So where my sister is a can-do, do-do kinda girl, I so far have 4 draft posts sitting in blogger, from introductions, to happy birthdays to sister dearest (2nd December), a craft round-up and finally musings on the festive season .... but here it is, Christmas Day already and I've been leaving it all up to baby sis to actually publish - which is possibly a good idea, her being the creative genius writer, but also unfair as it is she who is frantically in her final 5 days, yes, just on 120 hours until Air Korea spirits her to the US of A. (I mean did you just see how LOOOONG that sentence was? and how many brackets (parenthesis) I have used below??!!)
Luckily I work well with deadlines (well kinda), and we (Katie & I) put together a lovely little collection of our favorite recipes to share with our family and dearest friends (and selfishly to make sure we had each others most delicious offerings when we can no longer just make and bring to one another). The title page to this self-published book, "Lolly Legs and Lonely Chicken" also advertised that we had created this blog - so I really needed to get my act together if this is to be a dual effort.
Our Christmas Eve tradition of sitting about wrapping presents, drinking cups of tea in jarmies and watching Love Actually continued last night .... I think this is now 6 years running and while the story has holes big enough to drive a truck through it also has Rodrigo Santoro's Abs, some pretty good movie dancing from Hugh and a sweet sappy Christmassy kind of spirit. It is interesting having a young family and being in the position to start shaping the traditions our children will grow up with - while I plan to expand in future posts I decided last night to put aside the car-mat I was hoping to finish "in time" for Owen and just enjoy the last cooking and company. The thrum of sewing machines has been also been part of too-many late Christmas Eves as I follow through on my intention to always create something for Owen and Gus by hand, and I don't want it to be too much of the fabric of memories for our family.
Anyway today started with the glee and wonder of 3-year-old's surprise at Santa having filled his stocking at the end of the bed with presents. First they were lovingly stacked and carried through the house, sorted by size and finally opened and individually played with before moving to the next.
Baby Gus relished the crackling paper and gnawed on Aunt Kate's, Dad's and my knuckles, or any object in mouth range.
Kate may be able to provide some pictures, but as our camera is among the long list of broken household items (washing machine, oven, printer ...), I am image poor.
For a third year running Kate and I managed to buy each other the same gift - this year Jasper Fforde's newest book - The Last Dragonslayer. Luckily we couldn't have swapped this anyway, and seeing she first introduced me to this great author, perhaps fitting. Last year is was Catherine Deveny's book, and before that matching yellow bird brooches from LuLu
We spent lunch with our lovely aunts/uncles/cousins in Williamstown, and fortuitously it was themed "Love" - meaning we all brought a plate to share - something you love, or make for those you love ....
In addition to (mini) Chicken Pyjamas (Parmigiana), we brought Corn Fritters, Oh-So-Good-Top-Secret-Brownie and Vanilla Cupcakes (recipes below). Other food highlights that I hope to have shared in the how-to-make included amazingly deliciously spicy oyster shooters with wasabi from Sharon, some seriously good vegan curry from our brother Nick, a good chunky satay from family friend Renata and the signature dishes of pork belly with crackling, Mum's ice-cream pudding and much more besides. I know, a little bit fabulous for Christmas isn't it?
Christmas is also typically a bit stressful and sad for some, or a time of reflection on life, love and (often) getting together with family that you otherwise don't see. I know my dear sister has found this particular Christmas a bit harder in the final impatient wait to the next chapter in her story, trying desperately to shed material possessions to make space for adventure, only to have them refilled by well-meaning family (I am guilty). Our little guys are also wired, with the normal rhythms of the day all tangled, blood sugars plummeting and sky-rocketing and at the end of a week of change for my toddler for whom change is hard - missing his good friends who have moved to Perth, finishing up daycare with the wilds of kindy waiting next year and lots of extra attention from houseguests this past month.
So happy Christmas to you all (?!), well really just you dear sister, but in case of rogue readers.... may the coming year bring much love, laughter, happiness and creative experience ...
And here are the recipes that "go" with today ....
These are a hybrid from Bill Granger's Open Kitchen, and the excellent, funny blogging of All Consuming.
They are delicious for breakfast, lunch, dinner and win as a snack food when out and about. They can be plumped up with any or all of the following: fresh salad greens, tomato, sour cream, bacon, guacamole, sweet chilli sauce, more bacon ... but we like ours with avocado salsa – 2 ripe avocados diced, ½ cup chopped coriander leaves, 2 tbspn lemon/lime juice, 2 tbsp sliced spring onions (if to hand), dash Tabasco, salt and pepper
3 cups corn kernels (fresh from ~ 3 cobs or frozen)
1/2 to 3/4 red capsicum, finely diced
2-4 shallots, finely sliced (or about small Spanish onion finely diced)
1/2 bunch coriander and few sprigs of flat leaf parsley , chopped
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
(optional) 1 tsp smokey paprika
pinch salt & pepper
vegetable oil or spray oil
- Place 2 cups of corn kernels, onion, eggs, coriander, flour, baking powder and seasoning in a food processor and process until combined.
- Place in large bowl and add the remaining corn kernels.
- Heat some oil in a fry pan and drop in large spoonfuls of batter
- Cook for about 2 minutes or until golden, flip and cook the other side
This recipe, which comes from my sister’s friend Natalie, is supposed to be kept top secret. I think it’s because the power of the deliciousness of these brownies could destroy the world. So if you’re looking at this and it’s been censored, ask me to make you some.
200g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla essence
¾ cup plain flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 cup caster sugar
250g white chocolate/ Top Deck
1. Preheat oven to 170°C
2. Line a brownie/slice tin with baking paper
3. Melt dark chocolate and butter together
4. Whisk in egg and vanilla
5. Sift together dry ingredients
6. Add chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients
|Big chunks are good. As are small chunks. |
Let's face it, all chunks of white chocolate are magical.