A Food & Travel Blog

Christmas cheer – Cranberry Liqueur

19/12/2011 | By

This last week before Christmas is when I really begin to get my cooking mojo on.  I am filled with Christmas cheer, good intentions and motivation (or sometimes, just slight nausea and rising panic) as I start to get the food for the big day organised.  I like to make some of my Christmas gifts and usually spend the week before baking shortbreads, biscotti and things with chocolate on/in them, making the assorted goodies into interesting little parcels for my friends.  I’ll still be baking tomorrow, but a couple of other diverting little treats caught my eye this year so I’ve branched out a little.  I’ve already made some Roasted Capsicum in Olive Oil, inspired by this recipe I saw in the New York Times.  It is very simple and you can vary it by adding whatever herbs or spices take your fancy, making it quite versatile, but the idea which really attracted me was a Cranberry Liqueur.

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Christmas food – keeping it local

15/12/2011 | By

Well folks we are really coming to the pointy end of the year now, with only ten sleeps left until the fat man shows up.  It’s a ridiculously busy time of the year for us all as we race to finish important jobs off at work, catch up with everybody we haven’t had time for all during the year, shop furiously for our nearest and dearest and desperately plan the execution of one of our most significant meals of the year.   Christmas food  comes in many different  cultural shapes here in Australia and we are often a lot more casual about our big dinner than in the colder climates.  While many of us enjoy sitting down to the formal hot baked dinner with all the trimmings, many others are happy with a cold seafood meal, a slap-up barbecue or a picnic at the beach.  As for me, well I love to do my best to keep the meal as local as possible, but I’m also a bit lazy and am very happy to find shortcuts wherever I can.

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More Christmas food traditions – Gingerbread & Mince Pies – where on earth did they come from?

07/12/2011 | By

 

The history of white settlement in Australia is a very recent one, so when it comes to traditions they can be a little thin on the ground here.  We are very blessed to live in a remarkably multi-cultural society and nowhere is this reflected better than in the growth and development of our cuisine.  We have moved from a culinary tradition based largely on conventional British dietary habits to a remarkably diverse cuisine.  Australians now enjoy a fabulously varied diet that has integrated and digested cultural ingredients from the different ethnic groups who have arrived on our shores to take up a spot at the antipodean table.   However, when I think of Christmas food traditions I think of the ones I am familiar with and which were the foods and treats that were only available for enjoying at that time of the year when I was young and – just because I can – I’m going to take a look at one or two more of them.

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“Tis the season…Thanksgiving & Christmas meats

03/12/2011 | By

I’ve been thinking about food traditions and celebratory eating habits of late.  My youngest is off in the wilds of Canada (well, really just Vancouver if I’m to be completely honest) on her student exchange and her host family took her with them to celebrate Thanksgiving with family in Oregon in the USA.   She has returned to Canada singing the praises of pumpkin pie, which in turn led my brain to turn to thoughts of turkey dinners and other celebratory meats.   Many of us are in the process of planning our Christmas meals here in Australia and for quite a few of us, this is the one time of the year when we will contemplate the roasting of those over-sized, foolish fowls.  Of course they are the  cornerstone of North American Thanksgiving meals and I, for one, always assumed turkey was the traditional dish because they were native to the region, plentiful and what the pilgrim fathers would have dined on to commemorate their thankfulness.  It turns out I am quite wrong about this and it is actually a habit that evolved much later.   In colonial times turkeys were eaten year-round and thus considered commonplace, whereas November was the time of the year when the pigs were slaughtered, making the ribs a treat that was not often to be found outside of that period.

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