The festive season is always a good reason to round up friends and share lavish food together at the dinner table. This year, I hosted a Christmas holiday dinner party and invited some friends over for chow. I’m always excited at this time of the year because I can’t resist doing up the apartment with festive Christmas decorations and doing up the dinner table. The timing of this dinner party sorta fell in between Thanksgiving and Christmas for me, so the food and decor are a fusion of the two.
Can I tell you about the decor first?
For this year’s Christmas decoration I went with traditional colors of red and green with a splash of silver accents. I have been decorating my apartment for Christmas for many years now and my usual staples for decking the halls consist of garland, wreath, Christmas ball ornaments, string lights and candles. Can’t go wrong with these basic items really. And I can switch the ornaments up by sometimes using them as adornments on a Christmas tree (when I happen to get one), or hang them individually at varying heights on cascading garlands, or pile them all into a clear glass vase. I also use some as a makeshift placeholder cards and insert a thin ribbon with the guest’s name written on it, then placing individual ornaments on top of a plate setting. Either method looks festive and ultra easy to put together. You should try some of these ideas next time. :)
I acquired most of my decor items and dinner place setting at Ikea this year. I like to combine high and low when it comes to dinner party place settings, meaning a mix of porcelain ware and disposable plastic or paper serveware. I am all for saving myself the trouble of washing a mountain of dishes after the party; ghetto-fab all the way. :P There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to decorating for a dinner party, but I like to keep it elegant and visually cohesive always. When the stress level hits high during the preparation of my parties, I tell myself two things:
1. I *AM* the hostess with the mostest gawddayamnitz! and,
2. It is permissible for the hostess to drink wine or sip champagne before the party starts. Hur hur.
If you want to recreate the table setting that I have for my holiday dinner table this year, here’s a roundup of the items that you can purchase affordably at Ikea.
JULFINT Paper side plate, silver-colour S$2.50 for 10 pieces | IKEA 365+ Plate, white S$14.90 | JULFINT Paper napkin, red striped S$3.90 for 30 pieces | JULFINT Disposable mug, silver-colour S$1.90 for 10 pieces | MÄRIT Table-runner, red S$7.90 | PANNÅ Place mat, medium green S$2.90 | JULMYS Decoration bauble, set of 50, silver-colour S$19.90 | CYLINDER Vase/bowl, set of 3, clear glass S$39.90 | SKURAR Plant pot, off-white S$4.90 | FEJKA Artificial potted plant, herbs, assorted S$4.90 | SKIMMER Block candle holder, glass, silver-colour S$19.90 | FENOMEN Unscented block candle, set of 5, red S$11.90 | FENOMEN Unscented block candle, natural S$2.50 | TOLSBY Frame for 2 pictures, white S$1.80 | All from Ikea Christmas Collection 2012
Now…. let’s talk about the food! My pal Jacob from Cook Snap Eat Love blog had decided to challenge himself this year by preparing turducken, that crazy dish of turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken. I’m totally game (heh) to dig into some so we combined our holiday dinner plans and had potluck over at my apartment with him bringing the main dish while the rest of our guests and me contribute potluck style. While I was shopping at Ikea to acquire decor items, I picked up some stuff at the grocery/deli section and thought it’d be nice to include some of them into the menu as well so I made Herring Mango Salsa and also Potato Gratin. I also made American classic side dishes to accompany the turducken, namely Green Bean Casserole and Glazed Carrots.
Here’s something unusual probably for most of you: Herring Mango Salsa using the pickled herring in a jar from Ikea grocery/deli market, served with a smörgåsbord of assorted crackers also from Ikea. This was super easy to make, basically I chopped up red onion, mango, red bell pepper, cilantro, the pickled herring. I then squeezed some fresh lime juice, plus a dash of black pepper and serve the herring mango salsa chilled. A perfect appetite-whetter while the turducken and other dishes were being heated up. I am rather proud of this dish as it’s my original creation and everyone said this herring mango salsa was very addictive! *clap clap clap*
I made this Potato Gratin from Ikea also and I think the word “made” is a grotesque misrepresentation because all I did was thaw the frozen bag, poured the content into two small bowls, popped into oven for about 20 minutes and then served it. A friend commented, “Very simple but extremely delicious and tasty!”. I am so embarrassed to admit that I really didn’t do much to make this. It was indeed yummy and as you can see in the image above, there were bits of herbs, chopped onions and also little balls of cheese – all from the packet! I wanted to add some chopped rosemary but decided against it at the last minute. I am definitely gonna be buying this Potato Gratin frozen pack again at Ikea next time as it’s really damn easy to prepare and tastes awesome.
For the main attraction….. *drumrolls* ladies and gentlemen, I present to you….. TURDUCKEN! Three birds rolled into one masterpiece, exquisitely prepared by Jacob. I’ve made turkey before and I know it’s definitely not an easy feat, requiring a lot of patience and also attention as the turkey may get burned or worse, uncooked. I gotta give it to Jacob for deboning all three birds and stuffing one into the other, and then roasting it for several hours patiently. The result was of course beautiful! The turkey was very flavorful and moist. But I don’t think I’m gonna try making this myself at home anytime soon. :P I am more than happy to leave it to the pro.
As the name suggests, the innermost layer is chicken but it’s also been stuffed with stuffing comprising of sausage and bacon. ====:0 Holy turducken, this is super crazy over the top or what. I had one slice and was ready to burst. It was very filling. Can you blame me though? Just look at the complete spread below!
And this photo wasn’t even the FULL spread. There were also brown rice risotto, mashed potato as well as caprese salad which somehow didn’t make it into this photo! But you can see the beef stew, the green bean casserole, glazed carrots and caesar salad here. We truly had quite a Christmas feast that evening.
Just wanna share quick how-tos on the two classic American side dishes which I literally whipped together in a very very short time.
1. Green Bean Casserole: chopped green beans (steamed) + one can mushroom soup + 1/2 cup milk + ground black pepper + fried onions. Mix everything in a casserole, pop into oven for about 10 minutes and serve with a generous topping of more fried onion for extra crunch. One guest commented, “Very very good!”. Again I’m embarrassed to admit how crazy easy this was to make. :x
2. Glazed Carrots: chopped carrots (boiled and drained) + butter + honey + lemon juice + 1 tablespoon soy sauce + ground black pepper + chopped parsley. Melt butter over low heat in skillet, toss the rest of ingredients in, stir around for a bit and serve. More guests commented, “This is really delicious.” Uhm, these guys were really making me feel bad because honest to gawd this was not difficult to make ….. :X
But of course, it thrilled me that everyone enjoyed these side dishes. :) Thank you.
Dinner of course wouldn’t be complete without dessert. We had not one but two Christmas log cakes and a mountain of assorted macarons (from Patisserie Framboise; I blogged about their cupcakes before btw). The macaron flavors were Peppermint, Lemon and Rum Raisin. Additionally, we also had a cheese board… oooooh, we are so fancy. *flips hair* ;p
Array of ALL the food we all had for your viewing pleasure, via lobsterpaint‘s instagram feed.
So there you have it…. Christmas Holiday Dinner Party 2012 featuring Turducken. Definitely a memorable one! I don’t suppose anyone will be attempting to make turducken but I do hope that you will try to recreate the side dishes which I made (seriously, they were very fast and easy to prepare). Heck, I spent more time tinkering with the kerning of my Christmas dinner menu than making all the three side dishes combined!
Anyhoo, here’s wishing you a season of joy and may this Christmas holiday be the best ever for you and your loved ones. *MUAHHZZZZ!*