A Summer Christmas Menu

Thursday, December 26, 2013
Merry Christmas!
It's Boxing Day here in New Zealand, and so nice to have a leisurely morning for the first time in weeks.
Boxing Day (for those who don't know) is a national holiday here in New Zealand and many other Commonwealth countries (originating from England) and is a day when we give our servants gifts - as a token of appreciation for running around after us on Christmas Day and all the other days of the year.

Ahhh. Sigh.

It's so hard to find good help these days.

I had to do all the cooking and Christmas preparation myself yesterday.

In our family we have a tradition of waffles for brunch on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

My sister gave me a waffle maker as a gift when I returned to New Zealand from the USA way back in the early 90's. Waffles were not a common menu item in New Zealand back then, being more American than anything else, but they have grown quickly in popularity, and for a cooked breakfast is a real treat and a small way of incorporating my love of America into my life.

It's a lovely way of using the beautiful fresh fruit that's around at this time of the year. Strawberries and raspberries and blueberries and peaches and bananas and pineapple. All topped off with fresh cream and cinnamon and Maple Syrup. It's very handy having a sister living in Canada, because we often get blessed with real maple syrup, although I did find some 'Made in Canada' syrup in our grocery store this week.


My recipe for light and fluffy waffles is here.

We ate our waffles when we came home from church, the children having already opened their stockings on waking - which was way too early!

When we finished our waffles and the clean up, we enjoyed sitting around the Christmas tree and opening all the presents at our leisure, but with four children all eager to find out what was in those wrapped-up surprises, we were all done by 1pm, which left lots of time for Dad and big brother to retreat to the garage to put together the bikes and the Go-Kart and the remote-control cars, while I busied myself with preparations for the evening meal. The great Christmas celebration with the best food we can buy and all the lovely things we like to eat.

For many years we celebrated with a roast turkey, but last year we decided to try the Baked Ham everyone was raving over,  and it was such a success, and hugely popular with adults and children that we are fixed on that now as our traditional Christmas dinner. Baked Ham is out of this world delicious, and the bonus is that we can take the leftover cold ham away on holiday with us to the beach.

For the glaze on the baked ham, I used the recipe Spiced Cranberry and Maple Glaze from Chelsea Winter, who is fast becoming my favourite celebrity chef (she won NZ's Master Chef last year). This glaze was so good, I even used the leftovers as a sauce for the table while we ate. 

We ate new boiled potatoes cooked with mint and liberally bathed in melted butter, with a fresh lettuce salad. I tried to keep it simple as my children are not big eaters, and there is always so much food around on Christmas Day.


Here is Miss A singing her special grace that she learned at kindy - 'Hallelu…"! at the top of her voice.

For dessert, I intended to make three things: the Lees family Pavlova, Blueberry Tart and Lemon Curd Profiteroles, but the grocery store had run out of an ingredient I needed for the profiteroles, so in the end I just made two things. Normally, I make Christmas Icecream, which is also something I bought back from America and adapted to use here, long before it became popular when Jo Seagar brought out her recipe, but this year I decided not to use it.

The Lees family Pavlova involves cinnamon and chocolate, and the recipe was given to me as a wedding present. Seriously it is that good!

I made a Blueberry Tart which looks amazing, and the creamy lemony filling is incredible, but there was too much pastry for my liking, so I think I would have to adapt it to make it again, but it was still enjoyed by everyone.

By the way, I love using RED serving plates. The one that the Blueberry tart is on was given to me by my childhood friend Naomi. It's my favourite.

I hope you all have enjoyed good food and company this Christmas.


Jenny said...

Mmm, it all looks delicious, Rachel! And, I just have to say that my Mum has the exact same Johnson Brothers china - the design is so familiar and pretty to me, has always been one of my favourites! I love your waffle brunch tradition... one tradition I wish I could introduce to America is Boxing Day! Always seems like such a let down that everyone is back to work the day after Christmas over here...

Rachel said...

We bought the dinner set just before we got married. We use it everyday - such a lovely one and has even survived 4 children! Have you had a white Christmas Jenny?

Jenny said...

Yes, it was indeed a white Christmas with 6+ inches of snow on the ground! Very pretty... we have had snow every Christmas since the kids were born, so they don't know any different! It will be time for an NZ/summer Christmas next year though, I think ;o)

Heather L. said...

Your food looks so, so good!!!!! I love the waffles!!!! And the pavlova...

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