One of my earliest Christmas memories, other than
Christmas presents, has to be watching my mother lovingly assemble her Christmas
trifle. My mum would spend Christmas Eve
standing over a gigantic glass bowl serenely layering jam filled sponge, jelly,
custard, fruit and cream finishing with a grated flourish of chocolate.
Before a dessert finds its way onto my Christmas menu it must meet two very important criteria, yes it has to be unbelievably delicious but it also has to be prepared and happy to nestle in the fridge at least a day prior to Christmas day. You see, a dessert for me must evoke joy, excited anticipation and splendour not only for the guests but more importantly for the cook! Last minute prinking and fussing over a dessert is the very last thing I feel like doing when the big day has arrived.
To me, this Donna Hay dish makes for a perfect Christmas eve dinner. It is an elegant, simple to prepare, delicious dinner that exudes the holiday spirit by way of crispy, crunchy, salty pork crackling and an incredible port and honey glaze. With a glass of red this wonderful pork dish definitely got me into the holiday spirit.
In primary school I studied the German language. When I reached grade three I was given two choices Japanese or German and it will come to no surprise to you that my decision, even way back then came down to food. You see I had one encounter with Oktoberfest as a tiny year one tot roaming the school grounds that remained with me for years, one that provided enough gastronomic evidence to sway my language decision years later.
When I was growing up I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, surprise surprise! I loved the kitchen then and I adore the kitchen now. As a child I relished the time I spent flicking through my mother’s recipe books scouring the pages to determine what I would be cooking that day.
It’s that time of the year! It’s Christmas time again and for me that means it’s time for some much loved Christmas cooking. I love cooking all year round but when Christmas time finally arrives I truly relish, celebrate and take even more pleasure in my cooking. Whether I’m making Christmas cookies, chocolate truffles, rocky road, cranberry sauce or my much loved Christmas pavlova I am in a state of complete Christmas bliss.
I couldn’t be more thrilled with this cake. It’s a delightful combination of a few of my favourite ingredients; smooth and creamy ricotta, tangy cream cheese and loads of zesty zippy lemons. This cake is nothing other than fabulous.
It’s summer here in Brisbane. I am telling you this because by looking at our current weather there is no way you would know it. Brisbane summers are usually swelteringly hot! And I mean the kind of heat that has you eating ice cream all day, standing directly in front of a fan seriously contemplating whether to make a bath full of ice to jump into. Oh and it usually gets pretty humid as well, there are days when you feel as though you can literally spoon the air. Brisbane heat waves can be torture, but after a long cool winter deep down we all crave that longed for summer heat that reminds us of school holidays, sunscreen, watermelon and mangoes! As seasoned Brisbanites we usually escape the heat in the air conditioned comfort of the movie theatre or drive up/down the coast to our favourite beaches to swim and cool off in the cool blue ocean. This summer however, I have done neither.
During our usual Saturday morning coffee/breakfast/papers routine this past weekend I had the pleasure of checking out and discovering a new kitchenware store. Filled with shelf after shelf of glasses, plates, napkins, spatulas, cupcake papers, forks, knives, wooden spoons, serving platters, mixing bowls, kitchen aids etc etc I was in heaven, well my idea of heaven anyway!
I could easily have lost myself and spent hours just wandering through the store inspecting the latest cookware on offer but I had to exercise a degree of self control and focus my attention to just a couple of things I needed otherwise I would have been at great risk of purchasing everything in the store. I don’t believe that anyone can have too many citrus juicers.
There is something very cheeky about a banana cake. It’s a cake somehow magical enough to lull eaters into the false delusion that they’re consuming something almost healthy. With the notion of banana and its loaf tin appearance it allows consumers to relish in a phony sense of angelic healthy smugness whilst they’re actually eating a slice of a naughty carb laden cake. I mean yes it’s packed full of banana goodness but it’s still a cake, a delicious cake but clearly a cake.
My first encounter with anything resembling a coconut macaroon has to be the topping that sat upon my mum’s famous raspberry coconut slice. Like all mothers of the eighties, mum found all of her recipes in her trusty Australians Women’s Weekly Recipe Box. Mum still has the recipe box perched inside of her pantry and flicking through the recipe cards under categories such as ‘The Important First Course’ and ‘Fabulous Fish Dishes’ brings back countless nostalgic childhood memories.