Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas is coming

As the title suggests, the silly season is nearly upon us. My office closes for 3 weeks; my mom's coming to visit for 2 weeks; Christmas Eve at our house; Christmas lunch at the mother-in-law's; New Years Eve at the beach house; friends; family; merrimaking (with anticipated hangovers); Grand Bay fireworks on New Years; and other general fun in the sun.

All of which will give me plenty of opportunities to force my cooking onto unsuspecting others.

The plan:

Christmas eve is the first big one - pity I only finish work the day before.
Guest list is probably fairly limited - Myself, Vix, Jazz, Dylan, my Mom, Vicki's mom, Martin, Stuart, Vicki's gran - I think that's all. Discounting Jazz and Dylan, it leaves 7 people to feed.

I cobbled the following menu together from, which has got to be my new favourite cooking website, mostly because it's Australian, so its got the same climate and seasons as I do in Mauritius.

  1. Watermelon Ice with Malibu and coconut milk cocktails on arrival (this might be a bit overkill). 

  2. Barbecued lime and mint chicken skewers for early evening snacks.

  3. Granadilla ice cream for desert. (My mom's secret recipe)
So cooking 8 different things is clearly going to be a fairly interesting challenge (ok, exclude the cocktails, and Vicki or my mom will make the ice cream, that leaves 6 things). In addition, this all needs to be done while there's guests to chat to, children running around, and beer to be drunk. Hence this blog post as a planning exercise. Kingmuzza keeps his cool, calm head about him at all times. (Oh, and I'm still likely to be severely sleep deprived from Dylan, who'll be 2 months old by Christmas).

And I'm including the Malibu with watermelon ice again, because it'll be a nice start to my holidays.


  1. The day before (or more) - shop (might have to order the pork loin - Sean from the Patch and Parrot has a secret supplier from somewhere near Baie de Tombeau)

  2. The night before - make watermelon ice and freeze; make salad dressing for pumpkin salad; make garlic and herb butter.

  3. The morning of the event - marinade the chicken; prepare the pork (make stuffing, tie the thing together); make bean salad; prepare veggies for roasting (peel and chop)

  4. Stop for lunch.

  5. Expect 2 hours to cook roast; an hour for the veggies (pumpkin, onion, baby potatoes)

  6. I'm going to need 3 braai's - 1 for veggies, 1 for roast, 1 for asparagus and capsicum starter, and chicken skewers. I only have 2 available, so I reckon I roast the veggies first, then the roast pork on 1 weber, and the starters on the other one.

  7. Also, the asparagus seems to require a fair bit of on the spot preparation (I hate asparagus, but Vicki's family think its tradition, so I really do think I should give this a shot.)

  8. So lets assume a 8pm dinner time - that means the roast pork goes in at 6pm (make it 5:30), so the roast veggies must go in at 4 or 4:30.

  9. Start both fires at 3:30. Assemble chicken skewers, and place veggies in roasting pans.

  10. At 4:00, the chicken skewers can go on, beers can be cracked, they should only take about half an hour to cook. Also put the veggies on to cook.

  11. 4:30 - remove skewers and serve, prepare and serve watermelon cocktails.

  12. 5:00 - remove veggies and keep warm.

  13. 5:00 - add extra coals to roast pork fire (old roast veggie fire)

  14. 5:30 - insert roast pork.

  15. 6:00 - add extra coals to asparagus fire (old chicken skewer fire)

  16. 6:30is - cook asparagus (see recipe, capsicums get cooked first, then peeled, chopped and salsa made, then asparagus cooked, and all served immediately). So lets say we should serve that around 7:30, that means start cooking at 6:30. Also, I'm going to need to do all the kitchen work for this (chopping and such) outside on the pool table in order to be sociable.

  17. Remember to keep beer and wine flowing, but also slowly enough so people don't start getting into family fights before dinner is over.

  18. Return roast potatoes onto asparagus fire to heat before serving.

  19.  7:30 - retreat to the kitchen for some much needed anti-social time - prepare salads.

  20. 8pm Pass out, while everyone else eats.
I think I'm getting too ambitious. And I also think that eating can take a long time at Christmas, so maybe the whole lot should be moved an hour earlier - but the French might complain about this. Also, the salads should be made before the asparagus, so that once I serve the starter, we can all be sitting around the table (myself included).

Okay, the end. I'll come back to this.

Then there's Christmas morning breakfast, New Years eve party (not necessarily my responsibility, but surely something must be done) and lazy holiday lunches to deal with.

This is quite exciting.

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