Last week, Stockland – Wetherill Park and celebrity TV chef and cookbook author, Miguel Maestre presenter of The Living Room, shared an unexpected and joy-filled Christmas lunch with 30 shoppers to celebrate a new campaign encouraging us Aussies to connect with others and share the joy this festive season. Miguel said, “community spirit and spending time with others is the most important part of Christmas”.
The event is part of the national campaign which sees all 40 Stockland shopping centres around Australia, work with local community organisations to connect customers with events in their area to attend or volunteer their time for a more social Christmas.
The lunch was set in the centre’s outdoor area with a long table beautifully decorated complete with all the seasonal trimmings. The array of sumptuous repast served up were all from the different shops at the centre and everyone enjoyed prawns, oysters, salads, burgers, grilled chicken, sushi, Lebanese bread, cannoli to name just a few. Aside from the food, everyone had a selfie moment with Miguel along with group photos making it a truly memorable Christmas lunch.
With over 500,000 Australians expected to spend the festive season alone this year, here are some suggestions on how you can get involved with the campaign. Check out your neighbours, especially the empty nester, most of the time you’ll find a single-person living on their own, you may know an overseas student with no relatives here, your friends or officemates whose family are living overseas or have partners who have to work on Christmas Day, and your own relatives. Give them a heads up, and invite them for Christmas lunch and share the spirit of togetherness.
Stockland has also partnered with Mission Australia as an option for those wishing to donate to help give families a safe and secure home this Christmas. Donations can be sent directly to the Mission Australia Christmas Appeal.
To make life easy this Christmas, here is a recipe from Celeb Chef Miguel Maestre that you might like to prepare. I had a quick chat with him at the event and I asked him what are his favourite ingredients. He said, ‘being born in Murcia in the south of Spain, Murcian food is filled with fresh ingredients and bold flavours, I use a lot of lemons especially lemon rind, extra virgin olive oil, tomato, paprika, garlic, onions, saffron and cheese’. With the ingredients he mentioned, let’s try Miguel’s Paella Chicken and Chorizo this Christmas.
Christmas menu suggestion –
Paella Chicken and Chorizo by Miguel Maestre
Serves 3-4 Time Needed; 40 mins
400ml chicken stock
200g Bomba rice
250g Chicken, diced
2 chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
50g fresh/frozen peas
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
For the sofrito…
2 large ripe oxheart tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 large roasted red capiscums from jar (piquillo)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
½ bunch parsley
½ bunch chives
25ml Moro Extra Virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
To make the sofrito, place all ingredients in a food processor and process until chunky. If you don’t have a food processor then simply roughly chop the tomatoes and capsicums and finely chop the garlic and parsley and combine with other sofrito ingredients.
Heat a 30cm fry-pan or paella pan on high heat, add chicken and chorizo and cook until golden brown. Add sofrito and cook until tomatoes start to become juicy, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to the boil. Stir in rice and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for about 10 minutes. Step 3
When rice is tender and liquid has almost fully reduced (there should still be some liquid in the fry-pan), add peas and cook for a further 2 minutes to achieve ‘soccarrada’ (crust on the bottom of the pan). Step 4
Season to taste with salt and garnish with chives. Squeeze over lemon juice just before serving.
You can find more food inspiration, including Miguel’s own recipes, personal story and a variety of exclusive content by clicking this link.
Any favourite dish this Christmas? Please add in the comment box, thank you.
Images and M Maestre recipe used with permission.
E_deliciou_S attended the event as guests.