Christmas really began for me on the evening of the 21st, when the Modican "foreign legion" held their annual multilingual carol service. We were a little quieter than usual, having lost a dear member, but we did our best to sing out for her.
Chiara had decided that it was more important than ever to spend pleasant times together, so another gathering took place at her house on Saturday morning. This is where the serious eating began! Christmas just isn't Christmas without hot mince pies, and there were plenty of those:
I had made a batch of Welshcakes with cranberries:
Chiara had made a lovely Christmas cake
and Roberta had made these yummy, nut-flavoured "thins":
There was homemade shortbread, too
and it wouldn't have been a Sicilian "tea" if someone hadn't brought along some ice cream!
Later on Saturday, we held a little Christmas party for students over at English Matters. Our clever secretary, Martina, made these exquisite chocolates
and this was my go at making Nigella's chocolate Christmas cake:
These delightful creations came from a Modican pasticceria:
Then suddenly it was Christmas Eve, which I again spent with Linda, Chiara and family.
As I don't eat fish, I had to pass on these salmon appetisers but I'm sure they were delicious:
Don't you love the way these little appetisers are cut?
There was calabrese salad
and it is traditional to serve several kinds of focaccia:
I hadn't made pumpkin bread for a while, so prepared some of that to take along:
I had to pass on the salmon with beignets too, but I loved the presentation:
Then there was one of my favourite Christmas Eve dishes, roasted artichokes:
Chiara had made another Christmas cake and it was scrumptious:
And finally, there was warm panettone:
"See you later this morning", we called as we parted and within a few hours we all met at Grazia's for Christmas lunch.
There was pasta, of course:
Linda provided the British elements and very good they were:
I had to pass again on these:
Here comes Grazia's pollo ripieno, with a garnish to gladden this blogger's heart:
And where there is Grazia, there will be excellent homemade pane condito:
I had made my standby semifreddo di marrons glacés. This time I added a little more cocoa powder for the colour and a few drops of cinnamon liqueur. [The recipe for this is in Il Cucchiaio d'Argento.]
One of my young friends had made this pretty lemon cake and served it with justifiable pride:
The parents of Grazia's youngest guests had hoped that this chocolate crib, made and sold by a charitable organisation, would be opened and consumed on New Year's Eve. Needless to say, it wasn't to be:
Then there was more warm panettone:
We all felt very lucky to have been able to celebrate Christmas together this year.