Lost in the lovely chaos of Christmas and summer but better late than never. I found a little time somewhere in the holiday crazy wonderfulness to write a little, but forgot to post. I couldn’t leave it behind so here’s to a little late Christmas joy!
A white Christmas in Australia means sand between the toes! I have lived in the USA, the Middle East and in the UK and it is true that a cold, snowy Christmas or holiday season is truly exquisite for many. Steeped in traditions centered around crackling fires, delicious mulled wines, silly sweaters, beautifully lit churches, winter frolicking and snow sports, could it possibly get any better?
Well, not necessarily better – but certainly different, though still with all the joy and sparkle of celebrating family, friends and wishing to be generous and hopeful for all people.
Here in the summery southern hemisphere it’s all about the extended school holidays, beach, boating, chapel services under the stars and on the sand. Bare feet rule! Mulled wines give way to icy champagne and cranberry cocktails and chilled beers peeping metal heads out from icy blankets! Many of the trimmings are understandably different with an emphasis on outdoor cooking, seafood, seafood and more seafood. The retail organised chaos at the fish markets around the country claim the news headlines.
The handed down traditions from migration trails are alive and well this year and I tapped into them as I was hosting for the first time in our forever home having recently retired. I cooked chicken on the bone resting on cranberries and basted with an orange, ginger and garlic sauce. The potatoes were mashed with cream and parmesan and placed next to the sweet variety of spuds roasted in rosemary and garlic.
There was gravy, plenty of it – spiced with home grown herbs simmering as Paul Kelly’s, “I’ll be making gravy” blasts in the background interrupting the loop of more tradition Carols and the heavenly harmonies of ‘Na Leo’ from the Hawaiian Islands. Cold sliced ham and a fresh take on the Caesar salad – crisp baby cos with tips dipped in homemade dressing then panko crumbs with lashings of crispy bacon and no less than a dozen fresh eggs cooked with still bright yellow yokes, gives us a hot or cold option for the day. There has to be roasted carrots with almonds and plenty of greens tossed in butter. We went old style with a twist and celebrated at our long table overlooking the lake. Happy days with all the kids/young adults and their partners home with us and at the table dressed in a variety of swimmers and t-shirts! Christmas on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Bucket list worthy!
We started a new tradition this year. Borrowed from a dear friend of Texan origin who spent this holiday season grieving the loss of her husband and the father of her three exceptional young wonders. Shelly invited us to their home on Christmas Eve when we lived in Florida and we were warmly folded into their awesome long held tradition of Mexican fare for extended family and friends. This year we used her authentic recipes and all chipped in to cook up a feast – our new tradition in honor of the good times and friendship we shared with this beautiful family.
One final mention of the boat. Boxing day boating is a new treat for our family – new boat, new tradition. We packed drinks and munchies and loaded up the ‘Patricia Joan’ (named for my husband’s dear Mother who passed this year) to take the whole lot of us in various groups across the Pumicestone Passage to the white sands of Bribie Island. After such a wonderful but busy Christmas day, lolling about in the crystal waters was wonderful. Later as we sat in the shade of the umbrellas watching our precious three and their partners playing beach cricket in the water we could not have felt more blessed. Christmas and special holidays whether north or south of the poles are most special when shared with loved ones.