Did you have a good Christmas this year? Boxing Day is traditionally a sporting day for Australian’s. I don’t know where this came from, to be honest, but this family is most definitely NOT going to be undertaking any form of sporting activities today or for most of the coming year to be honest. Boxing Day arrives and it’s back to normality for us all. A week or two of holidays and then it’s slowly back to the real world again. We get to spend another few days with my mum and hopefully it’s nice and mild here so that we can sit out on the deck and spend these days enjoying ourselves. We have most probably left the bbq on the deck where it will inevitably stay for the next few months till the spider webs shame us into moving it on to the shed. The same goes for the Christmas lights outside and there are Christmas lights at the house in town that we put up the first year that we moved there in 2007 and that are up there still, waiting to be taken down. It’s getting hotter here in Tasmania. Now that the Christmas mania is over, thoughts are turning to getting stuck into the garden. After mum goes back, we will start formulating where we want to start thinning out the undergrowth. We don’t want the house visible from the front gate. We like our secluded privacy and if someone should want to take a bit of a nosy look at our house, they have to run the gamut of Earl on duty. He warns us whenever anyone is in the graveyard or at Frank’s next door.
Over the period before Christmas I enjoyed quite a few of Austar’s offerings, especially the lifestyle channel. I really love Kirsties home-made anything to be honest. She is an amazing personality. I don’t think that she and I would get on for any length of time because she appears to be even bossier and more of a perfectionist than I am, so that would be a recipe for disaster, but she has some great ideas (like Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall) about keeping things simple and despite some of her choices being somewhat ‘twee’ in general, she gives us all an amazing array of crafts to attempt and showcases some of Britain’s best craftsmen and women. I also loved some of the Christmas celebrity chef programs. I concurrently loathed some of the others. It is amazing how Christmas brings out the commercialism in some people. Some of the programs were simply not worth making. They were afterthoughts produced to boost ratings at an otherwise pathetic ratings period. Despite Nigella being a voluptuous flirty tart that showcases the British upper class, she remains someone that I like to watch on television. Her programs are slick, beautiful and highly professional. Despite knowing that some poor long suffering cleaner scrubs her pans till they gleam before she even shows them and someone has to follow her around wiping up behind her, doesn’t stop me from wanting to make every recipe that this woman presents. She knows food. She obviously overeats like the rest of us and despite belonging to a class system that I abhor, she knows her food and doesn’t patronise we plebeian’s, so she remains in the circle of trust. Similarly Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall is a must see for my foodie entertainment. This man encompasses everything that I find wholesome and good that revolves around food and its production. I must admit he has made a few bad career choices including funding the show “Three hungry boys” that I watched last night and found severely wanting. I can only imagine that Hugh is desperate to “touch base” with some younger fans. Choosing this bunch of brain dead moron’s was NOT the way to do so Hugh. As a rule, Hugh’s productions leave me with a positive ‘can do’ attitude that makes me want to at least try to make a difference in the world and be frugal, thrifty, lateral and make do with what we have.
There are so many wankers on TV these days. Rick Stein and his incessant need to tell whichever country he is in at any given time, how much better they are than any other country, whilst educating the masses in French cuisine (how passé Rick…), next we have a plethora of chef’s trying to make money out of what is traditionally a lowly paid job. So many of them I can’t even list them all and most of them wankers. I started off liking Jamie Oliver immensely. Who didn’t? He was fresh, bright and just like the rest of us. He was so enthusiastic and passionate about what he was doing that he shone from the screen and kept us all enthralled and didn’t we all watch him every week! We made him and we deserve part of the credit for ruining him. Sure, he has a fortune and that has to count for something, but he isn’t the sort of person who should be famous. I get the feeling that he would have been much happier being a ‘normal’ person, working as a chef and enjoying his ever growing family. He has been used and has made some terrible decisions regarding what to put his name to. I would imagine he is very easy to sway thanks to that never ending enthusiasm. I watched his latest Christmas offering where he proceeded to spend most of the show complaining about his wife, his sister and anyone else that came within a metre of him. Does anyone else out there get the feeling that Jamie is a little jaded with his life? His house was covered in tacky paper snowflakes and looked more like Santa’s grotto than a house. Take Hugh’s latest offering for Christmas. “Make your own garlands of popcorn and string brightly coloured dried and glace fruit on circles of wire to decorate your tree…make hampers of home-made goodies and share with your friends and neighbours…” Nothing commercial, everything home-made with pride and given with love. I can do that. I can make a popcorn garland for the tree…I can make a home-made wreath for my door; I can knock up some chutney, or a batch of cakes etc. Everything he talks about is totally feasible and eminently reproducible. Despite loving Jamie Oliver’s food offerings, he is getting more and more world weary. What’s with trying to tell Australians how to eat by the way Jamie? You are not exactly skinny yourself, so once you failed in the U.K. to get fatties to slim down, what makes you think that Aussies are any more receptive to your theories? This fatty won’t be spending much time watching your shows educating me on how to eat. I have been doing it since I was about 6 months old son, I think I know how to do it by now!
Over Christmas we bribed our neighbours with sponge cakes filled with cream (“keep quiet about us and there are plenty more where that came from!”) and I owe a debt of gratitude to the person that put the following recipe online. This person single handed allowed me to share in making sponge cakes that are light, fluffy, delicious and very economical. If you “can’t” make sponge cakes. Give this amazing recipe a go and give thanks for the internet, where wonderful strangers will share their nana’s close kept recipes for free. Thank you to everyone who shares online our lives are made much richer and researching is so much easier.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to our chickens who gave us exponential eggs over the Christmas period allowing us to make whatever we damned well pleased for our Christmas celebrations. Our amazing oven gets kudos as well. We made meringues, we made sponge cakes, we made bread, we made everything and it stood stellar the whole time, churning out recipe after recipe. It’s not because we are amazing cooks, it is because of this amazing stove. Thankyou Thermalux Grand Cuisine for making my faith in you worth it. Now that I have delivered my thank you speech at the Logies, I can carry on producing this quality blog (cough cough) for you all to enjoy…
I will sift through the Christmas photos to see if any of them can be released to the general public. For now you are going to have to make do with these 2. Not very Christmassy of me, but better safe then sorry and some of those photos we DON’T want getting into enemy hands :o)
Here’s Steve’s amazing Quinella Christmas dessert. I will give you the recipe for it when I can be bothered typing it out and you are all just going to have to wait till then for it. It consists of a layer of rum soaked fruit that had been macerating (after being heated initially) for 6 months, a layer of alcohol soaked home made sponge cake in port wine jelly, another layer of home made rich egg custard and a layer of espresso chocolate mousse with a layer of home made meringues crumbled over the top of the mousse and all covered in cream and topped with a few cherries from the kilo that we bought from the cherry and peach orchard just around the corner from Serendipity Farm. He is most proud of this creation and should anyone try making it, it is absolutely heavenly (we have all eaten it now). The other photo was taken from mums camera and is of the ducks becoming very adventurous and having a bit of a look-see down in the first garden. They don’t go very far from their boat/pond, but when we sort out the pond area in the second garden I dare say that will be their new haunt. Ok, off to spend the day doing whatever it is that people do on boxing day. Have a great break from work everyone and see you tomorrow :o)