by Laura Waters – Snowdon House, Gourmet & Gifts –
Christmas is a very busy time of year. We seem to fill the whole month of December and then have nothing on the radar come January. It seems to me it would be much nicer if we could even it out throughout the year more and not wait for special occasions to come for us to entertain.
I was recently at a friend’s home where we enjoyed a raclette dinner. A grill sits in the centre of the table and everyone grills their food. It has special cheese trays under the grill so you can melt your favourite cheese.
We had a lovely selection of meats and vegetables and delicious cheese. Dessert was fresh fruit on the grill with melted chocolate – oh so decadent! What a wonderful way for the host or hostess to be able to enjoy the dinner with everyone else.
The work comes in the preparation, just like fondue. One way to share the workload is to get someone to bring either some of the vegetables cut up or one of the meats already marinated. I don’t have a raclette set, so my next staff meeting will be a fondue. Instead of a traditional fondue pot that is small, I prefer to use a large wok and fill it with a soup base instead of oil. I have a large chafing dish which has an even larger surface area and operates with sterno rather than troublesome electric cords. It’s a great way for us all to sit with each other, slowly eat our meal and have a great discussion. This kind of gathering always takes longer and I think we eat much slower as we are having to cook every morsel.
I like to prepare a mix of the following sliced vegetables and meats: broccoli; mushrooms; zucchini; snap peas; cauliflower; red, green and yellow peppers; carrots and sweet potatoes.
You can prepare chicken, steak and prawns ahead of time and have them marinating the day before so the workload is spread out. I make a couple of my favourite sauces and use a store-bought red chili sauce as the third.
2 cups peanuts
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
Soak 2 cups of peanuts for a minimum of 6 hours. Drain and place in the blender with all other ingredients. Place in the fridge till you are ready to serve.
Mustard and Horseradish Sauce
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp horseradish
salt and pepper to taste