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.

 

In My Kitchen-January 2015

Welcome to the new year everyone! Thanks again Celia from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial for being our conduit for IMK. With the festive season now well and truly  wound down, things are getting back to normal. The decorations have been packed away so they can be dragged out again next year. Recycling bin emptied of many wine bottles and stubbies and there is room once again in the fridge! Not loads to report this month but in my kitchen there is (was): A couple of sourdough loaves I made NY eve. One to take to our friends home and one for us. sourdough load ears

Ours is just about finished because of things like me having it toasted and topped with goat cheese, smoked salmon and capers. Mmmm! IMG_9133

I bought myself a Christmas present of a new Turkish hand painted plate. Just love the design and colour. IMG_9137

I’ve cured the garlic, cleaned it and strung it up. I bagged the loose heads in an exclusion bag, these are handy for all sorts of things. I’ve stored some incredibly hot chillies by threading them onto a piece of string. I also bagged up some shallots into another exclusion bag.
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IMG_6884I made stuffed mushrooms to take NYE and unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the finished product because they were really good, even of I did leave them in the oven a bit too long. I made a filling of olive oil with some roast pumpkin seed oil blended in (love the colour of that), S&P, mixed in some crushed garlic, grated parmesan, a chopped hot chilli and added enough sourdough breadcrumbs to make a stuffing. Mushrooms were filled with this then baked until done and crumble was crispy (in my case a bit more). I served them with some feta cheese finely grated over them and a thin slice of red capsicum on top. They went down well at our NYE gathering!

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I also made some samosa which I wasn’t at all pleased with (pastry mainly)  but they were all eaten enthusiastically. These were served with spicy hot peach chutney, that went on the platter where the black lid is. IMG_6885

I finish this post with the video of our annual family smashing of the gingerbread house. I know it looks wasteful but I just love it. The cumin that is mentioned in it was used to hold up one of the walls until the royal icing set. I forgot to take it out, finished the house then went nuts later knowing I’d seen the cumin but couldn’t find it. Sent son to shop to get some more. This video is the second attempt, first try didn’t do it. This is what the house looked like before the demolition. Decos are removed before we ‘do the business’. IMG_6762

Let the fun for 2015 begin!

PS: I forgot to mention that I made Maureen’s mango ice-cream for Christmas day and it was great. Might just have a serve now on this very hot afternoon. Wonder if we have any ginger nuts that I can crush to put on top?