Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December 20, 2008 - January 2, 2009: Christmas cooking

It's the season for preparing and sharing food and I did my fair share of it this year, mostly from other people's kitchens! Since we were surrounded by non-vegetarians and not relying on our own spice rack I chose a range of familiar-looking dishes without too many exotic ingredients, things that I've made and loved before.

Following lunch with Mum and Carol, I served up cream cheese brownies for dessert. We polished off half the pan between us, then I boxed up the rest for the ladies to enjoy later.

This plainer version of bubble slice is a childhood favourite of my brother's. Liam's been living in small-town New South Wales for the past six months and he's been missing Mum's cooking. Though he's not much of a baker I reckon he can manage making this refrigerated slice, so I tucked the recipe into a Christmas card as well as boxing up this edible incentive.

Michael and I spent Christmas day separately and we both wanted to contribute something to our hosts' tables. The solution? Twin trays of spanakopita - tasty at room temperature and terrific when eaten fresh out of the oven.

My Dad had a range of guests in his home, none of whom I know very well. Rather than trying to choose individual gifts, I hoped they'd appreciate the gesture of a shared box of sweets. These were supposed to be butter pecan turtle bars but with Caloundra seemingly devoid of pecans, they became butter macadamia turtle bars.

For a picnic with old friends, I baked a batch of soy bombs while the Boxing Day test babbled on in the background. Little terrier Louie didn't seem at all perturbed that these are vegan, and circled hopefully around my ankles all afternoon. Between preparing the bombs and their accompanying sauce, my hands smelt like a regular barbecue for the rest of the day.

Our last stop was Liam's current small-town home, where Michael and I shared a cabin with my mum and three of her sisters. We earned our keep by cooking dinner - first, haloumi sandwiches with pesto and salad, and a side of seasoned potatoes.

For the second night, I hit on a great dinner idea for mixed company - a parmigiana party! In Liam's kitchen Mum and I worked in tandem, crumbing chicken and eggplant respectively, serving them with simple side vegetables.

Michael and I were lucky to receive as much edible love as we gave. Here are some highlights:
  • fabulous fresh tropical fruit, elegantly cut by Swiss visitor Marco;
  • sweet and savoury sauces from Michael's Mum;
  • an assortment of Indian groceries from mine;
  • a gorgeous lasagna prepared by Anne, and the largest sachet of saffron I've ever owned;
  • a copy of Face Food, travelling from Japan with Michael's brother;
  • a lunch of zucchini and haloumi fritters with salad, followed by lychees in Beth and Ryan's beautiful new home;
  • a pub meal, Liam's shout.
Family, friends, food - our holiday had all the right ingredients.


  1. oh bubble slice, how I love it!

  2. So much great, festive food! Homecooked dishes make for wonderful gifts and things to share. I am loving that cream cheese brownie - I've got some Anzacs in the kitchen but now I can only think of soft choccy goodness. And the parma party is absolutely inspired :)

    Belated Christmas and New Years greetings to you both!

  3. Glad the soy bombs went down well with all creatures great and small :-) I love the soft gooey look of that brownie - it all looks delish - glad you enjoyed the festive season with so much good food!

  4. yum, that slice looks delicious!

    I'm going to have to copy the recipe and give it a go myself.

  5. AVAT, I think I'll be making more for myself since I still have half a box of rice bubbles. :-)

    Happy new year, FoodieFi! I hope you've had a wonderful break.

    Johanna, I've been enjoying a peek at your festive foods too. :-)

    Go for it, Maria - I reckon it tastes at least as good as it looks!