Ben's Birthday Lunch at Red Hill

Last weekend we carried on Ben's Birthday celebrations with a beautiful little party for four at my parent's house. It was perfect. We spent a casual lazy five hours in Red Hill, watching my parents cook food and pretending to help. As it was the day after Ben's work Christmas party, I was most definitely lacking in sparkle. Tracksuit pants and the couch helped me along. As did a beautiful meal, Christmas Tree decorating, plum pudding prep and cocktail sampling (hey, the hair of the dog!).

Oh Christmas Tree...

Although Christmas is a hard time for our family (we lost my brother 4 years ago, 3 days before Christmas), we all still cherish this time of year. Being together. It's all that matters.

Mum always makes sure that I'm there to help with decorating the Christmas Tree. I love that she saves it for me.

My favourite decoration, my Plum Pudding.

Although when I made it at school I had no idea what it was supposed to be... and so I added eyes and a nose and made a face. Naturally. He's kind of adorable.

Mandatory dancing with tinsel to Christmas Carols. Yep, I'm one of those people who absolutely love Christmas Carols. My favourite this year? She and Him.

Time for food? I thought so...


The Eats

May I present, my Dad's homemade fetta. That's right. He's been to Cheese School (cute!) and now makes his own cheese. Who knew it was possible for him to be even cooler?

For entree we delighted in Toasted Grainy Bread topped with Smashed Homegrown Broadbeans and Dad's Fetta. This was so so so delicious. Favourite.

And for the main event?...Rabbit Ragu with Homemade Pasta (recipe link). Mum and Dad really outdid themselves. This ragu was cooked for 6 hours. Mum added a mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery) to the base, and cooked it in oil and a little butter until soft. She felt this added a real depth to the base, and I agree. It. Was. Beautiful. Truly beautiful.

A simple Salad made festive with fresh red currants off their bush.


Hey there, Puddin'

Each year I eagerly anticipate Mum's Plum Pudding. Last year I documented her making it (see the post here), and this year I watched her again. Perhaps next year I'll be more hands on, but honestly, I love sitting back and watching Mum do her thing. The recipe was passed down to mum from her Aunty Daphne, who was given the recipe from her Great Aunt in England. Special. This year we made the pudding a little late, but mum compensated by soaking the fruit in alcohol for longer. Bring on Christmas Day, when we'll combine this perky pudding with Boozy Sauce. Favourite.


Woks, Mulberries, Cocktails and Cake

For Dad's birthday in November we bought him a wok plus some cooking accessories. He's keen to smoke, stirfry and steam! Ben helped him with seasoning the wok following this video (link).

Later on we sampled some Cocktail Creations. We're searching for a second cocktail for the wedding. I didn't fancy the Old Fashioned as much as I'd hoped. Any suggestions for a great, old school, non-fruity cocktail? I'd love to hear some.

Freshly picked Mulberries. Favourite.

To end our day? A Birthday Brownie. A leftover Salted Fudge Brownie to be precise.

Thanks for a gorgeous day, Mum and Dad. You spoil us so much, every time. You just can't help it. But we hope you never stop. Being spoilt by good food, family togetherness, homework in the form of cheese, laughter, bad carol singing and dancing and long lazy lunches is the epitome of happiness to me.

Heidi xo