Green salad with fried almonds and ricotta

Green salad with herbs, fried almonds, ricotta

The last time we hosted Christmas, we didn’t have children and possibly didn’t have a Christmas tree (or if we did it was nothing I can remember). Now look at us, we’ve got a real tree (thank you, Oxfam) with a smiley angel that my daughter and I made perched on top, and two polka-dot stockings hanging from our mantel. I even make a wreath of kangaroo paws for our front door. Continue reading Green salad with fried almonds and ricotta

Grilled mussels with capsicum salsa

grilled mussels with capsicum and basil salsa and smoked paprika

Why open a mussel raw when you can cook it via steam and it will open itself? Because mussels grilled on a barbecue, cooked gently from heat beneath their shells, are INCREDIBLE! They’re rendered so delicate and soft, without any of the tightening that goes on when they’re steamed, and you would swear you were eating something extraordinarily rare and expensive, not something you buy for under $10 a kilo. So we – my husband and I – put up with the slightly time-consuming task of prising them open again and again. (My husband is a champion at it and doesn’t seem to mind the job, so sometimes I leave him to it!)  Continue reading Grilled mussels with capsicum salsa

Potato, dill and caper salad

Potato, dill and caper salad

Our family has been exchanging emails about who’s bringing what for Christmas. I love how this day has evolved from the traditional roast meat and veg, to meat with a spread of colourful salads and side dishes spilling over the meat on your plate, pushing the meat a little into the background (well, the way I dish up anyway!). Just quietly, I think the salads and vegetables are the main event. I do love quality ham and roast pork with crackling, but you’ll generally find me hanging out in the trimmings department. Continue reading Potato, dill and caper salad

Chocolate pavlova with cherries

chocolate pavlova with cherries

This pavlova has snuck onto the scene as a dessert for the festive season in our family – not as the main event (we’re all pretty wedded to Christmas pudding), but as a dessert for those barbecues and picnics in the lead up to Christmas or for Boxing Day. Continue reading Chocolate pavlova with cherries

Christmas pudding

Christmas puddings in bowls for steaming

I adored my nana’s Christmas cake and pudding. A few days before Christmas her cake sat upon our sideboard wrapped in a fancy red tinsel cuff, my brother and I just busting to eat a piece. Her pudding was not on display but we knew it was coming … With custard and thick cream after our Christmas lunch, it was almost an otherworld experience. I remember my brother and I had three helpings once – and nana’s pudding didn’t even have money in it!  Continue reading Christmas pudding