Although the holidays wasn't as crazy as last year, it was still crazy nonetheless. I was juggling several shoots and last minute design works but was able to keep myself free for Christmas eve to prepare for a "white Christmas" feast.
I was especially inspired since we renovated and repainted the kitchen firetruck red and my wife came back from Australia with a treasure trove of holiday recipes and inspirations - thanks to Donna Hay!
Since everybody else was working on Christmas eve, I was left alone with Nanie and Olive (my office manager) to conquer the kitchen. We were able to whip up a little Grilled Salmon, Ham with Spicy Mango Confit, Steamed Garlic Scallops, Green Noodles with Seafood Brisket, Lentil Soup, Buttered Veggies (turned out to be a disaster but Don rescued it from oblivion) and Raspberry Cake with Caramelized Fresh Berries on the side for dessert. For a little Filipino fare, Olive cooked her famous embutido and leche flan which was truly sinful!
While waiting for everybody to come, we had some chardonnay, blue cheese and crackers which Freedom tried with his chocolate Smarties!
The gang after the feast... we gave our gifts at the struck of midnight. Freedom got a mini drum set (our sleep will never be the same again) among many other things while I got a travel folio and a full collection of Woody Allen films!
Come new year, it was just me, Olive, Don, Nanie and Freedom as everybody else had their own parties to go to, but by midnight, we were all together to greet 2009. The fireworks display was short, but the sight of hundreds of candles on paper balloons floating on air was a truly magical sight.
At 1 am, we were all shuttling our way between the street party at Pub Street, the revelry at Linga Bar and the live band at Cafe Central.
By 4:30, we were hungry as wolves from all the partying, so we went home to raid the fridge.
By 5:30, we made our way to Angkor Wat to catch the first sunrise of 2009. The freezing cold didn't deter us as we came prepared with our own thermos of coffee and tea! By now, the pack was now reduced to me, my wife, Olive and Don.
Then slowly, at around 6 am, a hazy blue sunlit sky made its way to the horizon... revealing Angkor Wat's distinct spires...
I have seen it a million times, but it is still a magical, exhilarating sight...
Happy New Year everyone!