I can't believe it's Christmas Eve! How did that happen? Literally a second ago it was Sept 26th and I was toasting a glass of the good bubbly stuff to celebrate my book going on sale... Well it is December 24th here in Sydney anyway and it's a stinker today, 30˚C and humid ~ a condition I still find somewhat odd being Irish in Oz at Christmas. Christmas to me for 30 years equated to chilly days, trudging around the shops in woolly hats and scarves and lots of cosy pints in Dublin city centre pubs ~ well at least in my late teens onwards... ;) I do really miss Christmas in Dublin and in fact I was due to head back 'home' this year to spend Xmas but alas due to some personal issues which popped up we have decided to push the trip back a few months to next June or so.
I'll be honest too though, I am starting to really love the Aussie Christmas in the warm weather, I know it's a concept a lot of people back home can't grasp and it does change your perspective of Christmas a little ~ aka I still love all the decorations and social side to Christmas but I guess it's made me a little less materialistic - in so far I mean I tend to focus less on going mad spending oodles of money on copious amounts of gifts for people, and prefer to focus on entertaining for friends and throwing outdoor get-togethers, BBQs and dinners in an attempt to take advantage of the amazing warm weather. I think too it's because it does feel a lot less Christmassy to some one not originally from Oz at this time of the year so I focus more on the fact it's Summer and I want to get out into the gorgeous weather. However to Aussies who haven't experienced a Northern hemisphere Christmas, it's as Christmassy and you can get out there right now in the shops and such :)
This year I was supposed to be spending Christmas at home with Mick and one or two guests and I wanted to come up with a menu which would be light and easy to prepare, hence the below listed Trout recipe with fennel salad and minted potatoes and 2 wickedly non-healthy indulgent desserts to follow. Ok, the fig one isn't too bad on the calorie scale but the chocolate cake is let's face it is not going to help you greatly in 'the getting into those skinny jeans scenario' on Boxing Day.. ;)
Plans have changed slightly since I started devising this menu plan and I am now spending the day at my sister-in-laws with about 18 others which will be great, and it'll be really nice ~ I'll be honest to not do the cooking for a change. It doesn't happen a lot for me, so when I can get it, I grab it with both hands!
The past year has been an amazing one for me, I still pinch myself at times when I see the WKA book in a book store. Yesterday I was in David Jones ~ Sydney's equivalent to the likes of Selfridges in the UK or Harvey Nichols or Saks Fifth Ave in the US. and my book was No. 1 on their Top 10 books! I was thrilled and totally surprised, a lump-in-the-throat moment, it was so cool to see it sitting there with a big No. 1 underneath it. I was delighted and so grateful. It only seems like yesterday I was offered the book deal, but it was over two years ago now - crazy! Time is flying by so quickly.
I am really looking forward to the new year 2013, knowing that WKA Book is going to be published in not only as it is currently in AUZ, NZ, US and Canada, UK, Ireland and France, but now too: Norway, Italy, Holland and Germany. How exciting and very humbling. I hope too other countries will follow ~ especially for all you readers from the likes of Poland, Brazil, South Africa in particular who are always asking me if you'll get your own version. Hopefully you will and I'll keep you posted if anything does happen in those countries int he coming months.
Next year I have a very exciting project in the pipeline, details of which I'll write about in the early months of 2013, so January is a month for me which will now be focused a lot on this new project and I have some great people coming on board too as contributors to WKA such as upcoming pastry chef star Julia Taylor. Julia was the runner up in this year's Australian Masterchef show and was amazing at producing the most incredible cakes and desserts. In January Julia's going to work with me to produce a new 'sweets and cakes' section on WKA. Her first story will feature in late Jan. I 'll also have a great launch post up in early Feb to celebrate the book (finally!) going on sale int he UK and Ireland, it'll feature a lot of blog readers who are UK and Irish Ex-pats living here in Sydney and possibly from further afield around Australia. The UK book looks amazing! It's actually a little chunkier than the Aussie version and I love it. It's been printed beautifully and I am so proud to know it'll be on sale all over my homeland and the UK as of from late Feb which is really only 9 weeks away.
I want to say a big thanks to all of you who continue to read What Katie Ate and who post comments giving feedback and your thoughts, it's the comments and words which keep me going so please always feel encouraged to write to me on the blog and post your thoughts and ideas.
On an end note, I wish you all an incredible Christmas 2012 and an amazing, prosperous and peaceful 2013.
I hope you enjoy all the new recipes below and if you have any comments or questions don't hesitate to let me know in the comment boxes below and I'll do my best to replay as soon as I can.
See you in the new year!!
Fresh Prawn Crostini with Caper, Green Olive and Goat's Cheese Paste, Baby Peas and Lemon Oil ~ Recipe here
Lobster Crostini with Buttery Tomato and Champagne Sauce, Fresh Dill ~ Recipe here
Mint and Watercress Soup with Garden Peas and Pecans, Sour Cream and Proscuitto ~ Recipe here
Fennel, Apple, Radish and Watercress Salad with Soft Boiled Egg, Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing ~ Recipe here
Pomegranate Roast Chicken with Cherry, Nut, Orange and Herb Stuffing ~ Recipe here
Roasted Fig Tart with Orange Blossom, Cinnamon and Mint Cream filling. Crushed Hazelnuts ~ Recipe here
Black Forest Style Xmas Berry Gateaux ~ Recipe here