IN­SIDE

Cape Times - - FRONT PAGE - NATHAN ADAMS

A CHRIST­MAS meal is syn­ony­mous with stress and anx­i­ety, which is why I love a Christ­mas braai.

My par­ents are the tra­di­tional type, a Christ­mas meal for them is Sun­day lunch on steroids – roast with all the trim­mings and a myr­iad pud­dings.

But one Christ­mas I no­ticed that the fam­i­lies in the neigh­bour­hood were braai­ing, and soon my fam­ily did the same. It’s quite an ad­just­ment when you break from tra­di­tion, but it has been a wel­come change – it has now be­come a tra­di­tion in my own home.

Like all good meals and get­to­geth­ers there are pros and cons. But with the right at­ti­tude and the right prepa­ra­tion, a Christ­mas braai is a joy.

DON’T CUT COR­NERS

Braai­ing doesn’t mean your meal has to lack any­thing. In fact, you’re prob­a­bly go­ing to make more of an ef­fort with the braai sides and meat. This is prob­a­bly the one time in the year that you can splash cash, so buy a nice cut of meat, ribs and qual­ity sausage.

Add ex­tra crunch to sal­ads with wal­nuts or cashew nuts – and you can still do tra­di­tional desserts, so don’t pack away your tri­fle dishes or pud­ding bowls.

MAKE IT A TEAM EF­FORT

It’s great when you braai be­cause in­evitably all your guests chip in. This doesn’t have to be lim­ited to a bring and braai – you can get them to lend a hand else­where. It’s great if you leave the ta­ble set­ting for every­one to join in and help.

Keep things sim­ple, stick to a neu­tral colour scheme with just a few touches of the tra­di­tional green, red and gold. This is also a great way to keep the kids en­ter­tained.

PLAN THE DAY

Get­ting the meat from the braai can feel like for­ever, so plan your fire with clock­work pre­ci­sion. Maybe start the fire and get a few things on the coals by the time the guests ar­rive. Also, don’t for­get snacks and nib­bles, these are life­savers if you’re wait­ing for your food to come to the ta­ble.

KEEP THE FIRE BURN­ING

There’s noth­ing wrong with keep­ing the fire burn­ing for the Christ­mas af­ter­noon. In Cape Town, Christ­mas Day is usu­ally quite windy, so the fire tends to it­self once the food is done.

IT’S EASY LEFT­OVERS

Braai makes for the per­fect take­away and is great for left­overs. My fam­ily dish take­aways sep­a­rately – braai meat and sal­ads in one con­tainer and pud­dings in an­other. You get the best of worlds on Christ­mas Day and the next day when you just want to chill.

| CHRIS COLLINGRIDGE

Christ­mas roast beef pre­pared on the braai.

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