Curtis Stone has a lot to celebrate this year. He has a new baby, Emerson (already named Easy E for his chilled temperament) with his wife actress Lindsay Price, and their first son Hudson has just turned 3. His Beverly Hills restaurant Maude, named after his grandmother. has just won LA Eater’s Restaurant of the Year for 2014 and is one of LA Weekly’s 10 best new restaurants for 2014 and his new book Good Food Good Life is due for release in early 2015. We caught up with Curtis on a whirlwind trip to Australia to promote his Christmas recipes with Coles.

How are you celebrating Christmas?

I’m having Chrisssie with Mum here in Australia. She always cooks roast pork with the best crackling in the world. I can’t get mine as good, even under her instruction. We’ll have mince tarts, and red wine – that’s my job, opening the wine!

Then I’m leaving the next day for LA where I’ll start cooking pretty much straight away. My family Christmas over there will include my Dad and his wife and my wife’s parents, so it’ll be an Aussie/American/Korean mash up.

What are you serving this year?

We’ll start with something light in the morning – maybe some mimosas, some pastries, a slice of quiche, then we’ll have lunch around 3pm.

We’ll definitely have roast pork for lunch. It’s what we always did as a family, so I need to have it to feel like Christmas. My wife likes roast beef so we’ll probably have a standing rib, and we’ll have kimchi. After that probably a cheese platter and a Christmas pudding. I’m hoping my Mum has made me one and I’ll have to smuggle it in to the US.

What’s your favourite Christmas dish?

Definitely the roast pork. In LA it’s Winter so I’ll do it with apple sauce and cranberries. In Australia that doesn’t make sense in summer, so I’d do an avocado, tomato and feta salad – all the colours of Christmas – and maybe add some dried cranberries. I also love my Mum’s mince tarts. I told her I was going to work on the recipe, and I did 10 different versions of it trying to improve it, but ended up nearly exactly where I started – it’s a compliment to her cooking that the recipe couldn’t be improved!

Curtis’s Mum’s Decadent Mince Tarts – click here for the recipe (including a print-friendly version)

What’s on your Christmas playlist?

My wife is a songwriter, so I totally leave it to her. She kind of has this Christmas carol / Frank Sinatra / Norah Jones thing going on. It feels old-world-y and smooth, but still Christmassy.

What’s your tip for home cooks to make Christmas day easier?

You need to write a plan. Literally, write it down on a piece of paper. Start with the time you want to serve Christmas lunch, write that down, and then work backwards from there. If you want to put the turkey in 3 hours before lunch, put that time down. If you have time to do the veggies or salad while the turkey is cooking, write that down too.

Your plan should include the day before too. If there’s anything you’re going to serve that can be made the day before – do it! Make the parfait, decorate the table, put together your playlist, lay out the candles. Don’t forget to slot in time for opening presents, too. I think what happens is you start relaxing into Christmas and you either miss out on presents because you have to go into the kitchen, or you don’t go into the kitchen and you end up eating lunch at 7pm.

The other important thing is to allocate jobs. Ask someone to bring a playlist on an iPhone. Ask someone else to pick up candles or decorations – let them know what colours you want. It’s nice to be given a job and for everyone to feel included.

Have you ever had a Christmas disaster?

Yes, many! When I lived in London, we used to go to the pub every year to listen to the Queen’s speech. One year I got up, put the turkey in the oven, went to the pub and realised I’d locked us out of the flat. And we lived on the third floor…

We had to jump the fence, steal the neighbour’s ladder and climb in the back window. Crisis averted, just.

What’s on your Christmas wish list?

A rest, and time with my family. After Christmas, we’re pulling the pin for 2 weeks – we’re closing the restaurant and we’re headed to Palm Springs where there’s nothing to do except relax. We’ve had a crazy year, as a business and as a couple, so I can’t wait to get away. In the US they don’t really shut down so much for Christmas but I’m definitely hanging on to that part of Australian culture!

Explore Curtis Stone’s Christmas recipes on the Coles website

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Jono Fleming styles a beachside dining scene, and adds a little smoked paprika to fresh seafood for a summer dish with a difference.

We all love seafood in summer, and it’s usual to serve it simply, with perhaps a squeeze of lemon. With this recipe, I’m going for something a little more punchy. Smoked paprika or pimentón is a Spanish spice – it’s made from dried capsicum like normal paprika but the capsicum has been smoked over fire. It’s not particularly spicy, but it does have an intense, smoky aroma that really enhances the delicate scampi or prawn flavour. I styled this dish with a beachside vibe, featuring blue & white china and linen and plenty of natural textures. Give it a try once the Christmas rush is over and you have time to sit back and enjoy it!

Ingredients (Serves 2)

6 scampi, halved and cleaned. If you can’t find scampi, substitute with large tiger prawns
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp smoked paprika
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil

Preparation

In a bowl, mix the garlic, paprika, lemon, zest and oil together. Dip the scampi in the marinade and coat thoroughly.

There are two ways to cook the marinated scampi. Either place the scampi on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and place under a heated grill  for 3-4 minutes, until the scampi turns white and starts to char just slightly, or cook on a hot griddle pan or the hot plate of the BBQ (no need for oil) for 3 – 4 minutes.

Enjoy all Jono’s recipes via our Dish of the Day Pinterest board

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We admire the work of OzHarvest, which has so far delivered over 30 million meals to those in need by saving 10,000 tonnes of food which would otherwise go to waste. We’re pleased to share the details of their new book Urban Harvest – every copy sold allows OzHarvest to rescue and deliver more than 100 meals. Here OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn, pictured above, introduces OzHarvest and the new book. We have a copy to give away – leave a comment below for your chance to win!

“Food nourishes not only the body but the soul, especially when shared with friends and family. Simple or special, made with fancy ingredients or plain, when food is treated with care and cooked with love, it will make a meal to remember. If you are cooking with home grown veggies, whether cultivated on a balcony or vertical wall, in an expansive garden or old bathtub, the taste and joy is amplified. That is what we have for you here in Urban Harvest, our second OzHarvest cookbook. Urban Harvest represents what OzHarvest stands for: nourishment, goodness and a collective, nurturing team of magnificent people. Fifty of Australia’s top chefs have given us their favourite recipes. Editors, writers,  photographers, food testers, food tasters, producers volunteers and Australia’s best design team – Frost*collective – have combined their skills to bring Urban Harvest to life.” – Ronni Kahn  

Volunteers are the backbone of OzHarvest’s many initiatives such as Cooking for a Cause, the CEO CookOff  and Pyrmont Markets. For further information, visit www.ozharvest.org

OzHarvest collects more bananas than any other tup of fruit. In 2013/14 nine schools received nearly 5 tonnes. This year a single supplier donated more than 60 tonnes of fruit – he couldn’t sell it as it was slightly blemished. As well as distributing thousands of tonnes of donated food to those who need it most, OzHarvest has also pioneered a number of ground-breaking initiatives that help raise awareness and build community spirit.

Matt Moran is one of 50 chefs who has shared a recipe. His Roast Chicken with Lemon Herbs is one of his crowd pleasers. “This is my tried and true recipe for the best roast chicken you will ever eat”, says Moran.

Mark Labrooy from Sydney’s Three Blue Ducks shares the recipe for his deliciously simple Lemon, Polenta and Ricotta Cake

The book is designed as a pro bono project by one of the best in the business – Vince Frost of Frost*collective. He says, “My personal mission in life is to help people. Whether it is a charity, an individual or a major corporation. Everyone needs help and direction in their lives to be the best that they can be. . Ozharvest gives with its huge generous heart relentlessly and is making a huge difference to thousands of people everyday. The Frost* Collective is proud to have designed and produced this book”.

Order a copy of Urban Harvest through the OzHarvest website 

For your chance to win a copy of Urban Harvest, leave a comment below before 5pm (AEDT) Wednesday 24 December 2014. You must be a member of Temple & Webster to enter, and you may only enter once. We’ll pick our favourite comments and contact the winners via Facebook or email by Friday 9 January 2015. If we are unable to contact the winner(s) within 30 days we’ll pick an alternative winner.

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Haven’t got a handle on your Christmas wrapping yet? Maria Schindlecker went to Pinterest for inspiration, and found 5 ideas using basic brown paper. 

Brown paper is a great start for your Christmas wrapping. The neutral colour allows you to play around with lots of fun of decorative ideas that will make your Christmas presents special. Here are 5 ideas that will have you rapt about your wrap…

Gold medal gifts

A can of gold or silver spray paint combined with leaves and foliage found in the park or your back yard equals an elegant solution.

The sweet touch

The kids will love you this Christmas! Add lollies or a tiny toy as a little bonus pressie – the brighter the better, to contrast with the plain paper and twine.

Make it personal

Fresh foliage always works, and we love the idea of adding your own photograph as a gift card. Try family photos or your best Instagram shots – print them yourself at home, or order a set via Origrami or similar.

Spend & save

Since you’re saving on paper, splurge on ribbons and tags – Etsy is a great source for both.

 Pattern play

To create small dots like this, use a pencil with an eraser on the end and paint or an ink pad. School holiday activity, anyone? Try metallics, colour, or you could use dot or star stickers for a similar effect. Get the kids to write the cards, too.

Design made

Prefer something more modern? Go for plain black twine or leather cord, with gift cards along the same lines, for monochromatic chic.

Find these ideas and more on our Pinterest page.

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Our friend Tamara Maynes is now based in Melbourne, where she is creative director at The Establishment Studios. She still makes time for her own work (select pieces are available online through The Descendant Store) and she is also working on her first book! We were lucky to catch her mid-deadline to share her Christmas plans.. 

My Christmas style is last minute! 

This year I’ll be buying a bunch of TV series on iTunes. After a huge year of work I have a lot of catching up to do!

My failsafe Christmas styling tip is the use of string lighting. It will solve any Christmas decorating dilemma! Decorating for Christmas doesn’t usually happen in my home until Christmas Eve when I finish work for the year, so more often than not they the only thing I use. Simple and effective, my use of string lighting is influenced by these great images (below) styled by Suzanne Stankus and photographed by Damian Russell.

This Christmas I’ll be serving vodka. Christmas is one of the few occasions I partake in a beverage of the alcoholic kind and it’s become a bit if a tradition to grab a bottle as I head home from work on Christmas Eve. This year my husband and I have been invited to an orphan Christmas at the home of one of my colleagues from The Establishment Studios so the hard stuff will have to come with us!

My Christmas playlist includes Son House and Ella Fitzgerald records. Delta blues guitar and the queen of jazz makes for a very merry Christmas.

The crackling of my favourite Son House record ‘Father of Folk Blues’ will be on high rotation over the Christmas break.

All  I want for Christmas is some time off to recuperate after a really busy year authoring my first book with Murdoch Books. This time next year you will find me poking my head inside every bookstore I come across beaming like a proud parent! It has been a HUGE project and once I hand my final manuscript in on December 31st I am going to collapse in a heap… bring on the iTunes splurge!

This image by Melbourne photographer and moonlighting ceramicist Lauren Bamford is one from her ongoing personal series. A Christmas card involving Christmas Bush and a VB in a brown paper bag arrived in the post this week – it’s the best I’ve ever received hands down!

My biggest Christmas disaster was the year my entire family descended on my grandfather’s for a few days. My boyfriend (now husband) ended up sleeping in my tiny car because his dust allergy wasn’t compatible with the otherwise unoccupied home. That was one Christmas string lighting couldn’t fix!

After Christmas I’m planning to get to know my semi-new and as yet  semi-unexplored home of Melbourne. I’m also planning to think about what I want for 2015… aren’t we all?!

Find out more at tamaramaynes.com or follow Tamara on Instagram @tamaramaynes

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Tessa Kiros, based in Tuscany, has written several books full of appealing and accessible food. We spotted this dessert on eatlove.com.au (it’s from her book Apples for Jam) and knew we had to share…

This is my friend Sue’s meringue. It’s well-dressed, showy — quite over-the-top — and easy to make. You can add a little icing sugar to your cream as you whip it, if you like your sweet things very sweet.

Ingredients (serves 8)

Meringue

4 egg whites
160 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
60 g (2¼ oz/½ cup) walnuts or hazelnuts
60 g (2¼ oz) unsalted crackers

Topinng

140 g (5 oz) dark (semi-sweet) chocolate
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 g (5½ oz) strawberries icing (confectioners’) sugar

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 120°C (235°F/Gas ½). Cover the base of a 24 cm (9½ inch) springform cake tin with a sheet of baking paper before clipping the side in place. The paper will stick out of the side, making it easier to remove the meringue later. Grease the side of the tin.

Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until they lose their foaminess and look like very thick, stiff shaving cream. Whisk in the sugar bit by bit until it is all incorporated, then whisk in the vanilla and the vinegar. Gently but thoroughly fold in the nuts and crackers. Spoon into the tin and level the surface, making a slight indent in the middle.

Bake for about 1¼–1½ hours, until the meringue is lightly golden and coming away from the side of the tin. Turn off the oven, prop the door just slightly ajar and leave the meringue inside until it is completely cool. Take the meringue out of the tin and put it on a serving plate, removing the baking paper.

Melt the dark chocolate in the top of a double boiler, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Drizzle over the meringue in a criss-cross pattern and then leave to harden completely.

Whip the cream with the vanilla until it holds thickly on the beaters. Dollop onto the meringue, leaving a small border to show off the chocolate. Dot the berries on top and cover with a gentle shake of icing sugar to serve.

See more at eatlove.com.au where you can follow your favourite chefs, share their recipes and order their books.

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Things are getting festive, so before you go all Griswold out the front of your house, we’re bringing you some front door frippery from tastemakers we know – and some we don’t (that’s the beauty of Instagram). Without further ado, we present to you #wreathsofInstagram.

Stylist Sibella Court (follow her @sibellacourt) has just opened a new warehouse space for The Society Inc in St Peters, Sydney. Her opening weekend featured this 2 metre wide wreath by stylist Caitlin Melling against a background of Seafarer by Murobond.

Silvia Noble is the creative talent behind The Lost & Found Dept (follow her @thelostandfounddept). She created this wreath with succulents and a vintage sieve for the Christmas market at Murobond Paints.

This simple, delicate wreath is made from air-dried clay by @sweetpaulmagazine. If you’re inspired, there’s a tutorial on her blog.

Victorian stylist Tessa Kavanagh (follow her at @tessakavanagh) posted this gorgeous gate from a shoot she did for Country Style magazine – the shot is by Mark Roper.

Linda Gregoriou of Pure & General (follow her @pureandgeneral) showed off her hand-made origami wreath made from vintage paper.

We spotted this spool and twine wreath on the feed of @craftsgeek.

Loved this one by @cityhousecountrymouse - since she’s in the US, you might need to pick something seasonal to create a similar look here.

And in case you think we only love the natural and rustic, check out this joyously tactile pompom wreath by @ginamicheleny.

Have you made a wreath this year? Share it with us on Facebook or Instagram and we’ll repost the ones we love.

Follow us on Pinterest for more Christmas ideas.

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Emma Cleine is the founder of Lumiere Art & Co, and the artist behind its paintings and hand-made prints (you might have spotted them on The Block Sky High), fabrics (her cushion covers are featured in this week’s sale event) and lighting. She is based on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, and we asked her to share her Christmas plans…

My Christmas style is: 

A mixture of contrasts. Relaxed, yet decorative, casual, yet formal. I’m still a bit confused as to how to style my surroundings Christmassy. I’ll get there though. Pine trees are a noxious weed around where I live so its encouraged to cut and collect your tree ‘roadside’ as it helps the local environment. A real tree for us is a must. This year I’m in a new house with a new baby amongst amazing orchards and vineyards. After a few days to unwind, I’m sure I’ll work my style out!

This year I’ll be buying:

Plenty of cherries and trout. We have a cherry and trout farm just down the road so I will be trying out the produce daily! Clearly my heart is in the kitchen this year so I’m always on the lookout for beautiful napkins, vessels to hold little plants, candles and amazing smelling soaps and hand cream. I also love trays and any other item that holds a cluster of objects to make a little still life.

A mandala-type motif appears in many of Emma’s artworks and cushion covers.

My failsafe Christmas styling tip is:

Keep it simple and honest. Use natural, beautiful materials and let this honesty be the hero. Bringing a little of outside in is the best part about Christmas styling.

This Christmas I’ll be serving :

Complex hipster salads and free range turkey and ham, champagne and Pimms.  Dessert will be traditional and delicious.

My Christmas playlist includes:

Songs for my Dad would be anything from the 50’s and 60’s, Mum would be 70’s, I love the 80’s and my husband has the 90’s covered. Between all of us we really do like a broad mix. My 4 year old Lenny will no doubt be loving the traditional carols this year so we really will have the blend!

All I want for Christmas is:

Thoughtful gifts to eat and share and time to spend with my family. Some beautiful sunny weather wouldn’t be bad either!

Emma’s ‘Heirloom’ colllection includes hand screen-printed throws and table linen. 

My biggest Christmas disaster was:

Not being organised. There is nothing worse than a stressed host trying to wrap presents while peeling prawns. Start the planning early and try have it all ready the day before. I wish I would take my own advice! No doubt this year I will still be needing a medicinal champagne by 10am. I also should mention that hangovers on Christmas Day are nasty.

After Christmas I’m planning to:

Spend a few weeks unwinding and enjoying the beautiful beaches of the Mornington Peninsula. Enjoying and exploring some local vineyards and starting some work in our tired garden. Just to live each day as it comes and spend time with family would be blissful.

Follow Emma on Instagram @lumiereartandco 

Shop our Lumiere Art & Co cushion collection today.

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Spare a thought for textile artist Maryanne Moodie, pictured above, who is currently experiencing a New York winter! The Australian-born textile artist took up weaving in 2010 while at home with her first baby, and moved to Brooklyn in 2013 where she continues to create beautifully textured woven tapestries. You can see her work on her Instagram feed (she’s at @maryannemoodie) and if you fall in love, you can commission your own work at her Etsy shop where she also sells DIY weaving kits and equipment. Here she shares a glimpse into her New York life… 

Christmas trees line every corner. A cheery way to forget about the bitter cold and early sunset at 4.30pm!

Walking around Prospect Park; it is one block from my home and designed by the same person who did Central Park.

New rain boots and hand woven scarf. The best way to tackle the cold is with style!

New hand-made beads for an exciting collaboration with west coast maker jujumade.

Sketching and painting new ideas. I sketch out new ideas about every season – 4 times a year. The seasons really inspire new growth.

One of my pieces in the loom. It is so lovely to be able to move my work around from room to room to find the best light.

Respite. Sometimes when my son Murray goes down for his nap, I crawl back into bed too.

This is a new gold and silver coiled work inspired by the onset of winter and the holidays. It is so dark in NYC so early and the Christmas lights brighten up the darkness. They actually make sense here! It is personal experimentation that I like to do seasonally to jolt my work in a new direction.

This is the yarn wall in my studio, for my own work and my DIY weaving kits.

A piece for a client. My clients come from all over the world – Europe, America, Australia. This piece is a set of two that a mother bought for her two daughters for Christmas. I am lucky that most of my clients give me creative freedom when creating pieces. I usually create my best work this way.

Murray playing in the leaves. I never understood “fall” until I moved to NYC!

Inspired? Contact Maryanne via her website, visit her Etsy shop or follow her on Instagram @maryannemoodie

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