Christmas with the Campbells

What are your Christmas plans this year? Holidaying? Etc

We like to avoid the rush by slipping away a week or two before Christmas. This year we are planning on going to Nelson – we’ve booked a place at Kina Beach. Apart from a little fishing and visiting a few winemaker friends we will laze around and catch up on a lot of reading. I’ve promised not to take my laptop.

What’s on the menu for Christmas?

That really depends on what fish I’m able to catch (or unable to catch) on Christmas Eve. In the likely event that I don’t get lucky we’ll have smoked salmon, baked ham, lots of fresh summer salads and a loaf or two of my home-made bread.

Do you have any great foodie gift giving ideas and/or wants this season?

I plan to give a few special friends wine decanters. I think that most red wines (and quite a few white wines) benefit from 30 minutes in a decanter. That’s especially true of wine sealed with screwcaps, particularly when they’ve been in bottle for a few years. I desperately want the new Canon 5D camera but at $5000 I’m unlikely to find it in my stocking.

Any favourite holiday/beach/bach food traditions and/or new ideas this season?

I’m keen on cockles and pipis, especially since I’ve discovered how to cook them so they melt in your mouth. Put the freshly gathered shellfish in fresh water for a few hours so they spit out any sand. After placing the shellfish in a heavy iron pot boil a jug of water and pour the water over them. Then, placing the lid on the pot boil another jug of water. When it’s boiled pour off the old water and replace it with the freshly boiled water. Leave for five minutes (I wrap towels around the pot for extra insulation) then start eating the most tender shellfish you’re likely to find.

First published in Taste Magazine NZ – Nov 2008.

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