So there is nothing like arriving home 1 week before Christmas after having just spent 3 weeks being waited on hand and foot, not having to lift a finger, doing nothing .... but get up and walk to a meal to bring you back into the reality of life.
We had not prepared anything prior to going, and there really wasn't anything to buy as pressies on the cruise or destinations we went to ..... so we were totally unprepared.
Arriving home though the girls had decided to ensure we did not forget Christmas ( I do think they thought we might say, we are going away for Christmas) and had put all the decorations up - it was lovely to walk into your home and have all your decorations up (thank god for Facebook), apparently they looked at last years photos to ensure everything was in the right place.
For those who don't know, the only souvenirs I collect in my travels are Christmas Decorations (Derek, well he likes T Shirts), and I am very particular on where these go. Over the years I have collected 100's of these from all parts of the world and I love to get them out of their packets (receipts etc still intact) , to remind me of all the wonderful memories of places we have been, people we have been with at the time etc and as a family we tend to reminisce of the stories of what we did in that place, talk about the people we were with at the time etc.. Its a good thing to collect as who wants a house full of this stuff all year, but Santa on a Gondola, or Frosty the Snowman holding the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the 3 Wise Men (bought in Bethlehem) etc are so lovely at Christmas and most people who come over during the Christmas period are keen to see the latest in the collection. This year we were able to secure a new Christmas Stocking from Raffles in Singapore, a bell from Brunei (if the place doesn't have real Christmas decorations I get a bell - every Country, City and Town seems to have these) and I Climbed the Harbour Bridge Bauble.
So arriving home with just over a week before Christmas, 2 suit cases full of dirty clothes, a house decorated, but in need of a real clean and nothing prepared, we were for the first time in 3 months under the hammer to preform and on a deadline. The only deadlines or dates we have had to remember for 3 months were airport times .... so this was a bit of kick in the guts and being as relaxed as what we have been at first seemed a bit daunting.
The Crossley Christmas is usually a big affair starting early on Christmas Eve and this year was not going to be an exception ..... so first things first. For the full album A Crossley Christmas Dec 12
|The remains of the day - I hope you had a great Christmas|
Washing - and outsource the ironing (tick)
Cleaning, house inside and out (tick)
Scroll through the cook books (about 40) to find the right things for this year (yes I like to change each year, explore new themes that meet with the traditional) which takes considerable time to write all potential items down, the book they are in, the page number and then cull from there, make shopping lists, make to do lists (to be honest I haven't had a to do list for 3 months and I haven't missed it, but its the only way to get everything done)
Shop, Shop, Shop and yes Shop again and ooh ya , more shopping
After many hours of trolling through cook books the menu was decided with some 30 receipts from 9 cook books and this did not include the basics such as Pork, Turkey, Ham, and general Christmas Yummies (White Christmas, Fruit Mince Pies, Xmas cake etc). Shopping lists prepared and itemised into the days they would be bought, and receipts itemised on the days they would be made - but given I hate shopping Christmas Eve, everything had to finished being purchased by Saturday and cooking (some 36 real hours started Friday).
So what was on the menu you ask - well here is a taste of it
Xmas Eve Morning
Ham and Eggs for Brekky
Yummie Corner (we have a corner of the house we designate to yummies for all occasions, Christmas, Birthdays, Easter even Halloween) stage 2 - as we had some family over on the weekend so that was Stage 1.
Peach and Lemon Iced Tea (home made)
Xmas Eve Lunch - for 6 Tapas
Crab Stuff Tomatoes
Roast Pumpkin Dip
Basil and Cashew Pesto
Lamb Meat Balls and Taziki
Thai Fish Cakes
Home made marinated Fetta
Assortment of breads with assortments of oils for dipping
Top up Yummie Corner - Round 3
Xmas Eve Dinner Hot and very Traditional - for 8 (enough to be left over for Christmas and Boxing Day)
Roasted in the PM and immediately carved and served
Road Beef with Yorkshire Puds
|Cracking the Bon Bon & I won|
Roast Apricot Seasoned Chicken
Roast Stuffed Turkey
Previously Made and Heated on the night
Sweet Potato Crumble
Roast Vegetable Pie
Glazed Onions with Roasted Capsicum
Garlic Sauteed Mushrooms
Sauces (Apple, Cranberry, Horseradish)
Assortment of wines and champagne
Plumb Pudding, Chocolate and Caramel Pudding - Custards, Cream - Hot
Xmas Day Morning
Yummie corner round 4 (all too full for any further breakfast)
Lunch for 9
All meats from Xmas Eve cold, plus ham - so platters of cold meats
Vietnamese Pork Salad
Tomato, Feta and Red Onion Salad
Bacon, Egg and Potato Salad
Heated up leftover from Christmas Eve
Maple Syrup Nectarines
Chocolate Date Filo
Christmas Day 2nd Family and Left over others (another 4 people) - cold deserts from lunch, and more drinks
Boxing Day - all left overs
So as you can see no mean cook, preparation and cleaning up feat! All was beautiful, with a good array of different tastes for each meal.
|The Crazy Crossley Girls|
Overall though it was a good day and very enjoyable. It was great to have fantastic weather as it seems like many years since it was a perfect Christmas Day, where you could sit inside in the air conditioning but outside as well without it raining or being boiling but still hot enough to enjoy a swim in the pm to let all the food settle down.
What did I enjoy most about this Christmas was not working, Derek not working more so we were able to enjoy doing these preparation things together with no time limits and no phones and emails going - even if I was off prior to Christmas I would have to do all of these things by myself as Derek never stopped the week before Christmas so it was great to have him around to help clean up, wash up and do taste testing. As I mentioned in a previous blog I am loving cooking again and being able to take the time to do everything properly by the receipt - everything turned out perfectly as I prepared one thing at a time - very very relaxing and enjoyable.The other great thing was while some of us started early on Christmas Eve, Danni (Daughter 2 and Derek always worked up to at least 5pm on Christmas Eve - and even Danni got this Christmas Eve off so everyone was home on Christmas Eve morning so we had 2 great full days together which was fantastic).
As always though as much as I love Christmas I personally can't wait to get my house back to my house less decorations,pressies lying around everywhere etc so all signs of these things were down and put away again for another year by 2pm.
Finished that and headed off to try Dereks latest toy he got for Christmas - a metal detector (we have to make money somehow lol) and off we went to get out of the house after nearly 6 days inside cleaning and cooking - what did we find? - will let you know next blog.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and if you are like me you are looking forward to a new and exciting year with 2013! Stay safe.