The dining table is the heart of a home

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Lunch

We had a great time on Christmas Day. Thanks to everyone to came and made it such a special day. As mentioned earlier we celebrated my brother in law's 21st Birthday as well.

These are some of the photos for the food that we had on that day. Surprisingly was not too difficult/hectic preparing the lunch. All thanks to my colleague who allowed me to have my Christmas Eve off so that I made all the preparations the day before. And of course my husband, mother, father and brother in law who helped out with the preparation as well.

I am going to share a couple of recipes that I prepared for the lunch. As usual and expected from me, too much food. We had left over for dinner the next few days. I didn't mind it long as everyone had a good time and good meal as well.

The menu for the lunch was:


Cheese platter with homemade sweet onion dip

Rice paper roll with hoisin peanut sauce

Sweet and spicy asian style meatballs


Asian style pasta salad

Red wine beef stew

Shepherd's pie


Raspberries cocktail with mint and lime - Sorry didn't get to take the photos for this one

First recipe that I would like to share is my Red Wine Beef Stew. This dish is so versatile that you can serve it any time with ANYTHING. It's great with bread, pasta, mashed potatoes or rice. And it's dead easy to prepare. You just need your slow cooker, or if you want to save time, use your pressure cooker.

Red Wine Beef Stew

  • 1.5kg Beef Short Ribs ( I did add some cubed chuck steak as well because short ribs take lots of space in the slow cooker and I can't cook big amount with it. Adding chuck steak is okay, but personally I find beef ribs are much more tender)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 300gr of bacons, cut into 1/2cm strips
  • 1.5cups red wine
  • Beef stock
  • Bunch of rosemary and thyme
  • 3 pieces of bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 500gr carrots ( cut into big chunks)
  • Plain flour for dusting and some extra to thicken the sauce at the end
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put carrots into your slow cooker or pressure cooker
  2. Dust beef ribs with flour and brown with a little bit of olive oil on both sides in frying pan
  3. Once the beef ribs are browned, put it on top of the carrot in your slow/pressure cooker
  4. In the same pan that you used to brown your beef, put a little bit more of olive oil and chuck in the bacon
  5. Once the bacon is browned and slightly crispy, put in the chopped onion. Cook until the onion is soft.
  6. Then, put the red wine into the same frying pan
  7. Cook for 10 mins until red wine has been reduced slightly
  8. Put the whole mixture into the slow cooker
  9. Top up with beef stock until it covers the top of the beef
  10. Put your herbs ( thyme, rosemary and bay leaf ), garlic and honey into the slow cooker. Mix slightly.
  11. Season with salt and pepper
  12. If you are using slow cooker, cook on high for about 8-10hours. If using pressure cooker, cook on high pressure for about 30 mins
  14. There'll be a layer of oil built up on top of the beef. This is because the ribs have pretty high fat content in it. So take off the layer of fat. I use a meshed skimmer like this one to do the job. It's a great item to have in your kitchen. YOU HAVE TO REMOVE THE LAYER OF OIL, or else you'll feel like you've just drank a whole cup of oil when you eat your stew and it's probably not good for your arteries too. =)
  15. Once that's done, if the sauce is not thick enough, mix a few tablespoons of flour with water and mix it into your stew to thicken it slightly.
  16. Season with more salt/pepper/honey according to your liking
  17. Serve with bread/pasta/rice, whatever you fancy

There you go, my family loves this stew. I hope yours will too.

Another recipe I'm going to share is sweet onion dip to go with crackers/cheese platter.

I got this recipe from userealbutter

Again it's easy to prepare and tastes great.

Sweet Onion Dip


  • 250grams cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mayonnaise ( I used Japanese Mayonnaise just because I like it better..=) )
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar


  1. Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth
  2. Stir in the mayonnaise, parmesan, onion, black pepper and sugar
  3. Pour the mixture into 4 ramekin dishes
  4. Bake in oven 180 degrees celcius for 35-45 minutes until the tops are browned and bubbly
  5. Serve with crackers.

Serving tips:

  • You can also serve this dip with crostinis and top with smoked salmon/salami.
  • Try making small pancakes and top them with this dip and smoked salmon and a little bit of herbs. Serve it as an entree at your dinner party. Im sure your guests will be impressed.

The last recipe that I'd like to share today is the sweet and spicy asian style meatballs. Well the thing with my cooking is I often don't measure everything exactly. I go by feeling. Or Malaysians/Indonesians like to call it "agak agak". Which means you just put the estimate amount that you think will make the dish tastes good.

People have different threshold for taste and tastebuds anyway that my idea of sweet might not be sweet enough for another person. So the measurements for the sauces in my recipes are according to how I like it, you can always adjust the seasoning based on how you like it yourself.

Sweet and Spicy Asian Style Meatballs


  • 1kg minced pork
  • 1/2 cup chopped spring onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 1 cm knob ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 small can of water chestnuts, finely diced

Sauce mixture:

  • 5 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce ( I used Lingham sweet chilli sauce)
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon chinese wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar ( you can use lemon/lime juice instead of vinegar if you want)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with water ( to thicken at the end)


  1. Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs and form into small balls around 2cm diameter
  2. Place the meatballs on baking tray lined with baking paper
  3. Bake in oven for 20-25mins, 200 degrees celcius until cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce except the cornstarch/water mixture
  5. Heat up a frying pan, put the sauce mixture into the frying pan
  6. Once heated through, put in the cooked meatballs
  7. Thicken the sauce with the cornstarch mixture to coat the meatballs thoroughly
  8. Adjust seasonings according to your liking. You can add more sugar/vinegar if it's not sweet/sour enough.


  • You can serve this with rice as well.

Well that's it for now I suppose. Do leave any comments/questions if anything is not clear. If you want any of the other recipes, just leave your email address with your comment and I will email it to you or maybe write up another post for it.

Have a great new year celebration. Happy New Year everyone!!


Chi said...

What a feast ah ceeeeee...wish I was thereeeee

dinewithleny said...

ahhahaa....yea I wish you were there toooo...nvm next time i'll make one for your and heng...=)

elena chua said...

I was amazed! You are such a good and efficient cook, it's so much better than the restaurant. Papa and myself enjoyed the food.

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