Christmas in Red Hill

December 28, 2011

We started with Christmas Eve Lunch

…before moseying onto Christmas Eve Dinner. Dad used his wok to make Tea-Smoked Salmon, which we served with a simple Salad, a Guacamole of sorts (simply to used up some avocado) and more of his homemade Ciabatta.

Ben and I bought some Moet and the four of us (Jackson was working) enjoyed a lovely light meal in the hours before Santa comes. It was light, fresh and truly delicious. A new favourite way to cook salmon? I think so. Keep up the great wo(r)k, Dad!

After such a satisfying dinner, Ben and I settled in the tv room, wrapping presents and catching a little of Carols by Candlelight. We then went to bed, popped Love Actually on the computer and fell asleep to this favourite festive movie. I adore Love Actually’s score, by Craig Armstrong. It can make me cry like that *snaps fingers together*.

…..

Waking up to the smell of overnight pork in the oven…I like to park myself on the kitchen floor, inhale the heavenly, intoxicating aroma and picture the deliciousness that awaits. It’s quite certainly too much to bare.

Before opening presents, and before the boys were up, mum handed me some pretty plates and I assembled our traditional Christmas Morning Fruit Salad. This year it involved strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, oranges, blueberries and mint.

Coffee was also had.

And then it was time for presents. Mum (I mean, Santa) still spoils us, with things that are really wonderful and useful, things we truly covet. Santamother was particularly brilliant this year, with gifts of vintage bottles, spoons, stamps and gloves, and a gorgeous vintage French baby’s feeding bowl (someone’s excited for grandchildren!…I’m not pregnant). She also gave me a gorgeous set of plates and cups and a copy of Larousse Gastronomique from the op shop!

My parents really surprised each other this year. Amongst other things, Mum was given an ipad (awesome) and Dad was given a pasta drying rack, which was very necessary after a quite haphazard drying expedition a couple of weeks ago…They’re truly beautiful. It’s so nice to see them together, having as much fun as they did when they were first married.

Oh, and remember that ‘$20 present limit plus one creative gift‘ thing I was going on about in this post? Well, I bought Ben a model plane, breaking the budget slightly by $4.95. Ben on the other hand, smashed the budget out of the ballpark and bought me a gorgeous dress from Veronika Maine. It’s a stunning raspberry colour with a thin black belt around the waist – completely Mad Men style. And I love it and he’s so sneaky but that’s ok because now I have a beautiful dress.

Lastly, in terms of edible gifts…the best Peanut Butter…best. Santamother found it at Mornington Main Street market.

After all the giving gaiety we dispersed to do our own activities. I went for a run – I’m a firm believer in exercising well throughout December, including before meals of indulgence like Christmas. It helps negate some of the damage and, importantly, it revs up my metabolism so that I have the appetite to take advantage of the wonderful food! I take this last point very seriously – throughout December I feel like I’m in training for Christmas lunch.

…..

It was a small Christmas this year, just my parents, my brother, my Ben and then my grandparents and great uncle. As they arrived we headed outside to enjoy a beverage.

Red Hill Beer from Santamother for the boys.

Christmas Lunch. Love.

Our menu was very similar to last year – we wouldn’t dare let mum change it! So I shall link to that post (here!), and also include links to any recipes as I type out the delights. And it was all delightful. Particularly so this year for some reason. Mum is phenomenally talented.

In the large dish we have Jamie Oliver’s Overnight Pork. You need to make this pork. Like, yesterday. But don’t worry if you didn’t, today will suffice. Tomorrow would also be fine, I guess, but that’s really a stretch…

Carrots, peas, potatoes, pumpkin and parsnip. We forgot the onions, though – oops! But there were no tears… he he he.

Stuffing. After years and years of not understanding it’s appeal, it is now a true love of mine. I rate it almost as highly as the pork. Almost.

Our de-boned Turkey was wrapped in Prosciutto, which kept it incredibly moist and also allowed for a plate of prosciutto scrumptiousness. Snap.

Crackling. Not a true love of mine. I greatly dislike it, which greatly pleases everyone else (more for them).

Ok, the Gravy……………sorry, I just had a little moment there. We had two kinds: one that mum had made by cooking chicken wings with vegetables, plus wine and stock (recipe link). Ooooooh. And we also had the gravy from the overnight pork.

And lastly, just in case we needed more pork products, we have some beautiful Maryborough Ham, sliced off the bone. Dad bought it from Peter Watson in Collingwood. A somewhat modest amount in comparison to last year’s 9kg worth of pork purchases, which he somehow rationalised.

Sparkling Shiraz, as always at Christmas.

It was all perfect. Perfect.

…..

After lunch we retired to the chairs outside and Ben worked on the model plane I bought him.

Come fly with me

Success.

It was then Pudding O’Clock, my favourite time.

Mum’s Plum Pudding with Booooooooozy Sauce. I made a double batch of Boozy Sauce. It’s necessary.

It was truly a beautiful Christmas in Red Hill.

…..

I tried to sleep in on boxing day, I honestly tried. But come 7:30 I was awake, and so I nestled into my parent’s couch, as Dad made soda water using the SodasStream we bought them – refreshing! Then with a cup of lemon water I started more honeymoon research – we’ll be off to Europe in July next year, and my current project is renting a Parisian apartment in the Marais district. Tough gig, I know.

My boxing day breakfast was decidedly modest in size, due to, well, all of the eating above. I found comfort in a small bowl of leftover Fruit Salad and a Rosemary Butter Cookie, which mum made a couple of days ago. They were absolutely delicious. Mum sprinkled Malden Sea Salt flakes over the top and that delicate little movement really made them. They could even do with a touch more rosemary. I think it’ll be a great recipe to play around with. It’s heavy on the butter, but great for special occasions.

We then headed to our friend’s house for a Boxing Day lunch. This has become a new tradition, and one I am very fond of. And I ended the night at a girlfriend’s house, sipping wine and nibbling on salads and turkey and pudding.

I feel very lucky to have so much love in my life. It all becomes quite apparent around this time of year. I hope you feel just as lucky and thankful and loved as I do. There are a lot of distractions in life, and you can easily find yourself dragged further and further away from what really matters. Christmas encourages us to reflect on what is important to us, personally. To centre us a little. Life is short. Do what makes you happy and be who you really want to be. And make this pork.

Merry Christmas, love

Heidi xo
  • Sig December 28, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I love it! You always have the most beautiful Christmases and O.M.G – the FOOD!

    I can see this wonderful holiday going strong years on and becoming a beautiful tradition. You have a gorgeous family Heidi 🙂

    PS – Also must come visit Red Hill one day. Evs wanted to take me there for a weekend away and I think I might cash in on it during these holidays 🙂

  • Christie @ Fig and Cherry December 28, 2011 at 9:19 am

    What a wonderful weekend! I particularly like your sensible tradition of fruit salad for xmas day breakfast 🙂 I also got loads of vintage stuff for food styling props – they are the best gifts!

  • denitapreston December 28, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Heidi this is so scrumpcious!! I could have Christmas all over again tomorrow. We were on turkey, gravy and stuffing duty this year and it turned out delish! Question – can we have a sneaky peak at your stuffing recipe? It looks so yummy! I am also very curious about tea smoked salmon and want to try this one too. On second thoughts, if you could just cook this whole menu from Christmas eve to Christmas dinner that would be swell. Thanks.

    Love De xxx

  • Heavenly Ingredients December 28, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Gorgeous post Heidi. Perfect family Christmas with the food to accompany. I would LOVE that pork! Wishing you a happy 2012

  • Iron Chef Shellie December 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I want to be part of your family!! So adorable!

    I love that Ben buys you clothes! My boy wouldn't dare! lol!!

    What an amazing xmas!! xo

  • Heidi December 28, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Sig – thank you for your lovely comment 🙂 & absolutely yes you must go away to Red Hill for a weekend, so much deliciousness and beauty awaits you!

    Christie – hehe thank you, yes fruit salad always serves us well for a big lunch! & yay for food styling props – gorgeous 🙂

    De – I facebooked you 🙂 the stuffing recipe is from a magazine, no online link, so I didn't want to publish it. But the second stuffing was from Houghtons in Mornington like last year. I'll discuss stuffing with you soon hehe, I think it must involve nuts and a little dried fruit. And pork! xo

    Laura – thank you, and same to you 🙂

    Michele – thanks, lovely! Ben does so so well, I have no idea how he does it. He has great taste. Always so different from what I'd pick for myself, yet always amazing. What did H get you?!

    Heidi xo

  • msihua December 28, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Wheres the pic of the dress??? I want to seee!!!

  • Fifi von Strudel December 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas feast – and good on you for going on a pre-emptive run!

    My boyfriend, brother, his gf and I love heading to the Red Hill Brewery – not only for the great beer, but also for the well-matched food! You and Ben should head down and try it if you haven't already!

    And that booooozy sauce looks like it's right up my alley! Gorgeous!

  • bridget December 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Your christmas lunch looks absolutely delicious! I love reading your food posts!

    I recently returned from Paris and stayed in an apartment in the Marais area – It was beautiful! We booked it through Al a Carte Paris – this is the link to the website and apartment we stayed in –

    http://www.alacarte-paris-apartments.com/Marais-Marvel.html

    I would highly recommend this company, they were an absolute pleasure to deal with and extremely helpful! We even had a lovely bottle of Champagne and a fruit basket waiting for us on our arrival!

  • Heidi December 28, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    msihua – I just tweeted one 😉

    Fifi – well yes, I should definitely visit. It's actually located at one of my old friend's childhood houses, so that's weird 🙂

    Bridget – wow how lovely 🙂 thanks for the tip!

    Heidi xo

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella December 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    What an epic post Heidi! It sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas. Love the idea of the overnight pork-I've made something similar and it was so divinely soft! That pic of you and Ben with the model airplane is gorgeous! 😀

  • Michelle Chin December 28, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    while i'm waiting for my roast goodies to come to "maturity" in the oven, i would squat in front of it and inhale everything. it's like a drug. the smell of food being cooked.

  • The InTolerant Chef December 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    What a lovely time you all had Heidi! Sneakyextravagant dress excitement and all! I got a soda stream too, looking forward to lots of fizzy fun 🙂

  • Hannah December 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    *You* are perfect, Heidi. And so, so deserving of all of this love and happiness and deliciousness and laughter and the hugs and hugs and hugs and love. I'm so grateful that you had a wonderful Christmas, and so proud of you (and your family) for embracing light at this time, and steadfastly holding onto and reaching for smiles.

    Also, you look like a gorgeous pixie in the photo with Ben and the plane.

    Also, just in the past two years I, too, have learned to love stuffing.

    Also… xoxoxo

  • Heidi December 29, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Lorraine – awe thanks, lovely!

    Michelle – isn't it just!

    InTolerant Chef – how cool, fizzy fun! can't wait 🙂

    Hannah – Hannah you're the best, that's so sweet. thanks for all your kind words and support. and lastly, high five for stuffing love.

    Heidi xo

  • Blithely Unaware December 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    What a beautiful day, every singe word in this post made me smile.

    You had 2 types of gravy!! I'm jelly, we only had one which took Hamish the good part of a day to make.

    I hope you managed to get through the arduous task of finding an apartment in Paris… oh the annoying things we have to do 😉 😉 😉

    Merry Christmas gorgeous girl, so glad you and your loved ones had an amazing time despite the memories of a few days before.

    xox

  • CC11 December 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    WHAT A FEAST – HOLY MACKEREL!! And I would have ben happy if I only got a jar of that
    PB – yum

  • Jayne December 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    What a scrumptious feast!
    The photos and descriptions had me drooling…wonderful, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) December 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    what a delightful day! And I love your dress!~

  • Heidi December 30, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Blithely Unaware – thanks, lady – we did good 🙂 and yes, *sigh* so annoying 😉

    CC11 – hehe seriously, it's amazing.

    Jayne – you're so welcome!

    Lisa – thank you! my mum found it at the op shop 😉

    Heidi xo

  • KittyCate December 30, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Merry Christmas Heidi!
    We had hot smoked salmon on Christmas day, my Dad has a fish smoker – totally nom! Looks like you had an amazing day, love the photos xx

  • Madeleine December 30, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    ohh so glad i stumbled across your blog. your christmas looks lovely, i really want to try smoking salmon myself. that plum pud + sauce looks amazing, as does those crispy prosciutto pieces.
    will definitely be checking here often!

    madlikelife.blogspot.com

  • Martyna@WholesomeCook January 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Hey Heidi, a belated Merry Christmas to you! It seems you had a lovely celebration – I love that table setting and the pork! Going to make it yesterday!

  • Heidi January 11, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Cate – I'm so loving smoked fish right now!!

    Madeleine – thank you, such a lovely comment 🙂

    Martyna – belated merry christmas to you too!! haha, so glad you're going to make the pork yesterday 🙂

    Heidi xo