Winter Holidays in Australia
Posted 17 December 2010 - 11:10 AM
We're all approaching what are the major winter holidays here in the Northern Hemisphere and I was just thinking how many of our traditions involve bringing light and warmth into the dark season of the year. To us it seems almost impossibly strange to think of, oh - maybe going swimming, or doing other warm weather things to celebrate.
Do you have any special traditions unique to Australia? We'd all love to hear them.
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Posted 18 December 2010 - 10:01 PM
Holiday in Australia, mmm, interesting question.
I have seen on the news all the snow storms you are experiencing at the moment in the Northern Hemisphere.
As a child and until quite recently my family celebrated this holiday season with hot roasted meats, plum puddings etc. and sweltered in the heat. However, now we are a lot more relaxed as the weather dictates. Seafood, barbaques etc. are very popular now.
But today I had a family gathering of 18 children and 18 adults (our family has grown over the years) and one minute we were in the glorious sunshine with all the children opening their presents on the green grass. Next minute there was a huge downpour and a cool change and we went inside and lit the fire!! Only in Melbourne, Australia. Quite a unique weather pattern here.
I can imagine "bringing light and warmth into the dark season" would be very appropriate, but we certainly don't need that Down Under.
Looking foward to keeping in touch,
Stay warm at the core if you can,
Posted 19 December 2010 - 08:32 PM
Quite interesting that you should ask about traditions downunder. The problem in our part of the world is that the holiday comes at the same time as the long summer holidays so most adults find it quite stressful. We have all the end of academic year functions, prizegiving, concerts, sports finals and so on, then we have to shop for the holiday, send cards, AND get ready for annual holidays.
If you are a kid, however, it is fantastic, parties, presents and celebrations back to back.
Our middle granddaughter is with us for a couple of days and she and her friend dressed the tree - two 8 year olds had a lot of fun - trouble is it is hot and if we open the doors the sea breeze is inclined to blow the decorations off, shut the doors and we swelter.
Like Nia in Australia we had one family 'do' yesterday. We had a lunch with all of my husbands family - people from 2 to 92 all related by blood or marriage. All trying to keep cool and not eat too much or the bikini won't fit next week.
The next one is a small gathering on holiday Day, just four of us olds because our daughter and her family are with her husband's kin for a few days. They will return to Auckland in a week's time and we will start with our family gathering on New Year's Day, and then they will stay on (we live right on the water's edge at the beach) and continue their annual holiday. We have boats and all sorts of water toys in the garage downstairs and once the 'traditional' part is over everybody will be in holiday mood. Even the cat comes to us!!!!
Food is different too in some ways. Yesterday we had turkey (smoked on the BBQ) and cold ham, salads, fish (smoked on the BBQ) and the usual strawberries, cherries, jellies, and Pavlova cake which is a downunder specialty. It wouldn't be holiday without a pavlova!!! Yesterday was a BIG day for me by the time I had prepared my share of the midday feast, then carried on to a friend's 'CANDLEWICK SOIREE' her name for her traditional get-together with assorted friends. We didn't get to bed until the wee small hours so today I am a write off. Although I did manage to supervise the tree dressing.
So I guess for us lots of our traditions are the same as yours but with allowances made for the temperature.
It is 9pm now and just turned dark so the lights are on and the tree is twinkling so we can imagine how it would be if it was not so very hot!!!!!
Happy holiday wishes from this part of the world.
Posted 27 December 2010 - 07:09 AM
(Judy,What are the ingredients of Pavlova cake? I am very interested to know. Plus, is it baked?
I only wish that some of us could share the "overflow of snow, as well as temper, not only ours but your so very warm...temperatures, this time of year.
May you enjoy a Very Happy and Wonderful New Year in 2011, Judy!
Posted 27 December 2010 - 07:22 AM
I must say that there are very unusual weather patterns plaguing many parts of the United States, as well.
Okay...we'll "keep" our weather to ourselves
I would LOVE the tradition of seafood and barbecues, this time of year!
My dad's family had a tradition of having oyster stew on holiday eves. Though my brothers have continued the
tradition within their own family nuclei, I have not, as neither my hubby, nor I are fussy about it!
I prepared Manicotti for family that were here with us our holiday eve and I believe hubby and I will have an early dinner out before the vast majority of folks begin their New Years Eve celebration!
Thanks for sharing Robyn! Wishing you a Very Happy New Year!
Are there others of you who have special traditions unique to your own families for holiday eves/days? I hope we hear from you!
Posted 28 December 2010 - 08:59 PM
Pavlova cake is basically Meringue with a few extra ingredients. It is named afer Anna Pavlova the ballerina. It was made for her on a visit downunder many years ago and has become an iconic dessert.
You need 3 egg whites, beat them until they form peaks but not until they look dry (if they start to look dry and flakey you have gone too far) Beat in 1 cup Caster sugar (I don't know if that is what you call it, but it is a finer sugar than regular granulated but not as fine as icing sugar) you add the sugar in large spoonfuls beating well each time then carry on beating until the mixture is very thick and glossy. Some people say for 10 minutes (you can use an electric beater). After that gently fold in 1 teaspoon malt vinegar, 1 teasooon cornflour and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence folding until they are absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) put a piece of baking paper (or greased foil) on an oven slide (shelf) or flat sponge roll tin. Pile the mixture in the middle of the paper making a tidy round with a flat top.
Put it in the middle of the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 250 F (125 C) Bake for 1 hour then turn the oven off and leave until morning (assuming you have made it late in the day) When cold it should have a nice firm crust all over. Lift carefully and pull off the baking paper This is the tricky part - do it in stages - lift one side and loosen the paper, move around and loosen a bit more until you have got it all free then slide it off onto a flat plate. Probably every household in Australasia has a Pavlova plate - dead flat and probably beautifully decorated.
To serve cover the flat top with lashings of whipped cream and fruit. We use tinned peach slices, or kiwi fruit slices, or tinned mandarin oranges, or maybe tinned boysenberries whatever is your favourite. I even have a recipe for making a custard of the egg yolks but I don't have it available today.
The cake should be crusty outside and when you cut it it will be marshmallowy inside - YUM.
Let us know if you try it.
Posted 28 December 2010 - 11:35 PM
You bought back very fond memories of my mother making a pavlova!
That was the exact recipe she used except mum's always turned out quite differently and she was always disappointed. However we loved her "failures". They were chewy and sticky and were such a delight. Her sponges never quite hit the mark either, so let's blame the oven.
I have never made one, nor a plum pudding, nor Golden Syrup dumpings, and looking at the shape of my body now, it's just as well.
Thanks for bringing back the great memories
Posted 29 December 2010 - 09:10 AM
Robyn , I would have LOVED your mum's Pavlova Cake too!
May you all have a Very Happy New Year!