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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ho ho ho and a bottle of champers

I kept putting off this post as I've been feeling a bit lazy of late, and been somewhat busy eating, catching up with family and friends, getting heatstroke playing tennis, driving, braving the city for some bargain hunting and constructing an anti-sunlight device for my bedroom consisting of sheets sewn together in a umm.. rustic manner. As you might possibly be aware, today is New Year's Eve, so I thought I should get this written up before the new year is upon me and I'm nursing a hangover and hair of the dog on top of being busy and lazy.

I hadn't spent Christmas with my family for a few years, as Christmas 2007 was spent with my (now ex) boyfriend's family, and Christmas 2008 was spent driving between Montreal and New York city (we did manage to pull over on the side of the road for some delicious goat cheese and turkey sandwiches for lunch), so it was really nice to spend it with them and get some stocking action after two years of missing out. This was also our first Christmas with a baby in our immediate family, and my nephew's involvement seems to validate our continued stocking tradition. Do other people still do stockings? Will I ever outgrow it?

After spending Christmas eve building a gingerbread house and catching up with family, it was soon time for the traditional Christmas Eve seafood gorging extravaganza. This year did not disappoint, with some fine dishes on offer - South Australian oysters with Cointreau, coriander and sweet chilli, smoked salmon, smoked albacore, mango & spinach salad, prawns, crays (ok, technically they're Western Rock Lobsters but we're on a nickname basis), herb crumbed fish and scallop & chorizo rosemary skewers.

Christmas Eve deliciousness, with Dad's hand making the large prawns and cray slices looking like teeny tiny little things

My first plate.. seconds and thirds were enjoyed soon after

Although I haven't outgrown my need for Christmas stocking treats, I'm glad to have mostly outgrown my inability to get to sleep on Christmas eve and next thing I know it's the big day and Santa has been!

Our stockings, and a selection of my presents. Do you notice a theme?

After opening presents and stockings, and possibly enjoying a Bertie Beetle and Red Skin or two, it is time for real breakfast. Dad gets out the ham and slices off some nice thick pieces which my sister fries up with tomato and spinach, I poach some eggs, we put on some toast and soon we're enjoying a nice stomach stretching breaky to prepare us for the day ahead.

Christmas breakfast

After some family visiting (making sure to avoid running over small children trying out new bikes and scooters) we're soon preparing for the main event - Christmas lunch. We had three types of meat this year - pork, turkey and ham - and a selection of sides - greens sautéed with almonds, roast veges, broccoli & cauliflower cheese and of course my Mum's famous stuffing. All delicious, and noone could help but go back for seconds of everything. I'm lucky to be part of such a family where gluttony is celebrated, and my eating prowess surely proves that I'm actually not adopted, like my sister used to tell me when I was little (well, that and my Dad's nose sitting in the middle of my face and my Mum's weird little toes sitting on the ends of my bony feet).

Christmas carnivorousness

Sassy sides

Don't be shy, help yourselves

Numero uno

After a bit of a breather, it was time for the inaugural unveiling of my Christmas pudding, complete with flambé excitement. No eyebrows were singed or curtains sacrificed, and I was satisfied with the amount of oohing and aahing. The pudding was accompanied with homemade vanilla custard, bought Brandy custard that was surprisingly delicious (Paul's Premium Brandy Custard, made with real brandy apparently), cream and ice cream. My sister-in-law's mother also made a trifle, and we had a nice plate of cherries. Less dishes than we usually have for Christmas dessert, but it was certainly more than enough.

Burn baby burn

Christmas dessert, ready for the attack

Christmas lunch was of course followed by much clutching of stomachs and moaning, followed by naps all round. Extended family then began arriving in the evening for more eating, bringing a selection of leftover meats, tasty salads and freshly baked bread.

Dinner salad selection

After having dessert leftovers, I then ignored the cries of those around me and decommissioned my gingerbread house. Ah surprise tinned mushrooms, when will the Christmas gifts stop coming?


You know that someone has enjoyed a fine day of Christmas consumption when they manage to bust a chair..

watch out for bum splinters

I hope you all had as good a Christmas as I did, and have much fun and excitement planned for tonight. As I type this I'm still unsure as to what exactly I'll be doing tonight, but it will involve friends and the champers I have chilling in the fridge so it's bound to be a good night.

Thanks to all for your support and comments over the past nine months, and here's to a top start to the new decade! I wonder what 2010 has in store for us?


Julia @Mélanger December 31, 2009 at 3:18 PM  

Looking forward to much more cooking and baking in 2010! Have a great evening!

Panamahat December 31, 2009 at 5:57 PM  

Hooley Dooley, what an extravaganza! I have BIG TIME Christmas food envy. Can I come to your place next year?

Hope your NYE is a fun one that doesn't spoil your 1st of Jan. See you in 2010...

Rubber Ninja December 31, 2009 at 7:32 PM  

That flamin pudding looks like a lot of fun. And the pressies looks veeery handy :)

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Hoping 2010 brings more delicious things our way

mademoiselle délicieuse December 31, 2009 at 8:27 PM  

I think I'm full just from looking at all that beautiful food enjoyed by your family and yourself! Have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know your blog and your sense of humour, and I look forward to much more of your cooking and eating shenanigans in 2010 =) Happy new year!

MaryMoh January 1, 2010 at 12:03 AM  

That's lots of fabulous food and fun. Happy New Year!

A cupcake or two January 1, 2010 at 2:28 AM  

So glad that we are not the only family that had so much food. Stocking treats are cool and I wish we still had that tradition. You got awesome presents. Can't wait to see what you wip up using your new gadgets.

Karine January 1, 2010 at 5:32 AM  


I wish you a Happy New Year!

Buy the way, even if you are adults now, we can still heart our childhood stockings :)

Trissa January 1, 2010 at 8:44 AM  

Hi Conor - just wanted to drop by to say I am really glad to have "met" you this year. You are one of the funniest people I know (ah I know I keep saying that!) and one day hope to meet you! All the best in 2010!

Agnes January 1, 2010 at 11:24 AM  

Oh my gosh, you guys managed to fit three large meals in on Christmas day? I am so impressed! We normally skip breakfast, have a massive lunch, and skip dinner. I'm now embarrassed to be such a lightweight!

Iron Chef Shellie January 1, 2010 at 12:14 PM  

oh busted chair!
love food themed presents =D
Looks like you had a delicious one!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella January 1, 2010 at 6:53 PM  

Love it! Your effort and all that food just has to be applauded! :D And breaking the slat in the chair is hilarious although I bet it could happen to anyone ;) Happy New Year Conor! :D

Belle@Ooh, Look January 1, 2010 at 9:21 PM  

Hey Conor, you're such an entertaining read, I hope to see a lot more of your eatings and doings in 2010. Have a great new year!

Arwen from Hoglet K January 2, 2010 at 10:22 AM  

I'm glad I'm not the only one still enjoying a stocking with kiddy treats of chocolate and chips. Looks like a great Christmas lunch there. Happy new year!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef January 2, 2010 at 7:01 PM  

Julia @Mélanger - thanks! Hope yours was fun!

Panamahat - we'll feed you if you're willing to drive 8 hours, sure :D (although we all want to be overseas this time next year, we'll see how these pipe dreams turn out)

Rubber Ninja - very handy indeed. I feel the need to simultaneously squeeze lemons, boil eggs, slice things finely and cook a tagine (timing everything precisely with my stopwatch of course). Happy New Year to you too!

mademoiselle délicieuse - thanks so much! I feel more shenanigans coming on already :D

MaryMoh - yes, happy new year!! :)

A cupcake or two - the gadgets are acclimatising in my kitchen right now, waiting for inspiration to hit... waiting, waiting ;)

Karine - happy new year to you too! I don't think I'll ever be a real adult.

Trissa - very glad to have "met" you too, Trissa! Thanks so much, you're too kind :)

Agnes - yep, we're pretty talented at this eating business, it's a good thing such gluttony only happens once (or maybe twice or thrice) a year.

Iron Chef Shellie - yes my sister knows me too well, I'm lucky with all my pressies! Pity noone bought me a chair ;)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - thank you! Hehe, it wasn't my arse that busted the chair although it could well have been with so much eating that day. Happy new year to you too!

Belle@Ooh, Look - thanks heaps Belle! Hope your year is off to a tasty start :)

Arwen from Hoglet K - Oh good, you too? It's just not the same without it :) Happy new year!

Karen @ Citrus and Candy January 2, 2010 at 10:42 PM  

Looked like an amazing day of food - I think that busted chair is testament to that LOL. A happy belated new year to you! xx

Mae January 3, 2010 at 12:48 AM  

Everything looks so elegant without the least bit of "fussiness".

Good stuff!

Karen Harris January 3, 2010 at 1:10 AM  

Happy New Year Conor! I am no oyster fan but yours, in addition to all the other fab looking seafood, make me want to give them another try. Sounds like you had a great Christmas. I hope you have a prosperous 2010.

Hannah January 3, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

Happy new year from me too, Conor! I hope your awesome Christmas is matched with a fabulous 2010.

H :)

PS. I'm loving the new look site. Nice work!

pierre January 3, 2010 at 4:22 PM  

Dear conor
I wish you the best for 2010 full of scrumptious surprises I do not know if this is good english but you understand the idea !!!

cheeers from freezing to death Paris

Conor @ HoldtheBeef January 3, 2010 at 4:59 PM  

Mae - thank you! I think that sums up our Christmas food very nicely indeed :D

Karen Harris - Thanks Karen! You too! Seriously, these oysters were amazing. We had some non-oyster fans going back for seconds of them. Wishing you a fab 2010 too :)

Hannah - back to you! Thanks mate, it needed a bit of an overhaul!

pierre - thanks Pierre, wishing you a very tasty year too! 40 degrees C here today, I'll send you some heat and sweat and flies ;)

Nicole January 4, 2010 at 5:23 AM  

Woo Hoo for the South Aussie products! Don't they have any oysters in Gero? I wouldn't know. I don't eat seafood.
MAN ALIVE! What a feast you had!! It all looked SO good!

Anita January 4, 2010 at 5:50 AM  

We still have stockings.. but this year it only contained a large toblerone... which was good. The food looks great - Happy New Year!

Rilsta @ My Food Trail January 4, 2010 at 11:06 AM  

Merry belated Christmas & Happy New Year! I haven't checked in to your blog for a while and wow, it has changed!! Love your new layout and blog header! :)

Looks like you had a fab Chrissy! Your gingerbread house looks so amazing!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella January 4, 2010 at 5:55 PM  

hehe I knew it wasn't you that broke the chair! :) I was just saying that it could happen to anyone (as I've done it in the past :P )

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge January 4, 2010 at 6:32 PM  

wow, what a treasure trove of goodies!! My worst nightmare, breaking a chair while people are around. If I continue my eating habits I know it will happen one day!!


Evelyne@Cheap Ethnic Eatz January 6, 2010 at 1:22 AM  

Happy New year Conor...and great new look!

Wow so much food...heatstroke??? its -8 here!

So hungry now! Hahaha about the chair!

Chef Fresco January 8, 2010 at 8:01 AM  

Hahah this post makes me laugh. I love stockings - they are almost my favorite part. And all of this food you have on here is making me very hungry!

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