The right time…

When do folks have their Christmas dinner? On Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day itself?

In my growing up years, we would have open houses on Christmas Day (and for Chinese New Year too) so in the days leading to Christmas, my mum would be busy making the cakes and the cookies and on the eve, she would be cooking the curry. Family members and friends would come to visit and enjoy the festive delights and the curry with slices of bread…and all day, we would be drinking our favourite made-in-Sibu Ngo Kian “aerated water” and we loved how our teeth would all turn red after drinking the cherry-flavoured fizzy drink or green when we had the banana one. People in those days were not all that conscious and not in the least bothered about colouring and the harm it would cause to their health.

I do not recall having a Christmas dinner and on the night of the eve, we would put on our new clothes to go to the midnight mass in church and upon coming home, we would have the curry and bread for supper before turning in for the night. These days, it seems that many would have theirs on the eve followed by all that partying, waiting for midnight to usher in that special day – like what they would do for the new year or on the eve of Chinese New Year or even the Gawai Dayak Festival.

These days, our celebration isn’t all that elaborate every year, not anymore. We would still go to church for the Christmas Eve service and no, we do not have open houses anymore. I would still have a nice dinner in the evening though and usually, we would invite my in-laws to join us. This year, however, the one in Bintulu and his family were not coming home and my mother-in-law did not feel all too well so there were just us and my Sibu brother-in-law and his wife.

Of course, as we had planned all along, there was the snowfish dish…

Snowfish with honeydew & rambutans

that Melissa cooked a week or so earlier with extra honeydew melon and rambutans…

Extra honeydew melon & rambutans

…to go with it.

Everyone loved it…

Snowfish

…so I guess we would be having that again for our Chinese New Year’s Eve Reunion Dinner as well in just over a month’s time.

Instead of a turkey which would be too big for us to finish, we had one big chicken…

Roast chicken

…and had it beautifully roasted with potatoes by the side and everything else.

We also had our “traditional” in-the-family-style salad

Salad

…and my girl also made some mashed potatoes…

Mashed potatoes

…with a lovely hint of toasted garlic.

No, it wasn’t an all-western affair – my missus would follow her heart and just cook whatever she would feel like cooking. I would usually have a theme – western…or Chinese/Asian…or kampong (village) and stick rigidly to it. That was why we also had this very fragrant ghee rice…

Ghee rice

…and freshwater prawns…

Prawns

…done the way my missus would usually cook them – with lots of garlic and sesame oil and whatever else.

For our dessert, I took out the fruit pudding…

Christmas pudding

…that I got from my uncle’s family in Kuching sometime ago. This was a family tradition as well – my mum and her sisters would make it every year without fail for Christmas. There were only a few of us so I just cut a bit and put the rest back into the freezer to save for Chinese New Year.

Gee!!! Time sure flies and it is already New Year’s Eve. What have you all got planned? At the time of writing, I am still not sure what would be in store for us this year. We’ll just have to wait and see…