Nadia Lim's new family tradition

'It’s been a massive year. I can’t wait for Christmas – I’m so glad it’s almost here.'

By Kelly Bertrand
You'd think as co-founder of wildly successful Kiwi company My Food Bag that Nadia Lim would have Christmas Day's delectable delights sorted.
"Oh, my gosh, you've just reminded me I haven't ordered our Christmas Bag!" she says laughing. "Imagine if I forgot. I'll get onto that as soon as we get off the phone."
But you can forgive the much-loved foodie and business maven for overlooking what is admittedly quite a large part of the Christmas Day planning – it's been a big year.
With her new self-published cookbook Let's Eat! hitting the shops, a huge country-wide book tour and My Food Bag expanding at a frenetic rate – not to mention raising her gorgeous year-and-a-half-old son Bodhi with husband Carlos – 2017 has been incredible for the MasterChef winner.
As you may have guessed, Nadia's definitely looking forward to a wee bit of a break!
"It's been a massive year," tells Nadia (31). "I can't wait for Christmas – I'm so glad it's almost here."
While she and Carlos hosted their families at their Auckland home last year, festivities will be moving down to Hanmer Springs this Christmas, to Carlos' parents' home – and for Nadia, this festive season will be extra-special as it's doubling as a family reunion.
"My mum's coming down too, and my cousin, who I've never met before, is arriving from Canada on Christmas Day," says Nadia.
"She's 16 and I've never met her, so I'm really looking forward to that."
A beetroot marinated side of salmon with a seeded citrus crust, as well as Moroccan-spiced lamb, are on the menu this year. For dessert, there's a tropical pavlova wreath, but instead of spending the whole day in the kitchen herself, Nadia has delegated a dish to each member of the family – though she'll be making the pav.
The jazzy menu is worlds away from the lunch Nadia, her brother Jason, sister Jasmin and her parents Ken and Julie used to enjoy every Christmas Day at her nan's house.
"All she wanted was ham, mashed potato, a lettuce salad, and strawberries and cream," remembers Nadia.
"She was a woman of simple pleasures."

But it's a tradition her beloved late dad Ken started that truly makes Nadia smile. As an immigrant – Ken was Malaysian-born Chinese – he would invite those he knew who didn't have family in New Zealand, or else would spend Christmas alone, for an orphan's Christmas BBQ in the evening.
"We usually ended up with 70 or 80 people, which in hindsight was probably very stressful on my mum because she did most of the cooking!"
While Nadia and Carlos are making new traditions themselves – especially as they head into Bodhi's second Christmas – there's still one thing Nadia simply has to have every year, her aunty Pippa's trifle.

"I really have to get the recipe for that, but she doesn't let anyone else make it," Nadia laughs.
"It's delicious. I think the secret might be that she can be quite heavy-handed with the sherry. She makes the custard from scratch, with cream and real vanilla, and the sponge is homemade too. Then there's lots of cherries and shaved chocolate. It's not Christmas without that."
As for presents, Nadia says she and her family aren't too fussed on gift giving, preferring to donate to charities in each other's name. And Bodhi is not quite old enough to understand what's going on, let alone expect presents.

"He'll get something little, but he'd be just as happy with the wrapping paper and a cardboard box."
In fact, Bodhi's first encounter with Santa last year met with terrible results.
"It definitely didn't go down well!" laughs Nadia. "We might try again this year."

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