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what did Santa bring you?

We travelled a squillion miles to be here with family these holidays. We got over the jet lag by just not sleeping and jumped straight into life in this beautiful burnt arid place.  

   
We love California from our time spent here some years ago. Landmarks make sense this time round. Street names greet us like old friends, the grocery store welcomes us with open arms-they know we have to feed 25 people three consecutive meals over the next 36 hours and that ain’t no mean feat sugar!
   
   
So while we’ve done this all before, something is different this time. It’s like coming home. It’s cooking shoulder to shoulder quietly, efficiently, tastily, in a kitchen designed for two. It’s warm long hugs – the sort that stick all your broken pieces together again. It’s twin husbands, sister wives and date nights and girls nights and s’mores toasted on open fires.  It’s grandparents and aunties and uncles and cuzzies and chaos. It’s children growing up and talking to you like you matter, it’s teenagers telling you their secrets.

   

 
 
This time around the edges are softer. Is it because we’re older? Because we certainly aren’t any wiser. Have we grown up a little? Do we know now that it’s all not black and white but beautifully gray in between?
Or is it the food that casts a spell on us? The stupendous fresh produce? Is it the love and care that goes in to planning every single meal, the madness that seems so worth it when every one sits down to share shanks and turkey and bean casserole and cornbread stuffing and pecan pie? Is it the table laid with care and candles and colour and gorgeousness? Is it the tree? It’s bursting at the seams with pressies and we are all bracing for a VERY. EARLY. MORNING.

  
    

I could think about this till the cows come home but I’m not going to. Instead I’m going to thank Santa for bringing me a family I’m proud to be a part of by marrying into. Thank god my inlaws aren’t outlaws! I’m going to ask Santa that instead of leaving something for me under the tree, he takes away all that’s wrong in this world. I’m going to ask him to keep my babies safe and I’m going to ask him to protect those I love. 

  

I’m going to leave a cookie and some milk out for him tonight… and when all I find in the morning are crumbs in the plate, I’ll know you’re never too old to believe in the magic of Christmas. Dee x

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beautiful béchamel and a trip to the beach

Ah you delicious head of garlic. You’re dark and smokey and warm. You’re like the earth. Like soil between my fingers. Like chilli and coriander and shallots and salt and herbs and spice all compacted into one glob of garlicky goodness. And oh how you did transform my béchamel tonight!!

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And it must be that I only cook and dream and blog when I’m happy. Nothing brings me more joy than the beach. It must be that shade of blue sky we only find here in Australia. Is it the taste of salt that lingers on your lips even after a trip to Messina? Or was that from the salted caramel?

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Could it be the world’s best burger or could it be that my schnitz was pimped? Or was it from that cold icy lemon lime and bitters that I’m sure I only had a sip of. Did the kids dive in when I glanced away??

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Whatever the reason I’m happy with warm lungs, bare feet and a spring in my step. Bring on aussie summer.
Dee x

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