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So it's that time of year when we gather around to enjoy our loved ones and spill wine on their heads. Just kidding. It's time to share a good feast, relax a little and unwind with some great beats and nourishing food. What better way to relax then around a camp-fire with a one pot wonder.
When we first approached Jane Collins of @janeecollins aka Sizzle and Swirl I briefed her to create the ultimate campfire feast, admittedly the ice cream requires freezing so she missed the brief on that one but with all the commotion we got carried away. The ideas are fresh, the menu is unique and if your feeling like simplifying your Christmas or festive spread then we have some hot tips for you.
Setting the table requires not much effort at all. We used our Blue Ridge Wrap as a tablecloth and our Commune Runner as a centerpiece and our tea- towels Saviour Stripe in White and Olive are a great oversized napkin for your setting. You can pick anything you like, sometimes a strip of butchers paper does the trick and sometimes a bed sheet folded over can double up as a simple feature. We sourced some native gum nuts and foliage from around the yard however a few feature flowers always add a great mix. This season I'm in love with natives however it can change from year to year. My good friend Nicky from Nic Ceramics made me this beautiful plate set that hasn't made its way home yet and our Enamel tumblers are a great no-fuss cup for kids and adults to throw around the table.
So the seafood stew that Jane and I concocted on our way to work over a long excited conversation consists of salmon pieces, white fillet pieces, vongole (pippies) and a wonderful tomato & tarragon soup base, with a few kipfler potatoes thrown in for good measure. A delicious summery Christmas stew, that will make your whole family jealous of your insane cooking skills. The best part is this is perfect for all our fellow winter dwellers right now too! We made ours over the open fire. Heating the cast iron pot up with some olive oil and garlic, onions then throw in the mix. See recipe for details if you haven't already downloaded one.
A great idea on Christmas day is keeping your decorations simple. I bought this wiry old stick reef several years ago when they were all the rage but it acts as a great base to style whatever foliage or flower combination your feeling right now. The little copper lights which seem to be in every typo or accessory store are great for adding a touch of sparkle. We also use those lights pinned onto your tree banner for a little bling. Present wrapping is actually my most loathed part of prepping for the big day, I know I know very scrooge of me but at least I'm honest. It's whipped off faster then you can shake your tailfeather however the girls in the office prepped these and I have to say they did a stellar job. Brown paper wrapped in rags and a little flourish of floral never hurts.
A little alcohol on Christmas is a given (or maybe a little more than a little). The fruity Blackberry and Star Anise Spiked Gin will please all the adults taste buds, you definitely won't want to spill this on anyone's head! So the kids don't miss out you can remove the alcohol component and add lemonade instead. My kids always want what I have however you might want to keep them away from your whites, it's a berry nightmare to get out. The berry-star anise mix was also concocted over the fire but if your feeling like that is a little extreme run it inside and make it before your guests turn up. We won't hold it against you. We used Gin as we felt it was a good all-rounder, slightly more sophisticated the vodka but I think you could mix this with moonshine as well for a real grassroots vibe. We added a beautiful styling touch, placing a few of the better-looking blackberries on the end of twigs.
Nothing says summer more then a mid arvo swim with your buddies. Our little rug rats don't know how good they have it. But summer is summer and being kids should be about who can make the biggest splash when you bomb off a wharf. Lucky mum makes towels eh! Jane and I thought the best dessert for kids apart from the "adult" wood-fired peaches and nougat ice cream that they smashed was a homemade icy pole. Crushed chocolate chips, drizzled with choc sauce and covered in coconut is a bit spesh. I was hankering for one but got pushed aside. What is it with kids and sugar!
However, I had the honor of eating the peach dessert. Everyone knows about Peaches and Cream - but this, this is way better. Homemade campfire scorched peaches and homemade ice-cream. This dessert is the perfect ending to your day. What's more Australian than frying up something delicious on the BBQ then letting melty ice-cream run down your cheeks? Way to easy to be as delicious as it is!
Anyhow, I think I've rambled on enough. We shot this little series over at @campseabird . This is my place that you can rent out if you fancy. It's a working project so don't hold my current garden state against me. I'm working on it.
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