Christmas Cheers

It’s eerie.

I have all the presents.  The wrapped ones are wrapped, the sent ones are sent, the handmade ones are handmade, wrapped and sent.

Christmas Lunch is at my place this year, my father keeps inviting extras and changing the schedule to suit himself.  I haven’t cooked a single pre-prepare thing yet; and the weather forecast keeps changing.  As a result I have changed my mind several times: deciding to cook the ham and turkey buffes the night before and preparing a cold meat buffet with some appropriately celebratory colored and crisp salads in order to prevent heating our house up with the oven on from daybreak and overcooking our guests with our lack of A/C (when nobody’s here I lie on the cool tiles under the ceiling fan, until the sun has left the verandah side, and then I waft out there with a glass of something cold and dewy and gin-like). 

Now, however, I’m thinking it will be bacon wrapped waterchestnuts for horses doovers, plum glazed ham on the barbecue, slow cooker mashed potato, turkey buffes (light and dark meats) in the oven, Nigella’s mini-marshmallow topped sweet potatoes, Gravy, Moulded cranberry salad (from the old Potluck Cookery Book circa 1950), crisp green salads with moonblush tomatoes (also Nigella) and goats cheese,  followed by Raspberry Ice cream Cake from the free Coles magazine.  You see, the weather forecast is for rain…. a double, no triple blessing.  We need it already, our guests will be cool and comfortable and our place is shown in it’s best light with rain falling outside: the plants quivering up instead of drooping down, the horse looking romantically black and windswept instead of dusty as he leans in the kitchen door, the clouds low and broody on the hills.  How lovely.

The eery thing is it is only three days away and except for writing the above paragraph, I have not made a single move to put this plan in place…nevermind that I still have to make the traditional family Brudher that we eat for breakfast on Christmas Day, RSVP and wrap gifts for friends who have invited us for drinks, and yell at the kids to tidy their rooms and keep them that way or Santa may make a detour…as will the guests if they get a whiff on their way to the bathroom. 

 Yes, I am positively calm and unbutterflied…and I haven’t been drinking despite what you may think…it is only 10 in the morning after all.  Instead I’m lying around, reading bits and pieces from the piles of books next to my bed (instead of putting them away), planting and babying trees in terrific heat that would have died had I left them on the $2 table (so where’s the risk?) and trying to figure out how to make a Maxi-dress from my fabric stash that I can louch around in so the neighbours don’t bust me in my nighty.  Again.

I think I’m dreaming of a Zen Christmas, so if it stays this calm, I’ll be thrilled.  But if it turns into a calamitous explosion of activity and chaos like it normally is and I have a glass of champagne in my hand, that’ll be OK too.

Merry Christmas to all!  And to all, a Good Wife!

Mmmm Autumn



There are beef roasting pieces in the slow cooker with carrots, onions, bay leaves and zucchini from our garden, water, vinegar and french onion soup mix.  This will cook away for 7 hours or so.  It is 10 in the morning, and I’m already drooling for dinner.  It’s an increibly efficient feeling knowing that I’m sitting here blogging and that dinner is on (although I’m not getting any other housework done).  And I love hot meaty stewy type meals in cool evenings, especially if I’ve been trudging around planting trees and rugging the horse.  I am all anticipation.

If we had Christmas in winter here in Australia, I’d be like the side of a house!

One, two, three…BAH!

You may recall me mentioning that my oven was out of commission.  Ah well, I figured at the time…we’re watching our budget pretty closely right now and I’m doing a lot in the kitchen at the moment, it’s a good thing to move out of your comfort zone every now and then and discover new things, techniques, recipes etc.  Hello, slow cooker!  I have to admit, having to use it nearly everyday taught me to think outside the oven, and I discovered how to make cakes in it, and how to make the best corned beef, EVER!  This morning I found a cool little recipe for the slow cooker, called Cuban Chicken.  I whipped it up before leaving for work, came home anticipating that I could sit and do half a dozen things that aren’t about cooking – after all, I’ve just made about thirty flower pots of bread as well as two chocolate tart bases at work today and my ankles are…well, they’re cankles now.  Ugh.  I came home to an unusual smell in the kitchen – not a bad smell…but certainly NOT a cooked dinner smell.  I have a pot of defrosted chicken drumsticks, sitting in a cold cumin, garlic, tomato, white wine sauce, with onions, capsicum and salt and pepper.  Lovely, but inedible at the moment.  I’ve put it into a Le Creuset pot on the stove, but I don’t have high hopes for it.  It appears that the slow cooker is kaput as well, which buggers me a bit.  It will have to be all stovetop cooking for a while, or toast.  And then of course, because dramas happen in thematical threes, my handblender went from ‘EEEEEEEEEE!!!!’ to ‘r-r-r-r……………………..’ in the middle of a frozen banana smoothie.  Flingin’ flangen thing is 12 years old and has deserted me now, in my hour of need.  So, there’s no blending, no baking and no slow cooking in this house at the moment.  Of course, there isn’t.  Two days before the Easter long weekend.  Of course.