It’s the season for weekend service Watch Parties! Why not get five friends over to fellowship, worship and dine together at home? Joanna Yap of CHC’s Hospitality Department shows you how to wow your friends on a budget, whether brunch, lunch or high-tea. Some assembly required. PHOTOGRAPHY: DANIEL POH
Christmas may look a little different this year with social distancing measures still in place. Large gatherings are definitely out of the question, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo gatherings altogether. After all, City Harvest’s theme for Christmas is Christmas @ Home. It’s a great time to invite your friends and family over for a CHC weekend service watch party! If you have no idea what to feed them, we’ve got you covered.
A hidden gem in City Harvest Church is its stellar Hospitality Ministry, comprising Pastor Yong Te-Chong and his staffer Joanna Yap. The talent of the Hospitality Ministry is to create and discover great food at reasonable prices—delicious food doesn’t have to cost a bomb to taste good and look amazing!
This year, City News has the privilege of having Joanna come up with three feasts on a budget. Almost every item is bought, there is very little cooking involved—just some boiling, slicing and piercing. Your main job is to arrange the items into an appealing display. Joanna shows you how to turn your watch party treats into three Instagram-worthy Christmas meals.
PRO-TIP #1: GET COLORFUL
What makes a dish look Christmassy? Little red balls and green leaves of course! That is easily achieved by adding cherry tomatoes, pomegranate, mint leaves, and herbs to your presentation. Joanna loves to add color to her dishes, using fruits like strawberries, blueberries, grapes, pineapple and even canned peaches to dress up an ordinary dish.
PRO-TIP #2: STACK THINGS UP
Layering is the key to elevate your dish–literally. To create this delightful platter, Joanna began by building a base of lettuce and pineapple slices before arranging a small roasted chicken and sausages on top.
How do you make a slab of ribs look less slabby and boring? Joanna’s pro-tip is to cut them up and stack them up.
If you want to create the look of a full dining table but don’t have a cake stand, simply prop your plate on top of a small bowl below your plate. But take note that this setting is not very stable, so you will want to carve your chicken before elevating it!
PRO-TIP #3: CHEESE FROM PHOON HUAT
This article is not sponsored by Phoon Huat but Joanna recommends buying some quality cheese slices from the baking supplies store—they cost less than they do in major supermarkets. They’re also delicious paired with crackers, ham or grapes!
PRO-TIP #4: CHRISTMAS DECOR
If you have a Christmas tree, chances are you have some extra ornaments sitting in your storage. Bring them out and spread some around the table to create a Christmassy feel. Add some fairy lights and your evening (or afternoon) instantly turns magical. Sprinkle some icing sugar around a fudge chocolate cake and voila, snow on log cake!
“We need to sprinkle the icing sugar around the cake instead of on top of the cake because the icing sugar melts into the cake,” Joanna explains. “So you won’t be able to see the effect of the snow.”
THREE MENUS FOR THREE MEALS
Joanna prepared a basic menu that would set you back around $50 depending on where you buy your ingredients. We shopped mostly at NTUC and Sheng Siong for these items, with the occasionally “wow” ingredient thrown in.
WHAT TO BUY:
• 1 ready roasted chicken (head to the rotisserie section of the supermarket)
• 1 packet of Easy Snack Tempura Chicken or Mexican Wings (if you prefer them spicy)
• 1 pack of sausages
• 1 pack of sliced honey baked ham
• 5 small boiled potatoes
• 2 packets of GIVVO Coleslaw Mix or any pre-washed salad mix
• 1 packet of frozen edamame
• 1 head of lettuce
• Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, oranges, fresh whole pineapples
• 2 bottles of soft drinks
Missing a log cake? Here’s how to build one. Get a Swiss Roll and a fudge cake (both readily available in the fridge section of most supermarkets). You’ll need some plastic Christmas decorations from Phoon Huat, icing sugar, chocolate chips and four round biscuits (Marie will do). Watch this video:
If your budget extends a little further, you can easily zest things up by adding some fancier items.
• 1 slab of ready cooked BBQ Ribs
• Switch up your hotdogs to Johnsonville Smoked sausages
• Sliced cheese (Gouda/Edam/Cheddar/ Emmental)
HIGH TEA MENU
Going for a lighter meal? This High-Tea menu is perfect for a pre-Saturday service or post-Sunday service fellowship. Joanna’s delicious Blueberry Cheese Dessert is really easy to make!
WHAT TO BUY:
• 1 box of Swiss Roll and 4 round biscuits. You can dress the dish up with some fresh fruit.
• 1 packet of CP Easy Snack Tempura Chicken or Mexican Wings
• Canned peaches, served over Vanilla ice-cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce or melted chocolate
• Soft drinks, tea or coffee
DIY Dessert: Blueberry Cheese dessert. You’ll need a pack of fresh blueberries, blueberry jam, 1 tub of cream cheese spread, and 1 pack of crackers such as Meiji.
DIY honey baked ham open-faced sandwiches. You’ll need a country loaf, slices of honey baked ham, sliced cheese, lettuce, and cucumber slices.
For our friends attending Sunday Service, we did not forget you! If chicken and BBQ ribs are too heavy for lunch, consider this fancy brunch menu.
• 1 pack of Johnsonville smoked sausages
• 1 pack of frozen beef burger patties
• 1 pack potato noisettes (balls)
• Eggs (served scrambled, sunny-side-up, or as omelette)
• 1 pack of honey baked ham
• 1 loaf of bread
• Fruit or salad
• Honey and jam
• Fruit juice, coffee and tea
Prepare the frozen food items according to package instructions, then arrange as Joanna has taught!
So, why not invite five friends over for a meal and watch service together? As the Bible says, “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” (Act 2:46)