Sorry guys that this is coming late. It was supposed to be published elsewhere, and I really don’t know why it hasn’t left to me, a Christmas Menu from me should have been published at the later 2 weeks to Christmas to help you guys plan your shopping and possibly try out some options on the Menu before the d-day. Anyway, better late than never. Here goes:
Your options can be either one, two or three depending on how many guests you are expecting and if you will be doing most of the cooking. You can choose from 3 cooking methods.
Frying – Prawn Tempura/Battered Prawns OR Yamarita Fries
Grilling – Beef, Chicken, Fish or Seafood. Just make a spice rub, whack in the oven to grill and continue with your other duties
Soups – Fish/Assorted Meat Peppersoup OR Ukodo (urhobo peppersoup)
Sandwiches/Salad – This is the no cooking or minimal cooking option, and not just a regular sandwich for a beach party or something but Tuna and Crab Bruschetta or Tomato and eggs Crostini. Don’t let the fancy words scare you, just get a baguette or regular slice bread, rub olive oil on it and throw it in the oven, let it grill for a few minutes and layer over slightly warmed tuna and crab meat or quick fried eggs with slices of tomato and you are done. Or you could make a simple salad and serve with chunks of bread or the Grilled meat/fish.
For guests who arrive early, you can serve chin chin or plantain chips with dips such as Mayonnaise, Guacamole, Efinrin (basil/scent leaf) infused Ata din din with cold drinks like Zobo or Zobotini for adults.
Main Course – One rice dish (trust me, you don’t need two), Two native soups served with a starchy solid, Stew with lots of meat and one totally unexpected dish if you have got the time for it, or you could go for a curry instead of stew. Your options are:
Stew – Seafood Stew or the local version Fisherman Stew. Something I know for sure that your guests will leave your house and talk non stop with the men telling their wives they must come to you to teach them how to make is Buka Stew. You can never go wrong with Buka Stew. Kick it up a notch and serve Alapa if you have mastered it, or stay in your safe zone and serve Buka stew.
Curry – Thai Chicken Curry, or Goat Curry with Jasmine or Basmati Rice. Don’t forget the lemongrass
Rice dishes – Do you really need two? Everybody eats Jollof rice and Fried rice at parties. Save yourself the monotony and serve Coconut Rice instead or King Prawn Fried Rice. If you must cook either Jollof rice or Fred rice, choose one and make the other rice dish something different.
Native Soup – Make one vegetable and one creamy option because creamy soups mostly cook themselves while you focus on the vegetable stew which needs ore of your attention. Creamy soup options include
- Egusi Ijebu
- Banga Soup
- Owo Soup
- Miyan Taushe
- Ofe Nsala – white soup
- Ewedu served with Buka Stew or Alapa
Vegetable soup options include:
- Efo Riro
- Egusi Soup
- Afang Soup
- Edikang Ikong
- Black Soup
- Ottong Soup
- Oha Soup
- Ofe Onugbu – bitter leaf soup
Wild Card – I mentioned a wild card option previously. This should be something totally unexpected, something most people don’t traditionally eat at Christmas parties or even prepare themselves at home. Your wild card could also be a Chinese dish. Something that has a ‘special’ tag to it. Your options are
- Yam/boiled plantain and Garden Egg stew
- Yam porridge with shredded Efinrin (basil/scent leaf)
- Ukang Ukom – unripe plantain porridge
- Turkey noodle stir fry
- Chinese Shredded beef
Dessert – if there is room for it, you can make my simple Banana Cake and serve with ice cream Trust me, this will go down well with your guests. if you have Tapioca at home, make a Tapioca pudding. I know we see Tapioca as breakfast, but the way I make it, it is a bonafide dessert. Another way of taking Breakfast into dessert is to serve my Crepes, and make a simple syrup with orange juice and slather over it. Feeling adventurous, you could try my Pap and Pineapple Brûlée or Zobo and Pineapple Ice cream. With this menu coming late though unless you have tried it before, don’t experiment.
One more thing to add, presentation, presentation, presentation. If you are having a large shindig, you can still be mindful of how the food you have worked so hard to prepare is presented. Use large fancy serving bowls. If you look around, I am sure you have or your friends or family coming over will have. After all, you are doing all the cooking and hosting, let them contribute something. They can always take their dishes home in the evening. If you are having a small intimate do, then earn your Martha Stewart stripes and get inspired by some of the dishes you have seen me plate. it doesn’t have to be Food Network perfect, but you should be proud of the plate you serve, so put your best foot forward this year and be the Hostess with the Mostess.
I hope this blog has inspired your Christmas Menu, and my apologies for it coming late. I was hoping to reach a wider audience. Oh well, lesson learned. Prepare for a very romantic Valentines inspired Menu. If you’ve always been going out, well dining in is the new eating out.
Merry Christmas to You guys and Yours. Thank you for being a huge part of my 2013, I hope we do more and be more in 2014. Seasons Greetings from Dooney’s Kitchen