Coastal Christmas Blog Hop – Win a $150 gift card – free e-books plus
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening, In the lane snow is glistening …
Much as I love singing along with Christmas carols, this scenario is never going to happen for me where we live in Coastal Bay of Plenty, New Zealand … Christmas Down Under almost coincides with the summer solstice, the air is warm, the days are long, school is out for the year, it’s the summer holidays and the beach beckons.
My dream is to maybe one day experience a white Christmas, complete with a snow fall. I have never actually seen snow falling. We do have the very odd light dusting of snow, but never in summer.
Christmas where I live, is sea, sand, sunshine and flowering pohutukawa trees that dot the shorelines of the North Island and bloom with great profusion at Christmas time. They are a glorious sight to behold.
As Christmas occurs in the height of summer, for us, food choices reflect our climate and the ready availability of fresh produce. For all our years on the farm the enduring scent of Christmas and summer for me is newly cut hay … it is a scent like no other.
On Christmas Eve we usually attend the midnight church service, and remember those members of our family who are no longer with us to celebrate family events. For many years now, Christmas has been bitter-sweet for our family after the death of our twin sons aged 29. 20 years ago we spent Christmas in the ICU where our elder twin son lay in a coma. Twelve weeks after he died, his twin went to bed and didn’t wake up … and an enormous gap opened up in our family.
But Christmas is a time of re-birth, renewed hope, of new beginnings and an affirmation that life does go on. Despite this body blow, our family bonds have become stronger.
Christmas for us now, is all about the three F’s … Family, Food and Fun, and not lavish presents.
On Christmas morning, the family arrives from all over, carrying food, presents, and excited children. We are proud to add great grandchildren to the family muster now. We all usually gather for Christmas dinner at my house, although as my husband and I get older this order is slowly changing.
Christmas Dinner is usually cold cuts, ham, turkey, and lamb with side salads, green peas and potatoes, all freshly cut or dug from the garden.
No Christmas dinner is complete without fresh strawberries, raspberries, cherries and kiwifruit, and of course a pavlova, the most Kiwi of desserts and pure, sublime decadence…and a source of friendly controversy between Australians and New Zealanders (Kiwis) as to who first made this dessert. Being a Kiwi, of course I assert with great authority, that NZ developed the Pavlova.
This is the Pavlova recipe I’ve used forever.
6 egg whites (at room temperature)
2 cups Caster Sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp cornflour
300ml cream, whipped
Fruit for decoration
Pre-heat oven to 110ºC bake (not fan bake).
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a large metal, ceramic or glass bowl (not plastic), beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating while adding the sugar a quarter of a cup at a time. The mixture should get glossier and thicker with each addition and this should take at least 10 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour.
Spoon mixture out prepared tray into a dinner plate sized mound.
Bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours, until dry and crisp and it lifts easily off the baking paper. Cool on a wire rack.
When completely cool, place on a serving plate, swirl the top with the whipped cream and decorate with sliced or chopped fruit of your choice.
Happy holidays everyone.
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Published on Monday, November 27th, 2017, under Latest News