Claire Van Vuuren’s Christmas

To celebrate the Carriageworks Christmas Market we’ve asked some friends of the Market to share their top Christmas tips and recipes with us. Claire Van Vuuren is the head chef at Bloodwood Newtown and sells beautiful brunch options at the Carriageworks Farmers Markets every Saturday.

What dish will be the feature on your Christmas table?
This year I’m planning on cooking a massive seafood paella, packed with mussels, prawns, fish, calamari and pipis.

It isn’t Christmas without:
Beautiful king prawns.

What gift from the Carriageworks Farmers Market would you most like to receive?
I’d have my eyes on some olive oil from Alto olives and hope that someone bought me a carrot cake from Flour and Stone.

The best Christmas song of all time is:
The Pouges – Fairytales of New York

This Christmas I would encourage everyone to shop local and support independent producers and farmers. It’s a super tough time of the year and this year has been one of the toughest. Try and spend your money wisely, every cent makes a difference.


Recipe: Claire Van Vuuren’s Pickled Calamari Salad


1kg cleaned small squid (baby octopus is fine to use)
500g small potatoes
1 bunch basil
1 punnet cherry tomato
100g sliced green olives
100ml olive oil
salt and pepper

For the pickle liquid:
50ml olive oil
150ml apple cider vinegar
400ml white vinegar
1 orange peeled
1/2 lemon sliced
2 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon coriander seed
1 Tablespoon juniper seeds
2 cloves garlic
1 large red chilli – deseeded and sliced
80g sugar
80g salt


  1. Slice squid into rings and rinse under cold water. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Blanch squid in salted water and cook till firm to touch but still tender. Refresh in iced water. Leave this in the fridge while you make the pickling liquid.
  2.  Make the pickle liquid by add all ingredients for the pickle into a pot and bringing it up to the boil. Once this has come to a boil, turn off and leave to cool down.
  3. Ensure that the pickle liquid is at room temperature before adding the cooked calamari.
  4. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Slice into rounds once the potatoes are cool.
  5. Add cooked calamari to the cooled pickle liquid. This is best used after 24hrs in the pickle liquid. If you are in a rush, you can serve after 2 hours in the pickle liquid.
  6. To assemble the salad – add cooked potato, basil, cherry tomato, olives, basil and drained pickled calamari together in a large bowl. Dress the salad with good quality olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix well and serve in a large bowl or platter.


The Carriageworks Christmas Market is on Sat 21 Dec.