Family fare

Clockwise from centre: Shane Delia showcases his cooking skills; Shane and wife Maha mix it up in the kitchen; Jude makes a guest appearance and enjoys some cuddle time with Mum and Dad while big sister Jayda is off on a school excursion. Photos: Ellen Smith

 

In case you hadn’t noticed, Shane Delia is a busy chap. Restaurateur, chef, host, presenter, author and devoted family man. At this time of year he changes gear to reflect on the year past and focus on the one to come, writes ANA MITIC

Christmas is a big family affair in the Delia household. The extended clan gathers at the home of Shane and his wife, Maha, for Christmas dinner. Like for most of us, it’s a day jam-packed with family, food and frivolity but, unlike most of us, Shane still has to pop into the office.
“In the morning I’ll be with my team at Maha and Biggie Smalls. We’re open for lunch at both venues, and also dinner at Biggies,” Shane says.
“In the evening, all the family gathers at our place. I’ll be on the barbecue, and it’s usually an event that goes on until the Boxing Day Test.”

Maha and the children, Jayda, 7, and Jude, 4, are in charge of decorating the house in the weeks leading up to Christmas, while Shane is in charge of cooking on the day. It’s always a casual affair where everyone helps themselves to the plentiful spread. “I try and keep it simple, a few salads, chicken on the spit and loads of barbecue meat and seafood,” he says.

Family is hugely important to Shane, and a driving force in his life. While his plate is full — no pun intended — throughout the year, Christmas is a time he uses to reflect and regroup.
“Growing up in a Catholic family, Christmas was always about the birth of Christ and a celebration of humanity. “For me, now, it’s also a time to reflect on the year that has passed. I focus on the things I’ve done wrong and try to grow from these mistakes,” Shane says. “But, above all, it’s a time of thanks and appreciation for the blessings in my life.

“My New Year’s resolution is to learn from my mistakes of 2016 and be a better father, husband, friend and colleague.” While work takes much of his time, Shane’s commitment to his family is evident. He ensures that he and Maha have at least one holiday a year, and also one with the kids. It’s a time of year where “professionally I rev up but personally I try and wind down”, Shane says.

The Delias spend Christmas Eve at Shane’s parents’ house, where they open their presents.
When asked what he would like to find under the Christmas tree, Shane says: “I’m fairly easy to buy for. I don’t want or need much, but you can never disappoint with a fresh pair of kicks!”

 

ASPARAGUS, ST DAVID’S YOGHURT AND POMEGRANATE SALAD
4 bunches asparagus
250ml St David’s yoghurt
1 pomegranate
½ lemon
100g roasted walnuts
50g rocket
1 bunch coriander
Murray River salt
extra virgin olive oil
1. Season asparagus with extra virgin olive oil and salt, barbecue for 2 minutes each side.
2. To make the dressing, combine yoghurt, a dash of extra virgin olive oil, salt and the juice of half a lemon.
3. Toss dressing through the asparagus, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, rocket and fresh coriander. Taste and season further if needed. Serve on a platter.

Shane Delia’s BARBECUE SALMON
serves 4
Prep 20 minutes/cook 15 minutes
500g fresh salmon, middle cut, pin boned
8 garlic cloves
1 preserved lemon, skin only
1 tsp toasted fennel seeds
10g fresh ginger, microplaned
Murray River salt
extra virgin olive oil
1. Smash garlic, preserved lemon, fennel seeds and ginger in a mortar and pestle. Drizzle in extra virgin olive oil until a paste forms, season with a pinch of salt.
2. Coat both sides of the salmon with the rub and place on a large sheet of baking paper. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the salmon and a pinch more salt over the flesh of the fish.
3. Enclose the salmon in the baking paper, crumpling all edges to make sure no air can get out. Wrap in foil and place on the barbecue on high heat for 5 minutes on one side, then flip over and cook for another 6 minutes. If the piece of fish isn’t very thick, reduce cooking time by 1 minute on each side. Take off the barbecue, place on a serving platter and open the paper carefully to allow the steam to escape.

Photography: Ellen Smith
Words by Ana Mitic
Originally posted on The Herald Sun September 5, 2016

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