Only twice since the late 1980’s Fredo and Janey have not been at Riverside near Stilbaai for Christmas. Picture this – our house is on the bank of the Goukou River – barely 15 metres from the river bank.

The river is tidal, a unique eco system of birds, fish and animals! When it comes to Christmas we cook here on the bank – and when we settle around the table, we look out over the magnificent view in front of us.

So, we normally try and get all our kids and grandchildren together. This is not always possible – we will miss Johno, who literally grew up on this river, Jules and Hunter and Halle this year. Halle is barely 6 months old and the family decided to spend time at home – a very practical move.
Sue, Dean and little Isla will join us and the good news is that we will again be cooking on the bank and have fun.

Our friends will be interested to know what we are going to have for our Christmas meal. Preparation started two days before Christmas – the de-boned leg of lamb is defrosting and will be seasoned today – two days before the big cook. With it we will cook a port fillet – in the oven. The lamb will be on the weber.

With this we will serve onion flavoured potatoes – and some of the local beetroot and curry bean salads. Janey’s fantastic garden salad will dominated.
The highlight will be Fredo’s trifle – made with jam roll, custard, walnuts, cherries and ample red or white muscadel wine. This will be in the fridge 24 hours before Christmas lunch – and believe me it will only get better on Boxing Day and the day after.

Mind you, we will have to keep it away from Isla. Normally we also do a seafood starter – but decided to give it a miss this year.

Less work and more time for family. However, one evening this week we will get to that seafood pot – and perhaps we can twist Janey’s arm to make one of her special cheese cakes. All who have tasted one, always rave about it.

Perhaps one night we can get Sue to make her special hamburgers – to be cooked on the fire!

What a prospect!