Sadly a lot of it has come down to busy and hectic schedules and deadlines at work. In the last week of work, Steve had a proposal due and I just had such a vast volume of things to get through that we actually didn't see each other for about 72 hours until Friday (the day it all finished) came. Steve would leave at 6:30am and come home post 10pm and I would be at work from about 8:30am until sometimes 7 and one night 9pm so we've definitely been putting in the hours.
I've squeezed in some shopping and found that one Saturday afternoon was more than sufficient to buy a few gifts and to buy myself a lovely Coach handbag (reduced!). Back home it was a lot more complicated. It was also strange carrying shopping bags and looking at Christmas decorations whilst the sun shone brightly.
One thing that has stayed the same is the fact that we don't really do the Christmas decorations thing. I'd love to but it always seemed a bit of a waste as we were never around over the Christmas period as we'd spend time with family and away from home. And similarly here in Australia we tend to take a holiday this year's trip starts on 27th.
So our only Christmas decoration is a string of cards that we've received. Thank you for thinking of us friends and family. We love the cards and they are our only nod to Christmas decor wise so they're very important to us!
There was one stand out course though and that was a sage butter infused bourbon, spiked with balsamic and then topped with a sourdough foam that accompanied a much more traditional roast pork belly, black pudding and apple main course. The cocktail had an almost fruit like tang like tamarind but from the balsamic and then the yeasty bread like foam top was toasty like bread dipped in olive oil and vinegar and then rich fatty pork with apple and that balsamic hit....amazing...like nothing I've ever tasted before.
What other things have we done? There have been various catch ups - dinners, lunches with different crew and friends as well as the EnergyAustralia Christmas Party (Gatsby glamour was the theme) and Steve had his PwC many parties the main one being a Bond themed party at the National Gallery Victoria. Parties mean much needed recovery time too which is basically unproductive sofa and napping time.
On Saturday we had a market day and had Marty and Kirsty round for dinner as it had been ages since we'd seen them and lucky for us we all happened to be free and available! They travel a lot and we do a lot so getting together usually takes a bit of pre planning but not this time! It also gave me an excuse to add to the string of Christmas cards and dig out some baubles and a red candle for the table centrepiece!
The last few times we've been at home on Christmas Day we've eaten out. Given this year we'd actually be home for consecutive days before going on holiday we decided to stay in and cook up a storm so after having guests on Saturday we made another market trip on Sunday to cover the rest of the holiday season and stocked up the fridge. Yes we could have been super organised and done it all on the Saturday trip but that was too much like hard work. Plus we had limited fridge space....
Staying in and cooking and watching TV and being on the computer and reading and other lazy pastimes like that mean that we've thrown the body clocks out the window. That's what Christmas is about for me and has been since I was a child though. I love staying up late into the early hours and then having a lie in. Steve usually likes to stick to his Cinderella turning in time of midnight though and has often left me to play alone or with my family when we're in UK and then he's up early in the morning and I stay in bed in the morning. However I think I'm turning him into a night owl....On Sunday he was keen to stay up late...
As well as having throwing routine out to pasture, I also love being able to do whatever I want when I want including late night cheese snacking...Certainly not something that is allowed the rest of the year!
- Beef carpaccio with a Pecorino and caper dressing
- Steve's speciality - Parmesan and black olive crusted rack of lamb
- Roasties and green beans with pine nuts
- Onion gratin
- Salted caramel and chocolate pot
- Mussels with Mr. Wong's home made XO sauce
- Spatchcock stuffed with pistachios and cranberries wrapped in prosciutto with baked apple and bacon, roasties and asparagus with a little confit onion
- Roast duck breast with a strawberry salsa and a pearl barley and mushroom risotto
- Bacon and egg pie / quiche
- Caramel and chocolate shortbread
Speaking of the big day...I wonder what Amelia makes of all of this. I know she loves the decorations and the lights and I'm sure she'll love all the attention and new toys...She's already raiding the gifts and got caught red handed snoopin