Thursday, 22 December 2016

Beginners' Guide to Solo Christmas Cooking

This post was inspired by Ummi's post on Naman Sallah for Beginners. Do check it out.
Christmas cooking and sharing food to neighbours is one of the things i looked forward to and dreaded at the same time about having my own family. It was a tradition in my parent's house and i couldn't wait to make it my family tradition as well but i dreaded doing it all on my own as it can easily get cumbersome, overwhelming and stressful to execute all alone (i don't have a maid); especially if you don't intend spending your entire Christmas eve and Christmas day cooking.
My 1st Solo Christmas Cooking (Dec 2014)
I have already commenced preparations in full force for my Christmas Cooking therefore i thought it best to put up this post as someone may find it useful. I wouldn't say i do the cooking completely solo 'cos hubby has really started helping out with cooking especially dicing & slicing all veggies and i'm loving it!
Christmas (Dec 25th) is on a Sunday this year so if you haven't done your shopping for your key ingredients, you are carrying last. The only thing you should be buying a day to or on Christmas day in my opinion is veggies for your salad (Cabbage, Lettuce & Carrots)so they are fresh.
The reason for my statement above is mostly hiked market prices, the traders know the meals most people cook during the Christmas and Festive period and increase the prices for the ingredients in order to make maximum profit (can't really blame them). Also some things get sold out and the traders don't bother to restock.
I kinda carried last too 'cos i was too busy to go to the market and i don't have a maid to do that; i finally did my shopping on Friday, Dec 16th and the prices hurt my pocket quite a bit.
The major key to a successful and stress-free Christmas Cooking is early preparation.
1. First thing is to create your Christmas Menu and the days it'll be convenient for you to get them prepared with minimal stress, mine is as follows:
I don't like to cook on Dec 23rd 'cos its my birthday and all i really want is a proper lazy day after work (my office typically closes for the year on this day).
2. Find recipes for all the meals on your menu (Check the links for mine above), review them thoroughly and draw up your market shopping list. Last time i went to the market (Utako) the prices for popular items were as follows (after bargaining on some):
  • Orobo Chicken -N1,200 per Kilo
  • Soft Chicken -N1,200 per Kilo
  • Turkey -N1,300 per Kilo
  • Turkey Gizzard -N1,600 per Pack (it used to be N1,200)
  • Tomatoes- N700 per Regular Basket 
  • Tatashe a.k.a Romano Pepper- N800 per Regular Basket 
  • Rodo a.k.a Scotch Bonnet Pepper -N100 per Medium Bowl
  • Onions- N200 per Medium Bowl
  • White Yam- N600 per Medium size
  • Plantain -N1,200 for a huge bunch (I bought an unripe bunch so they are ripe by the time i'm ready to use them)
  • Palm oil -N800 for a Small bottle (it used to be N600 for a big EVA bottle)
  • Sweet potatoes -N500 per Regular Basket
  • Crayfish- N1000 for half Mudu (it used to be N600)
  • Smoked Fish- N400 per Medium Size (Depending on your bargaining skills)
  • Plain Flour- N300 per Mudu
  • White Sugar- N700 per Mudu (it used to be N300)
3. Draw up your budget and go shopping
4. Sort out your food items, do the necessary preparations and store them in your fridge or freezer
  • Blend and Boil your peppers
  • Marinate and Boil your Meats, Gizzards, etc.
  • Clean and dice/slice your veggies (You can get hubby to help out)
  • Dice your boiled Gizzard (sure most hubbies would volunteer to do this.lol)
  • Make your spring rolls & samosas 
5. Make your Christmas meals according to your menu and designated dates. Check out my post on Tips for Easier/Faster Cooking.
  • I boil the rice for my fried rice on Christmas Eve (i prefer using day old rice for my fried rice)
  • Wake up early enough to prepare the meals you have designated for Christmas Day, defrost the necessary ingredients before you are ready to cook to avoid unnecessary wait
  • I make my Fried Rice on Christmas Day (Morning) with my already cut veggies  (I'm not a fan of store bought frozen veggies)
  • I make my Peppered Chicken/Turkey on Christmas Day (Morning) with my already blended  & boiled peppers and well marinated boiled chicken/turkey (and i get tasty stew after taking them out)
  • I fry my plantain on Christmas Day (Morning)
  • I make my special salad dressing & add it to my pre-made & chilled salad (You can also make your salad on Christmas morning for freshness)
  • I defrost my pre-made Gizdodo, add more sauce and heat it up
  • I fry my already prepped Spring Rolls & Samosas on Christmas Day (Afternoon)
  • I make my puff-puff on Christmas Day (Evening)
I'm usually done with the major Christmas Day Cooking in 1-2 hours (that's around 9-10am). The thing with cooking Nigerian meals is that it's usually the prepping of the ingredients (blending, dicing, slicing, marinating, etc.) that take the longest time.
I make more than enough so i can have lots of leftovers for us to heat up as needed and enjoy.
6. Share the love and Food with your neighbours, security guard, gardener-everybody! I prepare a tray with a warmer of the different meals and some drinks and give them. 
For my Neighbours
7. Relax, eat and enjoy your dishes with your partner or family and friends.
If i can pull it off, trust me you can as well. 
Remember Jesus Christ is the Reason for the Season. 
Spread the Love through Sharing whatever you have.
Toodles!XooX
Please Share it! :)

2 comments:

  1. Happy belated birthday dear!

    Hope you had a fun christmas.

    This post is really comprehensive. I've always wondered if its worth going t Utako market (from Gwarinpa) and looking at those prices, I think it's actually a little cheaper than Tipper garage. Might check it out one of these days.

    Thanks for the shout out! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you kindly Ummi! Christmas and the hols was a lot of fun, i have even gone up a dress size sef.lol
      Utako Market is quite affordable and those prices are 'December prices' and based on my average bargaining skills so it can even go lower.
      Uw @d shoutout, its well deserved.
      Happy New Year to you & the fam. X00X

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