Christmas with the family

While most folks are busy striking items off their Christmas shopping list, my list has not been drafted and there’s only 1 week left. Where has all the time gone to? Are we really coming to the end of 2009?

Previous years in the airline meant that festive seasons were often spent without my family. Majority of the crew, especially junior ones would be last on the ballot list for choice annual leave slots. Christmas was always spent either serving passengers up in the air or holed up in some hotel room, merry-making with the rest.

If you’re lucky enough to be rostered for a States flight (or any other country that celebrates Christmas in a big way), post Christmas sales would render the crew members delirious with joy. Most of us would spend at least a couple of hundred dollars at Macys and A&F alone. If there’s any country that truly understands retail therapy and the effects of a wondrous sale, it’s got to be the States.

I remember overlooking the bay at Hong Kong Island a few years ago. The beautiful nightlights were accentuated by Christmas decorations and as one look far across, it seems as though the dressed up buildings were staking a silent contest to outbid one another. Drafts of cold breeze swept across everyone’s faces as we took in the mesmerizing horizon, completely absorbed in the beauty of the Christmas atmosphere.

As the sense of calm swept over me, my thoughts went out to my family at home. I would have given anything to share this magical moment with them…

I’m glad that festive moments can now be spent with my loved ones, now that I’m fully ‘grounded’ on terra firma.  Is a Christmas tree, turkey and party on the cards this year? My little one has already been promised his favourite pizza on the eve.  A heavenly rum-infused fruit cake is on the way. Wanna bake your very first this year? For a drool-worthy recipe, look no further …

* 2 cups unsalted butter

* 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

* 8 eggs, separated

* 2 ounces candied citron peel

* 2 ounces candied orange peel

* 1 cup dried currants

* 1 1/2 cups candied pineapple chunks

* 3 cups golden raisins

* 1 1/2 cups candied cherries

* 4 cups macadamia nuts, chopped

* 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

* 1/2 cup orange juice

* rum


1. Chop pineapple, raisins, and cherries. Combine chopped fruit with currants, peel, and citron; soak in orange juice overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Place a small pan of water in the oven. Line one 5 x 9 inch loaf pan and two 3 x 8 inch loaf pans with parchment or doubled waxed paper.

3. Mix cream butter and confectioner’s sugar. Stir in beaten egg yolks. Stir in fruit, juice, and nuts. Mix in sifted flour.

4. Beat the egg whites to peaks in a clean bowl. Fold into batter. Fill pans 2/3 full.

5. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until golden brown, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

6. Cool, pour rum over, slice and devour!

Religion shouldn’t be the only reason why we celebrate Christmas. It being the season when the year draws to an end, it’s time for some self reflection. When was the last time we showed our love? Or even flashed a genuine smile at our friends and family – People whom we have neglected for the past months, buried nose deep in work and studies.  They don’t want big fancy pressies or parties. What truly warms their heart is the mere comfort of your companionship and meaningful conversation.

This Christmas, do just that. Merry Christmas everyone!


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