Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tapas Christmas

Last Sunday evening was breezy and balmy at Mt Nanimo. The vineyards were looking lush and green in the soft dusk light, especially those Riesling grapes in the middle top paddock.

Although our traditional (pre) Christmas dinner (and winefest) at the Fischer's is always a highlight of the season we took a completely untraditional approach this year. Each family was given two ingredients (drawn out of a hat - to be completely fair) and given free rein to prepare a tapas style dish with a Christmas theme.

We drew dried fruits and I made little muffin size plum puddings, pecan and macadamia panforte and individual serves of creme anglais and cherry coulis (fresh picked, straight from the farm). We enjoyed a fabulous feast of food (and wines) with courses inspired by the other ingredients: potato (Ottolenghi inspired pastries and Skordalia), Pacific oysters, prawns (Spanish style), cheese (French style souffles), beef (fillet baked in prosciutto) and beans (with capsicum relish).

Maddie, Sophie and Thomas (and Maggie the dog) were responsible for the entertainment, as usual. The range of instruments the kids use now contributes to making their concerts more sophisticated each year!
We had a visit from a garden fairy the day before Christmas. Her Mummy and Daddy dropped off Nellie the dog before they went to the Coast for Christmas. It was lovely to have a fairy flitting around the garden, even for a brief visit.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Early Christmas

We enjoyed the full Christmas catastrophe yesterday with a family celebration, hosted by Claire, Jeremy and the boys. While Christmas can be a bit poignant for parents and grand-parents with our long memories of celebrations past (and family members not present), for the three littlies (Ollie, Angie and Ella) it is just about having fun, being with everyone they love and opening presents (and being allowed to eat licorice allsorts).
Our bring a plate lunch was a huge success. Our festive favourite Majella sparkling shiraz to start, Ottolenghi inspired prawn and pork dishes with hand made relishes, dozens of amazingly delicious Pacific oysters, a whole leg ham and Granny K's gluten free pudding (and custard and gelati) to follow. Joshie spoilt us all with his choice of superb wines with dinner.

It felt like London Davey and Cath were here with us, reading Davey's funny cards and enjoying their stylish gifts.

Ella was able to fulfil all her current Cinderella, Mary Poppins and Angelina Ballerina passions with her gifts. As we expected the pink umbrella was well received.

Angie took some quiet time away from all the transport related gifts to get into some Lego with his Mummy, proving that some toys just never go out of fashion.

We missed Ros and Pete from Sandy Beach and Erin and Joelly too. Ella just looked divine in the Ooby dress and hat from the Coffs Coast (what a winner Ros!). She teamed it with her new silver "ballet shoes" which later proved to be a little less comfortable than she expected (welcome to the real world of girls and their shoes Ella!).

The kids finished off the afternoon in the sandpit. There was an element of "feeling tired and emotional" that surfaced by the end of the day, especially for those who are still only 2! But the shade, the sand, Ella's joy in being with her favourite boys and Ollie and Angie's statesmanlike behaviour contributed to this being a really peaceful and happy way to end a beautiful day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Marely Sismas and Bon Anniversaire

This is the first Christmas we've been able to have in depth, two way conversations with Ella about all the Christmas stories and our family rituals. She's helped me decorate our tree and given me heartfelt feedback about our lack of pink angels (gold is such an inferior colour).

Ella knows about "Sismas" presents but is deeply suspicious about our Secret Santa family game. She has asked for a pink umbrella so she can be like her favourite "Marely" Poppins. She's also requested a pink flower (!!!) for "Sismas", which we will dutifully ensure is under the tree for her.

This is also the time of the year when we celebrate our godson Thomas' birthday - a big one this year as he graduates from high school, acquires his "L" plates and looks forward to a long hot Summer break before secondary college study commences in February.

He has grown to be a tall, handsome, intelligent and very talented young man. Judy and Jurgen deserve to feel very proud of him. Rob enjoyed choosing his gift of guitar and music stand. Thomas and his sisters have given us much joy over the years with their wonderful performances on piano, guitar and clarinet.