Summer feasting is about sharing good food and good times with family and friends – but what to cook?

Dianne Bortoletto chats to some of the Margaret River Region’s best producers and chefs to find out their most delicious festive season recipes.

Aravina Roast Chicken Christmas Recipe
Aravina's Roast Chicken dish - a favourite for christmas lunch

Roasted chicken, spring vegetables and corn puree

Joaquin Diz: Head Chef Aravina Esate

Aravina Estate’s Head Chef Joaquin Diz hails from Argentina, and comes with serious cred. He worked for four years at Brae, an award-winning Victorian restaurant known for embracing organic principals, and before that at fine dining restaurant the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, Victoria. Joaquin says that his food philosophy at Aravina is simple things done well.


  • 1 1.5 kg organic chicken
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme and rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves olive oil, salt (sea salt flakes preferably)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 bunch baby carrots
  • 2 sweet corns
  • 50 grams of butter
  • 200 ml milk


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

For the chicken: take the chicken out of the fridge and plastic bag 1 hour before cooking. Stuff the chicken with the lemon halves, fresh herbs and garlic. Rub the chicken skin with the olive oil and salt (generous amount). Arrange the carrots (and why not potatoes!) in the tray around the chicken, drizzle with oil and season. Cook the chicken for 45 minutes. Once it’s ready let it rest for 10 mins so the juices settle. Peel the asparagus and blanch it in boiling water, it shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds. They should be still crisp and crunchy. Reserve, and at the moment of serving dress them with olive oil and season.

For the corn puree: Cut the kernels off the corn, sweat them with the butter on low heat for 5 minutes or until tender. Next add milk and simmer for 20 minutes. Once the corn is fully cooked strain and reserve the liquid. Blend the cooked corn, adding some of the cooking liquid if necessary. It should have a nice creamy texture (more like baby food than soup). Once you are happy with the texture, season to taste.

To serve: Place a spoonful of the corn puree on one side of the plate, arrange the vegetables in a bundle, sitting right next to it. On the other side of the plate, serve your preferred cut of chicken, use the juices from the roasting pan as a sauce.

Seared Shark Bay scallops with a crispy corn fritter, Thai green mango salad and namjim dressing

Blue Manna Bistro


  • 16 scallops

Sweetcorn fritter

  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 coriander root
  • 1 white onion finely diced
  • 1 red chilli deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 spring onions finely sliced
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup coriander leaves

Namjim dressing

  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 green chilli
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 stalk & leaves coriander
  • 100g palm sugar
  • 100ml fish sauce
  • 150ml lime juice

Ingredients – salad

  • 1 cup bean shoots
  • 1 green mango julienned
  • 1 carrot julienned
  • 3 golden shallots finely sliced
  • 3 spring onions finely sliced
  • 1 bunch snow pea sprouts
  • 1 cup coriander picked
  • 1 cup Thai basil picked
  • 1 cup Vietnamese mint picked


For fritters, place 1 cup corn, garlic, coriander root, egg and flour in a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into a bowl, add remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Using a 60ml ladle shallow-fry small pikelets in a fry pan.

For Nanjim dressing, pound the first six ingredients to a paste in a mortar and pestle. Add fish sauce and lime juice.

Putting it together

Sear the scallops on a high heat in a pan. Place sweetcorn fritter on a plate. In a bowl, add scallops and salad then dress with namjim dressing. Neatly arrange scallops and salad on sweetcorn fritter. Drizzle with more namjim and crispy shallots.

Paella Rustico Recipe
Mix it up this Christmas with a seafood Paella recipe from Rustico


Rustico at Hayshed Hill

Paella is possibly the most iconic of all of Spain’s dishes, however, to most Spaniards it is considered an exclusively Valencian dish, with its origins around the 10th century. The original paella, the Valencia, consisted of rabbit, mixed beans, pork and snails, and it was cooked over a pine and orange tree fire. It was this first rendition that became the starting point to the modern day, widely cooked seafood paella.


  • 1 12-inch paella pan
  • 370gm bomba rice
  • 1 tsp of ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground chilli
  • 1 large fine sliced onion
  • 12 medium prawn cutlets
  • 50ml canola oil
  • 2 packets of saffron
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground garlic
  • 150gm sliced chorizo
  • 4 sliced picquillo peppers
  • 2 sliced chicken thighs
  • 300gm barramundi fillet, cut into 2cm sqs
  • 14 cleaned mussels
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 litres hot chicken stock


In the pan, sauté on a medium low heat the chorizo slices, chilli, garlic, onion and peppers with the canola oil. Once sweated down, add the sliced chicken thigh, mixing well. Once cooked through add the dry ground spices and the saffron, gently roast through. Add the bomba rice, stirring well to coat all the rice evenly in the spiced oil.

Add the prawn cutlets, seal in the pan. Once everything is sealed off, add 1/2 of the chicken stock, mixing evenly through the rice. Turn up the heat to medium high and bring to a rapid simmer, cook like this for 10 mins, stirring regularly to ensure it doesn’t burn under the high heat.

Reduce to a low simmer, don’t stir any more as you want to now form a crust on the base of the pan. Push the Barramundi cube evenly spread through the pan, skin side up, allowing to gently poach in the pan. At this point you will be ready to add another 200-300ml of the hot chicken stock, pouring evenly into the mix. After 5 mins, push the mussels into the cooking rice mix, hinge end of the shell first, spaced evenly through the dish, allowing to steam open in the stock.

Allow to cook for a further 8-10 mins, checking the rice, adding more stock to the mix as required and reduced. The rice is cooked when its grains are soft and with no bite or crunch, but still firm enough that the rice still holds together. At this point, don’t add any more stock, but sprinkle the peas evenly over the top of the rice, allowing to cook in the heat, while still being firm and bright green.

Gently with a spoon, fluff up the rice, but be cautious no to scrap the crust away from the bottom. Squeeze the juice of a lemon over the top, and season. Devour immediately.

Vineyard Chicken With Roasted Kipfler Potatoes

Tony Howell Consultant Executive Chef – Cape Lodge

Over a 30-year career, Tony has garnered a reputation as one of Australia’s best chefs. He has worked in the finest restaurants and alongside some of the biggest names and represents Western Australia as an ambassador at tourism and trade events around the world.

“This recipe has been an old favourite of mine working in vineyard restaurants in Margaret River,” says Tony. It’s the perfect dinner party dish that looks impressive but it isn’t difficult to cook. By wrapping the chicken, it locks in the flavours and meat stays super moist. If you like, you can substitute some of the chicken stock for white wine when cooking the grapes


  • 4 Lilydale chicken thighs
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 4 vine leaves (blanched in hot water, chilled) 4 slices prosciutto Butcher’s twine Handful of grapes 300ml chicken stock (see recipe)
  • 2 knobs butter


  • 8 Kipfler potatoes
  • splash olive oil
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves


For the potatoes, slice on an angle into three (depending on size) toss with oil, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Place on baking paper on a tray and place in the oven at 170 degrees until cooked, set aside.

For the chicken, lay the thigh (skinless) flat on the bench, place a basil leaf in the middle and roll end to end, now wrap in a vine leaf, then a slice of prosciutto and tie with butchers twine. Heat pan with olive oil, seal all sides of the chicken, now place in the oven at 170 degrees till cooked. Take out the chicken and rest to the side. Now place the grapes cut in half and add the chicken stock to the hot pan, simmer on the stove top, and add the chilled butter and simmer until thick. Arrange the potatoes on a plate topped with sliced chicken and sauce.

Tip: There’s nothing better than home-made chicken stock. The house smells delicious, it’s warming and soothing to drink and it can be used in so many recipes. It’s so easy to make and far superior to store bought stock, and you know exactly what’s in it. It’s important to use cold water when making stock because certain proteins only dissolve in cold water, which results in a beautiful clear stock. You can keep this simmering for longer for a stronger flavour.

Serves 4

This recipe has been an old favourite of mine working in vineyard restaurants in Margaret River

BBQ Prawn & Noodle Salad With Margaret River Providore Sweet Ginger Lime Dressing

Margaret River Providore

Perfect for a warm summer’s day, this super simple and delicious BBQ prawn salad is ideal for entertaining this festive season. Enjoy with a chilled glass of award winning Coward & Black Lady Margo Rosé.


  • 180g Japanese noodles (udon, ramen or soba noodles)
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 continental cucumber, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 bunch pak choy, shredded
  • 150g snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 1 red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 lengths of spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander leaves, picked from stem
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup Providore Sweet Ginger and Lime Dressing
  • 16 large whole prawns shell on wooden barbecue skewers lemon or lime wedges to serve


Cook the noodles according to the instructions on pack. Drain noodles and run under the cold tap to stop the cooking process. Drain the cooled noodles completely.

Preheat barbecue. As BBQ is heating up, skewer the prawn’s tail first, so that the head of the prawn is at the point of the skewer. Grill prawn skewers on the barbecue on high for 4 to 5 minutes each side or until the shells are a bright orange. Remove prawns from BBQ and keep warm under foil as you finish salad.

In a large bowl, combine noodles, prepared salad vegetables, sesame seeds, coriander and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Pour the Providore sweet ginger and lime dressing over the salad and toss until well coated. Add sesame seeds, coriander and a sprinkle of salt and pepper – toss again. Serve straight away alongside the barbecued prawns and lime wedges.

Serve with Coward & Black Lady Margo rosé wine.

Serves 4

Pan Con Tomate with Margaret River Dairy Co Brie

Margaret River Dairy Co and

Pan Con Tomate is a traditional Spanish tapas using simple local ingredients: good bread, ripe tomatoes, fresh garlic and fine olive oil. A humble staple, you can take it up a notch by adding thinly-sliced prosciutto with Margaret River Dairy Company Brie, lightly grilled until cheese oozes decadently. It’s the perfect summer’s evening antipasto to enjoy with friends.


  • 1 baguette
  • 2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 x large cloves garlic
  • 150gm Margaret River Dairy Co Brie
  • 1 x large very ripe tomato
  • 12 x slices jamon or prosciutto
  • handful flat leaf parsley leaves or salad leaves of your choice
  • extra olive oil to drizzle


Pre-heat BBQ or cast-iron grill to medium heat. Cut baguette on angle to yield 12 x (2.5cm thick) pieces. Brush both cut sides with olive oil. Toast baguette on both sides for a few minutes until golden, turning occasionally. Rub one toasted side with garlic clove. The toast acts like a grater and will wear the clove down due to exterior of toast being rough. Cut tomato in half and rub over toast, squeezing out seeds and juice to soak into toast. Cut brie into slices and place on top of toast. Place under grill for a couple of minutes to melt. Place scrunched-up jamon or prosciutto on top of melted cheese, scatter with parsley and serve warm, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

Serves 12