We've been traveling in a flurry of festivities and holiday cheer this past week. From parties and gatherings with friends which have filled the afternoons and evenings, I've never felt so exhausted from good food, laughter and welcoming homes. Everywhere, each home and out front all the stores, are decorated with colorful baubles, twinkling lights, one fuzzy tree to be admired in the centre of activity, and countertops are repeatedly replenished with the endless possibilities of delicious food; baked goods topple higher on delicate porcelain serving dishes, mandarin oranges roll over each other and across the counter when someone grabs a select orange, and hot plates enter the oven before quickly being swept up and onto awaiting plates in the dining room.
After such busy activity in this hive, I like to think of us who live on this island as bees living together, I've settled down this afternoon to a classic cup of tea, and a few scrumptious treats still awaiting to be eaten. Gluten-free mince pies tiered precariously on a serving platter, the pastry flaking when someone ventures to move them.
Christmas morning we awoke late, all tired out from our Christmas Eve party the night before. Friends gathered at our place to spend the evening together around glasses of wine, home cooking, and Christmas music. Groups were situated throughout the living area in our house, chatting and laughing together. I fiddled around in the kitchen for a bit, preparing appetizers to share, before sitting down with my sister for a bit, and playing board games with one girl much younger who comes with her parents each year.
It was nice this year as the guests didn't stay long, departing just after ten o'clock, but we all decided upon a movie to watch, which dragged the night out until after one. I slept badly with excitement for Christmas morning, waking up repeatedly before turning back over and trying to fall asleep again.
Then my sister bounded into my room just after nine thirty in the morning, exciting the dog with her enthusiasm and movement, and they both tumbled over me wrapped up in just a few blankets. My parents still exclaimed this year how it was unusual for me to be up after my sister, despite the same thing happening last year - although we stayed up far later after guests drank too much at our Christmas Eve party.
To her surprise, my sister and I were in matching pajama pants, something I planned without her knowing the night before, as she remains consistently loyal to her favorite pajamas. We made tea for the family, rooibos for mum and dad, regular and chai for my sister and I, and then proceeded to gather the plump stockings which leaned against the hearth to be carried up to my parents bedroom.
Opening our stockings together up in my parents bedroom is one of my favourite parts of Christmas. Everyone is together, and just like when I was little, each of us sits cozied up in fuzzy pajamas, worn slippers and hot cups of tea as we enjoy being together after a busy year and even more hectic season. The excitement of opening the first present of Christmas, tearing wrapping paper and tossing it to the floor, brings me full circle and back to completely enjoying the holiday season.
And so I drag the festivities, and the fun of unwrapping presents, long into the afternoon. Taking my time with each present, my sister groans when the time it takes for her to unwrap three presents has only given me time to unwrap one.
"I think you need to go a little slower!" She mocks, and when I do, she can't resist that little sisterly nudge, which I know is code for,
You're really funny, and I love that about you.
Honey Marmalade Baked Brie
Print recipe here.
A deliciously gooey and tasty appetizer for the holidays, baked brie is a soft delicate cheese spread for rice crackers or gluten-free bread. The sweetness of the marmalade makes this twice as enjoyable.
Use fresh cheese from your local farmers for the best flavour, and choose select marmalade to top.
Perfect for a party or as a pre-dinner cheese tasting.
1 round of soft brie
Orange marmalade to spread on top
Pecans to top, whole pecans look aesthetically pleasing, however if you would prefer, chop the pecans into larger pieces. This may be easier when many people are cutting into the same dish.
4 tbsp honey
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Remove the brie round from the wrapping, and place in a round oven-proof dish with a lid.
Spread marmalade thickly on top of the brie, it should be approximately 0.5 cm thick.
Sprinkle the whole or chopped almonds on top and place the covered dish in the kiddie of the oven.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes, the brie should be runny in the centre, however the outside will still appear hard.
While the brie is in the oven, heat the honey in a small pan over medium heat, or in a small bowl in the microwave until it becomes runny and translucent.
To serve, drizzle the honey over the brie, and have rice crackers or other gluten-free crackers to spread the brie over.
Labels: appetizer, baked, brie, cheese, Christmas, crackers, holidays, marmalade, oven, pecans, spread