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Managing a sit-down lunch for nearly 30 family and neighbours before Christmas was like a military operation: detailed OP Order with actions timed to the minute, full logistics for shopping and a Battle Plan for the seating arrangements. But I kept the menu pretty simple: multiplying the cottage pie recipe by five (http://wp.me/p5FTN6-9T); using a couple of turkey thighs and drumsticks with mushrooms and truffles for another pie (http://wp.me/p5FTN6-9W); smoked cod, salmon, monkfish and prawns topped with potato for the third choice; really simple roast vegetables topped with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds for crunch. Nearly 30 individual blind-baked flan cases filled with lemon custard or the chocolate and orange alternative was a simple dessert with fruit garnish and cream.
Everything could be prepared a day or more beforehand and just needed final cooking in the oven before serving from the hot plates. And using foil containers with cardboard lids meant that they could be stacked in the fridge and needed no washing up – and there wasn’t a scrap left!
I particularly like table decorations that include lighting – they are completely pictured in my imagination even if I can’t see the final effect. The front door Christmas wreath features old CDs to add a bit of sparkle – and cooking equipment is my traditional way of suspending it on the front door: it is amazing what you can do with a wooden spoon!
Penny Melville-Brown OBE
Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk
Helping disabled people to work since 2000