12 Memorable Meals of the Christmas Season

The holiday season has all but come to an end. Thank goodness! My tummy is beginning to feel fragile and my belly is starting to look a little portly again!

1. Count down started at my cousin’s joint 60th birthday party and her brother’s 40th wedding anniversary celebration. We enjoyed a ‘Bring and Braai’, meat barbecued over an open fire with lots of healthy side salads. The birthday cake stole the show though.

2. My cousin’s adopted son came home on Christmas Eve 21 years ago. He was 8 months old. They have celebrated his homecoming as a family in Hong Kong for the past 20 years. This is the first year that he has not been home. So we made a special dinner with his mom’s favourite dish – gem squash filled with sweet corn and cheese. We were also spoilt with a gift of macaroon ice cream sandwiches. They looked beautiful and tasted delicious.

3 & 4. My daughter and my nephew baked bread and steamed Chinese dumplings from scratch for the first time! They were great first attempts! I brushed the leftover bread with melted butter, toasted it in the oven and served it with bacon and scrambled eggs for brunch on Boxing Day.

5. My husband has been feeling very tired these past few weeks. He loves ice cream sundaes so we decided to surprise him with a huge ice cream sundae on New Year’s Day. We added fresh and canned fruit, caramelized nuts, mini marshmallows and drizzled a lovely black cherry syrup over the lot.

6. After a week of eating with abandon, one night we all just wanted something light and simple. And so I made a Greek salad with lots of fresh vegetables and big chunks of creamy feta cheese. Not a single carb in sight. A salad had never tasted better.

7 & 8. Christmas Day lunch was of course the cherry on the cake. We had some of the usual dishes, like stuffed turkey, red rice pork, gammon, roast potatoes and a few new ones, like roast leg of lamb, dried oysters with pork, Thai noodle salad and raw kale salad. We usually have roast duck, roast belly pork and lamb curry which we missed. But as usual, there was far too much food which we all tucked into for Christmas Day dinner! We rolled home at about 10pm!

9. I cook sole very seldom because I only buy west coast soles. I believe that fish caught in the cold Atlantic sea is tastier than those caught in the warmer Indian Ocean. I was lucky to find some large west coast soles just before Christmas and we had them fried simply in a little olive oil with a side of asparagus and Asian slaw. I love Asian slaw. It’s lighter than coleslaw and has lovely Asian flavors in the dressing such as fish sauce and sesame oil.

10. A Chinese tradition is to pay respects to our ancestors. The more traditional way is to have a shrine at home and on auspicious occasions, the ancestors are always served food first. We don’t observe the tradition that way. We simply pay a visit to the cemetery. It doesn’t happen often but a huge group of the family stopped by my house first which is very close to the main cemetery. I decided to provide a light snack made of steamed prawns, avocado and mango inside lettuce cups. They were awesome!

11 & 12. It’s such a relief to be back to normal eating! I picked up a kilo and a half in just two weeks! So tonight I fried some cubed line fish in a little olive oil and served it with a fresh mango sweet and sour sauce over coconut rice for the family. It was delicious! However, I just had a taste. My dinner tonight was a Herbalife shake made with a little fresh mango and orange juice. It was a delicious drink over lots of crushed ice. The continuation of my weight-loss journey started today!

Bring and Braai! Lot of lovely braai’ed meat.
Gorgeous birthday cake
Special dinner for my nephew’s homecoming
Oh yum! Macaroon ice cream sandwiches
After all the rich food, this Greek salad hit the spot
My daughter made the bread on the left, my nephew made the Chinese steamed dumplings on the right
Homemade ice cream sundae
West coast sole with asparagus and Asian slaw
Christmas lunch
Dessert table on Christmas Day
Leftover toasted homemade baked bread with bacon and eggs for brunch
Back to normal. Line fish with a sweet and sour mango sauce over coconut rice
Herbalife shake made with orange juice and fresh mango

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