It is roasting hot here in our part of Australia, and it’s hard to believe that it’s nearly Christmas when I’m watering my gardens and getting sunburned.
I do miss the snow and pine trees of my childhood, but I’m learning to love the uniqueness of a warm Christmas.
Last night my friend Jackie took me to Carols in the Park – a wonderful local tradition that I absolutely loved. Carting a picnic basket and lawn chairs we joined hundreds of others at Leslie Park in Warwick, finding a spot on the grass where we could see the stage. We sipped coffee and nibbled on crackers topped with Camembert and Jackie’s homemade quince paste, visiting happily as we watched the performers bustle around getting ready for their turn on stage.
As night fell and the sweltering heat of the day was replaced by cool evening breezes, we listened to local talent strut their stuff and belt out Christmas carols, joining in whenever the mood took us. How I loved hearing hundreds of voices raised in a jaunty version of Jingle Bells as little kids waved glo sticks and danced madly in the grass. It was a great evening and truly put me in the Christmas spirit.
After a wild month of doctor visits and tests, deadlines and end of term busyness, Bear and I are heading to the coast for a much-needed break.
We are so excited to see our dear friend Elizabeth for good visits, jaunts to foodie shops, and a nighttime tour of Brisbane Christmas Lights.
We will also get to recreate one of our very first dates at Main Beach, Queensland with brunch at Milan on Main (I’ve been dreaming of their smoked trout crepes with balsamic reduction for two years!). I’m really looking forward to a leisurely meal with my man and time in the sun, walking barefoot in the sand and letting those warm ocean wave crash over me.
In preparation for leaving I’ve been doing a bit of Christmas preparation so I don’t have to stress about it when I’m back home.
I made cranberry white chocolate scones (recipe later this week!) and some lovely pickled heirloom beets. My favorite thing thus far is cherry-infused vodka for Christmas toasts or just a cheery evening tipple.
The color is so gorgeous and I can’t wait to use the boozy fruit in something scrumptious like a dark chocolate cherry tart. 🙂
What is your favorite Christmas treat?
1 bottle good quality vodka
1-2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
1 Tbsp raw or granulated sugar
- Sterilize one mason jar or other bottle.
- Fill with fresh cherries.
- Sprinkle sugar over cherries.
- Pour vodka over cherries and sugar.
- Seal and shake gently to dissolve sugar.
- Let rest in cool, dark place 3-5 days, shaking once a day to make sure sugar dissolves completely.
- Strain and use fruit over ice cream or another dessert.
- Store cherry-infused vodka in freezer until ready to use.