, sides, and dessert, all crafted from ingredients readily available at the Market.

“Choosing easy-to-prepare meals doesn’t mean they can’t be full of flavour. All of the recipes created for this menu are packed full of flavour and spices that work with the great produce you can find at the Market,” Larissa says.

“Indulging in beautiful, flavourful food on a budget is absolutely achievable. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or needing inspiration, let me do the budget planning for you. My carefully curated Christmas menu feeds 8-10 people for under $150. It revolves around practicality, flavour, and, of course, a bit of financial savvy. It celebrates so much of South Australia’s wonderful seasonal produce – and is all in season, and available from the Adelaide Central Market.”

Recognising the financial pressures on families this year, Larissa shares her top tips for stretching your dollar this Christmas.

“Many traders at the Market allow you to buy in bulk, helping to save money, as well as being able to buy exactly the amount you need rather than having to spend money on ingredients you’ll only use a small amount of.”

The Adelaide Central Market will be open throughout the Christmas period, with extended trading hours from 7 am to 3 pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

For those unable to visit the Market in person, online delivery is available for more than 2,000 products that can be conveniently delivered directly to your door.

Get ready to savour the flavours of the season without breaking the bank with the recipes below.

Christmas Lunch for 8 People for under $20 a head:


· Warmed Olives with Orange and Garlic
. Baked Brie with Roasted Cherries


· Roasted Porchetta Roll
. Maple Roasted Baby Heirloom Carrots
. Roasted Duck Fat Potatoes with Chimichurri
. Festive Citrus Salad with Toasted Pistachios
. Heirloom Tomato, Peach, and Burrata Salad


· Eton Mess with Macerated Adelaide Hills Strawberries

Larissa’s Top Tips for Christmas on a Budget

  • Plan your menu ahead of time, focusing on versatile ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes. An example of this that I do frequently is plan a menu that crosses over on several dishes for the same range of fresh herbs – or if I need the juice of a lemon, I’ll use the rind zested in another dish – if I’m making meringue using egg white – I’ll make a curd, custard or even a mayonnaise or hollandaise with the leftover egg yolks. Plan your menu around using everything, sometimes the most unconventional ideas save some serious dollars – I even lop my baby carrot tops to make the most delicious, zesty chimichurri or pesto instead of buying extra bunches of herbs – it’s so delicious!
  • This is a simple one, but my gosh, does it help – make a shopping list and stick to it to avoid impulse purchases (however, you’re always forgiven for sneaking a few too many cherries or local, ripe peaches to devour on the ride home…)
  • Embrace seasonality! Take advantage of South Australia’s beautiful, local, seasonal produce; it’s not only fresher, and will last so much longer – but often you’ll find it’s so much more affordable during the holidays – we are so lucky to have such wonderful produce available to us here in SA.
  • Shop around – or even better, shop at a market. I love nothing more than wandering around The Adelaide Central Market, coffee-in-hand taking in all the sights, smells and sounds; especially during the festive period. If you’re anything like me, take that time to compare prices at different vendors within the market to ensure you’re getting the best deals.
  • If wandering is not for you, or you find yourself a bit time poor over the holiday season – I’d recommend placing your order online, this way, you purchase exactly what you need, in the quantities you need and you can either collect, or have it delivered directly to your home. Added bonus, is that you’re far less likely to impulse buy things that you don’t necessarily need.
  • Consider buying in bulk – or buy only what you need from bulk lots, particularly for things you wouldn’t regularly use. Not only does this tend to work out cheaper when it comes to unit cost, but you can buy the exact quantities you need and save on spending excess on product that may not be used again any time soon. I do this a lot with specialty spices, grains and even some oils and vinegars. The Adelaide Central Market has so many wonderful vendors who sell a wide-variety of produce and spices by the scoop, gram or litre – some will even provide a discount if you bring your own jar or container – just don’t forget to ask them to tare your vessel first.
  • Embrace the ugly! Often you can buy produce that’s a little misshapen or cosmetically blemished at a special price and I always take FULL advantage of this – if I am roasting my cherries, macerating my strawberries or grilling my peaches, does it have to be ‘supermarket perfect’ – absolutely not – it’s just as delicious, usually significantly cheaper and helps support local growers. Win/win.
  • If you’re a meat-eater, plan your menu around using whole or larger cuts of meat – it’s significantly cheaper to purchase a whole chicken, or a whole cut of meat than smaller individual portions. Choosing secondary cuts of meat can also save you money – a lamb shoulder melting away at low temperature overnight makes a magical Christmas Day lunch – without needing to worry about juggling the timing of your protein on Christmas Day.
  • Buying a whole or a half leg of ham can feel a bit daunting – but it truly shouldn’t be. If you choose to glaze it, this can be done a day or two in advance and kept in the fridge – it looks so beautiful on a Christmas table, and bonus is you can set some aside for leftovers for days and weeks to come. I will often will carve up Christmas ham and freeze slices for school lunches, dice some for quiches, and have some tucked away in the fridge for an epic Boxing Day grazing board. The cost a full leg ham can be less than 1/3 the price or less of sliced ham – and with a bit of thought – can be a great way to save money on Christmas Day and beyond.

Christmas for Under $20 per person


Warmed Olives with Orange and Garlic

Olive lovers, if you have never tried your olives warm, now is the time. This is an oh-so-simple, delicious way to elevate the humble olive, into something incredible – a delightful little appetiser of olives, with a subtle hint of orange and garlic – thank me later…


  • 1 cup mixed local olives
  • 1 orange, peel removed with a vegetable peeler*
  • 1 clove garlic, bruised
  • 1-2 sprigs of thyme (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Prepare Olives: Strain your olives, I like to use a mixed variety of olives for colour, texture and flavour. My top tip here would be to strain into a jar and not let a drop of the brine go to waste. Keep that olive brine in a jar in the fridge – it makes such a wonderful addition to salads and casseroles – so punchy and flavourful.

2. Peel Orange: Use a vegetable peeler to thinly and carefully remove the peel from the orange, making sure that you try to avoid getting any of the bitter white pith.

3. Warm Olive Oil: In a pan over the lowest heat on the smallest burner, gently warm two tablespoons of good quality olive oil with 2 to 3 shavings of orange peel, a couple of sprigs of thyme (optional) and a garlic clove that has been bruised slightly (with the back of your knife works well). Be careful to keep the olive oil just warm – you don’t want any colour on the garlic, we are looking more for an infusion.

4. Add Olives: Once the oil is barely fragrant, add your strained olives, and occasionally move around in the pan until just warmed though, or around 5 minutes, being careful to not bruise or colour the olives – we aren’t cooking here, just gently warming through to wake the natural oils and flavour in the olives.

5. Serve Warm: Once warmed, remove from heat. Discard the bruised garlic clove. Transfer the olives to a serving dish and serve warm.

Notes: If you are following the Adelaide Central Market Christmas Menu – keep your orange aside for the Festive Citrus Salad.

Baked Brie with Roasted Cherries


  • · 1 wheel of Brie cheese
  • · 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
  • · 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
  • · Crackers or crusty baguette slices for serving


1. Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 180°C

2. Prepare Brie: Place the Brie wheel on a baking sheet lined with crumpled parchment paper – or ideally, if you have a ceramic cheese baking dish lurking in the back of your cupboard – now is the time to use it.

3. Roast Cherries: Line a small oven-proof bowl or baking dish with baking paper and add the pitted cherries and a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup. Adding the honey or maple is completely optional, but it really is special to dig in to your oozing warm brie with dripping, syrupy cherries. Toss to coat the cherries evenly.

4. Bake Brie: Place the Brie in the preheated oven and bake until it becomes gooey and slightly melted, usually around 15-20 minutes.

5. Roast Cherries (continued): While the Brie is baking, spread the coated cherries on a separate baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until they are softened and collapsing – be careful that the honey or maple aren’t caramelising too quickly – so keep a close eye on them

6. Serve: Once the Brie is ready, carefully transfer it to a serving plate or board (this is where the crumpled parchment paper makes it easy) Spoon the roasted cherries over the melted Brie, and serve with crackers or crusty baguette. Dig in while it’s still oozy and warm.

Tips: Drizzling some honey on the cherries after assembling the brie is not only a little theatrical – but its VERY delicious. You can play with different ways of roasting your cherries based on your preferences – add a little balsamic vinegar and freshly cracked black pepper, or a small squeeze of orange juice with some rosemary – the possibilities are endless and oh-so-delicious.


Roasted Porchetta Roll

Roast according to butcher’s instructions.

Maple Roasted Baby Heirloom Carrots


  • · 2 bunches of baby heirloom carrots – multi-coloured ones are my fave!
  • · Generous drizzle of good quality Olive Oil for roasting
  • · a three fingered pinch of flaky sea salt
  • · 1/4 cup maple syrup


1. Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C Fan Forced)

2. Prepare Carrots: Scrub and wash the baby heirloom carrots, leaving them whole, but removing the leafy tops (these can be washed and used to make a wonderful salad addition, or a bright carrot-top pesto)

3. Coat with Olive Oil and Salt: In a large mixing bowl (or if you’re anything like me – straight in the pan, avoiding extra dishes!) toss the clean carrots with olive oil and a generous sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Ensure the carrots are evenly coated.

4. Roast in Oven: Spread the carrots on a baking sheet in a single layer. For best results, I use a heavy anodised baking dish – you get a super roast finish in a fraction of the time. Roast in the preheated oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the carrots are tender and slightly caramelised.

5. Maple Syrup Addition: Once the carrots are cooked, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven. Drizzle the maple syrup over the carrots and toss them in the hot pan, ensuring each carrot is coated in the syrup.

6. Return to Oven: Place the baking sheet back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or until the maple syrup becomes sticky and coats the carrots.

7. Serve Warm: Transfer the maple-roasted baby heirloom carrots to a serving dish and enjoy them warm as a deliciously sweet and savoury side – add a sprinkle of sesame seeds if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

Roasted Duck Fat Potatoes with Chimichurri

Duck Fat Potatoes:


  • · 2kg baby white potatoes
  • · Salt for boiling
  • · 1/2 cup duck fat
  • · Flaky sea salt for roasting


1. Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C Fan Forced)

2. Boil Potatoes: In a large pot of cold tap water, add a generous palmful of salt and the two kilograms of washed baby potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook the baby potatoes until fork-tender. Do not overcook, as they’ll be going into the oven for a second cook.

3. Prepare Pan & Squash Potatoes: Drain the potatoes thoroughly and allow to steam dry very briefly whilst preparing the baking pan with a smothering of melted duck fat. Be generous with the duck fat, most of it will remain in the pan when removing the potatoes for serving – but you wont get the same caramelisation and crispiness without it. I recommend using a heavy anodised style pan for roasting – you get a deep, roast caramelisation in a fraction of the time. Once the pan is suitably bathed in melted duck fat – spread the potatoes out on the pan, not too close together – the space between them will allow them to crisp up beautifully, without sweating next to each other. Using a fork or potato masher, gently squash each potato, allowing them to ‘pop’ open slightly – leaving a rough edged crack in the side of the potato.

4. Coat with Duck Fat: generously brush the remaining duck fat over the squashed potatoes. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

5. Roast in Oven: Roast the potatoes in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until they are golden and crispy. You can flip the potatoes after 15-20 minutes to get an even crispy surface on both sides.

6. Serve with Chimichurri Sauce…

Chimichurri Sauce:


  • 3/4 bunch parsley, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed or micro-planed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • Good Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano


1. Prepare Chimichurri: In a blender or food processor, combine parsley, red onion, crushed garlic and dried oregano and pulse a few times until you have an even, fine chop. Add red wine vinegar, salt, black pepper lemon juice and olive oil. Pulse briefly to combine, ensuring not to emulsify the oil completely – this should be a finely chopped herb texture under oil – not an emulsified sauce.

2. Adjust Consistency: If needed, adjust the consistency with additional olive oil for a desired drizzling consistency. You may need to add a little more salt, or another squeeze of lemon juice to taste.

3. Serve: Spoon the chimichurri over the roasted duck fat potatoes before serving, or serve on the side. Trust me when I say that you will want to eat this chimichurri with everything. Ideally make 30 mins in advance, but I recommend making it a few days in advance – the flavours just get better.


Festive Citrus Salad with Toasted Pistachios

This is such a vibrant and festive citrus salad – though the pairings may seem a little unconventional – trust me when I say that these flavours are ready to mingle! Enjoy the happy bursts of citrus, the crunch of pistachios, and the harmony of the sweet, slightly garlicky and just-enough acidic dressing.


  • · 1 kg oranges
  • · 2-3 blood oranges
  • · 2 mandarins
  • · 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • · Fresh parsley sprigs, picked
  • · Pistachios, pan-toasted


  • · 1/4 cup olive oil
  • · 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • · 1 microplaned garlic clove
  • · 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • · Salt and pepper to taste


1. Prepare Citrus: Peel and slice the oranges, blood oranges and mandarins. Ideally, use a knife to peel so that you remove as much of the bitter pith as possible. Arrange the citrus on a platter, oranges on the bottom, layering with blood oranges for contrast. You truly could use any variety of citrus here – ruby red grapefruits are a delicious addition and the slight bitterness contrasts beautifully.

2. Add Onion Rings: Scatter thinly sliced red onion rings over the citrus for a pop of colour and a punch of flavour.

3. Prepare Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, microplaned or crushed garlic, and either maple syrup or honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Drizzle Dressing: Drizzle the dressing over the citrus salad just before serving, ensuring you dress all of the citrus generously.

5. Sprinkle Parsley and Pistachios: Sprinkle the citrus with picked parsley sprigs and pan-toasted pistachios evenly and serve.

6. Tip: Don’t waste the juice that you’ll collect while cutting up your citrus – whisk it into the dressing & pour that deliciousness on!

Heirloom Tomato, Peach and Burrata Salad


  • Heirloom tomatoes, assorted varieties and sizes for interest
  • Ripe peaches, washed to de-fuzz
  • 1 burrata cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Prepare Tomatoes and Peaches: Slice heirloom tomatoes into rounds, arranging them on a serving platter. Halve and pit the peaches, then roughly chop into generous, bite-sized wedges, and scatter amongst the sliced tomatoes.

2. Prepare Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Adjust sweetness and acidity to your liking.

3. Add Burrata and Basil: Tear the burrata over the tomatoes and peaches and scatter with fresh basil leaves.

4. Drizzle Dressing: Generously drizzle the dressing over the heirloom tomato, peach, and burrata salad, making sure everything is generously and evenly coated and serve immediately.

5. Tip: If you have it on hand – this salad is so wonderful dressed simply with good quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze.


Eton Mess with macerated Adelaide Hills strawberries

Basic Meringues (Make in advance):

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g icing sugar

Macerated Strawberries:

  • 450g fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Sugar – depending on sweetness of strawberries

Whipped Pouring Cream:

  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)


Prepare Meringues (can be prepared days in advance):

1. Preheat the oven to 110°C (100°C fan forced)

2. In a clean, dry bowl and with an electric beater or stand mixer with whisk attachment – whip egg whites until stiff peaks form on medium speed (this is where your egg white peaks stand up and hold on their own when you remove the whisk).

3. Increase speed of beater and gradually add caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time until combined and mixture is glossy and thick.

4. Sift your icing sugar, and split into three lots. Add one lot of sifted icing sugar at a time and gently fold into the mix until just combined and the mixture is smooth and billowy.

5. Spoon or pipe meringue onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 1.5 to 2 hours until crisp, and the sound of the meringue is crisp when tapped underneath.

6. Allow meringues to cool *completely* and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Macerate Strawberries:

1. In a bowl, combine sliced strawberries with sugar. Toss gently.

2. Allow strawberries to macerate for at least 30 minutes – or up to 24 hours – releasing their juices. Stir occasionally.

Whipped Pouring Cream:

1. In a chilled bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form.

2. Add icing sugar and vanilla extract, if using. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

Assemble Eton Mess (just before serving):

1. Crumble or break meringues into bite-sized pieces.

2. In tall champagne coupe glasses, or bowl of choice, layer meringues, macerated strawberries, and whipped cream.

3. Repeat the layers until the glass is filled, finishing with a dollop of whipped cream and a strawberry slice for garnish.

For more information about Adelaide Central Market, head here.

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