Dec 29, 2012

0 Getting My Priorities Right For Christmas Dinner

"Baaahh! Everyone does it!"

Still, that uncomfortable feeling that there is some truth to it refuses to leave my sensible heart.

It would seem that it is impolite to leave your guests unattended for long periods  while you slave away in the kitchen for that magnificent meal. I read this from an article years ago while searching for dinner party tips.

Why host a party if it's not to mingle and catch up with friends and family? You cannot treat your home like a restaurant where communication is coldly an "I serve, you eat" thing. Stop, I say! Just some of the mental bashing that went on in my mind.

Over time, I strove to do things a little differently, to join my guests in the living hall instead of greatly insisting that I needed to attend to that pot of curry on the stove..but why not? why not? It boils in robust flavours and I like tending to it.. or run around like a maid serving drinks and tidying up.

There my friends were - doing absolutely nothing but talk and laugh. Here I was mightily doing "everything". How very important I felt..the doer, not the talker only to realise at the end of the day that I had missed out on the very thing that wise men loved to preach : Stop and smell the roses. Yes, instead of embracing personal moments with people I care about, I had squandered my precious time babysitting a lifeless wok. I had missed little scenes of endearments because I was rushing by to get something done.

That said, I broke no sweat over this Christmas meal for seven and I did it simply by choosing not to complicate matters with over-the-top recipes and deciding not to engage in anymore self-important slaving antics. 

To begin with, I prepared a few dishes days in advance - an egg filling, the potato salad, eggnog and iced longan for dessert. You could say that my fridge was full.

I don't know if anyone cares for the recipe but I'll include it anyway.

The egg filling is something I usually make for sandwiches. I mashed some hard boiled eggs in spoonfuls of tartar sauce, some mayo and flavoured pepper. It took me only minutes to get this onto the table on Christmas day. Just slap the egg mixture onto a Pop-Pan spring onion cracker and garnish with fresh spring onions. I love Pop-pan because it's a little more solid, wider than other brands and very aromatic.

Yummy!

This is a simplified potato salad recipe. I boiled cubed potatoes in mildly salted water until cooked. Then, drained the water and left it to cool.

After that, I stirred in blue cheese dressing and also folded in a spoon of mayo after tasting.

I found the cheese a little too overpowering so mayo was the only thing I could think of to balance things out. Ha! Don't give me that look!

With that out of the way, I popped it into the fridge. Just before serving, I sprinkled bacon bits and spring onions over the top.


I absolutely love making longan popsicles because it's great for humid days and very fun to eat!

The recipe is fairly simple. Blend cucumber (without skin) with a spoonful of lemon juice until it's paste-like. not watery. Stuff the cucumber mix into syrup sweet King Longans (from a can) and freeze it.

I use ice trays to keep the stuffed longans separated because I don't want to have it sticking to each other.








There were only two dishes I had to prepare on Christmas day itself. One was a vegetable salad and the other, roast chicken with grapes. Both very easy dishes to prepare.

I needed only about 15 minutes to prep the chicken up for the roast.

Then, I was free to start on the salad which involved a quick work of cutting the vegetables up bite size. I poured thousand island dressing over it right before munch time.

I didn't get round to serving the eggnog. We were stuffed festively full.

My sister-in-law who has a penchant for dish-washing, offered to clean up. So at the end of the day, "weary" never made it into my bones nor was I an elusive object to my guests. In Richard La Faber style - clap, clap, clap.
Chicken, onions and grapes slathered with salt, pepper, rosemary and butter, baked at 180c for roughly 1 1/2 hours
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