I love Christmas. Deeply. In fact, a couple of years ago, Christmas and I basically got married. So Christmas in July has always been very alluring to me but for one reason or another I’ve never actually got around to it. I’ve always been too busy, or too committed to other stuff or too something. And it was just the same this year. But this year my yuletide cravings got the better of me and despite not really having oodles of time on my hands, I decided to host a small Christmas in July anyway.
And because it’s me, I couldn’t just content myself with a bit of turkey, a carol or two and some store-bought plum pudding (even if I had been able to track it down at this time of year). No. I had to go if not the whole hog, then at least a good half of that pig.
The thing about real Christmas in Australia is that it’s so hot. And while there is lots of nostalgic tradition that goes along with an Aussie Christmas (Rolf Harris singing Six White Boomers anyone?), there is still something undeniably un-Christmasy about eating turkey and ham with all the trimmings plus plum pud on a hot day. No matter how many Orange Blossom cocktails you have drunk and stupid paper hats you’ve donned.
That’s why many Australian families have a seafood Christmas lunch. Which, frankly, is far more geographically suited but doesn’t really make me want to fa la la la la.
So, if you haven’t already guessed, my Christmas in July was a snowy affair. A tribute to Christmas in a cold, Northern clime.
Pre-dinner nibbles consisted of a giant, kitschy cheeseball and bowls of nuts and bolts. Loves me some good old nuts and bolts. If high levels of salt are dangerous, then nuts and bolts is an assassin. Just once a year thanks my loves.
We ate turkey cooked on our Weber. It was moist. Fist-pumpingly moist. That just sounds so wrong. So moving right along… our sides were brussel sprouts tossed with bacon and toasted hazlenuts, roast potatoes, parsnip puff (like an italian savoury budino) with home-made roasted garlic and red wine gravy, cranberry sauce (out of a jar) and…ummm…copious amounts of red and white wine.
We even made gluhwein which nobody ended up actually drinking (despite my offers to warm glasses in my cleavage) but which perfumed the house with the most Christmas-y of scents.
Finally, a spectacular plum pudding made to a recipe passed down from at least as far back as Betty’s mother: my great-grandmother.
We finished in a coma. And then had coffee with homemade rum truffles.
I have to tell you that my mum made the cheese ball, the puff, the pud and trussed the turk. I simply could not have done this without her. It started out well but as the date drew near it became glaringly obvious I had been ever so slightly ambitious and a team of people would be required to execute my plans. Thank goodness, not only does my mum regularly help me pull off my overly-ambitious dinner stunts, but she’s also worth about 3 people and she came to my rescue once again. Thanks mum.
We listened to Dean Martin and Bing Crosby sing wintery Christmas carols and generally had a very merry old time that went on until the wee hours of the morning. At that point, when we realised it was almost 2am and most of us would be up with small children in a few hours, everyone ran off into the frosty night.
And I collapsed on the couch and vowed never to do anything so ambitious ever again. It was a big night for old people like us. So big I didn’t really feel back in form until about Thursday of last week. But now I know I’m back on track, because now I’m dreaming of a hot Christmas…just 6 short months away.