Friday, December 24, 2010


Only one more sleep....Father Christmas has already been spotted this afternoon just over Brisbane!  First we heard the sleigh bells and looked up and just caught sight of the back of his red coat flying in the breeze before he and the reindeer flew behind the cityscape....this was after a few glasses of Champagne!

Sighted in Paris this week by the Sass and Bide girls....
Translates to: 'Black is the Hiding Place of Colour'

How are you spending Christmas Day?  My immediate family live in Adelaide and will be having a big get together at Mum and Dads.  I am going to miss not being there amongst the chaos and fun, but will be partaking in my own little piece of madness when Pete the Greek and I host dinner for the Venardos side of the family.  There will be roast pork, baked fish (see Caths secret recipe below...but shhh..its a secret), Turkish pizza, roast chicken, prawn and mango, pesto pasta and fresh garden salads and more...cant wait and the adjustable pants have been removed from the cupboard and freshly laundered so I can fit in as much food as possible!
  We have a great community of followers on our Charcoal Interiors Facebook page from all over the world...Germany to Chile, London to Central Queensland and more...
Here's a snippet of what some of our friends are going to be doing on Christmas Day...

Tania (Brisbane):

Christmas Eve at Renee's - we are doing a joint function (I think because I don't have enough friends to do one on my own LOL) so that will be fun with champagne, many plates of nibbles and the children playing Christmas songs on various instruments.

Crepes and fruit for Christmas breakfast, opening Santa presents with my 9yr old, my brother and my ex husband.

Christmas lunch at my house, Turkey, red onions stuffed with well with stuffing LOL, sausage meat wrapped in bacon, potato bake, undecided greeens, gravy and bread sauce and probably cranberry sauce. Home made baked cheesecake for dessert because it will also be birthday celebration for my brother.
Guests - Isla and I, my ex husband, my brother and my parents.

yes, well...... LOL

then the evening meal will be..... KAHLUA LOL

Margaret (Germany)
My daughter and I will be spending the day opening our presents. One in the morning, one at lunchtime and one at dinner time.  We are having a special chicken dinner for Christmas night.

Catherine (Brisbane)
We are off to my sister-in-laws and brothers for a big Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings.  There will be heaps of family and its always fun and noisy.  I cant wait!


Ah, of course we are joking about the murdering, but no kidding about the divulgement of this weeks recipe which up until now has been kept top secret.
Its Caths Steamed Coral Trout with Sweet and Sour Sauce!  We are having this as part of our huge gourmet extravaganza on Christmas night.  Procured by Cath under the dead of night a few years ago (and we wont go into too many details only to say that there was a balaclava and a large baseball bat involved...but not necessarily in that order...)...she now can make the recipe public, but only after years of it being under lock and key.  Ah well, she went to Spirit House and did a cooking school alrighty!...but the previous story is so much more intriguing. Here's the recipe:


1 Coral Trout or similar reef fish weighing 1kg...Cath uses Snapper
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
Banana leaves for wrapping fish - Cath uses foil if she cant find banana leaves
12 red shallots finely sliced
200gms palm sugar
100mls rice vinegar
100mls of tomato paste
50mls of light soya sauce
25 mls of fish sauce
50gms of pickled ginger
4 large red chillies, seeded and cut into julienne
500mls chicken stock
100gms snow peas, blanched and julienned
1 red capsicum, julienned 
Half continental cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned.

Wipe fish inside and out with paper towel to dry completely.  Score lightly with a criss-cross motion and rub with oyster sauce.  Wrap in banana leaf or the alfoil then place in preheated 180 degree oven 20-25 minutes.
Sauce: heat a small quantity vegetable oil in wok and stirfry red shallots a few minutes.  Add the palm sugar, vinegar, cook for a few minutes.  Add tomato paste, soya sauce, fish sauce, chllis, ginger and stock.  Cook for 5 - 10 minutes until sauce has thickened.
Remove fish from wrappings, place on platter, pour over sauce and garnish with remaining ingredients.


There's no Cocktail Recipe for this week, because as far as we're concerned, its Champagne all the way for Christmas Day.  We're indulging in some Veuve, but there's also some terrific less expensive options around.  Basically, anything that has 'Methode Champenoise' on the label is going to be 'A-OK!' 


Well, its Christmas Eve, and I am sitting here reflecting on all the blessings to have been bestowed upon us this year.  Our celebration is even more special this year with the inclusion of Colettes husband 'Big Pete' at the Christmas table.  He has had some health issues and there were times this year when we were not sure if he would be able to celebrate with us.  But, not only is he fully recovered, but also ready and raring to get stuck into the festivities with the best of us!  
There will be food on the table and I will be surrounded by loving family, which for some is just a dream and a wish that will not come true for them.  So, there is definitely a lot to be grateful for.  I informally decree this to be the best Christmas ever!

Merry Christmas to all from us 3 Charcoal Girls and see you in 2011 for a fantastic year, more fun and lots of laughs.
Cathie, Colette and Jen xxx