It’s that time of year when our community has its annual Christmas Boat Parade and I needed some gluten free appetizers for the rabble rousers to eat while drinking and yelling Merry Christmas to the revelers on all the boats. Sometimes the people on the boats toss candy to the kids standing on the pontoons and that brings shrieks of excitement as they try to catch the lollies without falling into the water.
There was a parade trial run at about 5:30 and I looked across the canal and there was this woman on a paddle board with TWO dachshunds wearing life jackets paddling by. Only in Queensland.
Then the boats started coming down the canal. In the daylight they looked like ordinary boats unless you looked closely to see the lights strung everywhere.
Then we started eating. I’d skewered some watermelon, feta and basil and drizzled a little caramelized balsamic vinegar on them and the plate. John and I loved this. So simple, yet delicious.
When you’re drinking you also need something with a bit of protein, so I made some little spinach, mushroom and onion frittatas and as I had some feta, I popped some of that in too. It was important that everyone could eat everything. I hate it when I have to say, “No, you can’t eat that.” I do it but every time I swear I’m never going to do it again.
These looked a lot better plated up ready to serve but I forgot to take the photo. It was a busy day.
It was finally dark and the boats began passing by in front of us. This is a sailboat and Santa sends the flame up a wire to the top of the candle. It’s a very clever display.
This was a really cute reindeer and he turned his head back and forth. The kids next door really liked this one.
There were about 45 boats in the parade and my favorite was a big sailboat that had Blinky Bill the koala at the top of the mast (well secured) who waved to everyone. His hat kept falling over his nose but he was still cute.
Then because it’s nearly Christmas when fresh cherries are in all the shops, I made this nifty recipe I found on Pinterest.
After pitting the cherries, you add a little salt and chopped basil and let them sit together and make friends for a couple of hours. Then just before serving, take the rind off a wedge of brie and sit it on top of the cherries and bake until the cheese melts over the cherries. I served them over gluten free toast that I made from some gf sandwich rolls. Again, I took the before but not the after photo. Next year I’ll do better! That green is the basil. I looked at that photo for the longest while and thought, “were those cherries bad?” I’m also an idiot sometimes.
Finally, I baked some small potatoes and when they were cool enough to touch, I cut them in half and scooped out all but 1/4 inch of each potato then cut them in half again. I brushed them with oil on both sides and put them back into a hot oven to crisp. When that was done I added the cheese and baked til melty and then sprinkled bacon when they were done. Next time I’d put the bacon with the cheese.
I served them with sour cream and the green bits of spring onions, shallots or scallions – depending upon where you are in the world. Everyone said how American my potato skins were – and they were powerful memory food for me.
The weather tonight was perfect – only a light breeze and it was warm. After the parade was over the serious food began with prawns, ham, turkey, potato salad and then dessert. Nobody went to bed hungry!
Do you have local Christmas traditions that you look forward to?