6pm Christmas Eve, work finished and heading home for Christmas. A calm day at school, not many people want to come in on Christmas Eve; the schools are on holiday, and the adults generally wanted a break. Everyone was very keen to get home, the trains were the busiest I’ve seen in Hong Kong.
Helen’s had the day off, and has been busy all day cooking food for her Polish Christmas, Wigilja. It’s been troublesome finding some of the ingredients we needed as the Polish market in food seems quite slim. Cheese curd proved the most difficult to find, and we had to settle for Philadelphia instead.
Each course is traditionally started with a shot of Zubrowka vodka, but we couldn’t find any of that either so we made do with France’s finest Royal Castle Vodka, (which was as stomach-retchingly not Zubrowka as it sounds). The first course was a salmon salad, with capers and olives and we dropped in some cottage cheese too, and it was blooming delicious.
Between the first and second courses, Helen’s mum called on Skype and we had a little chat while they opened each other’s presents (that happens on Christmas Eve too in Poland) whilst her drinking sherry and us more vodka.
Another shot preceded the second course, pierogi. Pierogi are little dumplings of dough, containing a filling of the cheese curds, onions and potatoes, boiled until they float to the the surface. They’re difficult to make, especially here this year with no real counter space, so Helen made them all on the floor instead! Sprinkled with little drippings of melted butter, they were delicious. Because they’re relatively small (about the length of a finger), you can eat quite a lot, and we had a load of them!
Indeed, we even had so many that we weren’t really hungry enough for what should have been the third course of carp, so we never got round to it. We opened half of our presents, saving the other half for the morning, and had some Christmas chocolates instead.
What we were worrying about being a bit of a disaster due to lack of ingredients actually turned out fantastically well, and my compliments went to the chef (Helen!) for a lovely meal. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and my turn to try my traditional Christmas roast with lack of food and without even an oven!