Christmas to me is the one day of the year that the world should pause. Not because I’m highly religious, in fact I think my grandmother would have said that god would strike me down if I set foot in a church, but because it is a true time when the family comes together. Unlike most, our family tradition is to have breakfast. I don’t know when it started but Mum told me it was so that everyone could get together before having to go to the celebrations for the other sides of the families – there was no “we’ll visit you this year and go to the other family next year” business. The core of our family was there, religiously, every year.
Now, I still think that while Mum has a point, the more logical reason is that none of us kids would have wanted to wait until lunch, or even dinner (GASP!) to open presents. That is just absurd. I would always wake up stupidly early to open presents from the big fat man (and once I was done with those from Dad, I’d move onto Santa) and then would have to wait HOURS for the 8am arrival of guests in order to move onto the family pressies. Let me tell you – this tradition hasn’t changed. The first year Steve and I were together I woke up at 4am and demanded presents – he doesn’t appreciate it but he understands my excitement. This year I managed to sleep until 6 and even showered and got ready for the day to buy Steve time. I drew the line at 6:30 and he dragged himself out of bed for the pressie opening saga – and can I say – how effective is it being able to wipe your bum with your present wrapping? Great work Dr Steve.
Being “Santa” at the family breakfasts was also a big deal – the person who got to hand the presents out from under the tree. There were always lots of people (I’d say in some years 30+ and now probably around 15) and you had to make sure that everyone got a present before you started handing out seconds and thirds. Woooh, so much responsibility. It seems like such a simple thing but now as I watch little Ella (3 years old) handing them out to people with such delight I realise that 20 years on nothing has changed. I particularly loved last year at Kirstymas (a pre-Christmas celebration held to copy Christmas as I would be in Melbourne for the actual day) when Ella (then 2) was handing them out to everyone then stopped and said so matter of factly, “I will get for you now Poppy!”. She clearly gets the rules.
After presents were handed out, the adults (usually the sisters – my Mum and Aunts Fay, Jenny and Wendy) would start the cooking and we would all dig in. Poached eggs, toast, ham off the bone and fruit. From memory bacon wasn’t ever a guest because that would just be breakfast – this was Christmas – and ham was in order. The plan was to eat until disgustingly full then at around 10 – 11am the crowds would begin to disperse. Those with families would go to the other side of their crew and we would take a couple of hours to let the food settle. After that, Aunty Fay, Aunty Jenny and UB – probably Granny Beer Knickers too would return for lunch and at some stage we would go to Aunty Fay’s for a swim. Lunch was never a big deal. More ham, salads – whatever was going. I was always disappointed that nothing much happened at dinner. Mum – you could have worked on that ; )
It all sounds so simple but it was truly brilliant. Christmas is made up of three things – family, food and presents. Now often away from my family on the actual day, Steve does a bang up job of being my family and buying me lots of presents. I was left to making sure the food happened. So here goes:
Our Christmas Menu for Two
Malaysian Mango Chicken
Just make it. Go on, just do it. YUMMY! Click here to achieve Mango Flavoured Savoury heaven.
Jamie Oliver’s Sun Dried Tomato & Fetta Lamb Rack
I’m going to put it out there and say that this tasted like lamb with Sun Dried Tomato and Fetta – 3 separate ingredients. It didn’t really come together as a dish where all the flavours are distinct but combined. This is the recipe on the Jaime Oliver website though if you want to give it a go.
Chocolate Magic Custard Cake
This was beyond yummy and a different texture to most deserts. A very creamy and smooth custard but so chocolatey. Also because I didn’t cook it through properly the unset chocolate custard became a self saucing pudding. The chocolate-banned chocoholic still had a mouthful of food when he declared I’d try this again to make sure I’d cooked it right (hmmm…). You can find the original recipe at White On Rice Couple but I will reblog once I make it correctly! The best part for me was using my vintage egg beaters to mix the milky batter that my Mumsy had sent me for Christmas. I was so excited and can’t wait to try this one again! I’ll be trying the Original Custard Version for me too :)