Category Archives: Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner

Posted on September 21, 2010 by

We prepare for weeks, spend hours chopping vegetables, scour the shelves for those “must have” items that are only ever available at Christmas time like sponge fingers for the trifle and what do we get out of it? We get that awful feeling of over-indulgence remedied by antacids and Panadol and an afternoon nap. Why do we go to so much effort in order to do this to ourselves? Because it is Christmas and it’s what we’ve always done and will continue to do so every year. You might even say that eating vast quantities of food in a one day period is rooted in tradition with most families at Christmas.

Choosing the ideal Christmas dinner menu in Australia however can often be a major dilemma as a direct result of the high percentage of families originating from, or recent descendants of, the northern hemisphere where Christmas is celebrated during the thick of the winter months. Weather has quite clearly influenced the traditional dinner cooked on this day. In the United Kingdom the tradition includes the roast turkey and ham with stuffing (unique stuffing recipes from household to household as each individual takes the opportunity to show off their special technique with secret ingredients handed down to them by their nanna, and so on). Roast potatoes, peas carrots and the dreaded brussels sprouts, which everyone loves to hate and yet continue to be a main addition to every Christmas dinner, and lashings of gravy and cranberry sauce set this meat selection off perfectly. There are many variations of this meal around the world as many daring individuals attempt to create a modern twist on the traditional classic, but it all stems from this original set up.

If this is the meal you received on Christmas Day every year as a child, it’s quite likely that when trying to capture the very essence of Christmas with your own family, this is exactly the meal that you will create for your own family. However, while this may be a very suitable meal in the middle of winter, all warming and comforting and substantial, it’s not exactly appropriate when you’re perspiring heavily in 40 degrees heat. In Australia, being the middle of summer when we celebrate Christmas, this traditional meal causes a bit of stress for some families. On one hand, it’s the memory, the tradition that urges us to recreate the roast dinner if that’s the culture you were born into. On the other hand, the weather on Christmas day is better accompanied by a cold buffet, a barbeque lunch or something that wouldn’t be out of place at a picnic on the beach.

So what do you do? Do you put childhood memories first and slog it out in the steaming hot kitchen for hours only to spend Christmas eating hot, bulky foods that will have you sleeping with the air-con on full blast? Or do you let sense rule the decision and prepare a seafood salad with plenty of cool drinks, cold meats and head to the pool side for a lazy but highly refreshing day? That, of course, is entirely up to the individual who controls the Christmas dinner tradition. There is always the option to combine the best of both worlds – decorate the dinner table heavily with the traditional decorations but instead of carving a great big turkey, have a large plate full of garlic prawns. Problem solved!

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Christmas Decorations

Posted on September 21, 2010 by

Entertaining this Christmas? Want to have an amazing looking table to share Christmas dinner with but have no idea where to start? So long as you have the food side of things covered, then you definitely can afford to spend some time putting details together for a fabulous looking table. If, on the other hand, the food isn’t up to scratch, then no fancy designs in the world will cover that fact so you have to know that the food is good before taking on the next challenge. Assuming this is all good, let’s discuss ideas for creating that magical look for even the pickiest of guests this year.

Table Settings

  • If bringing the Christmas tree to the table sounds good to you, why not arrange evergreen foliage around each plate in the manner of a wreath, or displayed in the shape of a star underneath the soup bowl. This is a very effective way to bring colour and texture to your design while still summing up the very essence of Christmas nature.
  • Sparkles always bring a table to life – whether you choose single colour glitter pieces, or multicoloured Christmas shapes to sprinkle all over the table, or even in isolated spots such as around each place setting, this look will brighten up even the darkest of corners.
  • A simple added touch that can transform your table is to attach a coloured bow to your wine glasses, around each napkin or even around the cutlery set.  It takes no time at all to arrange and yet if the colour scheme is considered carefully, can really make the setting look special.

Centre Pieces

  • Sticking with the nature theme, the traditional poinsettia in a decorative plant is always a beauty to behold on any table with its simplistic elegance and contrasting colours.
  • Candles make an excellent focus point when spruced up with some natural foliage, berries and glitter. Consider placing in a wide low-sided bowl with a snow effect for its base.
  • Being very creative is the key to an original looking centrepiece, and you can achieve this by bunching together some natural tree foliage and assembling on top a favourite Christmas figurine surrounded by some glittery baubles – very cute.

Place Name Cards

  • If time isn’t on your side this year, try looking online for some pre-designed name cards that you can personalise and print out in a hurry. There are numerous designs to choose from, traditional or contemporary, sensible or fun based, get the professional touch without the professional price tag.
  • If time isn’t an issue and you are a fan of arts and crafts, try the original approach and paint names onto Christmas baubles with white glitter paint. These little embellishments to your table will have everyone talking.
  • Painting directly onto Christmas ornaments isn’t always the easiest of tasks so if you want something special for your guests, create a decorative place card from traditional materials but attach to a Christmas item with a decorative bow.

With all these ideas, you’re well on your way to producing a very memorable experience for your guests this Christmas!

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