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How to cook a Christmas feast for under $100

How to cook a Christmas feast for under $100

Christmas Day drums up images of smiling, happy families, tucking into a beautifully cooked feast that kings and queens would happily raise their glasses to.

But the reality for many of us is one of culinary chaos. Stoves boiling over, thirsty turkeys over-crisping in a jam-packed oven and a Christmas pud that isn’t quite what it was in Grandma’s day.

Not to mention the cost of it all, which by itself would threaten to send any money-conscious family into financial stress.

But what if we told you, you could whip up a decadent Christmas lunch for under $100 that will have you leisurely sipping champagne by the pool instead of sweating it out in the kitchen?

This seven-dish Christmas feast, prepared by Australia’s number one food blogger Nagi Maehashi from RecipeTin Eats, ticks all the boxes.

The secret is that most dishes can be prepared ahead of time without losing any flavour or moisture.  We guarantee you’ll have a crisp, fresh, mouth-watering Christmas lunch that will leave the most officious aunt you have speechless.

Succulent Roast Chicken

    Image: Recipe Tin Eats

  • Cost: $20
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins prep, 1 hour cook
  • Make ahead? No
  • Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 roasting chicken (around 1.5kg/3.3lbs), rinsed with water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 4 litres/ 1 gallon water
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • Half a bunch flat leaf parsley
  • Half a bunch thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 1⁄4 cup of honey
  • ½ head garlic, skin on, cloves smashed
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cup kosher salt

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: Chicken should never be seen as the poor man’s turkey – especially not when it comes out looking like this! The skin is thin and crispy and the meat is bursting with both flavour and moisture. The only problem with cooking this chicken on Christmas Day is that it will be so popular, you’ll probably need a couple.

Easy maple sticky glazed ham

  • Cost: $31
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins, 1 hr 30 mins cook
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 30 (!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 leg ham (4.5kg), cooked (or smoked) bone in and skin on
  • Cloves (for studding the ham)
  • 2 oranges, cut into quarters
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: I used to be petrified of cooking ham but this glazed ham couldn’t be simpler to make. No basting or turning, just lather it up with glaze and bake it until it turns golden and sticky. The best part? Putting it on the table. What used to intimidate me now impresses my guests.

Potato Dauphinois Gratin (Potato bake)

  • Cost: $9
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins prep, 45 mins cook
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 2 lb /1 kg starchy potatoes
  • ½ clove unpeeled garlic
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ cups grated gruyere cheese (or cheddar)
  • 1½ cups cream
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves (optional)

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: This is my absolute favourite potato recipe – with cream, cheese and garlic, how can you go wrong? Potato bake is one of those sides that you can cook one or two days ahead.  In fact, I actually think it makes it better as it gives the potatoes plenty of time to suck up the cream. Just before Christmas lunch, stick it into the oven to make the top crispy and golden, and everyone will think it is as fresh as the champagne.

Red, green and white Christmas salad

  • Cost: $12
  • Prep / cook time: 15 mins
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 10oz / 300g green beans
  • 5oz / 150g snow peas
  • 4oz / 120g feta
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: I don’t actually know what a Christmas salad is meant to look like but I figure anything with red, green and white has to pass muster on the day. If you blanch the green vegies the night before, they’ll still be perfectly crisp when you put them on the table, as long as you keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Glazed stove top carrots

  • Cost: $4
  • Prep / cook time: 20 mins
  • Make ahead? No
  • Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 6 carrots, peeled, cut into quarters lengthwise then halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ⅔ cup water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley, finely chopped

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: On Christmas Day, when there’s a queue for the oven that runs out the door, I find it hard to make carrots a priority. But since I found this stove-top recipe, no one actually has to know this because these carrots come out looking like they’ve been cooked to perfection in precious confines of the oven.  Carrots look great on the table and they barely cost a cent, so they definitely have their place in the Christmas lunch line-up.

Zucchini fennel ribbon salad with mint

  • Cost: $10
  • Prep / cook time: 10 mins
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium fennel, or 2 baby fennels
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • Handful of fresh mint, roughly torn
  • Salt and pepper

For directions, click here

Nagi says: This is a really simple salad that literally takes 10 minutes to throw together. It lightens up the Christmas table and is bursting with flavour.  Don’t be scared of the fennel – it’s the perfect counterpart to the parmesan and if you slice it thinly it won’t overpower the dish.

Salted caramel brownies

  • Cost: $10
  • Prep / cook time: 20 mins prep, 30 mins cook
  • Make ahead? Yes
  • Serves: 16

Ingredients

Brownie

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or essence)
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt

Salted caramel

  • 14oz / 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 oz / 60 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt

For directions, click here.

Nagi says: This Christmas, I’m ditching the classics and going with my all-time favourite: salted caramel brownies.  Words fail me to describe how good these are but here’s a few to give it a crack – indulgent, gooey and silky-smooth.  Unquestionably the perfect way to cap off a day of indulgence.  Just be sure to hide the recipe from yourself after New Year’s.

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Learn more about savings accounts

What is the interest rate on savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to look at interest rates on savings accounts is to use a savings accounts comparison tool. When you look at the savings rate check what the maximum and minimum rates are. Often banks will offer you a promotional rate for the first few months which is competitive, but then revert back to a base rate which can sometimes be less than inflation. Ongoing bonus rates are often a safer bet as they will keep rewarding you with the maximum rate, provided you meet their criteria

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

Who has the highest interest rates for savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to know who currently has the highest interest rate is to use a savings account comparison tool.

How does interest work on savings accounts?

The type of interest savings accounts accrues is called compound interest. Compound interest is interest paid on the initial deposit amount, as well as the accumulated interest on money you have. This is different from simple interest where interest is paid at the end of a specified term. Compound interest allows you to earn interest on interest at a higher frequency. 

Example: John deposits $10,000 into a savings account with an interest rate of 5 per cent that he leaves untouched for 10 years. At the end of the first year he will have $10,512 in savings. After ten years, he will have saved $16,470.

How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

To make sure your savings account makes money and doesn’t lose money, it’s important to maintain a large enough minimum balance that the annual interest earned exceeds any annual fees charged on the account.

What are the requirements for opening Commbank multiple savings accounts?

Existing Commbank account holders can open additional accounts online You can open multiple savings accounts with Commbank to meet various goals like a down payment for a home or buying a car. 

To open an account, you’ll need the following:

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If you’re not a current Commbank account holder, you’ll need an Australian driving licence, birth certificate or passport and Medicare card. You may also have to visit a branch if your identity cannot be confirmed online. 

Do I have to claim interest on my savings account?

When you lodge your income tax returns, you must include in the documentation all your sources of income, including bank interest. Your bank will report any interest you earn on the funds in your savings account to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). When the ATO then compares this information with your tax returns,  you also need to have mentioned the interest earned. If there is any discrepancy, you’ll receive a letter from the ATO. 

Avoid this situation by ensuring you receive your bank statement with interest noted. Then declare the interest in your tax returns and pay the tax that’s applicable based on the income tax rate.

You only need to claim your share of the interest earned for joint accounts. If you manage an account for your child and receive or spend money via this account, you will also need to report any interest earned from said account.

Should I open multiple savings accounts with UBank?

UBank offers customers an opportunity to make the most of their savings by opening multiple savings accounts. Having multiple savings accounts with UBank may be ideal for savers tracking different goals in separate accounts. 

It’s important to note that to earn bonus interest, you will still need to meet the conditions of the UBank savings account every month. If you don’t make these deposits, you will receive the standard interest rate, which is typically lower. 

Keep in mind that you won’t earn bonus interest on your UBank savings account in the month an account is opened and if you open multiple savings accounts with UBank, you'll start earning any bonus interest the following month. 

It's also not yet known how long the special interest rate will hang around for, so please check with your bank for more information. 

What are the requirements of an ING Bank locked savings account?

An ING bank locked savings account - also called a term deposit - offers you interest in exchange for holding your money for a period of time.

The terms offered include as little as 90 days or as long as two years. Generally, the longer you lock your money away, the higher the rate of interest. 

The minimum deposit amount for an ING locked savings account is $10,000. 

To be eligible to apply, you must: 

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What is a Westpac locked savings account?

The Westpac locked savings account (also known as "Westpac Life") can help customers reach savings goals faster through bonus interest. Customers receive 0.2 per cent standard base interest with a variable bonus rate of 0.35 per cent when the closing balance at the end of the month is higher than the opening balance.

There are some conditions to earn the bonus interest on Westpac's locked savings account, though. First, you’ll need to increase the balance each month either through a deposit or not making any withdrawals, and then link it to a Westpac Choice account and make at least five eligible payments using your debit card. Please consult your bank as to what an eligible payment is. 

What are the two types of NAB locked savings accounts?

With a locked savings account in NAB, you can earn bonus interest and learn financial discipline. NAB offers two types of locked savings accounts, each with their own terms and conditions.

The NAB Reward Saver account pays a variable base interest rate of 0.05 per cent per annum and a bonus interest of 0.55 per cent. You’re eligible for the bonus if you make a minimum of one deposit on or before the second last banking day and have no withdrawals in the month.

Meanwhile, the NAB iSaver account provides 0.05 per cent as the standard base interest rate and a fixed bonus margin of 0.55 per cent during the first four months from the date of opening the account. You can park your cash in the account and enjoy unlimited monthly transfers between linked daily bank accounts without impacting the interest rate.

Can you have multiple ING savings accounts?

Yes, you can open up to nine accounts with ING at any particular time. If you’re saving money for various goals, such as buying a car or taking a holiday, you can name each of your multiple ING savings accounts differently.

To get a Savings Maximiser account, you’ll need to deposit more than $1000 every month and make at least five additional purchases. If you also want to grow your savings, from 1st March 2021, you can earn up to 1.35 per cent per annum variable interest on one account with a balance of up to $100,000 when you also maintain an Orange Everyday account.

With ING, multiple savings accounts can help keep track of all your savings goals. All the accounts offer flexible withdrawals where you can withdraw as low or as high as you want without impacting your earning interest rate. However, you can only earn the bonus interest on one account. To apply for a Savings Maximiser account, you can visit ingdirect.com.au.

What is an ANZ locked savings account?

An ANZ locked savings account locks your money and prevents you from spending. You may use a standard savings account as the account where your salary is deposited. You can then withdraw funds when needed, but aren’t able to make purchases with it. However, this account may not grow much as the continual withdrawing of funds will limit the interest you can earn.

With a locked savings account in ANZ, you know your savings will grow because you can’t access the money. You can also qualify for a bonus when you deposit at least $10 per month and don’t make any withdrawals. To help you with this further you can set up an automatic transfer from your regular ANZ savings or transaction account so you don’t forget to make a monthly deposit.

Your ANZ locked savings account offers you a base interest rate of 0.1 per cent per annum plus an additional bonus interest of 0.49 per cent per year. The interest is calculated daily and credited to your account on the last working day of the month.

Do banks run credit checks on savings accounts?

When you apply to open a new savings account, some providers may conduct a credit check, meaning that they will ask a credit bureau for your credit history. This isn’t always the case on savings accounts though and depends on the provider, as you aren’t borrowing money. 

As you are opening a savings account and not borrowing funds, this credit check is considered a soft inquiry and should not affect your credit score. If the bank has run the credit check, you can often still open a savings account even if you have a poor score, provided you meet other requirements.