If there was ever a year when Christmas celebrations are particularly welcome then this is the one. But every year there are more whims and wishes to cater for. Vegans, vegetarians, coeliacs, meat lovers and ketogenic dieters will gather round the family festive table this year to enjoy good food and friendship.

Coeliacs are relatively easy to cater for: if you usually toss your spuds in flour before roasting, swap it for gluten-free cornflour — and also use it as a thickener in sauces. Vegetarians can enjoy their favourite food in a soufflé, flan or a nut loaf. (See my popular Vegetarian Pistachio Nut loaf on my website janbilton.co.nz)
For vegans, serve something special without meat, eggs, yoghurt, cheese, honey, fish sauce and gelatine-based jellies. Whew! A good baked potato stuffed with non-dairy cheese, chillies and capsicums could be just the answer. Or see my whole Roasted Cauliflower Cheese on janbilton.co.nz

Keto diet followers love low-carb vegetables (asparagus, broccolini, green beans), high-quality protein (fish, chicken, beef) plus foods high in fats such as cheese, avocados, nuts and seeds.

A selection of all of the above will make a grand festive table. But if it’s too much for you to prepare then ask each difficult diner to bring a plate to share — just as I have. Bon apetit!


I chose a hearty free-range Bird & Barrow Chicken. Swap out the butter for table spread for dairy-free diners.

Balsamic Butter: 50g butter, softened
1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
1 teaspoon each: chopped fresh rosemary, thyme leaves
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chicken: 1.35kg free-range chicken
2 cups frozen cranberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 sprigs each: rosemary, thyme
1 large orange, quartered
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients for the balsamic butter in a small bowl and mash with a fork.

Carefully work your fingers under the skin of the chicken breasts to make pockets. Ensure you do not break the skin. Spread the butter mixture evenly into the pockets. Tie the legs with string. Tuck the wings under the bird. 

Place the cranberries, brown sugar and herbs in a roasting pan just large enough to hold the bird. Add the chicken, breast-side up. Squeeze the orange juice on top and tuck the quarters around the chicken.

Roast the chicken for about 1 1/2 hours occasionally basting with the pan liquid. Remove from the oven, tent with foil and rest for 10 minutes.

Serve with the cranberries spooned on top. Serves 4-6. 


A super soufflé-like vegetarian festive main. Wedges can be reheated.

1 large cauliflower, leaves removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon each: dried oregano, thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Sauce: 75g butter
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup plain flour
2 1/4 cups milk
100g parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
5 large eggs
Topping: 2 tablespoons sugar
75g pine nuts
chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly butter a 23cm springform cake pan and line with baking paper.

Cut the cauli into chunky florets. Place in an oven pan just large enough to hold the florets in a single layer. Drizzle with the oil. Sprinkle with the herbs and seasonings. Toss to combine.

Roast for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned. When cooked, chop roughly into 2cm pieces.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Sauté the onion on low until softened. Add the flour. Heat, stirring, for 30 seconds. Gradually stir in the milk cooking until thick. Cook on low for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the parmesan, mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

Beat the eggs well. Stir into the white sauce. Combine with the chopped cauli.

Pour into the prepared cake pan. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from the pan onto a serving plate.

To make the topping, heat the sugar in a non-stick pan on medium, until melted. Add the pine nuts and stir to coat. Tip onto a plate to cool. Sprinkle over the cauli flan and garnish with the parsley. Serves 6-8.


1kg pork fillet
Marinade: 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup each: olive oil, soy sauce, orange juice
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Marmasoy Sauce: 1/2 cup medium white wine
1/4 cup marinade
2 tablespoons marmalade
1 tablespoon butter

Ensure the silverskin is removed from the fillet. Trim if necessary. You may need two fillets. These can be tied together if too thin.

Combine all the marinade ingredients. Pour over the pork. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Return to room temperature before cooking. Preheat the oven to 180°C. 

Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry. In a non-stick frying pan suitable for the hob and oven, sear the pork evenly all over for about 2-3 minutes. Place in the oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove, tent with foil and rest for 5 minutes.

Return the frying pan to the hob. Add the wine, marinade and marmalade and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Serve over the pork. Serves 6.


This product has been added to your cart