Tag Archives: cooking

Christmas, Our way.

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Christmas is over for another year, we are packing away the decorations and the wrapping aper and boxes have successfully been shoved in the recycling bin. Now that it is all over, I just thought I’d share a bit about our day.
It was set to be a fairly quiet Christmas in our house. For the first time ever, my husband and I were the most senior members of the family present, with just our children and and my daughter’s partner joining us for the day. Basically, it was just the people who live in our house and who are with us for almost every meal! This seemed like a fairly boring prospect to me – not that I don’t like eating with these people, just that we do it every day. I couldn’t imagine how we could make it ‘special’, and I was finding it very hard to get enthused.
I had bought a heap of seafood at our local farmer’s market and was trying to think of something cool to do with it, when the idea of making a paella jumped into my head. Closely followed by dreams of a Spanish feast with an assortment of Tapas dishes!
I was feeling a little more enthusiastic about the whole deal with this break away from tradition. The only problem was that when you don’t have a lot of people getting together it can end up being a huge workload for one person to try and make a special meal and I wasn’t looking forward to that.
It was about then that I had my second great idea (even if I do say so myself!). I asked each of the children if they could contribute a Spanish tapas dish to the meal. They needed to do some research on the internet and find a suitable dish to cook, organise the ingredients, and prepare the meal.
This task was approached with great enthusiasm by them all. It only took my youngest about 5 minutes to decide on his recipe, and fortunately for me it was a nice easy one (ie. not too messy!) – marinated mushrooms.
Axel with mushrooms
Next in line was my oldest son with a huge bowl of garlic prawns, complete with crusty bread to soak up the oily garlic sauce.
Jayden 1
Jayden 2
My middle son continued in the seafood theme making fried calamari with a garlic aoli dipping sauce.
Zac cooking
calamari
And finally my daughter and her partner made Spanish meatballs.
Cooking meatballs
They also decided to make a gingerbread house, which wasn’t exactly in keeping with the Spanish theme, but was yummy and fun and a reminder of the gingerbread houses we used to make every year when the children were younger.
Gingerbread house making
gingerbread house
I added to the tapas with crumbed green olives, chorizo and capsicum tarts, and chorizo in apple cider.
My tapas on table
The tapas made a delicious, long, all day lunch. We all took turns in the kitchen and just added our dishes to the table when they were ready. We even had little bell, so when a new dish was on the table the cook could ring the bell to let everyone know.
As you tend to do on Christmas day, for some reason I thought we would need more food!
We had the grand finale, a big seafood paella, and platter of slow cooked lamb shanks at about 9 o’clock that night, followed by Churros con Chocolate for dessert. These were actually a bit of a disaster, especially compared to the ones my beautiful Spanish friend sometimes makes for us, but everyone was too full by then to care anyway.
Paella
(This is not my usual Christmas look lol. We had been for a swim in the afternoon, so I have swimming pool hair and a sarong!)
I have to admit, I did miss having the huge crowd of family around that we used to have, but it was great fun to try something different from the traditional Christmas feast. The best thing was having all the kids involved, cooking together, and making some great Christmas memories.
I hope yours was great too. Sharee x

Here are some of the recipes we used…

Chargrilled Capsicum and Chorizo Tartletts

Fried Green Spanish Olives

Fried Chorizo with Apple Cider

Spanish Paella

Churros con Chocoate

Best Ice Cream Recipe Ever

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I made this ice cream recipe the other day, and it was soooo delicious I thought I would share it with you. Before you make it though, I warn you, I am a cardamom addict – I absolutely love cardamom in anything, sometime I even crave it lol. So, if you’re a cardamom fan like me, give this one a try. You wont be sorry.
I found this recipe on the back of a packet of Herbies Spices cardamom seed – thanks, Herbie!

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Cardamom Ice Cream

1 tsp cardamom seeds crushed (the little brown ones, not the green pods)
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 cups light cream (I used 1 cup cream, 1 tin of evaporated milk, and a little bit of milk to make three cups because)
4 eggs separated
1 tsp vanilla essence

Combine cardamom, cream, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring often.
Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly.
Lightly beat egg yolks and gradually whisk in 1 cup of the hot cream.
Stir this into remaining cream and return to heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, then beat in the hot custard until well blended.
Add vanilla and cool completely.
Freeze until icicles begin to form, then beat again and refreeze, or churn in an ice cream machine.

Yum! Try not to eat it all before it freezes lol – enjoy!

Post Christmas cooking

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Yum, Christmas food is soooo good, especially those leftovers that seem to last until New Years. I still have a slab of Christmas cake and a slab of fudge in the freezer that I have managed not to eat, but I am saving these for my big son who was overseas for Christmas this year. Other than that, all the Christmas food is gone. I know this is a good thing. I have started exercising more seriously again this week, and I need to get back to eating healthy.
I just find it really hard to go ‘cold turkey’ on the sweet food after Christmas. I am already craving just one more fruit mince tart lol. So, today I decided to make some Dried fruit truffles. They are a bit healthier than the fudge and fruit mince tarts. I stared with a recipe but didn’t have half the ingredients, so a new recipe was born! Here it is.

Sharee’s Post Christmas Fruit Truffles

1 cup seeded chopped dates
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts pieces
3 heaped tablespoons light cream cheese
3 tablespoons liqueur (I used Amaretto because I had some left over from Christmas but you could use any liqueur
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

I put all of these ingredients in a bowl and processed them together using my stick blender but you could use a food processor if you have one. Stop processing as soon as the cream cheese and fruit is all smooshed together. It’s good if it still has a few bigger bits in it.
My mix was still pretty sticky, so I crushed up all the left over sweet biscuits I could find in the house. This was about

1/2 packet of sweet biscuits, crushed

Stir these into the fruit mix.
Use your hands to roll into balls with about 1 teaspoon of mix in each ball (this gets pretty messy as the mixture is still quite sticky).
Roll balls in

Almond meal (I had some Almond Meal left over from Christmas, but if you don’t have any you could use coconut or cocoa)

Store truffles in a container in the freezer and eat straight from the freezer when you need a post Christmas sugar hit.
Enjoy!

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Speaking of Almond meal, I must show you a photo of the macaroons that my daughter made for Christmas.

Salted caramel macaroons

She makes the best macaroons ever. We weren’t sure how they would go in Queensland’s more humid weather, but I think they turned out even better.
She learned how to make them from this great little book.

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These ones were salted caramel flavour – yum. To do this she made vanilla flavoured macaroons onto which she sprinkled a little bit of rock salt. Then after they had cooled she filled them with Nestle ‘Top’n’fill’ caramel which worked great.

Here is another healthy treat that we have been enjoying today.

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Did you know about this? I didn’t, but my Mother in Law introduced us to Watermelon with ginger. You just chop up some watermelon into a bowl, sprinkle it with about 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger and wait 5 minutes for the ginger to soak in before eating. It is really yummy – you should try it. I bought a whole watermelon this week so I think I will make some watermelon sorbet tomorrow.
I hope you are eating yummy things too.
All the best,
Sharee