Thursday, 2 January 2014

In my kitchen ... Christmas 2013

Tarte Au Chocolat

This post, my first for 2014 is a little indulgent , but hey ho, it's holiday season and I thought it would be fun to do a round up of some of the things I have been cooking over Christmas. Just in case you haven't seen enough food over the last week or so.

Festive crostini and cheese stars in the background

From festive cookies to cocktail snacks to the big Christmas feast this has been a particularly busy fortnight in the kitchen for me, as I am sure it has been for many of you. The highlight of course was the Christmas Eve feast, and I loved knuckling down and getting stuck into all of it, even though I was told that I looked quietly stressed throughout (that's my concentration face actually!). But in between the list checking, fridge rearranging and double guessing ("I did remember to buy the carrots, didn't I?") is something that I have really treasured - creating new Christmas memories.

This is the stuff that really makes the holiday season special, and much of it, as in life, has centred around the preparation and enjoyment of food. Rolling out dough and cutting out shapes with my almost-2-year-old, watching her delight in sprinkling the counter top (and anything within a one meter radius) with flour, proudly showing me the star she has cut out and decorating it with sesame seeds. Doubling over in laughter over something probably quite silly but completely hilarious with my sister as we finish last minute Christmas dinner preparations. Sitting on the lounge floor watching a traditional Christmas movie with hubby as we wrap and fill our home-made crackers. The food may be tasty, but for me, this is the good stuff.

My Christmas dinner menu was a mixture of traditional favourites with a few new dishes thrown in. The star of the show was the aromatic Christmas gammon, boiled with fresh fennel, coriander seeds, star anise and garlic and then roasted in the oven with a spicy cranberry glaze. We skipped the turkey and instead roasted chickens coated in a spiced yoghurt marinade - not traditional but delicious. Fortunately the masses didn't revolt and seemed to rather enjoy it. On the side we had honey glazed carrots, greens and semolina roasted potatoes. I was particularly happy with the stuffing which I made from scratch using pork, chestnuts and thyme, wrapped in bacon and baked. They were even more scrumptious a few days later. Dessert consisted of thin slivers of tarte au chocolat, made with Lindt chocolate, nutella and double cream.

Let's not forget the snacks and the baking! I loved making these delicious canap├ęs: I adapted this recipe for festive crostini made with cream cheese, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and parsley. I also whipped up a batch of cheese star biscuits and they were a hit with pre-dinner drinks! Also in the oven this week - tree-shaped cinnamon sugar cookies, spiced cookies and banana and date muffins. 

What were your favourite Christmas and party dishes this Festive Season? I'd love to hear from you!

Before I sign off, I'd like to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year. Let's make it a good one, yes? x


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    1. There is indeed! Here you go: