Cheese souffle + best-dressed French salad

Cheese souffle and best-dressed salad

December cooking is the best, isn’t it? Christmas, obviously, plus all those extra get togethers with good friends and family … That feeling it’s the end of the year and time to mark and celebrate it in lots of ways, including through the food we eat. Some of the things that may happen in our house:
Chocolate pavlova smothered with cherries
Mussels split open and grilled with salsa
Spanish pickled vegetables (with bread/cheese/pâté)
Peach leaf prosecco or other easy but festive sparkling wine cocktails/spritzes …
Continue reading Cheese souffle + best-dressed French salad

Pâté, Spanish pickled vegetables

Homemade olives in brine in jarsChicken liver pate, Spanish pickled vegetables

Lots of things converging here: the homemade olives we are tickle pink with; a Spanish-inspired quick pickle featuring said olives and other puckering bits (and delicious vinagery carrot!); my friend’s mother’s pâté recipe, which is as much a celebration of onion and nutmeg as it is chicken livers. I’ve made these two dishes multiple times through December and January – peasant food that is fit for a Christmas table, or for get togethers and celebrations of any kind. Continue reading Pâté, Spanish pickled vegetables

Real raspberry jelly slice

Raspberry jelly slice – with real raspberry jelly and without condensed milk

Sometimes it’s an interesting dish from the other side of the world that excites me; other times it’s seasonal produce or food from our own garden, or the challenge of making something from scratch. And then there is another side to me – totally smitten with the old-school Australian/British baking of my childhood. The things my Nana made, and the cakes you could buy at our local country bakery (which of course you still can, and which we do, whenever we’re on a road trip. We dip into what we call ‘the bakery fund’, which extends to my husband buying pies, pasties and sausage rolls whenever there’s a reasonable opportunity – especially if there is ‘award-winning’ something announced in the bakery window, i.e. in every second town.) Continue reading Real raspberry jelly slice

Sultana polenta cake

sultana polenta cake

‘Sultana cake’ is probably not the thing you lust after … but bear with me! This cake is beautifully buttery without being particuarly high in butter, and the sultanas … well, I like sultanas, but in this cake they taste somehow better than plain sultanas – juicy and mellowed and more sophisticated. It’s definitely a case of a thing being more than the sum of its parts. Continue reading Sultana polenta cake

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

Chocolate walnut biscuits

Chocolate walnut biscuits

It’s been an interesting week this week. Is it that I’ve had less appointments and urgent things to do, or are things getting slightly easier at home? Some telling things have happened. While my husband was at work and the kids and I were hanging out, I had a day where I managed to fit in craft plus baking with my three year old daughter. The two of us finished decorating some origami tigers, then made a batch of chocolate walnut biscuits. She was delighted. It might not sound like much, but since having a son 9 months ago, craft and baking (and blog writing, and other things …) have been on my list of things that are just about impossible to get around to, for the moment. Continue reading Chocolate walnut biscuits