This past Sunday I held my 12th Annual Christmas feast.
I cannot believe that 12 years has past since my very first one was held in my little flat in Prahran when I was so very young and innocent. Six friends sitting around my decoupaged dining table (jeez....what was I thinking??) and ended with us singing Madonna songs into the salt and pepper shakers....ahh....good times.
I'm now 12 years older and wiser (well, occasionally I'm a little wiser), and this years feast was held in a gorgeous little park in Clifton Hill. The weather wasn't great but certainly much better than the freezing temperatures we experienced at last years lunch. The sun kept trying to poke it's little head through the grey clouds and when it did come out of hiding, it was absolutely beautiful. Just a little warmer, and it would have been the perfect picnic weather where we could have lazed away on the grass, drinking and eating the afternoon away.
My annual feast is my Christmas gift to my friends. I decided a long time ago that I didn't want the stress of thinking and then searching for the perfect gift for my friends (and now also including all the children of my friends). Gifts that would probably end up in the back of the cupboard or 're-gifted', so I made the easy and really only decision I could and that was to cook for them instead.
This year the menu consisted of:
A ricotta and parmesan bake served with fresh bread, pickled cucumbers, roasted cherry tomatoes and marinated olives.
Along with a fresh watermelon punch (I was ever hopeful that it would be a hot Summer's day)
12 hour roasted lamb served with Salsa Verde
Roasted vegetable salad
Roasted beetroot, orange, walnut, mint and feta salad
Fig and goats cheese tart
(one of my vegetarian friends also brought along a little olive gallett which went down a treat).
For the kiddies, I just made up some simple little finger sandwiches, with the winners of the day being the little sprinkle pinwheels (or known as "fairy sushi" on the day). The only problem came when little Ms C wanted the "pink sushi only"!
And then it was time for dessert.......a mixture of meringues (chocolate swirl, rosewater and pistachio) where everyone helped themselves to their favourite meringue toppings, including berries, fresh cream, passion fruit or toffee. Such a perfect dessert for a picnic as the meringue can be made in advance and so easily transportable. My personal favourite was the rosewater ones topped with fresh cream and berries.
And then it was over.
Much too quickly in my opinion.
(majority of the above photos are courtesy of my very talented and wonderful friend Cathy Clare)