The frosts and open fires seemed like an ideal excuse to get old friends together at the Convent for a Winter Christmas in Kandos.
I enjoy the whole traditional spread at Christmas with the glazed ham, turkey, roast pork, pudding with custard and brandy butter – but somehow it always seems a little out of place in an Australian Summer. Not so in Kandos in Winter where the temperatures get low, the frosts are heavy on the ground and the air smells of warm fireplaces. I’ve also missed seeing some of my friends and our old get-togethers so it seemed like the ideal opportunity. Fortunately most agreed and we had a great weekend of food, drink and friendship.
The garden isn’t at its perkiest to show off and produce is limited, but I managed to salvage some root veg for roasting.
The food was most appropriate – the whole Christmas shebang. Roast pork (with crackling), maple glazed ham, turkey breast filled with cranberries, spinach and pistachios (I don’t think I’d now try a whole turkey again – the breast is fantastic- slices well, looks amazing, cooks faster and more reliably and is easier to control to make sure it remains moist. You can still fill it with any type of seasoning or stuffing), all the trimmings of homemade apple sauce and cranberry jelly, mountains of roast veg, including a potato bake. Rich gravy made ahead courtesy of Jamie Oliver. Dessert was a steamed pudding, accompanied by brandy custard and brandy butter, as well as a very Christmassy raspberry semifredo. A Sri Lankan Christmas cake using preserved chow chow (chokes) topped off the celebrations, all washed down with lots of lovely bottles of alcohol. I think we now have Convent Cordial as a staple – Mrs Wigley’s Rose!
Many thanks to my friend G for all her help and contributions and, of course, to my friends for their own contributions, company and good cheer. I hope to see them much more often – either individually or as a group. It’s so important to keep old friends after moving out of Sydney and hopefully I can offer a happy change of pace here at the Convent.