Christmas Wrap-In My Kitchen & of course, the Gingerbread House.

Well I’d have to say this has been the loveliest and most ‘Christmassey’ Christmas in quite a long time. We held our now traditional backyard Christmas Eve gathering of friends and family, it was a little cool but not so bad that we couldn’t stay outside. Such a relaxing evening and I get a kick out of planning and preparing food for the night.

I try to make things that are simple but have just a little wow factor when served. This year we had potato and pea samosa from the lovely Sandra’s blog Please Pass The Recipe. They are made using spelt flour for the pastry and were an absolute hit. Didn’t remember to get a pic of the inside, but trust me, they were delicious!

We also had the “If I don’t make them the family will kill me” Annabel Langbein Pakora. For the recipe click here. These are also vegetarian and are made with besan (chick pea) flour and beer batter, for the filling I used cauliflower, peas, pumpkin and zucchini then served with a simple Indian style mint dipping sauce. Once a year I bring out my little el-cheapo deep fryer for these, it then goes back into to cupboard for another year.

Then there were the mussels with nam prik (Thai chilli dipping sauce) and topped with  cucumber salsa. Last year I made Turkish Stuffed Mussels and my poor dodgy hands took weeks to recover from the pain of opening the mussels. These were easy peasy, the recipe is from Annabel Langbein’s Simple Pleasures cook book.There was a couple of huge platters of assorted breads, dukkah, antipasto, dried fruits and cheeses. This is some of the breads including  potato and roasted garlic focaccia, pizza filled baguettes, plain baguettes and an olive parmesan batard.I made yet again Celia’s Tupperware Meatballs. These are from the River Cottage Cookbook and I love the seasoning and spices, served purely with greek yoghurt sprinkled over. Winner! By the time I got back from grabbing my camera, they were gone. These are great as they can be made ahead then frozen and just reheated in the oven. This pic is from a previous time I made them but they were cooked in a tomato sauce as a main meal then.I had planned to serve chicken tikka kebabs too, but the food intake had slowed down so I left these and we had them Boxing Day along with some left over pakora mix that I cooked on the  griddle. No where near as nice as the deep fried version but ok.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Day was lovely, beautiful weather, very relaxed and all but my daughter in law were there for lunch. She joined us soon after lunch so the whole family were together which is a first for a while. Lunch was hosted by my son and his partner and they did a great job. I did take a bit of a contribution to lunch………….he lives only 10 minutes away so no problem  transporting, put it down as meat resting time.

Roast turkey, roast pork, roast potatoes, plum pudding, tomato and onion layered bake, gingerbread house, gravy, brandy sauce.

The turkey was stuffed with crumbs made from my bread, capsicum, thyme, 2 eggs & salt and pepper. So easy, so delicious, we cooked the turkey and pork in the Weber at home. I’d made gravy from roasted bones and veg a few days before, stored it in a milk bottle and reheated it at Cameron & Graham’s place.We sat outside under the shade of the trees, ate, drank too much and of course there was the gingerbread house to demolish (see below). My mind had been tossing a couple of ideas around as to its demise and it went reasonably well. We probably could have gotten a bit more mileage and a few more cracks but it is what it is.I received a pack of these beautiful beeswax wraps from my D.I.L as my Kris Kringle gift. They work really well and as a bonus they are made by a local business. Little Bumbles have a range of plastic free shopping and storage items and they are beautifully presented. Love their catchphrase! Another local item I have In My Kitchen is a jar of Grandmas Delights Tomato Chutney. I cannot believe I actually ran out of both my sauce and tomato relish. I cannot remember how many years it would be since I bought sauce, but its been a long, long time. I refuse to buy that crappy, plastic bottle, mega factory made stuff, so was thrilled that our local IGA stock this. Was good, not as good as mine of course, but definitely good.

And now we close the year, the post and In My Kitchen for 2017 with the now famous annual demolition of the Gingerbread house. Very “straaylan’ to use the iconic Hills hoist as the  moving mechanism and the weapon my son used to ‘hack’ the house is his Japanese Samurai sword (demo only) which he bought back from Japan when he was an exchange student. Once again it proved a little upsetting for little Charlie, but I imagine in a few years he’ll be coming up with his own ideas on how to do the demo. There are views from 2 different angles here just to make sure you don’t miss a thing! Thanks to Sherry from over at Sherry’s Picking for her linking up of bloggers and thanks to everyone who shares their posts or takes the time to read ours. Happy New Year everyone.

 

Long weekend that was-for some! Family celebrations are fun!

Amazing to think that a whole country can come to a halt based around a race horse, but yes, here in Australia we can. I have traditionally been a great Melbourne Cup Day celebrator, but this year there has been so much happening that I didn’t even give it a thought! No sweep tickets, no TAB bets and not even watching the race. Hang my head in shame! The Melbourne Cup is always run on the first Tuesday in November and it is a public holiday for the people who live in the state of Victoria. It has turned into a time when many take the Monday off creating an extra long weekend. Not so for me.

Our son and his fiancé celebrated their engagement with a rather large party on Saturday night and you could not have asked for more disastrous weather conditions. After a beautiful Friday of 28, no wind and balmy conditions the cool front confronted with avengance. Temp slid down to about 13-15, rain was horizontal and the wind was just horrendous. All the planned outside arrangements were put on hold and thankfully our gracious hosts opened their home so the celebrations could continue inside. No mean feat for about 130 people! I had been cooking at every available opportunity for the party and it all went down well, especially the spicy (very) small sausages and the Indian pakora I made. IMG_6179 Just love this Indian pakora recipe of Annabel Langbein. I’ve made it a few times and always served them freshly deep fried but this time I made them ahead of time and reheated before serving. Wasn’t sure how that would go but it was fine. Batter wasn’t as crispy as when fresh but flavour was still good. IMG_6181Served with a minty yoghurt sauce.Cauliflower pakoraThe beautiful couple, though I think Dave may have had a beer or two by now!

IMG_6195Our daughter has a great sense of design style and does some beautiful cake decorating, she contributed this lovely 3 tier chocolate fudge cake decorated with little daisy flowers. Looked lovely and I must admit we are munching on it as I write this post!10424268_1563188050563163_5140644749713191810_nIt was a great party and a great reminder that it is so special having these happy times and celebrations with those we love.