The pre-renovation Christmas

We have hosted Christmas every year since 2004.  We have only had one Christmas ‘off’ which was last year when were lucky enough to be in Buffalo, New York USA.  Some Americans may find that a curious statement.  Lucky to be in Buffalo? Yes!  Indeed.  You see, I was a Rotary exchange student to Buffalo when I was 17 years old.  I lived with some amazing families and there are two families in particular with whom I have remained very close.  That year in Buffalo actually changed my life.  As fate would have it, some years ago, one of my host sisters from Buffalo came to stay with me over Christmas; she was keen for an Australian adventure.  What neither of us expected is that she would come to Australia and fall in love.  What we truly didn’t expect is that she would fall in love with my husband’s brother.  So my gorgeous Buffalo-girl host sister is now my sister-in-law who lives in my fair city, and we all went back last year to the USA to give our children a white Christmas.

This is the last Christmas we will have in the pre-renovated house.  I love having family over and I like hosting parties but I am really looking forward to more space next year and especially to my new kitchen in which to cook the food. I have my Christmas menu planned but I keep thinking about how next year I will have two ovens including my Miele steam combi oven and also the warming drawer to make my life easier.  I make my own Christmas pudding.  It is packed full of fruit such as dates, prunes, raisins, sultanas and currants but I currently boil it in calico on the stove for 5 hours to cook it plus another hour of boiling on the day (the picture below is of my cooked pudding swinging freely).  Next year I am curious to try out the steam combi oven to see how that works for pudding.  This recipe on Cookwise has me intrigued.  I’m hoping I can adapt my recipe to suit the steam oven.  What’s even better, is that my oven will be plumbed in so I won’t need to keep refilling the water.

pudding swinging

Most of the family stay for lunch, dinner and are back again for Boxing Day so left overs are a must! So what is on the menu this year?

  • A variety of nibbles including a baked brie;
  • The obligatory ham and turkey (of course);
  • Slow cooked rolled pork with prunes and apple; and
  • Roasted eye-fillet beef covered in porcini mushrooms and wrapped in prosciutto.

These will be served with:

  • Green beans;
  • My mum’s famous roast potatoes (my oven is hopeless and I can’t get it hot enough.  Thankfully Mum and her hot oven are across the road);
  • My sister-in-law’s pork sausage meat stuffing;
  • Rocket, mango, prosciutto and haloumi salad drizzled with pomegranate molasses; and
  • Another yet-to-be confirmed (but no doubt fabulous) salad from my mother-in-law.

I like a mixture of hot vegetables and salads.  A true smorgasbord of food to tantalise the taste buds.

As stated I make my own pudding and I also make my own fruit mince pies (including the fruit mince).  My mum also makes a fabulous ice-cream pudding which is special family recipe handed down from my cousin, Catherine.  It is so light and fluffy and full of mixed fruit. My sister-in-law will bring another dessert of sorts too.

We will also have a seafood dinner consisting of prawns, oysters and Moreton Bay bugs which my in-laws supply each year.  I think we should have more enough food to keep us satiated!  Fingers crossed that the weather will be pleasant enough so that after lunch we can just sit around by the pool, eat some more, drink champagne and enjoy the Christmas cheer!


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