12 hacks of Christmas you need to know now

Forget the 12 Days of Christmas – no one has room for a partridge in a pear tree. Here, we bring you the 12 hacks of Christmas that will help you cruise through this fun and chaotic time of year.

Breeze your way through the silly season with this comprehensive guide to cooking, entertaining, relaxing and maxing out on summer sunshine.

1 Epic Night Out

Task your true love, best friend or family member with the job of accompanying you

on a well-deserved night out at the theatre. We’ve put together a COVID safe guide to drinks, dinner and a show at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.

“From its beautiful sets and colourful costumes, to its death-defying acrobatics and amazing talent all the way through the show, Pippin offers a chance to be swept away into another world,” says Harley McLeish, acrobatic player in the season of Pippin showing at the Sydney Lyric Theatre until 17 January 2021.

PIPPIN at The Star Logo
PIPPIN at The Star Logo
2 Sun-soaked Travel Hot Spots

With borders opening and the sun lazily making its way across the summer sky, it’s time to maximise outdoor activities. Gather some provisions and make the most of the best picnic spots around The Star Gold Coast. Local favourite, Budds Beach is the canvas to your day of swimming, family fun and aquatic activities – such as SUP, snorkelling or a leisurely float on a blow-up toy. 

If you’re heading a little further north, try our list of 8 things to do in Brisbane this summer. Whether that’s grabbing a cold pint of beer at Brisbane Brewing Co. in the inner-city suburb of West End or hopping on a City Cat ferry to explore the iconic brown snake (Brisbane River).

View from Kangaroo Point
View from Kangaroo Point
3 Pasta Essentials

Take a leaf out of Cucina Vivo Chef de Cuisine, Dayan Hartill-Law’s book and don’t reserve a great pasta recipe to the colder months. Dayan shares his top three tips for making flavoursome pasta dishes to eat all summer long.

“As it warms so does the ocean, so all those fish and shellfish that are swimming on the reef actually taste sweeter this time of year,” Dayan says. It’s certainly not hard to figure out why the Italians continue to chow down on fresh pasta year-round.

Lobster Pasta at Cucina Vivo
Lobster Pasta at Cucina Vivo
4 Failsafe BBQ Tips

Scared uncle Jim will set the backyard on fire at this year’s family Christmas shindig – or at best, singe his eyebrows again? Flick him our guide to BBQing fish like a pro this summer and it’ll be like Executive Chef of Flying Fish at The Star Sydney, Peter Robertson, has popped by to grill up lunch.

BBQ Fish at Nineteen at The Star
BBQ Fish at Nineteen at The Star
5 Summer Ingredients

Not only does summer mean festivities, beach trips and endlessly sunny days, but it also heralds a crop of seasonal ingredients to munch on. Press play on our curated Spotify playlist and experiment with the top five seasonal ingredients that’ll make your mouth water – including tiger prawns, mango, blood orange, grapefruit and Tasmanian salmon.

Summer Prawns at Flying Fish
Summer Prawns at Flying Fish
6 Poolside Cocktails

Whatever you do, don’t sit poolside this summer without a cocktail in hand. We’ve rounded up six of our favourite cocktails and wines for poolside pairing.

“The cocktail of the season is the Sgroppino,” reveals Behzad Nvaziri, award-winning bar manager at The Star Sydney, adding “it’s a scoop of delicious homemade sorbet topped with sparkling wine”.

Cocktails at Sokyo Bar
Cocktails at Sokyo Bar
7 Chef Secrets
  1. Chef Song’s tips on seafood selection will be your guide for Christmas lunch planning.
  2. Three of our chefs reveal their secrets for the best sandwich recipe.
  3. Learn how to shuck and roast oysters the Uday Huja way.   
  4. Steal a page out of Dany Karem’s family cookbook with this recipe for creamy hummus bi tahini.
  5. Cook pho like Luke Nguyen with this recipe for his favourite childhood meal.
  6. Dustin Osuch makes cooking gnocchi easy.
  7. Take a break from rich Christmas fare with Chase Kojima’s recipe for miso soup.
Chef Uday Huja preparing an oyster
Chef Uday Huja preparing an oyster
8 Staple Spices

Not sure what spices you should have in your kitchen pantry for the big Christmas cook up? We spoke to Executive Chef of Sovereign, Gabriele Taddeucci, and Chef de Cuisine at Cucina Vivo, Dayan Hartill-Law, to find out what staples they have in their spice drawer.

Saffron Spice
Saffron Spice

9 Reasons to Eat Dessert

Ok, we don’t actually have nine reasons for you to eat dessert, but really you should only need one! It’s delicious. Here are some of The Star’s most decadent desserts to pique your interest.

Chocolate Dessert at BLACK Bar & Grill
10 Rarest Wines

Impress your snobby in-laws with an encyclopaedic knowledge of 10 of the rarest wines – which are located in the cellars at The Star. Kiyomi’s Isaac Coleman and Addy Lam from BLACK Bar and Grill reveal what’s so special about these 10 drops. 

Wine Rack at BLACK Bar
Wine Rack at BLACK Bar
11 Blurry Selfies

Don’t come away from your delicious Christmas lunch with only a headache and 11 blurry photos on your phone to show for it. Food stylist Lucy Tweed shares her five tips for perfectly styled food photography.

When it comes to food styling, Lucy says “making it look good is one thing, but can you make it look absolutely luscious?” We think you can! 

platter at sokyo
Platter at Sokyo
12 Months Down

It’s approximately 12 months since you made this year’s resolution. What may have seemed pretty achievable back in January was looking pretty tricky come March this year. Working from home, panic eating and less time out and about this year means your fitness goals may have slipped out of reach. Ease your mind – and your waistline – with our guide to rebooting your 2020 fitness goals! If you start now, 2021’s resolution will be a piece of cake – or should we say carrot.

Man running
Man running