In those days Sophie, Maddie and Thomas looked like this...
We did another lobster dinner at Rosedale in 2007, but waited until December, using Maxie's birthday as the excuse.
In 2009, we started the tradition of lunching in March - April - when the seafood is at its most plentiful off the beautiful south coast beaches. I can't find any pictures of a lobster lunch in 2008 - maybe that was our year off? The pic below was taken in 2009 on the Anzac day long weekend.
We're pretty sure we've kept up the tradition of celebrating our annual lobster lunch at Rosedale every year since then.
This year we missed the chance for Chef Jane to cater - so once again it was a DIY affair. Judy and Jurgen "catch" and prepare the lobster (gi-normous this year) and the 5 dozen oysters (Sydney rock oyster variety - my favourite).
James creates a stir as he arrives, dressed in full Afghan regalia - what was everyday wear for him until very recently - doing important work in the law courts of Bagram. For the past year James has been stationed at the US military base near this ancient city. It's the largest military base in Afghanistan.
The first of many Majella bottles is popped and Judy hands around trays of "nibbles", as we settle in to "party". All the girls want their picture taken with Afghan James! I think they might be trying to get in good with our new "Northern Commander".
Leaving the other boys to their own devices (for a while).
There were only two young things at lunch this weekend (even Maggie the dog is officially middle aged now). Sophie is busy enjoying herself in France and Thomas is too busy with Uni study to get away.
It was a perfect 23oC day yesterday in Rosedale - perfect for enjoying our sublime outdoor setting . First course oysters were sublime (of course) and paired beautifully with Maxine and Rod's choice of (Cofield) Riesling.
The young things aren't as excited by lobster as we are - but their satay chicken looked pretty good too.
It always impresses me how this holiday house size kitchen copes so well with producing a feast like this!
My salads looked colourful but it's the taste of the simpler embellishments that really impress me: the perfectly roasted potato, Maxie's lobster dressing with Himalayan salt and grapeseed oil, the beautiful bread from Dojo's in Braidwood - with the best, freshest, cleanest lobster available anywhere on earth - YUM!
Fiona's and James's dessert was a wonderful climax to our feast: butter pecan, chocolate and berry sorbet - all hand made, all delicious.
Throughout our long lunch the birds did their best to distract us - obviously trying to be the stars of the show. They treat the Rosedale verandah as their own - completely untroubled by the unaccustomed presence of people.
King parrots, lorikeets , magpies, kookaburras - they turned on a Broadway worthy show of colour, sound, light and movement.
This kookaburra developed a taste for satay chicken.
In the late afternoon light we rolled ourselves down to the beach in a vain attempt to walk off some of our long lunch.
Observers may wonder what these people in Middle Eastern / Indian dress think they're doing walking around the Rosedale rocky platform. James says there is certainly nowhere like this anywhere in Afghanistan.
I'm sure Rob is saying to Jurgen something like - on behalf of us all - thank you for hosting these wonderful Rosedale celebrations - we're so lucky!