In the Christmas kitchen with Father Time at the table

24 Dec

collage Kersboom en KrismisroseKrismisrose, a Christmas tree made from vines and agapanthus

I don’t have much time –  the Christmas Eve dinner,  Christmas Day lunch and Boxing Day’s chill-out fare won’t prepare itself. I have to-do lists to do, menus to be printed, bowed and ribboned; an Everest to climb, a mountain of veggies to prep, fruits to macerate, beetroot to transform into an on-trend salad dressing; cream to whip; gammon to glaze;  tables to set.

“Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away.” If I had more time, I could have shared more wisdom about it – how it flies, how time will tell and how time is money.  At no other time of the year I am so acutely aware of its fleetingness.

I shouldn’t ponder on it too much though.  Like Douglas Adams said: Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.

to do lysies


To-do lists, menu-in-the-making, shopping lists

Normally at this hour of ‘Ou-Kersdag” I regret taking on such a lot. “Next Christmas we either buy a family-sized bucket KFC or eat at a restaurant,” I famously said last year, like I did the year before.  Klokslag.  I remind myself though that Father Time is also a guest at my table.  He is merciless if you don’t treasure his offerings; yet the most wonderful, kindest, grateful guest if you don’t take him for granted.

So here I am on the eve of Christmas 2012 –  taking some me-time, thinking about the food and the flavours, when I will do what, who I will delegate what to.  I imagine the outcome and play out the steps in my head – somewhat like a high jumper.  Cooking at Christmas is both physical and mental athletics ….anyone who has done it before will know what it takes to pull it off and survive to tell the tale.

Now that is making a short story long. All I really wanted to share is what I plan for my Christmas table…. and no, there’s no sign of the Colonel and Southern Fried Chicken.rooi slaai

Red ingredients and a visit to Babel earlier this month inspired a red-themed salad with plum dressing 

Christmas Eve

This is a casual build-up to the next day’s Big Feast; so we keep it light and low maintenance.

Chermoula Plathoender (butterfly chicken) on the coals

Home-made ciabatta (this bakes in a cast iron pot while the chicken is on the coals)

Celebration rice: Saffron rice with currents (soaked in lime), toasted pistachio, fresh dill, chervil, tarragon and dried apricots – topped with fried onion.

Red salad with plum dressing (watermelon, radishes, radicchio, oven roasted rosa tomatoes, red onion,  black grapes and red cabbage)

Sweets and cheese course:  Honey and ginger apricots with ricotta, green peppercorns and za’tar

Christmas lunch

Starter: Lightly smoked trout braaied on a plankie. Served with yellow and orange-coloured salad; dressing of roast pineapple and citrus. (Inspired by a meal I had at Babel earlier in the month)

Ginger square gammon with black cherry glaze

Ma Inez’s chicken pie (a tradition – whatever else is on the menu there will always be my mom’s chicken pie)

Roasted sweet potatoes with vino cotto, fresh figs and goats’ milk cheese

White bean and barley salad and beetroot, walnut & yogurt dressing

Herb-coated zucchini with coriander and lemon confit dressing

Dessert: Daleen’s Epic Trifle.

Pannettone. Frozen grapes, chocolate. Coffee. Grappa. Middagslapie (afternoon nap)

Boxing Day

This day will be spent at Pete and Elize’s house – he is a passionate chef who really knows his way around food, so I will sit back and relax. Darn, I remember volunteering to bring dessert….. chocolate brownies with salted caramel sauce it will be.

3 Responses to “In the Christmas kitchen with Father Time at the table”

  1. Rina January 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    Hoe maak ‘n mens “toffie appels” van ingelegde baba-appeltjies? Ek het myne oornag laat staan om te dreineer maar die “toffie” het steeds nie hard geword nie.

  2. Veronica December 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Hello Erieda!! I came back to re read this entry as I was very much amidst my own chaos and racing Father Time!! That said, it is now over and somehow, one always feels a bit of nostalgia …much like when a show is over, and you would like to sing the main part again, in spite of all the stress!! Your menus are totally delectable and I so enjoyed re reading it again! Thank you for sharing it with us when you were so busy! We survive to tell the tale and we already look forward to planning the next Christmas meal! I only get to my blog my recipes now!!! So agter is nie snaaks nie!! Wishing you a wonderful rest of Festive Season!
    Veronica (Mother City Magic)

    • huiskok December 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

      Hi Veronica, how lovely to see the name behind the twitter handle. Thank you for your lovely comment. Of course as the feasts played itself out some dishes changed somewhat and others stood over till Boxing Day! Looking forward to reading your blog posts.

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