As the Culinary Director of Impresario, Chef Gresham Fernandes crafts menus for the Social, Smoke House Deli and Salt Water Café chain of restaurants. But as an East Indian raised in Bandra, Mumbai, come December the most important meal for him is the big festive meal for Christmas that he plans for the restaurant and his family. We thought he would be the perfect person to plan a Christmas party menu for you to get inspired from, and he gave us 24 ideas for that abundant table we all dream of.
Gresham brought the meal to life with a mix of Western traditional roasts and desserts along with East Indian elements such as pork vindaloo and bebinca, creating a perfect balance. “The Christmas dinner is so much about nostalgia. So even though as a chef I like to experiment with my food, my family insists on the traditional recipes on this day,” he adds. The dishes also got his signature genius twist. Roasted in seaweed butter, the classic roast duck has a Japanese touch. The pork is roasted in marmite while the leg of ham got a good 3-4 days in brine before going into the oven. The vindaloo has been slow-cooked in the traditional way, which means it is cooked a week in advance and re-heated till its mature, rich and juicy.
A quiche is a good option for the vegetarians at the table.
But the piece-de-resistance is easily the plum cake that has been 10 years in the making! “Since the time we started making the cake 10 years ago, we whip up a batch and save a quarter of it that goes into the mix for next year. Every two months we stir the mix and close it up. This way it matures and keeps getting better every year,” adds Fernandes.
Here is the list of all the 24 dishes for your inspiration to cooking the ultimate Christmas dinner:
1. Roast duck
2. Roast chicken
3. Ham leg
4. Roast pork with crackling
6. Yule log
8. Cheese platter
9. Meat platter
10. Gingerbread men
11. Hot toddy
12. Pumpkin soup served in the pumpkin
13. Roast potatoes
14. Christmas pudding
15. Fruit trifle
16. Sausage meat pie
18. Honey glazed carrots
19. Pork vindaloo
22. Egg nog
23. Hot chocolate with marshmallow
24. Mulled wine
If you wish to enjoy a Christmas feast of your own without slaving over the stove, you can head to Salt Water Café that is currently serving a special Christmas menu
Using gold adds an element of luxury to the place setting. A menu printed for the occasion helps personalise the theme.
Using platters of different styles, heights and materials adds depth to the table setting making it look attractive.
Chef Gresham Fernandes likes to add a twist to every dish he creates except the Christmas Pudding, which is kept completely traditional.
Mulled wine and hot toddy are perfect for the winter.
A roast and vindaloo, yule log and bebinca, together make for the perfect mix of festive traditions.
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