It’s very odd- my Day 23 Post hasn’t appeared- what happened?
Not a lot to say today- Christmas Day- we had a quiet day. Last night there was a huge feast with friends round the corner- about 20 or so people- and the host, John, prepared enough food to keep us for a week! He’s like that- cooks a monster stack of prawns, chicken, lamb and steak, plus there is a giant ham prepared earlier by his wife. I folded after the entrees followed by the chicken and skipped straight to dessert. Dessert was an agonising choice (well, not for some, who had both), between a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake or a mango trifle/tiramisu hybrid, which was very light and tasty. Cheryl is the dessert supremo- she won’t ever let anyone bring sweets to their place! I do some great desserts, but I can’t share them there!
Tomorrow we have another feast at another friend’s house nearby. She is almost as prolific as our other friend with the huge amount of food she dishes up! I know these days which courses to skip so I can fit in the ones I like best. One year she made a traditional French bouillebaisse and it was so delicious- the best I’ve ever had, even in Marseille. I wish she would do it again, but she hasn’t for about 10 years! I always take some of my homemade dukkah and olive oil which we eat using crusty bread for dipping. You can have the recipe if you wish! It’s based on one by Claudia Roden, but mine is more anise-flavoured.
We used to go olive picking with a gourmet group in winter and have our own olive oil crushed at a small commercial mill. That oil was so terrifically tasty and sort of buttery- commercial oil doesn’t hold a card to it. It made the dukkah taste even better [not strictly possible]. These days the olive-picking has been cornered by people with lots of money, so the shares to join the picking group cost too much for us. We’ve gone back to Woolies!
On the 29th we’re having our previously homeless friends around for a Christmassy feast at our place. There will be ourselves and 3 guests so we’re having a Turkey Breast Roll roasted with apricot sauce and macadamia nuts. We’ll have traditional roasted vegies and a green salad with our own pickled and spiced olives. For those olives we were allowed to pick at a commercial orchard the winter of 2009 because they had lost their contract with a major hotel and had no other market left. So we got them free, I used the fresh water method to pickle them and then froze them for a while before putting them into oil with herbs and garlic. They are mostly delicious black olives, except a few containers are still bitter from not having been leached enough in the rainwater.
For dessert we will have lemon-lime delicious pudding which is really quick and yummy, plus vanilla icecream. I have already cooked the miniature Chunky Christmas Cakes for people to take home with them afterwards.
Spotrick and I exchanged presents this morning- mostly a big heap of rectangles. We giggle about all the rectangles under the tree every year, we’re both such terrible bookworms! Spotrick gave me Sarah Gruen’s ‘The Ape House’ and ‘Them & Us’ by Will Hutton. The latter was on my wish list and having skimmed a few chapters, it is a great read- of course not half because Will Hutton’s views on the political economy closely coincide with my own! He also gave me a very welcome laptop cushion to replace the collection of magazines (Winsletts we call them) and a heat shield pad that I balance on my lap usually. In a tiny package which was wrapped like ‘pass the parcel’ in multiple layers of bubble wrap and tissue paper, was a tiny glass perfume bottle with long glass stopper for dabbing. This came from the local university and community glass works where lots of artists rent facilities and time on the furnaces. I wish I could do that style of glass work, but I couldn’t afford the fees, so I just use my kiln. Lastly was a tube of lavender hand cream for my housewife’s hands (mainly from gardening lately, in fact).
I gave Spotrick 4 books including one that had me absolutely cacking myself in the bookshop- ‘The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo’, with principle character Lizbreath Salamander!!! rofl. I also gave him a new pair of lounging trousers (happy pants?)- they are just like light cotton pyjama pants. I made them from some batik-printed dark blue Swiss cotton with a red waistband and stitching- he really likes them and is wearing them already!
So I hope everyone had the sort of Christmas/Hanukkah [or whatever you were celebrating], that you wished for- we did!