Christmas Eve Traditions
Following on in a somewhat backwards fashion from my Christmas Day post, here is a snapshot of how I spent Christmas Eve. Ben finished work a few hours early on Friday, which allowed us to head down to Red Hill and arrive at my parent’s house by the early evening. Buzzing with Christmas cheer, the Merry Fun began!
We were greeted with a Red Rum Martini, made with homegrown redcurrents.
I just love the enthusiastic, sour burst of these tiny little berries. The cocktail was really delicious. Not too strong (I often require a half strength or diluted version of Dad’s concoctions), with a hint of cherry flavour. Aesthetically stunning, it was an absolutely gorgeous, vibrant festive red. Cheers.
Historically, Christmas Eve in our household involved present wrapping whilst watching Carols by Candlelight on the television. However, recently we have adopted a new tradition. My mum and older brother once spent Christmas in France with some lovely French friends. Aside from an unwavering, full-blown love of anything French, this trip left mum with a lovely little Christmas Eve tradition, which we have embraced for the past few years. It involves fish and vodka. Perhaps a Scandinavian tradition, mum is not 100% sure and neither am I, we have taken it as our own and put a personal spin on it.
I love learning about other cultures and their traditions. I happily lost myself reading what different cultures eat over the festive period - from Lithuanian Kūčiukai to French Bûche de Noël, from Bulgarian/Romanian Cozonac to Scandinavian Glögg, and from Venezuelan Hallaca to Portuguese Bolo Rei - it all excites me! (and leaves me very hungry.)
Before our main course of fish and vodka, we had a lovely seafood entrée. Fresh seafood at Christmas seems to be a popular Australian tradition, particularly if it is cooked on the barbeque – the old ‘put a shrimp on the barbie’ saying really rings true. For this dish, Dad grilled scallops on the barbeque and served them with a mango salsa.
The recipe link is here – we all decided it could do with some corainder (which we added liberally) and extra fresh green chilli. It was a light and summery dish.
The weather on Christmas Eve was gorgeous, as the sun glowed with festive cheer. The clouds danced in the sky, putting on a stunning show. We had never seen a sky like this before, with the clouds stretched out in a stunning display.
Enjoying the cloud display lead to my Dad revealing he is a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society. Based in Britain, you sign up online, pay a few pounds, and are privy to pictures of clouds. There is also a forum for discussions about particularly stimulating clouds. I found this rather hilarious. Dad is always astounding me with his nerd qualities. He signed Jackson up a few years ago too. This lead to me questioning dad as to why I was not a member. Apparently my membership is now on it's way. I look forward to becoming a member.
We cooked salmon steaks on the barbeque. They were simply grilled with not a lot of fuss, and were super fresh. Hence they were really delicious.
Mum made a beautiful cabbage salad to go with the salmon. She requested the recipe following a visit to Mr Wolf in St Kilda. It is made of cabbage, peas, parmesan, chilli and fresh mint. Ben and I really loved this and will definitely make it ourselves. It was creamy, light and fresh.
We also had a garden salad, with a little festive addition of redcurrents. It tasted very fresh and, well, festive.
We served the salmon with the salads and roasted kipfler potatoes. I adore roasted potatoes, and no one makes them like my mum. Although I am open to taste testing others, in the interest of being a well-informed foodie ;)
We begin our meal with a shot of vodka.
And then we finished our meal with some of my dad’s homemade sorbet.
Dad got an ice-cream maker for Christmas, a real fancy one. We have been enjoying his ice-cream for over a month. I am not quite sure how he wrangled opening his Christmas present so early, but whatever the reason I am thankful for this pink grapefruit and champagne sorbet (David Lebovitz's recipe, so it is no surprise that it is fabulous).
And thus concluded our Christmas Eve festivities. Lots of fish, a little vodka, some last minute wrapping of presents and then we were off to bed. I quite like this tradition…
How do you spend Christmas Eve?
* Note: the quality of the shots diminished as the evening progressed. This was due to the sun retreating, and not the vodka. I do not lie.