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Christmas barbecue thoughts

Posted by Khaki 
Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 05, 2005 11:13PM
Last night (nov 5) we had a "gourmet" barbecue for four people, the idea being to celebrate husband and son's birthdays and also as a dummy run for the idea of having a barbecue for Christmas this year. I've struggled with the concept, wondering what would make a Christmas barbecue different from any other barbecue.

We sat over the outdoor table, eating and drinking, for 3-4 hours (patio heater on high).

Here's what we had for our deliberately slow meal. The numbers represent each course

1. shared plate of whole artichokes, flavoured with mint, parsley and garlic, with flavoured olive oil for dipping the leaves.

2. marinated Thai tiger prawns (garlic, red pepper flakes, lime juice, parsley) seared on flat plate till opaque
pan seared scallops
chicken meat on skewers (marinated in Chinese-style marinade)

3. two crayfish tails, served plain, cut up and shared

4. rack of lamb with herb crust
greek-style chicken thighs (oreganum and olive tapenade among marinade)
brown rice salad
green salad

5. chocolate mousse cake (made by son's partner, delicious)

I seemed to spend all afternoon preparing marinades, deshelling prawns, etc. It was high-effort food but since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year I guess I'll have the time on the Saturday to organise it.

I quite liked the idea of a slow drawn-out meal, trying a variety of delights rather than filling up on a few items but feel I could still do this but simplify some of the processes?

Any suggestions or comments?

Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 06, 2005 12:38AM
What time do you want us there???? smiling smiley Sounds fab! You could have included some char-grilled mixed vegetables too perhaps - very easy and colourful and don't forgot about hot bbq pineapple slices with a rum butter glaze for dessert (thank you Ainsley Harriot!!)
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 06, 2005 01:01AM
All sounds very yum. Could you give each guest a task to do, then it lightens the load for you.

Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 06, 2005 01:14AM
This is what I did for a Christmas Eve barbecue last year...

- Grazing platter with boursin-style cheese (Ooh. I made that!), goats milk camembert and gorgonzola with crackers; melon w/ proscuitto and cherries; muscatel raisins, dried mango, and dried cranberries; along with cashews and macadamias.

Followed by the main course with tea smoked salmon as the centerpiece (There are instructions on the cuisine website somewhere; I've linked to it from a thread over here on smoking before...); barbecued mixed vegetables (red onions with broccoli and capsicum); asparagus; mushrooms brushed with garlic oil; and a rocket/walnut/pear salad with a white truffle oil dressing.

Dessert was pavlova with orange blossom creme anglaise; in theory to be accompanied with nectarine jelly, however the jelly didn't want to play along*; so we had what I guess you'd describe as stewed nectarines (they were used to make the nectarine jelly)

This year; I'm leaning towards maybe doing brunch at some point in the Christmas/New Year season (:

* It did set over night; and ended up coming with us to my "in-laws" (out-laws? my partners parents, in any case) house where it ended up in a trifle made from with limoncello sponge that someone else brought along; which was about the fanciest trifle I've ever eaten (;
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 06, 2005 02:22AM

I was saying to my husband it would be good if ppl would help with preparations, but it can take as long to explain what I want done as to do it myself and the kitchen isn't big enough for too many bodies. However, if I think things out properly, there are tasks that could be delegated.

I don't plan to repeat the exact menu, just the idea of the long meal with a variety of foods, though I might repeat the shellfish ideas since they were very yummy and not everyday fare.

Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 06, 2005 02:25AM
Christine, the grazing platter sounds great. I was at a dinner party the other weekend where the entree was an antipasto platter, and very nice it was too. Marinated artichoke hearts, salami, marinated mushrooms, mussels, olives, cheeses, asparagus, sundried tomatoes, cocktail tomatoes, rustic bread. (I made a note of what was served as I thought it was an idea worth repeating).

Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 06, 2005 02:45AM
The best part about the grazing-platter-as-starter is that you can get it assembled and sitting on the table before you start to panic about the main part of the meal (;

Antipasto is marvellous from a preparation point of view - it's all about the shopping since most of the goodies can go from jars on to plates without much intervention. (Unless you want to get into the business of preserving vegetables...but that's just crazy talk! (: )
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 06, 2005 05:22AM
Hi Khaki
We do the BBQ thing with seafood for Xmas Day. Our group is quite small but we just nibble all day really! The weather is usually showery and we have all day. I make a couple of salads and then the cooks( husband and teenage son) take over. Have the prawns- eat , chat rest,clean up. Then later the crayfish. later on oysters or something similar. Salad eaters help themselves. I also have nibbles- nuts, truffles etc. Dessert is no big fuss- pavlova topped with chocolate ice cream and Baileys dribbled( poured depending on who is doing it) over the top. It is summer, the holidays, we are at our beach house so we have a thoroughly decadent day just grazing! We also usually have a guest or two from the local backpackers- I think it is lonely being on your own in a strange land for Xmas.

Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 07, 2005 06:39AM

That sounds exactly what I was planning, grazing all day, socialising all day.... Can you give me some idea of the barbecue foods and seafoods you serve?
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 07, 2005 09:42AM
Khaki, there isn't a lot to tell. We don't get dressed up because eating prawns etc gets a bit messy. We usually start the day with sparkling wine and Xmas tarts( family traditional thing) - this tends to be quite early as we are a running/biking family. Then I make the salad, nothing fancy just lettuce,peppers, spring onions whatever I have or whatevers fairly cheap but I don't put the dressing on until nearer eating time( just lemon juice and oil). I put truffles( made weeks before and frozen), nuts and dips out on the table. I also put out fruit punch ( mostly made the night before). We usually have prawns as our first graze. They are usually just stir fried in the wok on the BBQ with some garlic and a drop of oil. These are just tipped into a large bowl and we all sit around getting lovely and messy. If they are really large then I just put them on the grill. Crayfish is just dropped in boiling water in a big pot on the BBQ. We have cray or scallops not both. If we are having scallops, they are just stir fried in the wok. I don't eat oysters but the rest of the family just eat them plain. In between courses we nibble from the table or have a dip in the sea(not swimming as we would probably sink) It's all very relaxing really with very few dishes. Desert is easy the pavlova thing as I suggested above has become a tradition mainly because it is so decadent and I also have some fresh fruit salad which is my favourite. There is no lunch time/ dinner time just a day of grazing and relaxing.Keep everything simple and easy. Keep the gourmet stuff for winter! I hope this is what you want. On Xmas day this year I will think of you having a day just like ours.
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 08, 2005 07:31AM
Stephanie, thanks for the ideas. Oysters -- I assume they're not Bluff oysters as it's the wrong time of year. Pacific oysters?
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 09, 2005 01:05AM
Sorry, Khaki, must be. I'm not an oyster eater and I don't do the buying, so I do'nt know.
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 16, 2005 12:55AM
Further to this thread. This year we have access to a bach for four days. It will be the first time for about 25years that we will be waking up on Christmas morning, together as a family, with the added excitement of two wee ones (4 and 2)
Gosh, I'm getting all emotional at the thought!
Anyway, we have a lot of gear to take. The bach is very basic. We are planning a BBQ for dinner and your suggestions are great, but as hubby and I will be there for two days previous I will be doing most of the preparations. What to take and what to leave behind foodwise. Keeping in mind all ingredients will have to be taken with us. Thought of taking the George Foreman. There will be twelve to cook for and it would be a backup for the small barbeque.
Suggestions for breakfast would also be welcome.
Many thanks
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 16, 2005 01:02AM
Hi Nellie.

Christmas morning for us is croissants (buy frozen from Gourmet Direct), with bacon, tomatoes and cheese, fresh fruits and lots of it, with greek yogurt and a little lemon curd mixed through it and for those of healthy variety, they have toasted muesli with their fresh fruit and yogurt.
Hope that helps

Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 16, 2005 05:01AM
Nice quick dessert idea too are fruit kebabs. Just thread fresh fruit, the odd marshmallow to skewers and keep in fridge. Can be done first thing in the morning or even the night before. I use, watermelon,strawberries, grapes, oranges, rockmelon, pineapple .....etc and separate each piece with a piece of marshmallow.
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 16, 2005 10:31PM
Hi Nellie
If you are asking what we do for breakfast on Xmas day other than the mince pies and sparkling, we don't have anything else, as we more than make up for it over the rest of the day.
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 17, 2005 10:23AM
We always do pain au chocolat vor breakfast on festive days (birthday, christmas, fathers day etc...) I always have a bag or two in the freezer along with croissants.
I buy them from gourmet direct and they are uncooked. You simply thaw overnight and bake them for around 15 minutes. The kids call them chocolate sausage rolls and they have fast become a favourite family tradition.
Along with these on Christmas morning we have strawberries, cherries, muesli, champagne, good coffee, bacon and eggs.
This then leaves us feeling very satiated until well into the afternoon when we have glazed ham, jersey bennie potatoes, salad, peas... think thats about it and then Christmas pud for those who like it and jelly for the wee guys with endless amounts of cherries and chocolate almonds.

It is simple and no one spends hours in the kitchen but also appeals to our favourite flavours.
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 19, 2005 12:27AM
I make american pancakes, which I have made the batter for the night before. these could be served with fresh fruits , bacon and avocado etc.
Re: Christmas barbecue thoughts
November 21, 2005 07:34AM
Christmas breakfast for the kids (who are now adults) has always been a chocolate Santa and their bag of Roses chocolates, courtesy of Father Christmas! Adults who aren't willing to eat chocolate are given cereals and/or toast followed mid-morning by sparking wine and nibbles to kick off the day. I feel I'm doing enough without worrying about breakfast, especially as this Santa has few willing helpers, only people who expect to be waited on.

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