I love this time of year, it seems to bring out the best in people!

His is the little gift Danyun and Sing Ya left for us on the night of  Christmas eve!

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The stocking had chocolates that Ade promptly devoured!!

And tonight we got to sit out under what is coming to be a common meeting place with guests...the market umbrella. I have gone all high tech and installed dimmable strip lighting to create that perfect ambiance!!

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Christmas night I sat here with guests Rachelle and Vincent until 1.20 am and we had just the best night!

The guests think I am a great host, but I just think they are great guests!

You can't get more win/win than that!

 

Cheers......Rob

 

 

 

26 Replies

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Huma0

I won't say I am a devotee of Aldi but they certainly have good meat. Their eye fillet of steak, if you careess it and take care of it in the cooking process can be the most rewarding piece of steer you will ever eat.

My first experience with it was served by a friend of ours one evening and she nutured this piece of steak from the shopping trolley to the dining table and it was spectacularly good. It just fell apart to the touch of a knife and had that lovely taste that only grain fed beef has.

 

Two weeks after that another friend of ours proudly announced we would be dining on Aldi fillett steak, and my heart soared. I don't have a 40 inch waistline for nothing you know!!

Well, bloody hell, she proceeded to chop it into pieces and I think cooked it on the barbie until it ran out of gas.......it was bordering on, indigestible. How could the same piece of meat end up being so devistatingly different?

I intend to serve this very cut on Australia Day and I do believe that you need a dry run or two to get the process spot on. I was going to do it last night but bloody pesky guests got in the way! We sat under the market umbrella until 11.45 pm and by that time my stomach would not have detected the difference between a fine piece of meat and a dog dropping so I just hacked a bit of ham off the bone and made that do.

No repeat tonight, barbie is ready to go, fillet has been oiled and well seasoned, It is not a large one only going just 1.4 Kg so I will give it 25 minutes and let it rest wrapped in foil and half of yesterdays newspaper for 15 minutes....and hopefully we will have a delight to compare with 'Maxims'!!

Huma, I really do love my cooking, it is something that really does reward you.

 

Cheers......Rob

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Huma0

5 hours later......

Architecturally it was not a great dish Huma, a whole lot going on on the plate, it didn't look pretty but, we just get ourselves in a muddle here at evening time and by the time 9.45 pm came around I really was not interested in whether it was a photographic masterpiece....I just wanted to eat! I did nail the meat though, just melt away stuff.......

 

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Who would have thought meat like this would come from Aldi!!

I will fine down the salad, just too much going on there. Next time just apple, baby spinach mango, asparagus and pecans....and a larger mushroom, maybe portobello!

 

I feel confident Australia Day is going to be a serious meal, and I will be cooking for probably twenty +!! Bring it on!

 

Cheers.....Rob

 

 

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

Mmm, @Robin4 that meat looks cooked to perfection!

 

I'm a former vegetarian (from a lifetime ago) but I do like a good steak, or lovely bit of lamb etc. from time to time if it is cooked just right.

 

Looks liek you are getting it right for sure!

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Robin4

 

I don't shop at Aldi, because I've never lived near one, but I have a local Lidl, which is pretty much the same thing, and it's incredible what you can pick up there. I don't buy meat there too often because I don't cook much meat (just the occasional steak because I have an iron deficiency), but I can't remember the last time I ate so well before that Lidl opened.

 

Smoked salmon? Yes, Asaparagus tips, pomegranates, what have you. I can now afford these things because they have them in Lidl. Whether they all come from sustainable sources, I don't know, but seeing as most of the stuff in the other, more expensive, supermarkets doesn't either, I don't thiink I am necessarily being less 'eco' by shopping at Lidl.

 

I guess it all depends on what you're used to though. I was having a conversation with my (very discerning) nine-year-old niece the other day about some fruit juice which I said was a bit fancy (some Clementine with something or the other in some posh packaging).

 

She said, "It's not fancy, it's just from Marks & Spencer." I told her that M&S was quite fancy and she insisted that it wasn't. I said, "It IS for people who normally shop in Lidl." She replied, with a sigh and an incredulous look on her face, "Yes, ok. If you say so."

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Huma0You sound like a great host! A rather more generous host than me – I give 'em nothing! Christmas-free zone here! Bah humbug 😉 But I suspect there's a middle ground and I wonder if all of your kind gifts leave guests feeling somewhat overwhelmed.. ?  (I'm a "less is more" kind of person, just me :))

Needless to say, everything changes, I'm sure your forthcoming guests will be fab-u-lous 🙂

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

Thanks @Patricia55. I am most definitely feeling a bit Bah Humbug right now 😞

 

Just to clarify, the guests aren't getting all of those things. They all get cards and crackers, and then either the mince pies and whiskey, or the chocolates. Perhaps you are right though. Maybe it's all too much?

 

Then again, I've always found in the past though when I've left anything for birthdays, anniversaries, newlyweds or newly engaged couples, the guests have been so touched, even if it was just a card.

 

There are also loads of hosts posting on here about all the extras they give their guests on a regular basis and how much it's appreciated. @Robin4 for instance gives them a lovely cheese platter and often home cooked meals.

 

For some reason, I find it's just at Christmas that I've had unappreicative guests and those guests are mostly not that pleasant in other ways, so I don't think it's awkardness so much as that they're just entitled types. 

 

Anyway, I don't want to hijack @Robin4's very positive thread with my moaning. Perhaps I will create a separate one to rant on!

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Huma0

Ah, yes, I misunderstood: I had thought you were giving a guest ALL of the things you mentioned!!

Though I joke about my miserliness, to be fair, I do things like baking cakes or buying sweet treats for guests, or rather: I do it when I feel like it and just tell guests to help themselves if they fancy. Maybe that's the difference, I haven't made a particular effort so I don't feel slighted if they don't want things.

Agreed, the entitlement syndrome is such an unattractive thing. (I actually find it quite sad and would hate to be like that myself.) Of the qualities I notice and tend to mention in my reviews of guests, being “appreciative” is right up near the top. I can even forgive other transgressions if, at the end of the stay, I get a genuine “thanks for letting us stay.” 🙂

But Huma, even if your guests haven't specifically acknowledged your gifts, don't you find that the overall tone of review they give you, is probably influenced by your extras?

PS I seem to remember someone (was it @Robin4?) apologising for setting the bar too high? Ie spoiling guests for other hosts! Just had a thought: I can't compete with you guys so maybe I should market our listing as being suited to ascetics... take the bed out – let 'em sleep in the floor – cold water only etc etc... 😉

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Patricia55

 

I really don't know as most of the reviews haven't come in yet! 

 

I'm not expecting gushing thanks or for anyone to overlook something else that they didn't like about the listing because I gave them chocolates. BUT, I was brought up to say thank you when someone gave you a gift (even if you hated it), or even a card. It astonishes me that people don't have the simple good manners to do this anymore.

 

The guests who left today never thanked me for anything at all  but when I cleaned their room, I could see that they had taken the card, pulled the cracker and eaten every one of the Swiss chocolates (packing left on the floor for me to clean up). Clearly they enjoyed these things but did not seem to think it appropriate to say 'thank you!'

 

Is it just me being British, or is this a bit rude?

 

Oh well, I have learnt to maybe not give so much...

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Huma0

Aye, could be more of a British thing (though I'm sure some on here might disagree ;)). Me too, please & thank-you were just ingrained in me as a kid. When abroad, even if I knew nothing else of the language, I'd always learn the words for please & thank-you. I can only assume that, in some families, kids aren't brought up like that. Weird, cos it doesn't take much effort to do it, and I'm sure people in service industries (well, people in general) feel better for being appreciated, and upset about being taken for granted.

PS Just looked at your listings & reviews and – all sounds pretty good 🙂

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Patricia55

 

Happy New Year!

 

No, it doesn't take much effort to say thank you. Maybe some of these guests were just shy, but some of them were definitely not, made themselves very much at home and had no problem approaching me when they wanted something.

 

It's interesting what you say about appreciation. I just had a young couple stay with me for four nights. The girl, who booked, drove me a bit crazy with endless questions before the trip. She practically wanted me to write an entire London guidebook for her, but forgot to thank me when I sent her all the info she asked for.

 

Her boyfriend was very polite and friendly and thanked me for the chocolates. The girl, on the otherhand never bothered to speak to me from check in onwards. I did not see her at all as she would send the boyfriend to ask everytime she wanted something. She did not repond when I messaged her asking if everything was okay. There was also quite a lot of odd annoying behaviour (late night noise, mess and other stuff) during the stay. I started feeling quite resentful about what seemed like her very entitled attitude.

 

The night before the guests left, they both came down to say goodbye to me. They said they had had a great time and seemed so happy that I immediately felt really guilty for my earlier resentment. She didn't say much (her boyfriend did most of the talking) but she was so smiley that I immediately softened towards her,

 

So yes, a little appreciation can go a long way!

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
San Antonio, TX
Level 10

@Robin4We had wonderful guests from Mexico City book our place for the Christmas season.   They stayed with us last summer and we were excited to welcome them for a return visit.  We meet their new grandson, only 5 weeks old.  Upon arrival, they presented us with a beautiful embroidered table runner.  One night they cooked seafood paella for our dinner.  We shared our home baked cookies and candies.  We look forward to them returning for their third booking in March.

     Tonight we welcome a family from California for the New Year weekend. There is champagne in the fridge for the parents and noise makers & party hats for the kids to usher in 2019.   They plan to visit the Alamo and River Walk while here in San Antonio.  Then on to Houston for space camp at NASA for their son.

   Wishing you and Ade a safe and Happy New Year!!!   

   Linda & Richard

Re: Christmas spirit!

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Linda-And-Richard0

Thanks guys, definitely a boozy night coming up, we are going to go down to our premium seaside suburb of Glenelg and stay with friends and of course take in the fireworks show at midnight! There will probably be 25-30,000 people down there but it will be fun.

All the best for this coming year. I said in an earlier post my wish for next year would be to have another one just like this one has been. 

 

Cheers.....Rob

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