Christmas 2010

27 12 2010

The Christmas holidays is a time of year that is inextricably linked with the cooking (yay!) and then eating (hurrah!) of food.  This year I was fortunate enough to be able to travel back to the land of All Blacks and Hobbits where I celebrated the festive season with my kiwi family and friends.  Unlike Christmas 2009 I wasn’t responsible for a full multi-course meal, however I did spend some time in the kitchen cooking.

The cooking started at my friend Cat‘s house with a group of us and an all day Bake-a-Rama. The goal was to create a treasure chest of treats that could be brought out when required for visitors during the Christmas holidays.  After the measuring, sifting, mixing and baking Cat’s kitchen table was flooded with dozens (and dozens and dozens) of cookies. Clockwise from the top we created the following:

Gingerbread Cookies
White Chocolate and Strawberry Cookies
Dark Chocolate and Apricot Cookies
Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles
Passionfruit Melting Moments (still to be iced)
Shortbread
Cathedral Cookies
Iced Spice Cookies
Iced Sugar Cookies

 

A Caramel Fruit Cake was then also added to the booty of culinary treasures:

Needless to say, visitors to Cat’s house have had a selection of baked goodness to choose from while having their cuppa tea.

More time was spent in the kitchen on Christmas Day where I cooked breakfast and then dinner for my brother and his young family.  Since I was spending Christmas with small children I knew that the big day would start early…which meant that I had to start even earlier.  I set my alarm on Christmas Eve and by 0630 on Christmas Day I was up and about cooking the pancakes, moving around the kitchen extremely quietly so as to not wake the smaller members of the household.  I finished the double batch of batter just before the small ones invaded the lounge and the carnage that is a children’s Christmas started.

Once the carnage had ended and the little ones were out visiting the Grandparents I started on a batch of Delia Smith’s Vegetarian ‘Sausage’ Rolls (the same recipe that I used last year) and the Christmas dinner.  As I mentioned in the Christmas 2009 post, a roast Christmas dinner is a tradition in our family.  This year I opted to not do a full roast and instead settled on a smaller cut of cow for the family which I served with roasties, fresh peas, maple-glazed baby carrots and onion and mushroom gravy.  I reckon the peas and carrots were the best bit, especially the peas.  I love fresh peas, I even love shelling them, bizarre but true.

Being able to spend this festive season with family and friends that I haven’t seen for over two years has made Christmas 2010 just that little bit more special.  I hope that this festive season was just as enjoyable for you as well.

See you in the new year,

Lizzie

x





Hijacking Rainbows

8 12 2010

Who says you can’t go home?/There’s only one place they call me one of their own/I’m just a hometown boy, born a rollin’ stone/Who says you can’t go home?/Who says you can’t go back?/Been all around the world and as a matter of fact/There’s only one place left I want to go/Who says you can’t go home?

Rewind to the last Friday of January 2008 and I was sitting in Wellington Airport waiting to board a domestic flight to Christchurch.  There was one reason, and one reason only, for this trip and that was to see Bon Jovi perform at AMI Stadium on the following Monday night.  As I mentioned in this post I am bit of a fan of the boys from New Jersey.  In that post I described the Christchurch gig as a

glorious mix of good company, good live music and a gorgeous late summer evening

That particular weekend was one of those magical moments of serendipity.  I had decided to make a proper mini-break of the experience and planned to spend the whole weekend in Christchurch.  I had booked an early morning flight on that Friday and was sitting in my seat on the plane, about to buckle myself in, when looking up I spotted Cat sitting one row in front of me but in the other aisle.  Cat is one of my best friends, however at that point I hadn’t seen her for a couple of years – I certainly didn’t expect to see her sitting on this plane.  I forgot about my seat belt and reaching forward I tapped her on the shoulder “Cat?” I asked “Oh my god, Lizzie?” came the surprised response.  It turned out that not only did Cat have tickets to Bon Jovi but that her tickets were for the same area as my ticket.  In the end I had an awesome weekend catching up and rockin’ out with a fellow rock chick.  The entire weekend ended up being that little bit more special than it would’ve otherwise been due to that chance meeting.

Fast forward a few months later and I found myself once again sitting in Wellington Airport, this time waiting to board an international flight for London on a one way ticket.  Fast forward even further to June this year and I received the following message from Cat

hey so Bon Jovi are playing Wellington on December 4th – totally an excuse to come back and visit NZ!! If you’re keen, we have a spare room…

I thought about it, but not for that long (Bon Jovi? Wellington? Home? a chance to catch up with family?).  I responded with

re: Bon Jovi – you’re on

That conversation started a series of events which resulted with me sitting in Heathrow Airport on Monday 29 November waiting to board an international flight back home to Wellington, New Zealand.

Yes readers, I did fly half way around the world for Bon Jovi.

And for my family and friends.

Most importantly for family and friends.

But also for Bon Jovi.

The concert itself was excellent.  I revelled in the fact that I was sitting in Westpac Stadium next to my brother and best friend (and even near my cousin who turned out was not far from us) waiting for the show to start .  It was felt both surreal to be back in Wellington but at the same time it also felt like I had never left.  Particular highlights for me was the nod to various Kiwis in the video for Born to Follow and Jon’s tribute to the Pike River Miners – the latter was especially appreciated.  The encore of Wanted was also wicked cool and the inclusion of Who says you can’t go home also stuck a personal note with me.  All in all, it was well worth the 26 hour flight from London.

It doesn’t matter where you are, doesn’t matter where you go/If it’s a million miles away or just a mile up the road/Take it in, take it with you when you go/Who says you can’t go home?

Set list: blood on blood/we weren’t born to follow/you give love a bad name/born to be my baby/lost highway/whole lot of leavin’/when we were beautiful/it’s my life/I’ll sleep when I’m dead/we got it goin’ on/bad medicine (with pretty woman)/lay your hands on me/what do you got?/I’ll be there for you/work for the working man/raise your hands/runaway/who says you can’t go home/keep the faith Encore: wanted dead or alive/livin’ on a prayer