Off to the beach to escape the seasonal heat? We don’t blame you – we’re doing the same! What could be better than an Aussie beach Christmas, complete with chilled summer feast?. Here are our top tips to make it all go swimmingly.
1. PREP THE ESKY
Have your esky clean and ready, with cool bricks in the freezer. And if you don’t own an esky (of course you do!) then use a Dinner Ladies box with its insulation and chiller bags.
2. CHECK YOUR STORAGE CONTAINERS
Make sure you have enough food storage containers, and of varying sizes. Now’s a good time of year to clear out that tupperware drawer and check everything’s got a lid and seals well. Otherwise, treat yourself to a new batch.
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE – AND MAYBE DISPOSABLE
Plan ahead and make sure you have enough plates, cups and napkins. Depending on how many of you there are and how far you have to carry heavy bags, you might use ‘real’. But if you’re catering for a crowd, disposable reduces the stress factor, and the washing up. There are plenty of biodegradable and sustainable ‘paper’ plates and cups on the market now. Christmas crackers are fun too, and light to carry.
4. PACK YOUR CHILLED DINNER LADIES BEACH FEAST, ALL EASILY PREPARED IN ADVANCE
We’re cooking our chicken, cranberry and pistachio ballotines beforehand, so we can serve it cold in rolls or wraps with beetroot cranberry relish and salad. Shredded chicken or turkey, mixed in with chopped raw veg and noodles, makes a great, portable, Asian-style salad. Wimmera grain salad is super easy to transport – no real prep needed. Caramelised onion and goat's cheese pinwheels take just a few minutes’ prep and come with a great relish!
5. WHEEL IT IN!
If you own a wheelie shopping trolley, now’s the perfect time to use it! It’s basically a picnic hamper on wheels.
6. SITTING PRETTY
Pack waterproof picnic blankets (especially if La Nina is still doing her stuff and the ground is damp). In dry weather you can use good, thick, colourful cotton tablecloths to cover a wider area. If you’ve not far to walk, take a collapsible table and camping chairs.
7. SHADE AND SHINE
Pack a few beach umbrellas or a marquee – for protection from sun and/or rain!
8. FESTIVE FUN
Don’t forget ball games, frisbee, beach cricket, tennis racquet and ball for French cricket. (Because nothing says ‘Christmas’ like overcompetitive family members bickering over whether little Johnny bowled Grandma out.)
9. SLIP, SLOP, SLAP!
Be sun safe! Make sure everyone has hats, rash vests and sunblock. And then slide on your sunnies, too. Don’t forget drinking water – and plenty of it. Sometimes we’ve – somewhat embarrassingly – packed champagne and cold beers, but forgotten the water! If you’ve a dog with you, pack a drinking bowl for them too.
10. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
You’re done. Sit back with a turkey or chicken roll, relax and enjoy your day!