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A Christmas Eve Dinner, 2015

For the first time ever, this year we left Sydney and celebrated Christmas away from home.

A beautiful setting for a pre-dinner drink

A beautiful setting for a pre-dinner drink

We booked a pet-friendly holiday house (because Rosie doesn’t like to be left behind), on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast so we could celebrate with Drew’s parents, brother, sister-in-law and their three small children, who moved here about a decade ago.

We were fortunate the holiday house has a table to sit 12

We were fortunate the holiday house has a table to sit 12

The Sunshine Coast is a 13-hour drive from Sydney or you can fly in around 90-minutes.  Drew and I drove with Rosie who was meant to sit on the back seat but instead preferred to be on my lap, (she’s a wee-bit high maintenance).  The children flew because I’d rather not have them on the back seat or on my lap.

I remembered to pack my table cloth

I remembered to pack my table cloth


The holiday house is beautiful.  I knew it was good when I saw the images on the internet but it’s always lovely when what you see with your own eyes surpasses the expectations built from the photos already viewed.  The house is light, bright and spacious and I knew it would be perfect for all the hosting, cooking and entertaining that was on the approach.

The setting for Christmas Eve

The setting for Christmas Eve

The owners had kindly left us a Christmas tree although, (just quietly), it was fake (not a fan), short (looked a little lost), and bald (what happened to its branches?).  It had a couple of baubles on its handful of branches and two rows of tinsel.  I do hate to sound ungrateful but the tree just looked incredibly sad.  Fortunately I had packed my hundreds of tree lights and all my decorations and after it was burdened with a touch of Sydney and had been given a fabulous make-over, it greatly improved (I felt like a plastic surgeon!)

A Christmas tree with a make-over

A Christmas tree with a make-over

We started our Christmas Eve celebrations with drinks outside on the deck with dips and cheeses.

Pre-dinner drinks

Pre-dinner drinks

For dinner I baked a free-range leg of ham that weighed around 10kgs and was studded with cloves, rubbed with cinnamon and palm sugar and glazed with apricot jam mixed with sherry.  It was served with slices of grilled fresh pineapple and cherry chutney.

Cooked in the barbecue

Cooked in the barbecue

The ham was served with crispy duck fat potatoes cooked with rosemary.  I cooked a few kilos of these and there wasn’t one leftover.

Duck fat potatoes

Duck fat potatoes

Ham served with cherry chutney

Ham served with cherry chutney

I made an iceberg lettuce salad with the lettuce cut into wedges, topped with a variety of finely cut herbs, toasted pine nuts and crispy bacon – because you need crispy bacon when you have 10kgs of ham!  And the salad was dressed with a buttermilk, lemon juice and grated parmesan dressing.

Iceberg lettuce salad

Iceberg lettuce salad

Now there was dessert but with all the Christmas merriment I seem to have neglected to take any photos but we cut into a festive fruit and nut cake I had packed in the esky and brought with me from Sydney, and some chocolates, nougat and fudge.  Just in case anyone was suffering from low sugar levels.

Salad topped with herbs, pine nuts and bacon

Salad topped with herbs, pine nuts and bacon

Then it was time to relax our stomach muscles and watch the carols live from the Myer Music Bowl.

Watching the carols

Watching the carols

After the carols we walked off a bit of the huge dinner with a stroll around the neighbourhood enjoying all the brilliant Christmas lights.

Looking at the Christmas lights

Looking at the Christmas lights

Very festive

Very festive

Alfie loving the lights

Alfie loving the lights

Back home, the children were put to bed as they wrestled with falling asleep on this, the most exciting night of the year.  The stockings were filled and the lights turned out as we waited for Christmas morn.

15.12.26.25From the sunny Sunshine Coast, Merry Christmas to you and all your families xx

Comments

  1. Your made over Xmas tree looks very festive. I knew I forgot something … I spooned duck fat over the potatoes and carrots and a couple of garlic cloves (used it for the Yorkshire puddings too) but I forgot the rosemary. Oh well. Great meal and the bacon and pine nuts!!! made up for the pretensions to nutrition of the iceberg lettuce. Lovely night shots.

    Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

  2. And happy holidays to you Charlie and yours – wonderful Christmas Eve Dinner. xxx

  3. How fun to spend Christmas in such a beautiful location. 🙂 It was lovely of the hosts to leave you a tree, and I’m glad you had all the fixings to make it truly festive. 🙂

  4. I think you’re incredibly brave to take on hosting Christmas Eve dinner in a kitchen you don’t know but it looks wonderful. You are obviously very well prepared taking your own lights and table cloth! Merry Christmas to you all x

  5. I’d love to go away. Looks fabulous

    Carolyn

  6. It all looks delicious Charlie. A great find in the house for sure. Rosie looks like she likes the lights too.

  7. Oh I do love that you travel with extra Christmas cheer, because hawt dang there is nothing worse than a half done sad and pathetic tree, it looked fabulous post touch up. This was the first year in about a decade we have been home for Christmas, it felt a little strange having to create all the festivities ourselves, would much rather adventure and experience Christmas in a different place, so your Christmas sounds really fabulous, looked pretty delicious too. 🙂

  8. I love how you managed to jazz up the Christmas tree – look like a lovely apartment – we love watching the christmas carols too – hope that santa was kind to you

  9. Merry Christmas Charloe 🙂 I’m off to the Sunshine Coast myself tomorrow 🙂 see you there 🙂
    Liz xxx

  10. Merry Christmas to you too my dear friend from down under. I do love seeing a bit of your lives and by the looks of it you totally scored with this fancy home, it looks amazing. Your dinner looked great too, it’s so nice to have had it with Drew’s family. We had Christmas Eve with my side and Christmas Day with John’s side but we’re approaching our 30th anniversary (together for 38 years) so it feels like one big family to me! Thank you for all your kind words over the years, I really do wish to meet you in person one day!

  11. Sounds like you had an amazing holiday! The ham looks awesome! Merry Christmas!

  12. It sounds like a perfect Christmas, Charlie. The house/kitchen/garden looks love and spacious–perfect for an extended family get together. And…I am thinking of copying the glaze for your ham on the 29th, when I am cooking one. Sounds lovely. Happy Continued Holidays1

  13. What a beautiful and relaxing place to spend Christmas. Merry CHRISTmas!

  14. Every
    single photo
    takes my breath away.
    Such gorgeousness. WOWWW. Happy 2016! xx

  15. You did ‘discover’ a rather perfect place and I do hope are continuing to have a very happy and relaxed holiday. Well, two more ‘official’ days to go in Australia and do hope you have a few days longer after that . . . All the best for the New Year . . .

  16. It sounds like a perfect Christmas Eve! So much fun to shake things up a bit. And the food all looks amazing! Wishing you a Happy New Year!!! xo

  17. Merry Christmas Charlie. We also do Christmas Eve dinner as our main dinner and had a ham too along with other courses. The house looks lovely! Were you going to buy a tree? Is that why you brought the decorations?

    • Hi Lorraine, yes, I ordered an 8-foot tree that came up from Victoria. But when we arrived at the holiday house all hot and bothered after the 13-hour drive, then saw the owners had provided us with a tree, I suddenly felt too tired to go out and collect the tree. I phoned the company to see if I could cancel the order. They were very good about it and said it wasn’t a problem.

  18. I hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas. This looks like a beautiful house and a really nice way to celebrate with lots of family and lots of space.

  19. Loving that open kitchen, living room and outdoor set up…gorgeous. Your holiday ham is grilled to perfection and it looks like a beautiful day for all. Happy holidays to you! See you in the New Year

  20. What a beautiful venue for a wonderful family get together!
    Have a super day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  21. What a beautiful dinner you prepared Charlie! I’m very impressed you pulled this all off in a holiday house! That’s not an easy thing to do. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. Here’s to an amazing New Year! Cheers!

  22. What a beautiful house to celebrate in, and what delicious food you served! Looks like everyone enjoyed the evening. Glad it was a good one for all of you. Xx

  23. BAHAHA! I can’t believe you packed your own Christmas decorations!!! So funny!
    It does look like a beautiful spot, enjoy your Christmas and New Years.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

  24. What a gorgeous holiday house! Glad you had a wonderful Christmas, Charlie. Wishing you and your family the happiest of New Years!

  25. It looks like you had a great time with fabulous food. Your holiday house looks fab too, perfectly furnished with all those children. I bet it was a wonderfully happy evening.

    Happy New Year to you all. GG

  26. it looks a special family time, happy new year

  27. Sounds like you had a glorious Christmas Charlie. I often hesitate to leave home on Christmas. Your post is quite encouraging, tree and all!!! (you made it look oh so festive:)

    Thank you so much for sharing your holiday with us Charlie. Here’s to a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year!!!

  28. Sometimes it is nice for a change 🙂 Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! All the best for 2016!

  29. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend Christmas, Charlie. I don’t know if you’re yet home in Sydney, but i watched news coverage of the New Year ringing in over the harbor and I sure thought of you. I hope this is a wonderful, happy and healthy year for each of you. Blessings, my friend. ox

  30. What a gorgeous spot to celebrate Christmas. Drew’s family must have been over the moon to be treated like kings for the holiday. I’m sorry we couldn’t catch up this time but hopefully one day soon, on calmer days, we’ll have time for a proper chat.

    Happy New Year and I hope 2016 is full of joy for you.

  31. Looks like a gorgeous place to spend Christmas. I hope your holiday was wonderful and that you and yours have a very Happy New Year! I thought of you as we heard the new year rung in for Sydney on the radio last night. 🙂

  32. Wow what a gorgeous looking place, lucky you brought all your xmas decorations, a little late but Merry Christmas 🙂

  33. The house is lovely, your meal looks absolutely delicious and you even managed to dress up that little tree. I’m happy that you and your family had such a nice Christmas with your family.

  34. This looks like an amazing Christmas! Great pics and I look forward to reading more of your blog!

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  1. […] holiday home’s dining room table.  I’d used the table cloth the night before for our Christmas Eve dinner and before going to bed had scooped it up and put it in the wash.  With the heat of the day it […]

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