Christmas Day

December 26, 2010

Christmas was always a special time for my family. Not in the pious sense – we are not Church goers by any means. And not in the superficial, exchanging of material goods sense. We do exchange gifts, yet it doesn’t define the day (although flash back to my seven year-old self and this statement may have not been true). Rather, this day is really about togetherness.

We all have a real glow inside us on this day, which I think relates to the fact that we are all together, joking, laughing, preparing food, eating said food and feeling lucky to have such a special family. This tradition has not changed as we have grown up, which I love. We may not still go on September family holidays to Noosa, we may not camp over New Years Eve at Depot Beach, however we are all together on Christmas and do things exactly as we did when my brothers and I were little kids. Although these years I am more of a help in the kitchen, rather than simply stirring the gravy (which actually does remain one of my favourite jobs).

Yesterday I woke up at 6am, as I always seem to do on Christmas morning. I love how the childhood anticipation of presents and fun still persists even into my twenties. My younger brother, Jackson, however was not filled with such excitement. As kids we would get up early and watch Christmas cartoons together until the rest of the house stirred. *Sniff*, it seems that my little brother has outgrown this tradition. I felt too guilty to wake him, so I went for a run instead. Upon my return, the house was still asleep. At this point I felt it prudent to jump on Jackson’s bed yelling, “Santa’s been here! Santa’s been here!” Naturally.

The house was now awake…

Christmas Morning

Ben and I prepared a fruit salad, as is our Christmas breakfast each year. I find that a lighter, albeit delicious, breakfast leaves more room for a bigger lunch 😉

On Christmas Eve, however, I did find a recipe for cinnamon buns. If it weren’t for lack of ingredients and time, my dear fruit salad may have been bumped from the menu. Perhaps next Christmas, or at Easter, I will make these buns, which look absolutely heavenly.

The fruit salad consisted of: mango, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pineapple, nectarines and apricots. With a drizzle of lemon juice and a sprinkling of fresh mint, it was delightfully fresh and tasty.

The family gathered around the tree and opened presents, whilst eating breakfast.

Here is a snapshot of some Classic Thornton Christmas Morning moments.

Jackson actually cried when I bought him a Twinkie. True story. We have a personal joke about them going way back. He never thought he would see one. Best present ever, apparently. He his easy to please.

Dad with his Paella spoon, a present from Jackson.

I got a vintage 1940s dress. It is absolutely beautiful. I decided to dance around in it wearing an English hat from the op shop and holding a cane. Of course. Pictorial evidence.

Ben outdid himself yet again and bought me a gorgeous Veronica Maine dress without any help. Smart boy. He got it for half price, to boot. Such a smart boy.

I bought Ben David Thompson’s Thai Street Food (for half price too! Snap.). I also showered him with many other little vintage finds from op shops and brick-a-brack stores. We are going to have absolutely no trouble decorating our house when we buy one.

I was so spoilt, we all were. I received many gorgeous gifts. I will show the food related ones in future posts, no doubt.

Ben and I also bought an antique iron cooking pot for my brother, David, which will go in the garden. My parents want to fill it with water and have an orange water lily (orange was his favourite colour).

Christmas Lunch

On to the food preparations…

Each year, mum cooks the pork overnight, which means that on Christmas morning we wake up to the heavenly, fennel-infused sticky sweet smell of long braised pork. Mmmmmm. It is intoxicatingly good. The recipe mum uses is Jamie Oliver’s Overnight Slow-Roasted Pork. We are obsessed with this dish in our household.

Upon mum’s request, I prepared an entrée of prosciutto ‘sandwiches’ with a ricotta and pesto mixture as the filling, along with rocket and fresh basil. I wasn’t in love with these little sandwiches, I would have preferred the prosciutto sans all the fillings. Dad bought 5kg of proscuitto on the bone from Peter Watson (Bangalow Sweet Pork).

Dad also bought 9kg of their Dolce Ham.

That is 14kg of pricey pork purchases. True story. Mum used this as leverage to get her kitchen drawers re-done. Smart girl.

We then scrubbed up a little and got our festive dress on. I wore my green dress, which has a bow at the back. I love this dress, I bought it 3 years ago in Noosa. I originally planned on wearing my beautiful new white dress, however Ben reminded me that I always, without a doubt, spill food on myself. No dice.

On Christmas Eve I got my nails done in a festive red! I never get my nails done, so that was a real treat. Here I am showcasing them, as I did throughout the entire day, along with my engagement ring, which I realised I have never shown on the blog. It was a ring that my nana bought as a present for her mother. So it was my great grandmother’s ring. I am a little in love with it.

Nana and Roo (we call my grandpa ‘Roo’, David gave him the name when he was 2 and it has stuck) gave Ben and I a hamper filled with foodstuff I feel too expensive to buy on a regular basis. It included black rock salt, organic natural peanut butter, saffron threads, Crunchola and some tea. It was such a great present!

My aunty and cousin arrived soon after, and it was so nice to spend some time with these two lovely creatures. It was a small Christmas this year, only 9 of us, but it was just perfect. We ate outside on our long table, which is a lovely perk of having Christmas during Summer. It was overcast but warm, and really very pleasant.

The Eats

Overnight Pork, which was accompanied by a Gravy made from all the pan juices, and Crackling. I can’t do crackling. The texture freaks me out, I despise it. This pleases the rest of my family greatly – more for them!

Rolled Turkey Breast with mum’s Cranberry, Blueberry, Apricot and Macadamia Nut Stuffing (with fresh herbs from the garden). Lingonberry Gravy accompanied the turkey. This gravy is really light and fruity. Mum uses this recipe for the gravy (step 8).

Each year mum also buys stuffing from Houghton’s. It is a Pork, Nut and Herb Stuffing that is beyond delicious. It is such good value and so scrumptious, hence we only feel the need to make our turkey stuffing.

The Bangalow Ham, which is free range, as well as antibiotic and hormone-free. You can really taste the difference between this quality ham and others. Just beautiful.

For the roasted veggies we had Potato, Carrots, Parsnip, Pumpkin and Onion. There were also Peas, for a little touch of green. The carrots were my favourite. So sticky and sweet. I love anything sticky and sweet it seems.

We drank Bleasedale Sparkling Shiraz as we filled our bellies with delicious Christmas eats. Ho Ho Ho!

Cranberry Sauce for the turkey

I went back for seconds of the turkey, pork and stuffing. I was all about the meat yesterday, which is so not like my usual veggie-loving self. Maybe the tide is turning for my taste-buds?

Lastly came the Plum Pudding. This pudding, which we made in November. Mum warmed it in the pot of boiling water whilst we were eating. We served it with Boozy Sauce. Yes, you heard me, boozy sauce. This sauce, my friends, is pure decadence and deliciousness. You whip thickened cream, which you then combine with port, sherry, egg, brown sugar and butter. I always request a double batch of boozy sauce. I would have requested a triple batch, but by the time we arrived on Christmas Eve, mum had already starting making the boozy component of the sauce. *Sigh*, I will have to wait until next year…

It was a really lovely day, filled with fun in the kitchen, delicious food and wine, laughter and family. Christmas is one of my favourite days of the year for these very reasons. Another fabulous reason to love Christmas? All the leftovers…

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope your day was as special as mine. I really do feel very lucky. Merry Christmas!

Heidi xo

23 Comments

  • Reply Bonsai December 26, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Your family seem hilarious! It was nice reading about your traditions.

  • Reply Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella December 26, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    What an epic day Heidi! I loved all of that delicious food and fun (and wow, Ben bought a dress on his own? Well done!). I love your engagement ring too-it's so pretty! Merry Christmas to you and your family! 😀 x

  • Reply Iron Chef Shellie December 26, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    woah, nice work!!
    Merry Christmas (one day late 😛 )
    x

  • Reply Mez December 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Oh my god I just found your blog and I love it!!! What a gorgeous Christmas day, I love the idea of overnight cooked pork. I will definitely give this a go, even if it's not Christmas anymore!!!!

  • Reply Hannah December 26, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Oh Heidi! This post makes me feel all warm and fuzzy – you clearly have a wonderful family and had a lovely Christmas 🙂 In fact, it seems *almost* as nice a Christmas as I had 😉 Love both your dresses, and I agree on the specialness of getting food treats that are normally out of the budget. Got a few of those myself!

    Lastly, I'm in love with your engagement ring too. What a beautiful, beautiful vintage piece!

  • Reply Heidi December 26, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Bonsai – thank you so much! Yes, we're a little odd but always entertaining.

    Lorraine – thank you! Yes I was beyond impressed with Ben. Can't wait to wear the dress – perhaps new years eve!

    Michele – thanks! you too 🙂

    Mez – awe thanks! and definitely give the pork ago. It's amazing. I love your blog too, just seeing it now. It's beautiful!

    Hannah – thanks, I do love my ring 🙂 Oh & I knew you'd appreciate the 'out of budget' gifts! I'm glad you had a lovely Christmas too 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Reply Michelle Chin December 27, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Wow, all the food for Christmas! I don't think my Chinese New Year celebrations can ever match up to that!

  • Reply Jacqueline December 27, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Hello Heidi!
    I'm new here, this is my first comment!:)
    Just would like to wish you happy holidays!
    Thank you for sharing all these moments with us. Your passion for food inspires!
    Lots of love from Brazil
    Jacqui

  • Reply Laura Preston December 27, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Loved the look of your pork feast, bet you'll be eating that for a while. What a gorgeous christmas!

  • Reply Heidi December 27, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Michelle – it was pretty epic 🙂

    Jaqueline – Hi, welcome to my blog! You're all the way from Brazil, wow that is wonderful! I'm glad you find it inspiring 🙂 Happy holidays to you too!

    Laura – oh yes, there will be pork for months! 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Reply Leah December 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    What a lovely xmas day! Thanks for sharing it with us!
    I love your engagement ring too, it is so pretty.

    I think it is so beautiful that you bought David an antique cooking pot for the garden, and to plant a water lilly in it, is such a wonderful idea, just lovely….
    Merry Christmas Heidi! xo

  • Reply Hannah December 27, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Oh wow! That looks like such a special/awesome/fun Christmas celebration! Your engagement ring is gorgeous!! And yum…delicious looking food…pudding looks divine!
    Hannah x

  • Reply Anna Johnston December 27, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Oh Wow. Such a cool post Heidi, just awesome. Now where do I begin….., OK.., dress = fabulous; engagement ring = I'm in love with it, the sentiment, the family connection.., delicate, antique (should I go on…); food…. to die for (especially what's in the hamper); the pork looked just right I could almost smell it… and the plum pud… Uhuh, that too.., I want seconds 😉 So glad you had an awesome day lovely. Cheers xx

  • Reply Julia @ Boredom Abounds December 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Gorgeous dresses – I just love that shade of green! Your ring is stunning as well, so delicate and pretty!

  • Reply laurak December 27, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Just want to echo what everyone else has already said here Heidi, loveliness all round.
    Especially your wedding ring…I love vintage-esque jewellery, and that ring is amazing! The history behind it makes it all the more special too!
    Happy upcoming new years to you!
    Laura 🙂

  • Reply The InTolerant Chef December 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

    What a lovely day you all had! I have a twinkie pan to bake my own- I could always lend it to you! We buy a ridiculous amount of pork too for Christmas- you're right the best part of Christmas food is the leftovers, Yumm…

  • Reply Heidi December 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Leah – thank you so much 🙂 and Merry Christmas to you too!

    Hannah – yes the pudding is always such a great way to top off the meal. Not a light meal, but a delicious one!

    Anna – thanks for all the lovely comments 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post. It was fun putting it all together!

    Julia – I too am in love with the shade of green. and I didn't even spill anything on it, which is a first for me 😉

    Laura – I think the history behind the ring makes it extra special 🙂 I completely fell in love with it when I first saw it.

    InTolerant Chef – oh my, a twinkie pan!! I just googled it. You can buy 'make your own twinkie' packs. Perhaps I'll buy one for Jackson, so he always has it at the ready, hehe.

    Heidi xo

  • Reply FITori December 28, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    You are a doll!!! Love the dress and the engagement ring!!!

  • Reply KittyCate December 28, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Mmmmm that fruit salad is so vibrant and gorgeous, I want some!
    Your Christmas looks just so lovely Heidi – all the food looks delicious, and I love the shots of your family.
    Your dress is gorgeous, and I am in love with your engagement ring! xx

  • Reply Heidi December 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Tori – thank you so much 🙂

    Cate – it was such a yummy fruit salad! thanks for your lovely comments 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Reply Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets December 31, 2010 at 5:19 am

    You guys are too cute! I like your dress and all the food looks delicious. Happy holidays!

  • Reply Carly Findlay January 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Wow!! What an amazing Christmas day! Your food looks fabulous – if my own Mum wasn't such a good cook, I'd be gatecrashing your house!
    I love that dress. And your engagement ring.
    And Jackson is very nice looking.
    Glad you had a wonderful day xx

  • Reply Heidi January 2, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Xiaolu – thanks! Happy holidays to you too 🙂

    Carly – hehe thanks! You'd be very welcome! I'll tell Jackson, he'll love that 🙂 Merry Christmas!

    Heidi xo

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