Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

The rain continued non-stop for another twenty-four hours and flooded the roads almost preventing our guests from getting to us from the airport. Luckily, on Christmas eve the rain stopped and the skies cleared a bit. We started preparing for dinner at home and began to cook and set the tale. The bar was opened and used as a buffet while the table was set with white linen napkins, large square plates, silver flatware, a simple flower and candle centrepiece and golden pears (actually Christmas ornaments) were used as place card holders and colorful Christmas crackers were left beside each place setting.

We then started to prepare the food – red peppers were roasted, peeled then set aside, potatoes were boiled roasted, sweet potatoes were also put in the oven while thin green beans were boiled and drained. The sausages and rib-eye steaks were left out on a tray and the grill was readied with pieces of wood for an authentic Argentine asado. It might seem a bit strange to have a barbecue on Christmas eve but since my husband is Argentine and Christmastime in the southern hemisphere is during the summer, a grilled meal is not unusual.

Blinis were assembled with dill and smoked salmon and the mini-spring rolls were thawed out on the counter to be deep-fried later on. The last thing we did was make the dark chocolate baby cakes for dessert which we then left in the fridge ready to be baked later on while we had our main courses. After all that, we rushed off to change as our guests were expected at 7:00.

As soon as everyone arrived, the chilled champagne was served with the cold salmon blinis and the warm spring rolls. We sat around by the fire chatting while the meat and sausages were on the grill. Next up were hot-off-the-grill chorizos wrapped in a piece of baguette. By that time, the both roast potatoes were done and the fried shallots added to the green beans. We sat down to dinner and shifted from champagne to red wine.
Everyone settled in and helped themselves to the buffet but not before pulling on our Christmas crackers and wearing the crowns. We took our time eating – there were three types of sausages: the typical chorizo plus two from the English butcher – chicken and sage and pork and herb. The rib-eye steaks were thick and tender and cooked to medium-rare and served with chimichurri, the traditional Argentinean herb and vinegar sauce. We were almost finished with dinner when the children rushed in from the kitchen begging to open their presents before dessert so we agreed and sat down in the living room for more red wine while presents were distributed and unwrapped. As soon as the children were settled with a board game, we put the baby cakes in the oven and had our warm gooey chocolate dessert with some raspberries and creme fraiche. Espressos along with the rest of the red wine were finished off by the fire while we talked until way past midnight. Another Christmas gone and a new year to welcome in a week’s time.

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