“Let Me Feed You” Family Christmas

December 25, 2011

I haven’t really had much time to get into the Christmas spirit this year, I’ve just been so busy and distracted by other things in my life. But I did manage to walk down the Bourke Street mall last week and grin up at the seemingly infinite rows of silver stars that fly across the tram tracks. And to browse some cute shop displays. My Christmas shopping was blissfully quick and efficient, and then before I knew it, it was Christmas Eve and I was laying out crackers on the table as my mum was stuffing the turkey and my dad hanging up more Christmas decorations. Yep, this year was our turn to host the family Christmas lunch.

It’s rather a shame I’ve been so busy, because I do love the Christmas time. Obviously shopping can be horrific, and making sure all the food is properly cooked etc causes some tension. But overall I think it’s a pleasant time of year, if only because people tend to make more time for each other, and are keen to catch up. Plus I am a total sucker for all the red, gold and silver baubles and shiny things that appear all over the place. My heart just melts, it’s pathetic really.

This year’s Christmas was uncharacteristically small for us: my brother and younger cousin are in France and Germany, my older cousin is on exchange at the University of Edinburgh (I am painfully jealous), his parents are in London to spend Christmas with him (same sentiment), one pair of grandparents are in Tasmania, and another Aunt is also away. So that only left seven of us: my mum and dad, two grandmothers and my dad’s brother and his partner. However, nothing would stop my mum from putting on the full fanfare and making a meal that would overwhelm even the usual crowd of 15! Nothing exceeds like excess on a Greek table.

My younger brother, as I mentioned earlier, is in the South of France on a school language trip over the summer. We missed him today, especially his witty remarks and clever jokes (come home, dammit!) However, when we called him this morning (Christmas Eve in France), the cheeky little sucker merely said “Well, I’m here drinking French Champagne and eating foie gras and lobster and snails, so I’m quite content actually”. Sophisticated little bugger.

Almost as an act of defiance, we also started our meal on a French note with some beautiful mussels cooked in white wine, butter and leeks, and washed them down with a couple of bottles of Bollinger (who’s drinking French Champagne now?? HUH?!?)

Once the full spread was set out, there was barely enough room on the table for our wine glasses!

God help me, I love Christmas.

This year’s stuffing had all manner of goodies thrown in including pancetta, sage and pinenuts. It was bloody good.

In the foreground you can see the tzatziki which I, being the good Greek girl that I am, made yesterday. Also featured here is my Aunty’s awesome spinach, pea, mint and feta salad. Lovely.

Crayfish, baked with breadcrumbs, for which my mother queued up at Canals yesterday morning for over an hour!

Ham, ham, glorious ham!

This is one of my favourite salads, which I am proud to say my mum came up with herself: red, orange and yellow capsicums, orange and fennel all sliced thinly on a mandoline, mixed with mint and parsley. It is so so fresh and bright, it never fails to cheer me up.

The flesh on the crayfish looks gorgeous here, almost blistered and pink. They were wonderfully sweet, and finished in the oven with a crust of breadcrumbs, chilli, parsley and garlic.

This is my dad’s loopy reindeer bauble that he bought a few years ago in London and ever since, this crazed little animal has been cantering over our heads at the Christmas table each year.

Check out these funky Christmas chocolates we were given from the people who run Happy Lab.

They were (we’ve eaten them already!) absolutely delicious, and came with truffled mint, strawberry and caramel fillings. Such smooth chocolate and beautiful centres! They also have some pretty groovy looking jelly beans and chocolate coated almonds in containers shaped like chemistry jars on their website, which I am most tempted to try!

Dessert was a mish-mash of traditional greek pastries, biscuits and walnut cake, plus my mum’s brilliant summer trifle and the macarons I had bought from La Belle Miette (full post on these beauties coming soon). We also sourced some beautiful cherries and a couple of ripe figs to finish the meal off.

Also, I DID get a new camera for Christmas (huge thank you to Mum and Dad): a Canon EOS 600D, which is absolutely brilliant: I’ve been taking shots of my bedroom and laughing gleefully at how it actually looks better in the photographs than it does in real life! So you have some excellent food photos to look forward to!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your days were spent with family and friends and lots of good food!

Filed under: Home Cooking