Another glug of Christmas has come and gone, and another round of New Year… and here we are firmly rooted in 2018, and ready for the year’s roll out to commence. What will it bring, how will we action our resolutions, and are we ready? I feel like I need to look back in order to look forward, and thought that today is the perfect day to start.
A Review Of Our Rather Awesome UCOOK Christmas Feast (by Franck Dangeroux)
My sister in law and I do like to spend time in the kitchen, especially when it comes to Christmas. As is the case with most wine-families, the bubbly flows and nobody minds spending a bit extra on something glorious to whip up. This year we pooled our resources and bought the UCOOK Christmas Feast for 8 people and Betina and I were going to climb right in and spend the 24th December cooking the evening away and spoiling our family.
When the box arrived (2 in fact), I knew we were in for some hard graft. Luckily Betina had started the chopping and dicing the day before, so the small jobs were mostly done. With 5 side dishes, 2 main meat dishes and a rather delicious starter, there was much to be done!
I was put in charge of the potatoes, ratatouille and the duck (never attempted that before!), so my hands were full – and considering one hand was permanently holding a glass of bubbly- there were literally full. The duck had to be admired, rinsed and patted dry before going into the screaming hot oven for about an hour and a half. The ratatouille was a portion enough for an army, and had to be braised for 45 minutes whilst the potatoes had to be pre-cooked, and then also baked in the oven at varying temperatures in hot oil. Betina was in charge of the pork belly with fennel, the green crunchy salad, the asparagus and the chickpea salad. We were both going to do the starters – salmon on potato cakes with rocket, pink peppercorns and crème fraiche. Yum.
At about 4.30pm the fun started. How one is supposed to cook 3 full dishes in one normal size oven is a mystery to me… so we kept having to take one out and add one in but we managed the oven tetris rather well. The 4 stove plates however was a different story. My braising dish was a cast iron pot which alone took up 1.5 of the stove plates, which left us with 2 so we were constantly moving things around and using most of the pans that they owned (which didn’t help us trying to cut down on washing up water!). By 5pm, we were flat out flurrying around trying to coordinate the starters and the sides. Luckily my husband was there to keep the bubbly topped up!
Our starters were immensely successful, the cakes were crispy and hot, the salmon generous and the pink peppercorns added a wonderful crunch. Everyone enjoyed this dish and we had the opportunity to down tools and enjoy it too.
Main course ended up being a bit later than expected, as the potatoes took a good few minutes longer, but they were fluffy and golden, and served on a crisp brown paper bag looked like something out of a cookbook. Very chuffed. The duck was also a success, going dark brown on the outside from the glaze with crispy skin and soft tender flesh. The pine needle pork belly had crackling on top with a lovely herbaceous character and soft salty meat. Delicious. The sides were also gorgeous but there was just too much of everything! We could have easily had half of the sides and it would have been sufficient. We had chickpea salad for days afterwards, not to mention ratatouille!
All in all, UCOOK did a fantastic job and we were really pleased with everything in our box. We will be back in 2019!
The 8 person Christmas box cost us R2000, less a 30% discount from Yuppiechef which came to R1400 (tremendous value!)
The box included all the ingredients, the recipe cards, tips and tricks, and was delivered to our door free of charge.
Our box for 8 included starters, 2 meat dishes of our choice (duck/ pork belly/ fillet/ roast chicken) and 5 sides.