I don't actually believe in Christmas in the religious sense. But that doesn't stop me throwing a Christmas party or attending lots of them and having lots of fun with friends.
I guess the first Christmas party was the one that was thrown by work. It was a catered lunch on the "last day of work this year" (although technically a lot of us, myself included, are going back to work after Boxing Day). The food itself wasn't that great. Most of the meats were dry and rather tasteless. The Cesear Salad was the best part, and that ran out when I went back for a bit more. The best part of the lunch was just finding out what people's holiday plans were and hearing stories of horror Christmas lunch/dinners with relatives.
I decided then to throw together a little Christmas party myself. After seeing how easy it was to do a roast when Ella from A Goddess In The Kitchen hosted me at her Dromana holiday house, I decided to do a lamb roast.
I can now say that doing a roast is so easy, impresses people so much, and damn tasty. It was last minute so I just got a leg of lamb from Coles. Then I cut holes in it and stuffed rosemary, garlic and anchovies. The anchovies were the ones that John Lethlean wrote about and I bought from Mediterranean Wholesalers on my Sydney Road food tour. I can't believe how different anchovies can be. The ones I normally buy from Coles are thin little things that are just salty. These ones are still salty but have a depth of flavour that tastes ten times better.
Anyway, I digress, I sat the leg of lamb on halves of onion so it was off the tray. I scattered some unpeeled garlic cloves, some slices of lemon, salt and pepper on it and a splash of olive oil. Then I covered it with foil and it went into the oven at 180C on a fan forced oven for about 1 hour. Then it was off with foil and about 20 minutes on each side of the lamb to brown it.
The lamb looked beautiful when it was done and tasted the same. It was juicy and moist still. The outside was slightly crispy whilst the inside was still pink.
Some simple roasted vegetables and salad accompanied the lamb.
Dessert was the Christmas Pudding that my work colleague Jennifer sells. For $30, she sells this huge 1.7kg pudding full of fruits and Brandy. It tasted really good with some ice cream. If she makes them again next year, I will buy another one for sure.
Then we exchanged gifts, even though we don't believe in Christmas. We can believe in gifts though. I got this thing below.
Isn't it beautiful. What is it you ask. It's lightning in a ball. I love lightning and have wanted one of these lightning balls for ages. One of my best friends Kin remembered that and got me this lightning ball.
The next Christmas party was at Phuong's house. She did Hot Pot, not exactly your traditionaly Christmas meal, but what the heck, its still good. There was so much food that we didn't even finish half of it. Here is Phuong (left) and Jo eating through the food.
Again, more gifts were exchanged. I must have the words "Indulgent Food Addict" etched on my forehead because I received so many food, specifically chocolate related gifts. Here is a sample of the chocolate gifts I got, all of which I love.
I also got a huge tray of pastries from El Fayha, my current favourite pastry shop located on Sydney Road. One of my other best friends John got me these, as he knows how much I love these little pastries.
Then it was off to Tin's house for a BBQ Christmas party. He did another lamb on a spit like we did last time for his birthday party. Probably due to the high wind, the lamb took forever to cook this time. Last time it only took about 3 hours. This time, it still wasn't quite done after 5 hours. Also, this lamb seemed to have a lot more fat on it and that had to be cut away or it coagulated when the meat got cold. The lamb itself still tasted nice.
Tin's sister also did this beautiful Log Cake. The chocolate cream had biscuit chunks in it and covered a layer of cream. This surrounded a sponge cake that had home made pineapple jam in the centre. It was really delicious.
Tin's backyard train set had progressed along some more, with about 1/4 of the tracks laid out now.
Finally, the last Christmas party was at Kevin's house. Here I am with Kevin in the background.
Everyone brought a dish of food to share. Even with 16 people, there was way too much food to finish. Our co-host Candy prepared the "traditional" Turkey and Roast Pork. Suprisingly, the turkey is the red coloured meat and the pork was the white meat. Everyone thought it was the other way around.
There was chicken wings, pies, dips, sashimi, Portguese chicken, rice casserole and the list goes on.
There was salad, fruit and some desserts as well. I brought a Tiramisu cake that I made whilst Aida brought some yummy Ice Cream Cake.
Finally, more gifts were exchanged in a Kris Kringle fashion. There was much hilarity and laughter when people opened their gift of varying sizes and shapes. I got a bottle of alcohol, perfect for me.
And that wraps up all the Christmas parties for this year. Today I went on my annual Boxing Day shopping spree. I bought a few things for myself and am so tired now. Now there is only the New Year's parties to look forward to. I've already got a few invites, but may have to decline all of them depending on how work goes. The project is ending and I'll be going overseas mid next month to present it. Hence it has to be finished or I will look like a fool. So maybe there won't be any New Year's celebration for me this year :-(. I'll just enjoy it in spirit I guess.