Christmas in Red Hill
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.
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.
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