It’s raining heavily and Big-P is in the kitchen making Spicy Bean Stew and Sausages from the River Cottage Family Cookbook for dinner. It is one of my favourite dishes and it’s just perfect for a rainy evening.
Mum and I took the girls over to Chadstone this morning so Amelia could get a haircut and jangly Christmas music met our ears as soon as we stepped inside from the carpark. I actually didn’t mind a bit that it’s only November 2 and already it’s all about Christmas (and has been for some time in most retail stores). I can’t help loving Christmas. It’s the one big event I like to fall backwards into with arms spread wide like it is a big comfy bed. Now that we have little kids I am really enjoying adding new family traditions from year to year. Last year was the amazingly successful Advent activity calendar which we will definitely be doing again this year, and a big tree covered with decorations. This year I have volunteered our place as the destination of choice for our family Christmas lunch.
It’s not as brave as it sounds as our family is small this year, just us and my Mum and Dad and my Grandma. Like many other Australians we might not go for the whole roast dinner thing – more than likely we will buy a couple of good, hot charcoal chickens that morning and then add a whole bunch of homemade salads and accompaniments.
I can see that we will be doing all sorts of activities in the lead up – homemade christmas crackers, place cards… we might even make some crazy table decorations… as I think I may have mentioned previously, the planning is always my favourite part of a project.
And of course there also has to be a pudding*.
So I have been looking into Delia’s Complete Cookery Course, Nigella’s Goddess book and Stephanie’s Encyclopedia but I am not sure which one to go for. I know that Paul and Christina swear by Delia’s and they are the King and Queen of Christmas in these parts so I will probably go for that one. The only problem is that I watched mum grate suet last year and it was truly horrible. I have just read in Nigella’s book that the last Sunday in November is “Stir Up Sunday” and a good day to make Pudding. Fortunately that’s a while away so I can get my head around the suet thing.
* Hopefully not of the cranky variety, inspired by Norman Lindsay.