Christmas 2016

Christmas was spent somewhere different this year. Mr Bagpipes was housesitting a lovely large property in White Rock, outside of Bathurst in country NSW. This once working vineyard is perched on a hill in a charming bucolic setting. The Yak, myself and sproglets had visited there before and we were excited to celebrate Chrissy with all of our extended family. Our special guest was ‘Christmas Alf’, harking all the way from Manchester in the UK. (Not a real elf of course but the funny, kind and gentle man who happens to be Manchurian Bro-in-laws Dad.)

It was good to be together somewhere different and somewhere so very beautiful. In this freefall Christmas, I think we all felt a smidge unencumbered and a dash unrestricted by tradition. We kept that which suited us and gently nudged aside that which didnt seem necessary in this new setting.

Christmas Eve morn and our gaggle met at The Hub. Good coffee as always and darned good nosh. My poached eggs, asparagus, spinach and mushrooms on black rye arrived topped with hollandaise sauce and crispy sage. Be still my beating heart. (As long as my heart still ticks after that rich and creamy sauce.)

We stuck to our Christmas evening meal and more relaxed Boxing Day brunch. Two ethically sourced hams (yes, it does matter to us), were expertly glazed by Mum and devoured over the 4 day period. There was a delicious vegan gluten-free lasagna (the handiwork of Sister 2) for Christmas dinner, as well as a more traditional turkey, some much discussed ‘pigs-in-blankets’ that the Mancurian bro-in-law threw together, crispy stuffing balls and of course, a motza of side veggies. Desserts this year consisted of Sister 4’s fabulous pistachio ice-cream cake draped in a berry sauce and crowned with fresh berries as well as a batch of mini gluten-free, vegan sticky date puddings that I conjured up. We sat out on the vine draped patio, talking, laughing at ridiculous Chrissy cracker jokes, eating and drinking. The cicadas buzzed their Chinese operatic cadences and the sun set.

For Boxing Day brunch, the Yak made his now famous (well, within our circle) Boxing Day Fried Potatoes . They were as good as ever, and ‘it was said’ that they were the best thus far. When faced with a bag of heat affected ‘just past their best’ peaches, Sister 2 was inspired to throw together a peach puree. We added this fragrant mixture to some fizzy wine for delicious brunch bellinis and to soda water for a non-alcoholic tipple. (Nothing goes to waste when we roll.) There were fruit platters galore, fried eggs, croissants, homemade pickles, chutneys and jam.

The children ran and played endlessly; soccer, cricket, sword fights, Harry Potter incantations and movie making being the order of the day.

Naturally, there were some sad moments and those who died this year were remembered both aloud and quietly. Every one of us left our family get together with at least one precious memory, tucked safely away, to take out and savour in the year that is to come.

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11 thoughts on “Christmas 2016

  1. Next Christmas, I’m coming to yours…. I’m glad to hear you had a good one despite the sadness of the previous year, and I hope your New Year will be happy, healthy, and full of marvellous food.

  2. Be still MY beating heart – stuffing balls? What are they? Might I have the recipe? Do you bring several sizes of clothes with you at Christmas time? As always your photos make me want to lick the computer screen. Merry Christmas to you and wishing you an uneventful 2017!

    • Ha, when I look back, I realise that all of my Chrissy garb did have stretchy waistbands! Stuffing balls are finely chopped sautéed red onion, celery, garlic, sage in some butter or olive oil (you couod add some chopped mushrooms as well) then either a ‘stuffing mixture’ from a box is added or a whole lot of breadcrumbs, some water to bring together, then you form little balls and bake them in the oven in a dish until they are crunchy on the outside. It means that vegetarians can also eat them. (I think that some recipes also add ground meat.) They are very delicious. Thanks Susanne, wishing you and yours a happy and uneventful 2017 as well.

  3. Looks like a Christmas to remember Cheery and after the crap 2016 sent your way you deserved to be in the bosom of your family in such a beautiful place with such fabulous food and wine. Wishes of love peace and happiness for 2017

  4. A lovely Christmas post as always, focusing on plonk and kids and simplicity. Have a very happy New Year Lisa with lots more solo time as the rugrats mature and you get more writing space so that people like me can enjoy reading it… xxx

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