Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas celebrations round #3: girlfriends

Posted by lea at 4:45 PM
On Sunday night we had a 10 year reunion with a group of girlfriends we had Christmassed with in 1999. Changes between 1999 to 2009:
  • 4 out of 6 of us are now married
  • one of us currently lives in Geneva although the rest are still in Sydney
  • we all have our own bedrooms now (10 years ago, only one of us did)
  • we all have full-time jobs (actually it was probably only Jenny and myself who lived like hobos back then, but we can't say we didn't have fun!)
On the menu:

Beer can chicken (with roast vegetables)

Quick directions for the beer can chicken: buy a good sized fresh whole chicken (organic if you can). Take the entire lid off a can of beer and drink half (you'll need it to steady your nerves for what comes ahead), or alternatively, transfer half a can or bottle of beer into a mason jar (or clean ex-tomato paste or other glass jar).

Throw a bunch of herbs and spices into the remaining beer, like rosemary, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, Moroccan spice mix (love this stuff), chilli, cayenne pepper and cloves. Separately, create a spice rub using the same spices mixed with 2 tbs olive oil and 2 tbs softened butter. Lay your chicken down and rub the spice mix all over the skin and get your fingers right under the skin to also rub the spices into the flesh. Tip: don't apologise to the chicken. Personifying it will only make it harder. Just grit your teeth and remember that if you cook it right, it won't have died in vain.

Pick up the chicken and impale it onto the can or jar of beer, standing upright on a baking tray. Pop it into a pre-heated oven or BBQ at 180 deg C for 60min. It comes out delicious - 360 degrees of crispy spiced skin and juicy flesh flavoured from the internal workings of the beer.

Moroccan cous cous with roast veg and rocket leaves

Chop pumpkin and sweet potatoes into 1cm cubes and roast in the oven until slightly browned. While they're in the oven, add 1 cup of cous cous to 1 cup of hot vegetable stock, add some Moroccan spice, mix with a fork and cover. Wash some rocket leaves and chop a handful of mint and parsley leaves. Fork through the fattened couscous grains until they separate, then add the baked vegetables, rocket and herbs. It's ready to serve and a delicious accompaniment to any meal.

A side of garlic asparagus

A really simple but delicious side dish is garlic asparagus. Chop off the woody ends, wash and dry the asparagus. Heat a pan, add some olive oil and when it's nice and hot, throw in around 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic for each bunch of asparagus. When the garlic is slightly brown, throw in the asparagus. Toss until it starts becoming a nice bright green, then grind some salt over the top and serve. Easy.

The evening did have a purpose other than eating though... ten years ago we'd written down a list of 10 things we wanted to do before we died and placed it in a very fitting time capsule: a VHS case. After dinner, we sat around with some delicious French pastries and read aloud our lists one at a time. They were hilarious!

The points that had been accomplished included:
  • travelling (for most of us)
  • Mia owning her own studio
  • Glenda meeting the man of her dreams
  • I woke up before 6.30am at least once in my life (probably never again after the first time)
  • Glenda and Ron watching a live grand slam tennis match
  • Jenny conversing with her biological mother
The points we laughed over:
  • both Ron and Andie wanted their own rooms (at the time they were sharing)
  • Jenny wanted to do something fearless like acting in a movie or interviewing strangers
  • I wanted to 'write a best seller.. or at least a pretty decent book... or at least something that gets published'
I can't remember all the points, but afterwards we wrote a list of 5 things we'd like to do, be or have in five years time, along with a snapshot of our lives now. My 5 things:
  1. To potentially have another Bloom Training Centre set up, either somewhere else in Cambodia or in another country.
  2. To have happy, well-adjusted kid(s) - either our own or adopted - and a great family.
  3. To have my own business with freedom and flexibility.
  4. To have a good wardrobe I can wear anything from and look good (hey, I'm a girl!)
  5. ... can't remember the fifth one. Guess I'll find out in 2014!


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