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December 19th, 2017

My Christmas Day

Opening up the albums of Christmas past as I look toward next Monday.

I wonder what this year will bring the world and those we hold close?

As stressful as this time of year can be,  and my goodness it has been crazy for me…I do love Christmas.

I love the cooking, the carols, the tinsel and all the cakes I get to bake.

Whether you’re Christmas Day is small or crazy large like mine (24 this year) I hope you find some inspiration here.

Wishing you a warm, safe and peaceful Christmas.

Pretty Drinks Set The Scene.

I’ve applied it to everything from career and parenting to baking and board games.

The first foot should always match the last.

When it comes to entertaining I’m no different. The first impression, the welcome drink, even the invitation are just as important as the dessert.

The best way to begin Christmas Day is with a fabulous drink.

You can find a bunch of my best cocktail recipes HERE

Making Life Easy.

diageo-tanqueray-gin-made-in-house-welcome-drink-paula-joye

You don’t want guests filling up before the main event.

A bowl of warm olives with orange and rosemary, a bowl of candied nuts,  or grab one of these great cater packs at Woolworths.…and make your life easier.

Warning: Woolworths Four Cheese Bites are thoroughly addictive. Ten minutes in the oven and you’re in heaven.

CLICK TO BUY: South Cape Entertaining Platter Selection, $12Mediterranean Delight Platter , $35; Four Cheese Bites, $4

Table Magic.

Above: Christmas Table 2016

This is Christmas! You gotta go the extra mile when it comes to making a magical table.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – this table above from last year was brown paper and painted pine cones –  but it should be considered.

Take the time to make a space of wonder for your guests and you’ll end up being rewarded. Nothing feels quite like the joy of happy family around a table that lets them now how special they are.

Above: Christmas Table 2015

Saxon’s Turkey Tips.

My husband Saxon is the king of the Christmas BBQ.

There’s always amazing butterflied lamb, scored pork crackling, seafood, but he also does a great turkey. As a nod to my time growing up with many a cold Boston Christmas.

So over to him:

We have always BBQ’ed our turkey at Christmas,  BBQ’ed turkey is bloody delicious.  I use a Big Green Egg type Komado smoker as it cooks beautifully and keeps the turkey super juicy,  but any BBQ works well and keeps the house a little cooler. a disposable BBQ tray,  butter your bird then completely cover with dried mixed herbs –  I like all the Italian blends – and  plenty of salt. Add an inch of water to the pan, cover the bird with baking paper and then foil and cook low and slow  – you want it to be over several hours. At least two and half depending on size.

The best tip I can give is that a turkey is a big bird and needs careful cooking to keep it moist.  If frozen thaw it mainly in the fridge then bring it to room temperature before you start the cook so there’s not too much temperature variation between the thickest parts of the breast and the BBQ temp.

Also make sure the pan doesn’t run dry,  you can cook all you potatoes and carrots in the same tray under the bird,  and any liquid left over is gravy.

Serve it with a bunch of delicious sides and that’s Christmas sorted.

CLICK TO BUY: Woolworths Frozen Turkey from $30

Flower Power.

It’s all about flowers. Epic flowers.

Roses are that for me.

I like them full blown, pale and stacked in vases and glass buckets.

Everywhere. All around the house.

To keep costs down, I visit my local markets at the crack of dawn on the day I’m entertaining. Yes, it takes time to de-leaf and de-thorn them myself but those 40 minutes will save you literally hundreds of dollars.

And add SO much impact.

Try adding a couple of generous arrangements of your favourite bloom to your next get together.

The Three Items Every Christmas Kitchen Needs.

I consider this a community service announcement: after a decade of doing Christmas for upward of twelve people I know that these are the three everyday essentials you cannot do without.

Wrap, throw, store.

Put these in your shopping cart. Like now.

CLICK TO BUY: Woolworths Select Baking Paper, $2.70; Woolworths Select Upright, Garbage Bag, $2.54; Woolworths Homebrand Plasticware Food Storage 25Pk, $10

The Sweetest Things.

I talk a lot about my pavlova (FIND THE RECIPE HERE) but this cake has become a firm favourite and I love it because I can do it the day before (anything that saves oven time).

The recipe – HERE – comes from Woolworths Jamie Oliver and really isn’t difficult.

Dark Chocolate Digestives make the base addictive and Woolworths Cream Cheese combined with good quality dark chocolate goo and you are a cake hero.

I made it a little more summer by topping it with fresh cherries.

MY TOP THREE NO BAKE DESSERTS HEAD HERE

And for a little bit more inspo and maybe cause I’m showing off just a little…how about my chocolate raspberry tower cake!!!!

And if you can’t be bothered with all of this baking stuff then these good-to-go desserts from Woolworths Christmas Gold Range are freaking fabulous.

I went out into the garden and added fresh frangipani to the Woolworths Gold Decadent Chocolate Mud Cake.

CLICK TO BUY: Woolworths Gold Decadent Dark Chocolate Cake, $15

I pimped the Woolworths Gold Salted Caramel Cheesecake with smash of Violet Crumble and cherries.

CLICK TO BUY: Woolworths Gold Salted Caramel Cheesecake, $6

The Little Things.

Above: My Lulu last year

On any given Christmas there could be 15 kids under ten at the table (most under 5) so some years there needs to be a special mini space.

I think little kids generally like little things so it’s nice to go to the trouble of setting a gorgeous kids table (down low) and making it magical for them.

This year I have seven kids and will be using these unreal extras I found at Woolworths.  

I may or may not have bought the tumblers for adults too….

CLICK TO BUY: Woolworths Christmas Gold Napkins, $2; Woolworths Christmas Glitter Tumbler, $3 (each); Woolworths Christmas Gold Silver Mini Forks, $3; 

Music Is Everything.

Above: Ready to dance with my sister-in-law Hermoine and my brother-in-law Edward.

I do not entertain without a playlist.

Food and music are not one without the other.

This is my Christmas 2017 playlist – it goes on when the cooking starts and gets turned off when the door is closed on the last guest.

Christmas Actually Looks Like This.

Above (from left): Lulu, Ella, Hermoine, Saxon, Tim, PJ, Bertie, Ed, Daisy, Poppy, Ashley

I think this photo was taken two Christmas’s ago and this is exactly what a successful, happy Christmas Day should look like.

Full belly’s, exhausted parents, babies who haven’t slept and your family close.

Above: My brother, Anthony with his baby son Indigo and my Dad, John with my neice Lily.

Above: Ella and Me

My sister Jane and my Mum Carole

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