We put up the tree on Saturday. I headed out in the morning to the Christmas Cave to buy lights because last year the day we put the Christmas tree up our lights died. The Christmas Cave is an overwhelming array of Christmas merchandise but fun to look at.
I went to Smith Street to my favourite bakery Pastry Art Design (280-282 Smith Street) and happened to spot Steph at Friends of the Earth. It was nice to meet a fellow blogger. I then went to Brunswick Street which was sunny and welcoming.
E and I have been missing all the Christmas decorations and food since returning from the UK. Australia is too buy celebrating summer to really get it. But some shops do festive Christmas displays. I was pleased to finish my Christmas gift shopping in trusty old Brunswick Street.
On the way home, I picked up a smallish Christmas tree. Our place is so cluttered that it was hard to imagine we could fit a Christmas tree in as well but we managed to cram it in the corner and then surround it with clutter so Sylvia wouldn't play with it.
It is always a pleasure to dig out familiar old Christmas decorations that are full of special memories.
I'd decided we would have mince tarts and glögi. I was inspired to make glögi by Tofu for Two. Although I have made mulled wine many times, I was interested in Anni's Finnish equivalent with no citrus and loads of interesting spices. Star Anise always looks so pretty. Anni suggested using fruit juice and I had some grape juice so it went in the pot.
I couldn't resist adding a slurp of this sampler bottle of fortified raspberry wine that was in liquor cupboard.
I had intended to serve it to celebrate finishing the Christmas tree decorating but by the time we had finished we needed to feed and bath Sylvia so it was after our dinner that we rewarmed the glögi and finally settled down to enjoy it with a mince tart. It was lovely but I am not sure I got the quantities of juice/liquid right. I ended up with 250ml of glögi but Anni had twice as much so maybe next time I will add more.
Lastly, as part of my disorganisation, I have been remiss in mentioning some of the wonderful initiatives around the blogosphere to help others. I hope you might have seen about these on other blogs but it is not too late to participate in these:
- Menu for Hope - an international blogging fundraising event in which bloggers offer prizes to be raffled to raise money for the UN World Food Program. You can buy tickets online up til 25 December - check the list of prizes at Chez Pim or the Asia Pacific prizes at Tomato.
- StreetSmart - an opportunity to donate money to help the homeless at participating restaurants in Melbourne and around Australia by 24 December (check out the link for a list).
- The Bloggeraid Cookbook - another opportunity for your money to go to the UN World Food Program. This time you can do it by purchasing a cookbook of blogger recipes.
- Ricki's Aniti-Candida Feast E-Book - if you or your loved ones have a diet restricted by candida, you can purchase this E-cookbook of creative and delicious recipes for just $5.00 (Canadian).
- Susan's Eat Christmas Cookies event has closed but you can find many great festive cookies on the round up.
makes 250ml - enough for 2-3 but might serve more with more liquid
This is what I used:
5 slices of fresh ginger (about 2 thumb sized knobs)
1 tsp cloves
1 teaspoon green cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 star anise
a pinch of allspice
3 cups red grape juice (next time I would add another three cups of juice or water)
30ml raspberry port
Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and simmer for ½ hour. Strain using a sieve and serve warm. Next time I might garnish with mint leaves.
On the Stereo:
Ultra Lounge Christmas Cocktails: Various Artists