Thursday 20 December 2012

Christmas Traditions

This will be our 6th Christmas in Australia. The first one in 2007, was luckily spent with my family that visited from Portugal (my parents) and from South Africa (my youngest sister, her husband and her 2 young boys).
The family and friends in the pool of a friend´s house on the 25th.

In 2010, our daughter and her partner came from France to spend Christmas and New Year with us.
Our outdoors Christmas Eve dinner (my daughter, partner and my son on left)
Since then, our families haven't visited at Christmas time, so our friends have been the closest people we have and can consider as family, and it is usually with a whole bunch of them that we get together to celebrate this family feast.

Since I was born and brought up in Africa, Christmas was always celebrated in summer, and it always intrigued me that the Christmas postcards were full of snow and fireplace images, things I hadn´t seen till much later in life. Maybe back then nobody had thought to design summer Christmas images...

I have since celebrated a few Christmas in Germany in the middle of all that snow and cold, and I must say the only thing I liked about them were the wonderful markets and the warm and spicy Gluhwein.
Even my kids didn´t enjoy the snow that much, they used to scream every time we had to put a couple of layers of clothing on them. And I´m very much a summer person, although like anyone else I will complain when it is far too hot.. Talking of which, the forecast for Christmas day in Perth is of exactly 39ºC. Probably the reason why Australians go to the beach or swimming pools on that day and then come home to a seafood barbecue and some cool desserts like Pavlova.

Of course I like to keep our Portuguese traditions alive, so we will be having friends over for Christmas Eve, which is the main event for us. Some of the guests will return for lunch on the 25th.
I will be cooking Bacalhau (salted cold fish), and this year I will be making a different recipe from the one I made for the last 3 years!. It´s time for a change!
Cod fish with potatoes
I´m will also be making "Rabanadas" or Tipsy slices, and all the other guests will be bringing various foods and puddings to the dinner, and as there will be a mix of Portuguese, South African and even Australian guests, we should have quite a lovely variety of goodies to taste.

My Tipsy slices in Port wine syrup
The "Bolo Rei" (King´s Cake) has been baked. This was originally a French cake, but the Portuguese have adopted it probalby centuries ago, or so I think, as it´s always baked for Christmas and Kings Day on the 6th of January.

It was the first time I baked it. I made 2 cakes, and we have already cut one to have a taste. It´s not exactly the same texture of the ones I used to buy at the bakery, but it´s nonetheless tasty.
 I just couldn't find the Glace fruits for the decoration, and used nuts and cherries to decorate.
The original one is also a bit flatter, I used a baking pan for mine, so it appears more like a fruit cake.
My "Bolo Rei"

One of the things I like to do around Christmas is to visit some of streets whose houses are illuminated, they look so pretty! Most of those houses collect funds for charities of their choice from passersby, and with Australians being so charitable, quite a lot of money gets collected.
In shopping centres there are little booths that do Christmas wrapping for a gold coin donation ($1 or $2) that goes towards a charity or in my shopping centre for the Scouts. (Most shops do not wrap gifts).

One of the decorated houses
Australians having a good sense of humour also like to decorate their cars with reindeer antlers or wear headbands with antlers. Just today as I drove to work, I saw a female bus driver wearing a Father Christmas hat and the dashboard of the bus was decorated with colourful tinsel. Pity I was driving and couldn´t take a photo, but it put a smile on my face, and it certainly will cheer a lot of people.
A car decorated with antlers

To all my readers and friends, I wish you a wonderful Christmas with your families or friends and may the New Year bring us all a lot more peace and prosperity.
Looking forward to "seeing" you all again in 2013 and thank you for being my friend.

I would also like to thank all the readers and friends that voted for me on the "Best Expat Blog", I have today been informed that I have won the "Honourable Mention Award" for best expat blog in Australia.
Not bad for a last minute effort.


  1. Happy Christmas, Sami and Congratulations for the award!
    Your post is quite delicious ;-) These photos...cresceu-me água na boca!! :-))

  2. Thanks Sandra. All these Christmas goodies are delicious, aren´t they?

  3. Congratulations on the award!
    I'm sure your home-made Bolo Rei will be great even with some improvisation on the candied fruit. My mom used to make rabanadas with coca-cola or tea instead of red wine or milk when we lived in Africa and we loved them"
    Boas festas!

  4. That´s a new for me Mara, never heard of Rabanadas with coke or tea. I suppose that is the only way the kids could eat them, no alcohol for them...

  5. Congratulations on the award Sami, very well deserved. I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas, enjoy the Bolo Rei, I bet it will be deliciouso!!

  6. Thanks Grace. The Bolo Rei looks good, let´s see if it tastes good on Christmas eve. A great Christmas to you too.

  7. O Natal dos postais, com muita neve e luzinhas é lindo, mas eu não troco pelo dos trópicos. Já passei o Natal em Angola, África do Sul e norte da Argentina e dêem-me calor que é disso que eu gosto! :-)

  8. I love the look of your Bolo Rei. It looks far more appertizing than the ones on sale in the supermarket! Bet it tasted delicious :)

  9. Hi Carole - The bolo Rei actually tasted very nice even though it didn't have the traditional dried fruit decorating it.
    Because I baked 2, I froze one in slice, and we are still having it as toast.


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