Oooh Xmas is upon us and if you’re getting nervous about the big day and entertaining a clan of family, then relax, because help has arrived. My first strategy is to start drinking as early as possible and to keep that up, the second is to have most of the food prepared and ready before guests arrive. Easy (in theory).
Keeping things effortless and low key is a skill I try to master every day. Sadly I’d be lying if i said that I am anywhere near perfecting it, but there are a few tricks that I’ve learnt and if it wasn’t for Jeremy (my husband who gets a sparkle in his eye when he walks into the kitchen) none of this would have been possible. Photogrpahy by my amazing friend and photographer Cindy Taylor.
Decor – Flowers can be so damn expensive and the selection off-the-shelf is pretty boring. Things get interesting when you forage from your own garden and neighborhood. We live in area that has a lot of pine trees, they are very Xmasy (obvs), last a long time and are an invasive species so you’re not doing anything bad by stealing a few branches. Don’t be scared to go big and wild. Haul out some random vases and pots and get freaky. I also used a lot of succulents, they have great colour and will last well into the New Year! Add sparkle and tinsel to your heart’s content (it’s not my vibe but I have nothing against it). Elle added her own touch with some plastic animals, and I picked the rosemary and sage from the herb garden
Steak and chimichurri: Cote de Bouf (or rib-eye, on the bone for us) from Frankie Fenner. Add a good dose of salt, pepper, olive oil and tuck loads of rosemary all over. Then smack it in the oven and bake (I know this sounds odd for a steak but its really thick and still comes out looking amazing). Serve with chimichurri (whizz together parsley, coriander, onion, garlic, chilli, olive oil, salt & pepper). We didn’t go the carb route but you can buy fresh portuguese rolls smear them with farm butter and make steak rolls.
Roasted peppers and capers: roast red and yellow peppers, remove skins, dress with olive oil and lemon juice, S&P and add capers. Sprinkle with torn parsley leaves
Beetroot: Pickled beetroot (from scratch you steam whole beetroot, let it cool, slice into disks and marinade with olive oil and apple cider vinegar, S&P). You can also buy it already made in a glass jar from a shop and no one will judge you. Add double cream yoghurt and cumin. The stoneware bowl is from HAUS by Hertex.
Mielies with parmesan and paprika: You can braai these over the coals or steam until ready. Smother in butter, grate heaps of parmesan over them, sprinkle with paprike, S&P and ripped parsley.
Caprese (sort off): A big ball of mozzarella, surround it with great tomatoes of differing size and colour, dress. Tear up the ball and spread around the salad when you ready to eat, for some theatre.
Watermelon on sticks: Self explanatory. Elle scoffed almost all of these on her own. Served on a marma board from HAUS.
Drinks – make sure you have bottles of cold water, lots of ice and your selection of wine, gin and beers and a few interesting recipes that your guests can mix themselves. Publik has an amazing selection, you can choose your own from their website or pick from their curated boxes, it’s special stuff! Order online here and get it delivered to your door, wunderbar! Some G&T recipes below:
If all of this is too much for your lazy ass just send a recipe of each dish to a friend or family member who will be attending and divvy up the work. And that’s a wrap. A very merry Xmas to you xx