Wednesday, 11 January 2017

On the first day of Christmas

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree”. There was no partridge in the pear tree at Towerwater on Christmas morning, just a Cape bulbul and a healthy crop of pears.

Christmas is a magical time everywhere, and we love celebrating it at Towerwater with family and friends. We woke up to a house filled with baubles, bells and a baobab tree full of angels. Our friend Carol was visiting over Christmas and brought her Baobab tree full of angels along. That is how we ended up with two Christmas trees in the house.

Christmas morning rushed into the house with rays of bright sunshine and the rich smell of fruit mince pies. These aromas came from the kitchen where Carol was baking an oven full of mince pies. The mince pies were made using her grandmother’s pastry recipe going back at least a century, and as lovers of tradition, that made Christmas breakfast with Carol even more special.

We decided to enjoy this treat with some Christmas tea from the Marriage tea emporium in Paris.   Esprit de Noël (Christmas Spirit) is a black tea flavoured with mild Christmas spices, pieces of orange zest and vanilla. Our friends from Paris joined us in spirit, esprit de noël to be precise.

We were in for a treat with the homemade mince pies. They tasted the way mince pies were intended to taste. We will most likely never be able to go back to supermarket-bought mince pies. Carol generously shared her grandmother’s recipe with me, but I think it may be easier to invite her for Christmas with her mince pies.

On a sunny morning we were surrounded by the fragrance and flavours of fruit, spices and hot pastry while we relaxed into the day catching up with an old friend.

With Carol acting as sous-chef, lunch was soon cooking, steaming, baking and roasting into readiness. Our friends from Ligspel in the neighbouring Klaasvoogds Valley were our lunch guests. Lunch was a celebration of friends and their deliciously prepared dishes.

Photo - Susan Cashin
Lunch turned into a celebration of tradition and new experiences. The dessert menu got underway with Carol’s traditional Christmas pudding blazing its way onto the lunch table, accompanied by her homemade brandy butter for good measure. I just love Christmas pudding, cake and mince pies. Perhaps it is the spices and fruit soaked in brandy that really gets me into the spirit of Christmas.

Susan was supposed to make trifle but Susan never trifles with dessert and produced a piece de resistance instead.

My disappointment of not having trifle for Christmas was replaced with sheer admiration for the Strawberry Frasier that Susan presented instead. The Frasier is a decadent creation with cream and fresh strawberries with layers of almond genoise that has been soaked in a strawberry punch.

On the first day of Christmas we celebrated tradition and friendship with a 9 hour lunch in true Towerwater fashion. 


  1. Mince pies, blazing Christmas Pud and Strawberry Frasier. Do we really have to wait another 12 months!


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