Simplicity, freshness and minimal preparation this Christmas
With Christmas just around the corner, many of us indulge in the opportunity to catch up with dear friends, family and loved ones. A wonderful excuse indeed to chill, laugh, and enjoy good food in the company of those we cherish.
On Saturday night, I did just that, welcoming friends James and Lou with their kids for dinner. Lou is planning to celebrate Christmas at their place this year and was giving careful consideration about what to prepare, as many of us do.
The conversation around what to cook for Christmas evolved and ideas exchanged. The key selection criteria included simplicity, freshness and minimal preparation so they too, as hosts, could enjoy the festivities. Sounds fair enough to me.
Interestingly, that evening for dinner, I created a few festive salads of my own as an early pre-cursor to the BIG day. Thanks to Lou’s inquisitiveness, here are the three recipes.
This cracker of a Mango and Cucumber salad does not require any cooking or dressing and it’s always popular, especially with my Mother-in-Law, Norah. Simply dice the mango, and pop into a bowl. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthways and half again lengthways so it cut into quarters, then slice across into half centimetre chunks. Instead of salt, sprinkle a few baby capers and gently combine. It’s that easy. Whilst it’s good enough to eat on its own, it is also divine paired with champagne and seafood, chicken or pork. Did I mention that Norah kindly brings a bottle of bubbly over whenever she visits? Another good excuse…
Norah’s not the only one who brings goodies with her whenever she visits. Santa also turns up the heat and delivers hot weather for Christmas day down under. In search for interesting ways to cool down and refresh, other than jumping into water, what could be more refreshing than a cold crispy watermelon salad?
This watermelon salad involves a bit of creative chopping. Before chopping, wash whole watermelon and quarter. With the rind left on, cut down vertically into the watermelon flesh toward the rind to create large ‘soldiers’, then cut horizontally to form large diced chunks of watermelon. Pick up the rind and let the watermelon chunks slide off into a bowl. Add a dash of lime juice, a sprinkling of feta, and nuts of your choice. Invigorating, uplifting, and rejuvenating!
We all enjoy eating a lot at Christmas and I am yet to find anyone who likes feeling bloated. This festive salad gives you the fullness feeling without the heaviness and it dazzles visually with its spectacular contrasting colours. Start by spreading a bed of lettuce on the base of a flat tray. Add sliced cucumbers, snow peas, and sliced avocado. Finish off with sliced strawberries or pomegranates. Drizzle with a mix of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, a dash of honey, and wholegrain mustard. Finish with labnah.
I hope this helps with inspiration for your Christmas entertaining. May your celebrations be full of joy and happiness…and salads of course!