Christmas Eve fell on Sunday this year and Sunday is sacrosanct in Argentina. Most husbands go out to buy the big lumps of meat and prepare the parrilla, the outdoor BBQ pit which is usually built into the wall of every ordinary house either in the yard, the garden or on the terrace. Most use charcoal but some use fragrant wood. This year it was different as the neighbourhood was like a ghost town with most of the women already preparing the cold cuts, turkeys, suckling pigs, salads, sauces (chimichurri), and turrons, (nougat), for the evening family party before the traditional opening of the presents at midnight and the setting off of fireworks all over the city.
We stick to British tradition and celebrate on the 25th.
I decided to visit my little Peruvian greengrocer to see if he had the aji panca, aji amarillo and aji rocoto ( searing hot chillies) and cilantro which I need for practising my Peruvian cooking from my beautiful cookbook which Longman gave me at the end of my Presentation last year in Lima.
So I cooked a great Peruvian lunch for the family and then went out to buy the last minute stocking pressies , the fresh veggies and the ordered turkey, with chipolatas, bacon and chicken livers.
Then we went off to a friends' place to join them in their Noche Buena party, eat great food, drink super wine and then exchange presents. It was lovely.
We left earlyish as I had to be up at 7am. to stuff the 10 kilo turkey and get it in the oven for lunch on the 25th.