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Sara reveals ripper recipes for your festive feast

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

Sara reveals ripper recipes for your festive feast

LET THEM EAT CAKE: TAFE NSW cookery guru Sara Morley says adding some high quality cocoa to your Christmas cake can give it incredible depth and richness.

Christmas is a time of joy, reflection, love, compassion and peace.

It’s also a time to gorge yourself like a ravenous wildebeest.

With that in mind, TAFE NSW cookery guru Sara Morley has unveiled her mouthwatering yuletide recipes for the season of excess.

Speaking with Breakfast Announcer Sally Bryant on their fortnightly TAFE Buds segment on ABC Riverina this week, Ms Morley said while tradition was the foundation of her family Christmas, she always made slight tweaks to her annual recipes.

“For me and many others, Christmas is particularly about those little family traditions,” Ms Morley said.

“And while I always make a glazed Christmas ham, Christmas cakes and cocktails/mocktails for the big day, I like to make subtle changes each year.”

For her Christmas cake, Ms Morley said she tried to source local fruit and added cocoa to give the cake a “depth and richness in flavour and colour”.

“Another handy tip is to use scissors to chop up the fruit,” she said.

Ms Morley said while there was a plethora of ham glaze recipes around, the best ones abided by a basic formula – a balance of sugar, acid and flavouring.

She suggested scoring the ham to ensure the glaze could seep into the cracks and create a flavour bonanza.

“You want to cut into the fat but not all the way through to the meat,” Ms Morley said.

“The more you score, the more the glaze gets in, crisps up the fat and adds flavour.”

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Sara’s sensational Christmas cake


  • 900g dried fruit (I use sultanas, raisins, chopped prunes, chopped dates, currants or any other fruit of choice)
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons good quality cocoa
  • 125ml liqueur (e.g. Cointreau)
  • 3 oranges zested and juiced
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 100g of ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarb soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 50mls additional liqueur



Place fruit, butter, sugar honey, cocoa, liqueur, rind and juice in a large saucepan.

Bring to a simmer until butter is melted.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 1 hour.

Double line a 20cm square loose based cake tin.

Meanwhile sift the flour, spice, almond meal, baking soda and powder together.

Preheat oven to 150C.

When fruit is cooled, add beaten eggs and mix well.

Add flour etc and mix until combined.

Pour in mix and spread into tin. Spread top with flat knife or back of spoon.

Bake at 160C for approx. 2 hours, or until it springs back in centre.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Remove from tin, then brush with extra liqueur.

Wrap cake in a towel for 2-3 hours until fully cooled.


Sara’s ham glaze



  • 1 jar marmalade (I used lime – approx. 250g)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 200mls apple cider
  • 2 x tablespoons seeded mustard
  • Whole leg ham – rind removed



Place marmalade, honey, cider and mustard in a saucepan.

Bring to a gently simmer over low heat.

Simmer for 10 minutes until it’s reduced and syrupy.

using a small sharp knife to score the ham fat.

Cover the hock with foil. 

Place the ham on a wire rack in a baking dish lined with baking paper.

Brush generously with the glaze.

Cook for approx. 45 minutes, brushing with the glaze regularly, or until the ham is golden and caramelised.


Sara’s 2020 Christmas punch



  • 300mls sugar syrup (made by simmering 2-parts sugar to 1-part water – add some fresh mint while simmering)
  • 500ml cold tea
  • 1 litre pineapple juice
  • 1 litre orange juice
  • 300ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 litres apple cider or ginger ale
  • 1 bottle sparkling wine
  • 300ml Cointreau
  • 200g cherries, pitted and sliced (or strawberries)
  • Mint leaves to serve



Place all ingredients in a jug or punch bowl with plenty of ice and stir gently.