Whew! What a holiday. I think it's a general rule that holidays are difficult for most people. I have to say that this year I was lucky in that I had a blast and a blast only. It's hard to narrow down, but here are my top ten things that were awesome about Christmas 2010:
1. Mulled wine
As you may have gathered from my photos in Turkey Tips from Toiv, we work in an open-plan office with six desks facing each other. We have called our area "The Eastern Bloc" in recognition of the fact that most of us come from Eastern European descent. This year, the Eastern Bloc decided to have a Christmas sweater party that was a raging success. Everyone brought some baked goods and I volunteered to make mulled wine. I have never made mulled wine before, but it seemed simple enough. Follow this recipe and you can't go wrong:
4 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg
1 sliced lemon
1 bottle red wine
1/2 cup of sugar
This was not the recipe I originally followed, but I made some adjustments and the above seemed to be the batch that most people enjoyed. It is, of course a matter of taste. Begin by brewing a cup and a half of water with the sugar, herbs and fruit. Once the mixture has reached a boil, reduce heat and let cool for 20 mins, then add the wine. Serve immediately. The smell is ridiculously delicious and made the office smell the way you always hope your home smells at Christmastime (realistically though, mine probably smells like a pine candle, a litter box, and gluttony).
As mentioned, it was a Christmas sweater party, which resulted in:
2. This Photo of Sharla and Brown Santa
Not only did Nin wear a woman's cardigan that his wife bought especially for this occasion, but Sharla wore a 14-year-old Rudolph sweater with a built-in red light complete with battery pack:
Christmas vomited on them and it makes me very, very happy.
3. High Tea at the Wedgewood Hotel with Lana and Paul
Lana and her boyfriend Paul invited me to high tea with them, where we lingered in front of the fireplace for hours drinking Kir Royales and hot English Breakfast tea. Look how cute they are:
I love love!
4. Eggnog Pie
I found this recipe online, made it for the office party, and it was such a hit I made one for Christmas dinner. It takes about 5 seconds to make and tastes like frolicking with wood nymphs in an enchanted forest (or something):
1 frozen pie shell
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups eggnog
2 tablespoons rum
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 package non-instant vanilla pudding
Follow directions on the pie shell box, bake and allow to cool. In a saucepan, heat eggnog and add vanilla pudding mix. Whisk until thoroughly blended, remove from heat when large bubbles appear. Add nutmeg and rum, place in fridge to set.
Whip the cream until stiff peaks appear. Once set, remove the pudding mix and beat until fluffy. Fold whipping cream and pudding mix together, then pour into pie shell. Top with nutmeg, then allow to chill overnight.
I mean, look at this thing:
5. Pomegranate Martinis
On Christmas Eve, my mum and I like to have a little Christmas cheer and watch White Christmas, with Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby. This year, I decided to make simple pomegranate martinis with muddled pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, ice cold vodka and pure pomegranate juice. A lovely way to cap off the evening!
6. Mum's Curry
Another thing we like to do on Christmas Eve is make prawn coconut curry. Well, I make the rice and do some prep, then it's all mum. I don't know what it is with this woman and curry but she knocks it out of the park every single time. Since it was Christmas, we used a whole bag of frozen prawns, chopped up a handful of cilantro, a shallot, and a whole bag of Asian Family red curry sauce, which has lemongrass and coconut milk already mixed in. We served it over basmati rice and it was the best meal I had in ages:
7. This Pot
Santa (my mum) brought me my very first piece high-quality cookware: this stainless steel beauty I have named Edith (Edie for short). She and I cooked orzo together last night. I think it's love.
8. Stella's Holiday Collar
Stella is generally a good sport when it comes to putting up with my overloving her, dressing her up, and hugging her every five minutes. I found a Christmas collar at the dollar store and since she tore apart her reindeer antlers from last year, I figured it was time to renew her holiday spirit:
Something I didn't anticipate? Mad Stella is a ringer for Mad Carri. To wit:
9. Holiday Log
About 5 years ago I bought this DVD for $4.99
I love the fact that this is the second edition, the first must have been a fucking runaway hit. I call it my log movie, and it features a crackling fire, optional Christmas carols, PLUS TWO BONUS outdoor campfires. It's atmosphere in a disc. I've used it for the holidays, I've used it on dates, I've used it when the heat busted in the Holly Lodge to psych myself into thinking it was warm in here. Every year I appreciate it just a little more. Thanks, log!
10. General Gluttony
I fed my face like it was Rome before the fall, and according to the scale at the gym, I didn't gain any weight! LOOKING at food usually makes me gain about 5lbs, so this is some kind of Christmas miracle. I had some amazing food, and that for me is pretty much the best way to celebrate the holidays. And? I got to see my mum, which always makes me happy. And friends. And cat. And log. And everything. I hope your holiday was just as awesome :)