I grew up in New Zealand – generalised by many I meet overseas as being the land of All Blacks and Hobbits. A rather misguided judgement I feel (although my penchant for going barefoot doesn’t help dispel the latter assumption). As a Kiwi, the Christmas season for me conjures up thoughts of summer holidays: beaches, cricket and long, warm nights. Since arriving in the UK, one of the biggest changes I’ve had to adjust to is that the seasons are back-to-front, at least from what I’m used to. However, in one regard at least, the reality of a wintery Christmas isn’t too foreign: the food. Despite the occasionally sweltering summer temperatures, my Mum would still cook a traditional British Christmas roast every Christmas Eve when I was a youngster – adjusting it where necessary to fit in with Southern Hemisphere seasonality. Now that I’m living in the Northern Hemisphere this tradition is even more welcomed and fits hand-in-glove with the weather & dark, cold nights.
This year, I’ve decided to take over the reins at cooking our family dinner. This will be on Christmas Day (not Christmas Eve, apparently this is how they do it here) and before Dr Who (naturally). Actually, I’m not taking over all of it as Mum will still be cooking the turkey and the pig. But the rest of it (all four courses) is my domain. This isn’t the first Christmas meal I’ve cooked, but it will be the first that I will have cooked for my Mum. As far as I’m concerned she is the mistress of such ceremonies, so I have much to live up to.
As Christmas looms, I’ve realised that this is might be an ambitious task. Not at least because I won’t be arriving at my parents’ (where I’ll be spending Christmas) till 2130 hours on Christmas Eve. I envisage a late night cooking and a very early start on Christmas Day, also cooking. Hopefully I’ll also get a chance to wrap my presents in between all my culinary efforts. But I do feel that it will be worth the effort. I also feel rather lucky that I get to spend Christmas this way: with family, food and a warm house. The only thing that could make it better was if my Kiwi wh?nau were able to be a part of it. Maybe I’ll send them some mince pies.
Anyway, over the last few days, I’ve been planning how to best attack this task. I reckon I’ve got it sussed. Tune in after Christmas to see if I got it right. Right now I’m also rather glad that in a moment of wondrous foresight I made the mince pies two weeks ago. Six dozen of them. They’re now safely frozen till their appointed hour of stardom (well, except for the ones that were eaten before the rest were frozen…eaten mostly by me). I also made a dozen “sausage” rolls (sans pig) while I was at it, these too are also sitting in the freezer. Two items crossed off the list. Another dozen to go…
However, I can’t write this post without the really important part which is wishing you all a very merry and safe Christmas – however, wherever and with whomever you may be spending it.