Sunday, 13 May 2012

Greek Orthodox Baptisms....

Hi strangers...I haven't posted for a while...Organising my little angel's christening took a bit out of me. Anyone who knows me knows that if I was ever to get married I wanted a "The Godfather" type wedding reception.  (eg.  Michael Corleone's sisters wedding!!) Oustisde, lots of food, lots of music and everyone having fun.  Ideally it would be a sunny day with no rain!!!!  (Bloody Melbourne weather!) Since marriage is not on the books, it had to be Evangeline's christening, with my 40th bday sneaking in there as well.

Here is Evangeline with beautiful nouna (godmother)
Choosing godparents, I think is a very important job.  For me the decision was made about 20 years ago.  I had made a deal with my best friend that if I was to have a baby first then she would be the godmum and vice versa...I'm really lucky because she is a wonderful and beautiful soul who I know will always be there for Evangeline.. Also really lucky because the man she married, who happens to be an old friend, is also just as great.

As I am probably more spiritual than religious and more into preserving my greek culture especially now with my partner, love of my life, lover, best friend.. (what the hell do you call the person you hope to spend the rest of your life with not being a greek) I wanted to understand the meaning of a Greek Orthodox Baptism.  

Here is a booklet on Baptisms which explained a lot.  I chose Panagia Kamariani Greek Orthodox Church in Red Hill which is on the Mornington Peninsula for the service.  It is SO beautiful out there.  I would have loved to have it on the church grounds but apparently the council doesn't permit it.  Call me a cynic but I think it has more to do that they are trying to push the new events hall...Oh well next life!

Next was the actual party to organise.  I'm not a big believer of spending thousands of dollars on a day that will just fly by.  I would rather spend that money on a family holiday or towards something boring like a mortgage.. Call me crazy but that is just me!  I also wanted to have all my friends there.  Having it a Greek tavern would mean that I could only invite a select few and I wanted EVERYONE there.  So the guest list hit about 160.  Luckily only 140 turned up!  So the party was held in my parent's very quaint home in Dromana. So my goal was to have a party that all my friends could attend, on a budget and generous in both food and drink!  I can't believe the cost of marquees!!  I ended up buying one for 1/2 the price.  My stepdaughters, my friend Efi who came all the way from Greece and I made the decorations and decorated the marquee and the back area.  (There I saved the cost of a flight to Greece!)
Bonbonieres w "made for an angel charms"
made by me
paper pompoms and chinese lantern decorations 
Lolly pop table decorations were a hit with both young and old

Being a godparent can be very expensive and for me it is more important that the godparent is there in the godchild's life to love, advise and be a positive role model rather than spend thousands of dollars on the designer christening outfit and cross etc...  As I like to think of myself as a little creative and also I had loads of time on my hands being on maternity leave I took it upon myself to make the bonbonieres.    They took a while, but with the help of Evangeline's big sisters (my gorgeous step daughters) it only took a couple of days to make 160 of them. Most of them filled with 5 sugared almonds as per tradition and about 30 of them with jelly beans for all the kids!  I found these boxes, little butterflies and angel charms on ebay.  They ended up costing literally about 1/5 of what I found in the christening shops.  It is customary that the godparent organise the outfit, cross, bonbonieres and all the bits and pieces that are required for the service..  For anyone who is about to organise a christening here is a list...

Orthodox Christening Checklist
The following checklist can assist with planning for your baby's very special day:
                Date and Time
                Select Godparents
                Reserve reception venue for celebration/or home
                Guest list
                Invitations (my good friend Mary designed them)
                Photographs (Pure Blossom Photography)
                Order Christening cake or cupcakes (I made 160 cake pops)

Following organised by godparent
                Bonbonniere (couldn't help myself...I made them)
                ‘Lambatha’ – Baptismal candles, beautifully decorated
                ‘Ladopana’ – 1 small white towel – used by Priest to wipe oil from baby’s head after the ceremony
                                  1 large white towel – used with sheet to wrap baby
                                  1 large white sheet & cap (used with towel to wrap the baby and protect godparents)
                                  1 set of baptismal undergarments (all white) (bought by the Godparents to dress baby immediately after the immersion in Baptism)
                                  Bar of soap
                                  Small bottle of olive Oil
                                  Baptismal Box (decorated box to put all items inside to carry to Church)
                                  Baptismal cross & chain
                                  Martyrika (witness pins) – small lapel crosses handed to witnesses at end of ceremony (Oops forgot but the cake pops did have a cross charm on them)
                Baby's clothing for the day
                                  Christening gown or robe
                                  Matching shoes and bonnet/cap
                                  Socks or stockings, singlet
                                  Wrap or blanket – A baby’s body is more susceptible to temperate change and a lightweight blanket or shawl is ideal

 As there were about 30-40 kids invited and the threat of crappy weather was looming I needed to make sure that all were entertained.  DVD room was set up in the bungalow, Karaoke in the back room and Jumping castle with a rain cover which was a god send!!! Worth every dollar!!  Even Evangeline  had a great time!!

Then it was organising the most important part of the day.  THE MENU

As I wanted the guests to mingle before sitting down to the big "Wogarama" feast I organised a few canapes..
- Tiropitakia kourou (fetta cheese pies)
- caremilised onion, beetroot relish and feta canap├ęs (recipe given to me by Nellie @ Relish Mama and made with her yummy beetroot relish)
- mum's sausage rolls
- chicken satays (recipe given to me years ago by Janet DeNeefe owner of Casa Luna Cooking classes in Bali, 
- Prawn cocktail served on a chinese spoon (made by our wonderful friend Phil Ganavas owner of  "The Swan" in Windsor
- Prawn pastries

Loads of sparkling, red and white wine, soft drinks etc......

Then came the main...

- 3 lambs on the spit
- pork souvlakia
-can't have a bbq without a sausage sizzle
- biftekia (greek burgers/rissoles)
- chicken wings
- woodfired roasted pumpkin, rocket and fetta salad
-beetroot with a cumin yoghurt dressing
- politiki salata (translated to Costantinople coleslaw)
- Rice pilaf
- Araka giaghni (pea and tomato casserole)
- Grilled eggplant with spicy tomato saltsa
-Tzatziki, hommus

..and then dessert

- Tiramisu (my wonderful friend Maria made these)
- chocolate crackles and honey joys for the kids (my other wonderful friend Mary made these)
- Cheesecake ( I forgot all about it- Luckily because there was more for me the next day!)
- Fruit platter

...and as I started a little side business making cakepops when Evangeline was born I thought it appropriate to make 160 of these!! Thank you again Efi for your help...

Most of the food was prepared by mum and me..It was a HUGE job but everyone loved it,  so very much worthwhile!

xxxx Carol
Dad @ the BBq
160 chocolate cake pops
Dad, mum and friends

My dad's yummy lamb


  1. AnonymousJuly 29, 2012

    What a gorgeous celebration!! I am so sad i missed it. The menu looked amazing. Finding myself craving feta pides and lamb on the spit...... Evangeline is gorgeous xx paula xx

  2. Hi Paula..Not to worry I'll make sure I organise another feast over summer..Thanks for her pressie...xxxx

  3. AnonymousJuly 29, 2012

    Carol, you are making me hungry looking at that lamb! Yumm!

  4. Hi Tiffany

    How are you?? Long time no see...About 23 years..Can you believe it??? Thank God for Social Media. Maybe we should organise a Mentone Girls reunion over summer at mum and dads holiday house and we'll do the lamb and also fire up the woodfire oven...

    P.S loving your artwork