This Unique Holiday-Themed Table Setting Can Work All Year Round
The main course is the most important part of any house party. One could say that all the prep and devising in any hosting event leads to this particular part of the evening.
Monique Santos-Roxas, a Le Cordon Bleu-educated mom, shows us how it is done.
Entering her house, we are first struck by the unique and eclectic interiors: dark gray walls, black furnishings, low sofas, and a mix of paintings and sculptures, from the moderne to the antique.
Initially, one would think that this multitude of art pieces, with its different hues and textures, is discordant, but there’s harmony to be seen; the atmosphere to the house imbibes the playful macabre nature of the artworks, something guests will surely feel.
This puckish, rogue-like aesthetic translates to Monique’s table setup, which features a trendy mix of multicolored flowers, textured plates, clear crystal glasses, and monogramed tablecloths.
The theme of the table setup is in tune with the aesthetic of the dining room, which reflects the eclectic, playful vibe of the entire house.
“I wanted the setup to be simple yet elegant,” Monique explains. “I like things understated but with an elegant flourish. We devised things to be a little dressed up, but in something that will make guests feel at home, cozy and relaxed.”
To do this, Monique says she placed silver elements in her setup “to make it sparkle a little.” She also strayed from the usual festive colors of red and green, and instead opted for gray, silver, white and green, with textured bowls, glittery accents, and some star-themed accents thrown in.
For the flowers, Monique and her mother went to Dangwa Flower Market in Manila. She says, “All the local flowers are there. There are cabbage flowers, some pink ones, and we also have alstroemeria, which are my favorite flowers.”
Apart from the beautiful setup, Monique also produced a tasty table.
At the kitchen table fronting the dining room, guests can first munch on a delectable spread of cheese, fruits, and nuts. Charcuteries from Europe and the Orient were also served, and most scrumptious of all, was Monique’s own luscious caviar pie, a heady, delicious mixture of fresh roe, green onion, cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs.
For the mains, she prepared her own version of Leg of Lamb Studded with Rosemary and Thyme. White wine was served, a perfect pair with the cheese and caviar on the table.
Monique shares her recipe below:
Leg of Lamb Studded with Rosemary and Thyme, served with Roast Vegetables
- 1 boneless leg of lamb (2.5 kilos)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves
- 1 tbsp salt
- Pepper to taste
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp Knorr or Maggi seasoning
- Mint jelly (for serving)
- Winter Vegetables
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 white onion, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 squash, peeled and quartered
- 20 marble potatoes, sliced in half
- 1 zucchini, quartered
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For Roast Vegetables:
1. In a food processor, make a paste of oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar and olive oil.
2. Toss in a bowl with all the vegetables.
3. Set oven to 200 degrees. Roast vegetables in a baking pan until tender, around 25 minutes.
4. Serve in a platter together with the lamb.
For the lamb:
1. Tie lamb together with kitchen twine tightly on all sides. Make cross hatch patterns on the top of the lamb.
2. In a food processor, make a paste of garlic, rosemary, thyme, mint, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Maggi/Knorr and olive oil.
3. Rub paste all over the lamb, making sure the paste is evenly spread throughout.
4. Let lamb marinate and rest in the fridge for 10-12 hours.
5. Set the oven to 200 degrees. Arrange leg of lamb in a roasting tray on a rack. Place lamb in oven.
6. Make sure to cover top of the roast with foil after around 30 minutes to prevent top from charring.
7. Continue roasting until the meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the meat reads 120 (for medium rare); 140 (for medium) or 160 (for well done).
8. Remove lamb from rack when done and use drippings as au jus, a French culinary term meaning "with juice" made from the juices given off by the meat as it is cooked.
9. Serve warmly sliced alongside mint jelly. You may also brush the top of the lamb all over with mint jelly.
*This article was originally published in Metro Home & Entertaining magazine
Photographs by Paul del Rosario for Metro Home & Entertaining magazine