We cooked, we went to places, we ate, we went to other places, we ate some more…is pretty much the long and the short of it!
If you know any Singaporeans, you’ll know we LOVE our food and are very serious about it. Singapore is a big melting pot of cultures, people and cuisines, all stuck together by equatorial humidity.
Here in Sydney, I have the good fortune of being part of the multi-cultural ‘Mercer family Christmas’. This means our celebrations are damned tasty. Typically, we hold what we call a Christmas War Council, where the usual suspects (read: those of us who can cook) get together and plan the meal, giving the grandparents the day off. I don’t know if there’s even a ‘traditional’ Australian Christmas spread. If there is such a thing, it would include cooked prawns. In the days leading up to Christmas, brave souls head to the Sydney Fish Markets to buy thousands of kilos of prawns and other seafood (but not those prawns peeled by slave labour!!).
For the Mercer family Chirstmases, we’ve had a fork-tender brisket, beef ribs, mussels, BBQ, chicken wings, salmon and the usual roasts. This year, my unconventional contribution to Christmas was Singapore chilli crab, which I have never made before in my life. I love seafood, but am not adept at preparing or cooking it. Still, it was worth having a go.
Here’s a quick photographic run-down of my chilli crab, which was pretty damn tasty. I was traumatised by the making of it, however. The crabs were ‘put to sleep’ by the time I got my rubber-gloved hands on them, however the dismembering was a lot to deal with. At one point, I thought one of them moved, so naturally I yelped and ran to the living room. Anyway, they got cooked. It got eaten. It was good.
Other Christmas foods prepared by some terribly clever people include Simon’s amazing beef-standing rib roast, served with his wonderful chimichurri sauce, a friend’s spinach and cheese dip served in a pumpkin-seed breadbowl, and Mercer’s sister-in-law’s gingerbread cookies (which I think Simon ended up baking).
This year, I enlisted Dubs to make the Christmas cards. She did so, with all the exuberance of an 8-year old who is made to work during her precious school holidays.
My baked Tamari sesame salmon and soba noodle salad, served chilled. First time making this. I think I like it.
On Boxing Day, we usually go to our friend, Lord Willoughby’s house. Not just because he has an underground, vintage, fully-stocked speakeasy whiskey bar and puts on an awesome spread… You’ll hear a lot about M’lord on this blog. We share a love of zombies. The picture below just shows the starters, salads and dessert. All the mains were on another table out on the deck!
My friend Simon’s brilliant cheese board – from the top left: Beaufort, Bleu Des Basque, Jean Frap Chevre, Pynegana Aged Cheddar and Delice de Bourgogne. The Delice was butter-soft and MAGNIFICENT!
My other Boxing Day salad was Middle-eastern-ish: mesculin lettuce with falafel, haloumi, cherry tomatoes, Israeli couscous, pine nuts, pomegranate, cucumbers, chickpeas and hummus. I need to learn to make falafels from scratch. The thing with falafels (as you probably know), is that they go hard and dry so quickly. These were from the packet; I just fried them for a couple of minutes and they were good to go (but needed to be eaten immediately).
Today, we recovered with pancakes in bed while watching the last episode of Madam Secretary, Season 2. Who got blown up? Was it President Ostrov? President Dalton? Elizabeth? The Ukrainians?! Argh! I have to wait until next year to find out what happened!!! P.S – Henry McCord IS arm candy.