Tips 'n' Tricks, Tuck In

Kicking off winter & festivities

There’s so much to be done in December! It’s the month of birthdays and anniversaries (parties), marriages (more parties), the joy of Christmas (some more parties), the end of a year and the beginning of a new one (the ultimate party!) And then there is pondering on the resolutions – the ones taken at the beginning of the current year and the ones that might be considered for the coming year.

As I take stock of the work that has happened in 2018 and gear up for the party season, I am part stoked and part dismayed over the new year resolutions that have reached fulfilment; especially after the grand start with different ways of goal setting as discussed in December 2017. To learn effective methods of goal setting and new resolutions for 2019, read New Beginnings, New Resolutions.

But all the ‘dismay’ vanishes when the soul-warming smell of food wafts into my senses, chasing away the winter chill that seeps into the bones.
Food is also that particular adhesive that brings together those aforementioned parties, soothing over hurts and helping forge promising bonds for the days to come.

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Observing the way my mother has hosted parties over the years vis-à-vis the way hosted by others, I’ve realised the key to a chilled out party is pre-planning the food. Maa is a whiz at planning a menu that can be prepped a day or two ahead and the actual cooking done in a jiffy such that you are plating out hot food!

While I get down to learning and then sharing a few of such recipes, here are some older recipes from the blog that would work perfectly to showcase the winter produce and your cooking skills! Just click on the delicacy and you will be taken to the recipe on the blog.

HOT BEVERAGES
The Marmalade Tea and Orange Ginger Tea showcasing the tang and freshness of oranges (much in season now!) are two hot drinks that work as perfect welcome drinks as your guests wander in from the chilly winds.

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MUNCHIES
Add a bit of Greek touch to your meal and whip up Skordalia or Tzatziki to pair with those variety of crackers and slices of vegetables. You can also make some fresh and crunchy Sprouted Mung Beans Salad to whet the appetite in a healthy way.

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MAINS
For the mains, you can choose some wholesome food like the Spring Onion & Garlic Khichdi or Bengali Khichuri for the vegetarians, accompanied with some beautifully fresh Vegetable Chops. The non-vegetarians can satisfy their carnivorous appetite with some sizzling Chicken Souvlaki or Chatpata Chicken paired with store-bought pita. And no one is stopping you from slipping in a few of those vegetable chops.

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DESSERTS
Carrots, carrots and some more carrots! Add a twist to the tried-and-tested gaajar ka halwa with the beautiful Gaajar ka Kheer that can be enjoyed hot or cool. And for those of you who prefer a touch of foreign shores, the Sticky Toffee Pudding with warm toffee sauce is just perfect to end the party on.

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GIFTS
If you are the kind who enjoys making those hearts warmer and the smiles deeper, try your hand at the incredibly sweet but fudgy Scottish Tablet. You can slice these up into, well, tablets, and then wrap in parchment paper before tying it all up with a lovely ribbon. Hand these over with personalised thank you notes to your guests as they head out. They’ll be your fans for life!

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If you do make any of these lovely foods, don’t forget to share in the comment section below or on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter. If you would love to see the winter and party special recipes I’ll be sharing all of December and January, do subscribe for regular updates.

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