Thursday, January 23, 2014

An Australian Christmas

Of course it's way too late to show you the Beach House Australian Christmas story, but there are very few rules here and I'd like it in the family archive, so I thought I would share it with you anyway.  This Christmas turned out to be a really good one, with lovely food and fun and interesting company. 

As an only child, with no first cousins, sadly I have only my mum from my childhood family with me these days.   I always start to worry about who's doing what for Christmas in early September, which is ridiculous, as it usually turns out to be a really nice day. It's always a good lesson in letting the universe come up with a result. Mr Beach House has way more clout than me about what we will do, because he has a large and close family.

As for my immediate family, we usually do a lovely family breakfast, with just the five of us.  The kids and their present opening, is one of the best bits of the day and mum is way too generous, so the kids have a ball.  This year, I felt less stressed because I did not have to turn myself in knots, over the Santa issue, with the biggest Beach House Brat.  When the littlest found Santa's wrapping paper in my wardrobe, she bought my line about Santa leaving every family the wrapping paper left overs.  Phew!!!!!  
Reset for Breakfast.  It's lots of work, but worth it when you actually get to sit down and enjoy it.
I also like to do a special dinner on Christmas Eve, as a way of stopping and just being together for the start of the holiday.  We had a lovely meal with just the four of us, as mum did not want to stay the night.  I bought the Aldi duck in a chook, in a turkey, ensemble and it was really fabulous.  I wish they did them year round, as I can completely recommend it for next year.

That plate is so over loaded and could have been styled a whole let better, but when I was trying to serve a Christmas Eve dinner, respectable shots for the blog were the last thing I was thinking about.

Dessert was Eton Mess, primarily for it's red colour scheme and ease of assembly.  We ate way too much on Christmas Eve, but of course it was delicious and I will be sharing the easy recipe successes with you, at some point.

Believe me, there were some recipe failures as well.

The potato dauphinous collapsed when I unmoulded it.  It tasted great, but unlike the beautiful wedges I planned on slicing, it was a jumbled mess by the time it made the plate.

I think the tablescape (above) was worth sharing, as it looked very pretty.  I had a white table cloth and rolled out some silver and white wrapping paper from IKEA down the centre.  Atop that, was pine leaves, mini pine cones and the snowflake lights from IKEA, which I think are the bees knees.  It looked so pretty, as it got darker.

Paper hats out of the bon bons, seem to be  now an Australian Christmas Tradition, originally adopted from the UK.
Before bedtime, the Littlest Beach House Brat pondered over whether Santa would leave his sugar snow foot prints this year.  Happily for her anyway, 'he' did.

The Birkenstock buckles left a weird imprint in the 'snow', but she never noticed and her excitement was definitely worth the messy cleanup in the morning.

Unfortunately, I was too into breakfast to shoot it, but I made wholewheat banana pancakes and this time served them with a beautiful red berry compote, pure maple syrup and natural yoghurt.

Lunch was at my sister and brother inlaws in the inner west and it was a lovely relaxed affair, with gorgeous food, warm company and a few presents.

The Turkey was served with Moroccan spiced roast vegetables.
We often do seafood for an Australian Christmas lunch, but this year we had a beautiful turkey, sourced from an inner west Italian butcher, with all the trimmings.  I am not a fan of turkey, but this was stunning.

I was asked to bring a salad and a cheese platter.

Apart from some blue cheese, I also did this large Camembert wheel with a homemade sweet capsicum and chilli jam, Toasted walnuts and rosemary to garnish.  The colours were Christmasy and it was a bit of a show stopper.  I will share the recipe soon, as it really was lovely.  The jam can be done many days before serving and it was completely delicious and impressive.

The intermittent rain throughout the day, did not dampen the usual post lunch cricket match for the die hards. The cooler temps, also made it the perfect weather to consume our hot lunch.

After a few overs, it was back to the Christmas tree in the front room for some Christmas caroling around the piano and present opening.  It's another exciting aspect to the day.

It was a happy memorable day and all over for yet another year.  Each Christmas is different and special in its own way.  In our family though, it essentially follows this format each year.  I hope you enjoyed a tour of our typical Australian Christmas.
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  1. There's no other way to serve up a Christmas meal on your plate than that in your photo Carolyn. Everything looks lovely.

    Anne xx

  2. What a lovely post and the photos were dee x

  3. You've got a perfect Christmas here. All captured perfectly and I like the Christmas theme, by the way. Lovely!

  4. Carolyn - the Christmas bon bon with paper hats etc originated in the UK but we have adopted them as we have the turkey, pudding etc

    Tom Smith Early History

    Tom Smith Christmas Crackers In early 1830, Tom Smith started work as a young boy in a bakers and ornamental confectioners shop in London. He sold sweets such as fondants, pralines and gum pastilles. He worked hard and took particular interest in the wedding cake ornaments and decorations. He experimented and created new, more exciting and less crude designs in his spare time. Before long he was successful enough to start his own business in Goswell Road, Clerkenwell, East London.

    Tom Smith was adventurous and forward thinking, often traveling abroad to search for new ideas. It was on a trip to Paris in 1840 that he first discovered the 'bon bon' -- a sugared almond wrapped in a twist of tissue paper. It was a simple idea which, over the next 7 years, would eventually evolve into the Cracker.

    He decided to bring the 'bon bon' to London and during Christmas that year, they sold extremely well. In January however, the demand virtually ceased and once again he was reliant on sales of cakes, table decorations and ornaments. Anxious to develop the 'bon bon' idea further and to stimulate sales, Tom Smith decided to place a small love motto in the tissue paper. He encouraged his regular customers to take supplies, of which many did, and within a short while, orders were sufficiently high and sales profitable enough for him to increase his staff.

    By now, Tom knew he had a unique and potentially very commercial idea. He decided to take a risk and concentrate on developing it further, while still running the wedding cake ornament and confectionery business which was by now, very well established. At this time, the majority of 'bon bons' were still sold at Christmas and Tom began to think up ways to capitalize on this short but very profitable season. He needed to make his 'bon bons' even more appealing. It was the crackle of a log as he threw it on his fire that gave him the flash of inspiration which eventually led to the crackers we know today.

    1. Wow what an interesting read and thanks for taking the time to let us know the story in detail. I appreciate it. Yes we have by and large adopted the traditional English Christmas, which in many ways is so inappropriate for our hot climate, but we seem to cling to it with vigour and love it, all the same. So it is no surprise the paper hat and crackers per se, originated in Britain.

  5. I loved your Christmas post today! We don't have follow the Christmas crackers custom here but we do in our family as it is fun!AriadnefromGreece!

  6. I love your Christmas morning blue and white breakfast table. Beautiful. At one point you say you are the only child and then you show a pic of your sister and brother-in-law. Is that then Mr. Beach House's sister?

    1. Apologies for the poor expression. Yes she is my SIL. I am an only child, which was absolutely neither here nor there to me as a kid, but as I get older i do wish I had siblings.

  7. Hi Carolyn,
    Thank you for sharing your lovely Christmas photo's with us a feast for the eyes. Here in Canada we do the Christmas crackers as well it wouldn't be Christmas without the paper hats but I can't say this is true for everyone.

    Margo on Vancouver island

  8. Looks like a lovely day. Your table setting is beautiful. I might have to pinch that idea one year. As for the dessert and potato bake. Yum!

  9. I loved your table setting. So simple, yet so effective. That cheese looks divine! looks like it was a wonderful day. Thanks for sharing. Less than 50 weeks till next Christmas. :)

  10. What a banquet and it looks as though everyone had something to smile about. The boot idea is very clever for Santa!

  11. Gorgeous Xmas! I was tempted to do a sand Santa foot print and having see your sugar one I think I will next year with Birkenstock buckle too. Glad you had a good one x

  12. So glad it was a good one. Looks amazing and makes me want to do it all again x


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