Xmas in July (the Mini-Break)

Saturday, 3 August 2013

I wish I could re-capture the feeling. That of sheer bliss, watching the morning mist drift over the rolling hills and linger in the valley in front of me. Cradling my cup of coffee and nibbling on breakfast fruit cake. It can't be beat. In this post I'll be chronicling a jaunt in country New South Wales mit meinen Freunden.

The genius of Nigella's Christmas Cake with the inclusion of cocoa powder adds that extra richness that none of us need but are happy to indulge in, just this once...

Stoked that I captured this! My little Ricoh can do a decent macro shot ;)

The gang and I had (finally) gotten our act together and decided to up stumps and go away for a weekend in July. The aim of course was to put on a Christmas in July to rival all Winter Christmases in the Northern hemisphere. We've traded snow fall for sunshine and morning fog.

The number one order of the day: coffee. One of the morning afters, brekkie to fuel a day of wandering the town and shop for Xmas pressies (yes, we totally did Kris Kringle)

Surprisingly it didn't take long for the ball to get rolling. It is just too easy to spend hours trolling on Stayz.com to find 'the perfect place'. We made a shortlist of the top ten and did a vote - the winner being a hill top house in Berry NSW about 2 hours from Sydney. Aye.

Nibblies to start the big cook: parmesan sable biscuits (don't even think about the butter content okay) and Hendrick's Cucumber G&T's, so smooth - if only it were about 10 degrees warmer outside!

Half the fun (well, almost) was the planning and preparation. Brainstorming ideas about what to cook, what to drink and the places to see (to be honest we didn't get very far!). The anticipation in the days leading up to our escape was immense! Packing your tiniest weekender bag, ugg boots and PJs are essential. At the end of the work week, we were out in a flash and hitting the road.

Sunset over the property dam, and B&W makes it damn near perfect

 As the sun went down we worked like busy bees in the kitchen, spreading ourselves across every countertop, and the perfect playlist playing in the background with lots of Macklemore, Matt Corby and Gotye as well as a bit of 90s R&B (the golden era!)

There's no better time to whip out Brussel Sprouts than Xmas, right? With honey glazed Dutch carrots and the beginnings of Yotam Ottolenghi's signature dish - roasted eggplant

Failing to find a whole turkey at 5pm on a Friday night we resigned ourselves to roasting an organic chook instead. We made Neil Perry's Thyme, Oregano and Citrus chicken, it's easy peasey. Marinade for maximum effect. On the right is a homemade Bombe Alaska, not the flaming kind but still delicious. And made without a blow torch!

Two of my most favouritest things ever: mulled wine which was absolutely to-die-for (use the best red you can afford, okay) and roasting marshmallows over an open fire = BONKERS

By the end of our feasting we had pretty much left a trail of destruction in the kitchen, but it was all worth it. Sharing a meal with friends, be it as extravagant and on such a ridiculous scale as this or not, we had so much to be thankful for: the company, the food and surrounds. And thank god for the dish washer, so NOT kidding there ;)

We were pleasantly surprised to find huge mandarin and lemon trees, which smelt divine! On the right, some cows and lavender for good measure ;)

I couldn't resist not to include this Christmas cake once again. This time with the recipe, thanks to Nigella (if you're known on first name basis, you've pretty much made it, right?). Being sticklers for tradition, the coffee liqueur was traded back for brandy. Granny always knows best

We finished our weekend pretty much as we started, lapping up that view to stay burned in our collective memory. Good times were had. Many toasts later and with bellies filled to bursting we tottered back to the big smoke leaving those greener pastures...until next time!

 The morning valley view *sigh* + those passive-aggressive cows can really stare you down...eep. Smell ya later Berry!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Can't beat a getaway with friends especially when it involves bucketloads of food. Definitely going to try the roasted eggplant recipe too!

  2. I LOVED THIS TRIP. Will definitely be a weekend to remember. :)



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