Christmas morning dawned and we woke to the voices of children, our grandchildren, not all of them, mind you, the last one would arrive later in the morning along with other treasured members of our family.
Preparations had been underway for some time, and the day before, late afternoon, our Christmas began with the arrival of my husband’s daughter and her family from Roma in Queensland – it had taken them three days to get here. We were so excited to see them and have them join us in our new home for Christmas. This year was going to be very special with all of our children and grandchildren together with us for this special time of year.
It was going to be a hot day, but there was a lot of cooking to be done. A huge slab of pork belly was prepared and put in the oven, it needed to cook slow for a couple of hours. Chickens were filled with handfuls of fresh herbs and placed on a spit out on the terrace.
Meanwhile the vegetables were prepared – trays full for roasting, and others for the steamer. I had made a the day before and we also made a beetroot, orange and fresh herb salad.
The arrival of our son and his family from Melbourne, created great excitement with the family from Queensland meeting their little cousin, Cooper for the first time. There was a lot of catching up.
The cooking continued, electric fans were dusted off and set up to try and cool things down. Cream was whipped, Irish Mist Cream prepared to accompany the plum pudding which was bubbling away on the side burner of the BBQ alongside the chickens.
The vegetables were placed in the oven and the temperature bumped up so that we would have beautiful pork crackle.
The last of our guests arrived, my two gorgeous sisters, Sonnie and Jan, together with my beautiful mum and our great-nephew, Aussie. With everyone here, it was time to think about carving and serving, but alas, the oven was not cooperating with the quantity of food in it, the veg weren’t cooking fast enough and the crackle was definitely not happening! The oven could not go any higher – Our lunch was going to be late, but what could I do!
The ham that I had cured and smoked was retrieved from the fridge – it would be served cold alongside the corned silverside, they were both carved. The chickens were carved, salads placed in bowls, veggies steamed, gravy made and finally the pork had to be carved, even though the crackle was not as I wanted – there was very little left, and the meat was succulent, tender and moist.
People gathered around, filled their plates, and then everyone decided to sit around our kitchen table, which comfortably seats six! Chairs were seconded from throughout the house and squeezed wherever they would or might fit, our table was surrounded by fourteen – it was amazing.
After the meal was finished and everything cleared away it was time for something the children had been waiting for all day…. Gifts from under the tree – they couldn’t wait… Everyone gathered in the sitting room and Jan, Chris, and I played Santa, handing out gifts, to some particularly eager little ones, and some almost as eager older ones – it was mayhem, but wonderful mayhem.
Unfortunately time was close for Chris and his family to return to Melbourne, so we quickly served a little dessert for them to eat before they left.
Once they left, Pavlova with lashings of cream and fresh berries, cheesecake heaped with cherries, peaches, and various other fresh fruits, and of course, the plum pudding with Irish Mist Cream, brandy sauce and icecream were set out for all to enjoy. As we were enjoying our sweet treats, Sonnie walked in and said “don’t eat the cream – it’s off!” Everyone stopped, and then it dawned on them that there was nothing wrong with the cream – it is her favourite and she was just trying to stop eveyone eating it.
So that was our Christmas feast – family, fun, love and food, one cannot ask for anything more, can one.
The afternoon continued with time to cool off in the pool, and I was surprised that people were interested in eating again later that evening. So brought out a platters of local cheeses, fresh fruit, cold meat and fruit cake, and we all sat around the table on the back porch and nibbled and chatted. Before setting up beds for all, for a good night sleep.
Until next time…