5 things – Monday, December 28, 2020

So here we are in the last week of what has been a strange year. I’ll talk more about it in my round-up of the year post, but for now, let’s look back at the week that was.

1.Gingerbread House

For the first time I attempted one of these. It was Sarah’s idea – she decided she couldn’t leave home without us having done so.

Armed with a recipe (this one by Mary Berry) and a template (printed out from Mary’s recipe), a bucket of red and green Christmas M&Ms, packets of Iced Vovos, raspberry jellies, liquorice allsorts and candy canes, we began. After all, how hard could it be?

We both decided afterward that buying it in kit form might have been a more effective option – it would not have been a more fun one though.

The finished house isn’t, by any means, pretty. We attacked the decoration without any sort of a plan – Sarah did the majority of it as I was still day jobbing. It was, however, hilarious to do.

2. This picture

I’ve been following the Ocean Photography Awards on Instagram with interest, and as good as the winning images are, this one, the winner of the community choice award, is my fave.

The picture was taken at St Kilda in Melbourne and the lights are Melbourne CBD.

3. Christmas Day

We popped down to the beach at stupid o’clock to have our breakfast – potato scones with smoked salmon and creme fraiche and champagne. The perfect start to the day – even if it was overcast and the occasional sprinkle of rain was around.

In the early afternoon, we headed up to Cooroy, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland for late lunch with friends. We ate outside and the weather was perfect – not too hot and with a lovely breeze blowing up the valley.

Our friends did the turkey – brining it for 24 hours before cooking it to absolute perfection – and the veg (the best potato gratin I’ve ever tasted plus the usual roast root veg and roasted Brussels sprouts). We contributed a ham I’d glazed in ginger marmalade with a touch of hot English mustard (the recipe, Nigella’s ginger-glazed ham, is here), a pudding that I’d cheated and bought at the markets, and Grant’s Christmas trifle.

While we missed family – of course we did – being outside in the country, with good food and good friends, made for a relaxing afternoon. It was, in many ways, a perfect Christmas Day.

4. Watching

I’m on annual leave from the day job until next Monday, and spent all of Boxing Day and yesterday in and out of the pool and in and out of the TV room. I hav, in fact, decided that Christmas Day should be on Friday every year as you get 3 Boxing Days – and Boxing Day is my second favourite day of the year.

I inhaled the entire season of Bridgerton. Sure, it’s historical romance brought to screen life, but it has deeper themes than that. Much deeper themes. Watch it.

I’ve also been watching Dawn French’s Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown – with 3 episodes at just 10 minutes each, it’s an easy watch. Aussie viewers can watch them on ABCTV’s View. The episode where she remembers Alice Tinker/Horton (Emma Chambers) requires tissues.

Also on iView is Nigella’s latest series Cook, Eat, Repeat to accompany her new book. Santa was kind enough to bring me the book – which is an absolute joy and so much more than a book of recipes.

5. Reading

Christmas Day was the official end to my Festival of Festive Reading – I’ll post my round-up later in the week – so normal programming resumed on Boxing Day.

First up was an absolute treat – The Alice Equation, by Davina Stone. I’ve been following Davina’s journey for some time through her socials and have been completely inspired by her work ethic and approach to the release and marketing of Alice, her debut novel. I was lucky enough to receive a copy for review purposes and what a treat it was. The perfect poolside escape novel.

As well as Nigella’s latest, I scored another couple of cookbooks at Christmas – Ottolenghi’s Simple (I already had a digital copy of this one, but it’s just not the same) and Alice Zavlesky’s massive tome In Praise of Veg. I’ll review each – and share a recipe from each – during January.

Okay, that’s the last weekly round-up for the year… bring on 2021!

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

7 thoughts

  1. How good you were to make the Gingerbread house from scratch. However, a true mother & daughter combo meaning memories are made. Your Christmas Day sounded just right.

    Look forward to catching up next Monday for Life This Week’s return with…tah dah…”word of the year” whether you do or don’t please join in!

    Happy almost New Year Jo to you and yours.

    Denyse x

  2. I’m starting on Brigadoon tomorrow – can’t wait! I’ll take your word on the excitement level of receiving cookbooks for Christmas – personally I’d be insulted – I guess it takes all types. 😀

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