Christmas was simple, small, and quiet for us this year, and that’s just what we needed. We rested and napped, read books and watched way too many episodes of “Arrow”, ate good leftovers and favorite desserts, and enjoyed not having to go anywhere or do anything.
Bear surprised me with two swords of my very own, beautifully strong but light enough for my non-bloke-y self to wield. I’m excited to start practicing with him and our Blackwolf medieval friends in January.
The other pressie from Bear delighted me no end: an adventure.
As you know, travel is very important to me, one of the great delights of my life. But since moving to Australia it has moved to the back burner for a variety of reasons, among them, poor health, visa requirements, and responsibilities on our beloved but time-consuming farm.
But this weekend I get to go traveling again, on a Girls Only Aussie Road Trip with my dear friend Sue. Bear thought I might be disappointed that his gift wasn’t something I could hang onto, but I laughed and assured him that adventure was the very best thing he could give me.
I worked hard this week to get all my projects and writing assignments completed before I left, and the rest of my work I can do remotely on the road. I have stacks and lists everywhere and I’m getting so excited!!
This afternoon Sue and I are packing her van with camping gear, good food, and stacks of books, and tomorrow we drive north. We’re heading for the Bunya Mountains where we plan to relax our little hearts out, cook simply over a gas burner, hike in the bush, and sit around camp reading and chatting and snoozing. We will stop at other places along the way, ending in Biloela where we’ll spend New Year’s Eve with Sue’s good friends from England. Then we’ll mosey on back, stopping wherever takes our fancy. I cannot wait.
But this morning it’s all about getting ready to leave. There are gardens to be watered, newborn chicks to be checked on, house to tidy, food to organize, bags to pack, and a Bear to hug often to make up for a week apart.
My gardens are going beautifully and will supply Bear with tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, greens, and carrots while I’m away. On Christmas Eve my artichokes bloomed. Aren’t they stunning?!
They’re like something magical out of a fairytale or a Dr. Seuss book, and I love them.
Today we’re also finishing off the last of the plum pudding I made Bear for Christmas. Made with crumbed oats, sago pearls, and dried fruit soaked in spiced rum, it is moist and flavorful, delicious served with a generous drizzle of cold cream.
Wishing you all a relaxing holiday and beautiful New Year with people you love and who love you in return. xo
Sago Plum Pudding
4 Tbsp sago pearls
1 cup milk
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups oats, blized in food processor until crumbs
1 1/2 cups dried fruit
1/2 cup spiced rum
2 eggs, whisked lightly
1/3 cup butter, melted
- Combine sago pearls and milk and leave to soak for 1 hour.
- Combine dried fruit and spiced rum and leave to soak for 1 hour.
- Stir in baking soda until dissolved.
- Combine with remaining ingredients and stir until smooth and all ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour into greased pudding pot, cover with baking paper, and secure lid.
- Place in large pot, fill with boiling water to halfway up pudding pot, cover, place on medium-high heat and simmer for 3-4 hours. Make sure to check water level regularly so it doesn’t boil dry. Add more boiling water as needed.
- Carefully remove pudding from steam bath, remove lid and baking paper and loosen pudding from the pot with plastic spatula. Invert onto serving platter and decorate as you wish.
- Serve warm with cream.