The thing about Christmas in the southern hemisphere is that the rich, spiced, warming flavours associated with the holiday don’t really suit our weather.
Gently warmed mulled wine scented with cloves doesn’t go down too well on a 32c/90F day. And a generous slice of pudding laden with drunken fruits and topped with warm, similarly boozy, custard is also out of place in Summer. But it doesn’t matter. My Christmas days have always featured this festive fare and I’ve merrily consumed bowls of plum pudding while sitting at the table in wet bathers, post Christmas swim.
This year, my in-laws have set a theme of “Australia” for Christmas Day. Everyone has been assigned a course and the food must fit within the theme. I haven’t decided on what to bring yet, but I love the idea of thinking beyond turkey, ham and all the traditional accompaniments. Perhaps yabbies will make an appearance? Or a whole fish wrapped in something fragrant and grilled on the BBQ? (If you’ve got any ideas, let me know!)
But. I can’t let tradition go completely. Last year, in the appropriately chilly climes of NYC, I made these nuts to serve as an accompaniment to cocktails on Christmas Day. The smell of roasting nuts filled my apartment and set the mood for a traditional meal. They were so delicious, I had to make them again this year.
Last week I asked what you put on toast when you’re feeling a bit homesick and in need of a taste of home. I was a bit nervous asking, feeling like I may be throwing a party that no one turns up to. But the idea of Homesick Toast resonated and I was very excited to receive toast stories from all over the world!
Seeing these submissions reminded me of how evocative food can be. A simple piece of toast can bring forth memories of childhood, friends and family. It can conjure up a sense of place and belonging, or transport you back to a particular time.
If you put a slice of fresh bread slathered in butter and honey in front of me, I can recall, in great detail, the familiar chaos of family gatherings at my Grandparents’ house when I was a kid. I remember leaning against the cool laminate of the bench, feeling wet bathers against my skin as I watched Grandma slice up a baguette, preparing a quick post-swim snack for my cousins and I. Curiously these details are fresher than the memory of a subway ride I took yesterday.
The Homesick Toasts below trigger similarly vivid memories for their creators. Read on and be transported vicariously.
Wow! I am overwhelmed and so excited by the response to my post about the toast I make when I’m feeling homesick for Australia. Thank you all so much for your comments, it was great to meet you all!
Some of your comments got me thinking: what do you put on a piece of bread when you’re away and feeling nostalgic for the taste of home?
I haven’t had a back yard since I was a kid, so any attempts I’ve had at growing a kitchen garden have been limited to balconies.
I’ve had no success with veggies, mixed results with herbs, but succulents have always come through with the goods.
They are my kind of plant: low maintenance, interesting to look at and multiply like rabbits. The latter means that you can snip off some flowers (leaves?) and incorporate them into indoor floral arrangements or dinner party table settings knowing there will be more to cut next week.
Many of these images are from wedding tables – but who said weddings should have all the fun? Succulents are so user-friendly, they’ll easily add some magic to your kitchen table every day.
Mixing colourful flowers with succulents on a big hunk of wood is so pretty, no? From the delightfully floral minds at Flora Grubb