Some random person on Facebook said the other day in my direction: “I guess Christmas Day gives you a break from drinking all that tea”.
What? That’s the most inaccurate thing since Keanu Reeves had “actor” put on his passport!
Christmas Day is about having those people you are closest to around you. It’s not about less tea, it’s about as much tea as you can reasonably consume and still function.
So, for your education and entertainment, here’s my Christmas Day tea audit.
Prior to Christmas Day, we decided to only give actual tea to four people, but another ten got some home-made shortbread which had a Rose Blush flavour profile, and we made some teapot-shaped gingerbreads, so there was a bit of tea-themed giftery.
So, Christmas Day meal tea starts two days out. During that day, we made 4 litres of Fleurs de Provence and iced it down. Due to something happening (which will be detailed in a post in another 4 weeks) we had missed a market we were planning on having our iced tea at, and in the freezer we had significant quantities of frozen Fleurs de Provence. We use that to keep the iced tea cool in the Australian heat – if you use regular ice, it dilutes it.
Given that the forecast was for over 38 degrees (let’s just add that means over 100 if your country happens to use that temperature scale that was popular when Queen Victoria was on the UK throne), iced tea was an essential.
We also believe that when it comes to Christmas, traditional meals are best. So whilst some of my weak, lily-livered, cowardly, spineless countrymen and countrywomen opt for feeble substitutes like salad and seafood, we were committed to doing things properly.
Whilst Lady Devotea is our resident expert in desserts, the pudding is often my responsibility. Usually I make up the pudding well in advance but again due to circumstances I found myself needing to make one on December 23rd. So, first step: dried fruit gets a soaking in some 1910. Then, the recipe calls for some milk, so instead, I made some Aussie Ginger Chai. I followed the golden rule of make twice as much tea as you need and drink the rest.
On Christmas Eve there was a call from one of our guests with a request. In fact is was Devotea Jnr, informing us that he had been bragging about how good our FIZZY Fleurs de Provence iced tea is, and that it was sure to be offered at the table. Great! We have 4 litres of it iced and still, and suddenly it needs to be iced and fizzy. We set about making up some syrup. Luckily we also have a soda maker.
So, with tea already inserted in advance for Christmas Day, let’s move the day itself.
A Lord Petersham was enjoyed upon arising, and an hour later, we opted for a repeat of that whilst exchanging gifts.
Time to glaze the ham. Into the mixture goes apple juice, maple syrup, brown sugar and some left over Lord Petersham. I can say without fear of contradiction that it turned out very well indeed.
The vegetable were par cooked, and then cooled down. After that, they were shaken in a bag with The Devotea Gunpowder and Rosemary Saltea Tea Rub, one of our lesser know products. More of the salt tea rub went into the cornflour mixture that would form the basis of the gravy, once chicken stock and roast turkey juices were added.
So the meal came out, and was duly scoffed, along with copious quantities of iced tea – both still and fizzy.
It would be remiss of me to mention at this point that coffee also made an appearance.
It’s not exactly a secret, it’s just something that hardly ever gets a mention, but we have our own range of coffee blends as well. We do not sell them on line or at markets, instead we use them ourselves if we cater an event, or sell them to the organisers of certain events.
Anyway, Christmas Eve, Lady D created something that was layered like a trifle. It had sponges soaked in a mix she made of our Velvet Kilimanjaro coffee with Kalhua. It had creamy, cream cheese based layers. It had ginger biscuit layers. It had caramel sauce layers. And just before serving, it had fresh peaches dipped in sugar and then grilled added to the top.
It was quite spectacular. By the time it made its appearance, we were virtually comatose, and yet room was found by everyone to pile some onto our suffering digestive systems.
After all that, there was nothing for it but a hot cup of tea, We chose Amba, with its mix of Christmassy spices, dried cherries, black tea and rooibos to finish off.
And yet, after all that, there was still time, between lunch and bed, as a fiery hot day turned into a soothing cool change and bought welcome rain, so steep a few more cups, drink a little more iced tea and try to move as little as possible.
I can’t imagine how much poorer Christmas would have been without tea.
We had only people we wanted at our meal this year as opposed to a cast of thousands, but we could not have everyone we wanted, sadly. So on Boxing Day, we found ourselves inserted Skype-wise into a Canadian Christmas Day, Rose Blush in hand, keeping the Christmas spirit alive.
(Oh, and before you ask, here’s the pudding:)