No, really – ’tis the season …

In the thick of making Christmas treats to taste for the family and the neighbours. This gorgeous specimen of an old style fruitcake is destined for my mother-in-law – 92, and still enjoying all the mixed peel goodness! Sadly, the mixture is too big for my current favourite cake tin, so I have to hive…

Another year, another experiment

  Part of my schtick as a cook is not be limited by the tried and true winners, and to make real food that may not be picture perfect like the show cooks, but it gets eaten enthusiastically – leaving the pattern on the plate is fine, but otherwise love to see it cleaned up!…

December 24 – pudding

I suspect that there is actually a law somewhere that defines Christmas dinner without pudding as a cruel and unusual punishment – but here in Oz it often represents a bit of a challenge when dinner time not unusually clocks in at north of 35°C.  Over the years, we’ve done them all from ice cream…

December 23 – hot chocolate

Drinking hot chocolate is another Christmas moment etched on our memories by seeing it in endless numbers of Christmas movies – although, to be fair, I don’t remember seeing anyone drink hot chocolate in Die Hard.  When we originally did the list of ingredients in 2012, I didn’t give in a thought until it came…

December 22 – cranberries

Cranberries in many forms are an indispensable part of Christmas now – but when I was young, back around the time of the last ice age, the token bowl of cranberry sauce was the limit – and then only if turkey was on the menu.   Dried cranberries now seem to be in everything but…

December 21 – butter

Has anyone else noticed the effect of the world-wide butter shortage?  It’s hardly a drought but it has impacted availability and price for butter in many parts of the world – who’d ha thunk it, eh?  One of the staple ingredients of so many treats on a Christmas table, this year it gets its own…

December 20 – fudge

It has been seriously stinking hot here today, breathtakingly humid, then an armageddon quality storm this afternoon and instantly 10 degrees cooler.  Cooking really rather lacked appeal until then, and having the oven on for long still looked more than a bit dodgy. What’s a girl to do?  Go with something that only needs a…

December 19 – elf snacks

Between several different work incarnations being active today, as well as mum, sister, neighbour and a few others, one definitely gets the feeling of being an over-worked and really quite weary elf.  So I am going back to an old favourite that has uses on many, many occasions as both a treat and a reviver…

December 18 – silver cachous

There are two things to know about today’s Advent treat – a wee Christmas tree made of biscuits that has gone to the lovely little girl who lives next door. Make your own (see also step by step below) First, given time and an oven-friendly break in the weather, at Christmas Mum always made Shrewsbury…

December 16 & 17 – orange or coal?

Yesteryear’s traditional anxiety for children at Christmas was (among Anglophones at least) – would they find the reward of an orange or the remonstrance of a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking?  Well, I’ve gone with both in this little bevy of treats, after facing the anxiety-producing presence of possibly the longest-legged huntsman spider I…

December 15 – something green

According to the junior cooking oracle, one simply must have something green at Christmas!  So today we have gone with the zero spoon iced biscuits – and used bought biscuits so we could also do things like conquer the remaining corners of the known universe in our city building game, wrap Christmas presents, watch a…

December 14 – Santa snacks

Looking for a low maintenance effort today after epic Christmas shopping with James and an outing to the great playground at the National Arboretum, I went with these cheese snacks that only have three ingredients and take about half an hour to make. We also think that after all the sweet treats at every house…

December 13 – arrowroot(s)

I am back to solo-ing today as nephew James is busy conquering the entire known universe in our favourite city building game, so I decided to share one of the great discoveries of the Advent-ure 2012. When I put ‘arrowroots’ in the ingredient pool back then, I was thinking of arrowroot biscuits – which our…

December 12 – something red, and coconut ice is cool!!

James, the junior cook here, is in charge today!  He made the command decision that we needed to do coconut ice for afternoon tea, and it should be red to be cheery for Christmas – and I am a voice-activated cooking tutor today, so here you have it – red coconut ice that is waaaaaaay…

December 11 – Frosty

Why is it that we instinctively think Frosty at Christmas even when its the blazing sunshine of summer here in Oz?  Don’t know but I bet that even now a fellow PhD aspirant is out there somewhere toiling over the connection between repeated commercial announcements and the communal memory of our species! Anyhow, today’s Advent-ure…