Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014 Mwadui

On Wednesday morning, Carolyn and I met Louise and Jo-Anne in the client Guest House kitchen. Together with chefs Constantine and Peter, we  prepared vegetables, crushed garlic, defrosted chicken pieces and bacon rashers. This was for half of the Christmas lunch: roast chicken thighs and two roast legs of lamb for those who don't fancy turkey and ham. A baked cheese potato dish and a carrot and pineapple salad in a mold accompanied this part of the meal.
Jo-Anne, Louise, Constantine, Peter and Carolyn hard at work! 

At 10.45 we'd finished all we could do, so Grant collected me and Carolyn. His secretary, Ciah,  had given us a beautiful Christmas card; Grant felt he should give her a gift, so he took us to the local shopping mall to look for one. He waited in the car while Carolyn and I went into the little shop. I'm well known to the proprietress as Amanda and I support her regularly. When we buy for the Albino center children, we take dozens of each item (girls'underwear, boys' underpants, combs, toothpaste, lollipops, sweets,sodas, biscuits) so she ultimately has a very good sale for the day! 
Shop owner and Carolyn  

Grant dropped us at our house and together we prepared the stuffing for the turkey. Carolyn removed the sausage skins while I chopped the onions in the processor. We mixed the meat and onions together with eggs and breadcrumbs, seasoned and then proceeded to stuff the turkey. Thank goodness I had Carolyn as I couldn't have held up the 10 kg bird and stuffed it at the same time. We draped a kilo of bacon rashers over the bird, covered with foil, and askari Michael carried it over to the Guest House which had a larger fridge than mine.

Carolyn went to the Guest House to have lunch with Steve; Grant and I had lunch here at home as usual. After lunch she returned and we made snacks for the sun downer evening at our home.  (see earlier post) 

That evening I made arrangements with my night askari, Zechariah: at 3 a.m. I'd be going across to the  Guest House where I needed help to place the turkey in the large oven. As arranged, he was waiting to unlock our small gate which leads into the street, accompanied me across to the Guest House where Mayunga opened that gate and let us in. 

I'd  Googled the cooking chart for roasting a turkey. For our 10kg bird, I'd have keep it in the oven for at least 3-4 hours.  
We put it in and walked back to my house. Zechariah took this task very seriously and asked when I'd like him to come and check on the turkey with me. I told him 4.30 which is when we next went across to the Guest House to do the first inspection. 
Zechariah carefully lifts the hot pan with the turkey out of the oven
Not a normal job for a gate guard (just as assisting me at Princess' pups birth 13 weeks ago isn't in his job description either),  yet note the willingness to help. When we checked the bird the second time at 6.10 a.m, I cut off a slice for Zechariah to test. He said it was perfect! 

Meanwhile back home between 3 and 6 am, I'd cooked the ham in the oven for about an hour. At about 4.30 Grant woke and joined me in our kitchen. He cored a fresh pineapple and cut it into rings. I painted the warm ham with smooth apricot jam, we pegged the pineapple rings to the meat with toothpicks and added a cherry in each center. 

While I made an apple and cranberry stuffing, Grant started on the trifle. He's been making this pud for forty years; it's his paternal grandmother's recipe and when he put the finishing touches on it, he said:"I'm sure Nan's looking down with approval this very minute! "
The cherry on the cake - er -  trifle was the cherries! They were fresh cherries which had been preserved  in a syrup. They still had stalks and were pip-less.  They were the best cherries we've ever eaten
Ouma/granny Joey was one of the first guests to arrive. She took photos and enjoyed the ambiance while we got ready for lunch
 Once everyone had arrived, we had a short Scripture reading (in English and Afrikaans) and then we sang Christmas carols which I'd typed out. We had no music, but Carolyn, Louise and I gave the note and we all enjoyed a lovely time of singing
Everyone sang in his or her own language. It was glorious! 

Next Carolyn and I carried the turkey from the electric hot tray to a tiled area near the BBQ grill. Here Grant carved it and the gammon with surgical precision.
The end product of our smoked gammon
The turkey and gammon which Grant carved perfectly
A feast fit for kings and queens
The Team 
Although it's never intended, we all ended up eating too much. But it was delicious!
A selection of desserts to die for! 

Afterwards everybody took chicken, lamb, turkey and gammon away in foil packs which I'd brought for this purpose. I also had an ice-cream container in which I brought home some meat scraps for the dogs, and another in which I kept the biscuits, salad and other scraps for Regina's chickens and ducks. When we arrived at home, and I'd taken enough for Grant to have cold cuts for several days, I made up two boxes of turkey, gammon and chicken. These I handed to Michael and Joshua who had been on gate duty all day. I also had a sealed container of ice-cream and an unopened Christmas pudding which I gave to Michael to take home for his six children. Boxing day was a day early at our house!  

We had a wonderful Christmas in the bush. As usual...

Here's wishing you all a blessed Christmas weekend.


  1. Jo this story has tears of joy in my eyes by the end of it, touched me to the core of my heart that you were and are so kind to your guards and helpers... no everyone is like that. no wonder they are so good to you and always smiling, they learned it from you...God bless you for helping them and them for being so good to you... a wonderful Christmas story here

  2. I love to see the different ways to celebrate Christmas. Looks like you had a wonderful time, Jo. "Happy New Year to you". Deb

  3. Jo, what a fun time for all..The food all looks delicious.. It is great you had so many helpers.. wonderful Christmas post.. Enjoy your weekend!

  4. It sounds like a wonderful Christmas with friends and colleagues. Just a perfect day and way to celebrate. So glad you shared it with us and I'm happy to hear about the askaris also getting some wonderful treats for their families. Many best wishes to you Jo. Big hugs. xx

  5. All that work, yet not work when sharing with so many. Isn't it wonderful how everyone pitches in. A lot of food to go around and so nice to have leftovers for all. A Very Merry Christmas indeed.

  6. That I call a nice Christmas ! The only person missing is me ! I am jealous ! The turkey indeed looks only a little bigger than the one we had in Amsterdam for 5 people, lol !


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