Tag Archives: Christmas


Gingerbread Christmas Tree

You know that Christmas is here when there is the unmistakeable aroma of gingerbread wafting through the kitchen. It’s become somewhat of a tradition of mine to make gingerbread for the holiday season, and since I’ve done gingerbread men and gingerbread houses before, I thought it was time for something new.

I received a Gingerbread Tree kit as a gift and decided to put it to use. It came with a base and two different sized wooden dowels for the interior stem of the tree, as well as a set of five graduated star cookie cutters and a circle cutter. Everything I needed to make my very own Gingerbread Christmas Tree.

Making the gingerbread was easy enough. I just used my usual recipe and cut out about 5 stars of each size using the five graduated star cutters. If you are going to thread it through a wooden dowel, don’t forget to also cut out a hole in the centre of the stars. I cut an extra small star for the top of the tree as a topper as well.

I decorated each star with royal icing before assembling the tree, which just involved placing the stars in order of size on top of each other, so that the base of the tree has the biggest stars going to the top of the tree with the smallest. If you don’t have a stand, you can also use the icing to glue the stars on top of each other, which will create the same effect. And that’s all it takes to make a Christmas tree of the edible variety! Half the fun is actually taking it apart and eating it :)

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Peter Gilmore’s Festive Season Menu @ Quay

Christmas madness has officially begun! My Christmas tree is up, I’ve started my Christmas baking (more about that in another post) and I wish I could say that I’ve finished my Christmas shopping but I’ve only just begun that…

At least I’ve pretty much got the Christmas meal sorted since I got some great ideas from a recent masterclass I attended, where Peter Gilmore (of Quay Restaurant fame) shared his Christmas menu. We sat on the upper level of Quay, which is reserved for functions with a spectacular backdrop of Sydney Harbour and its landmarks, and also has an Electrolux kitchen installed at one end.

We sat around the kitchen and watched as Peter Gilmore cooked and plated up his three-course Christmas menu. The dishes were simple to prepare and most of the work can be done ahead of time to minimise the chances of you running around like a headless chicken after the guests have arrived!

Steamed freshwater marron with herb butter, young leaf and flower salad
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Christmas 2010

Christmas Eats!

A belated merry christmas to everyone out there! I hope you all had lots of food and stuffed yourselves silly, because that’s exactly what I did :)

Christmas isn’t complete without a ham, and this year JC and I made one with a honey mustard glaze which turned out great! An extra sprinkling of brown sugar towards the end of the baking period gave us a nicely caramelised crust on the exterior.

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Christmas Tree Meringues

Christmas Tree Meringues and the Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic

Photo credit: Simon from the heart of food

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again – when shopping centres play carols that get stuck in your head for the rest of the day, and reindeer horns and red noses start appearing on cars around Sydney. It’s Christmas, which means it’s also time for the 2nd annual Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic!

As usual there were copious amounts of food present which were arranged on the makeshift dining table. As much as I wish I had the stomach space to try everything, I never quite get around to it all but everyone’s contributions looked delicious!

Clockwise from top left: Ribs by Billy from A Table for Two; Macaron tower by Cleony from I Eat Sweet; Chocolate Christmas tree by Lisa from Lisa Perkovic; Orange, pistachio and cardamom cupcakes by Angie from Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)!

There were more sweets than savouries as expected and even though I keep telling myself to make a savoury item for the next food blogger meet-up, I ended up making a sweet item… oops! Luckily there were savoury contributions from other people but you had to be quick otherwise you missed out (case in point: Billy’s ribs – gone in 60 seconds!)

Clockwise from top left: Mini pecan pies by Rhonda from The Dainty Baker; Mini Christmas puddings by Vivian from vxdollface; Cheese bread by Tammi from Insatiable Munchies; Strawberry Santas by Ayana from Absolutely Ayana

I ended up making meringues to bring to the picnic. Midway through beating the egg whites I realised that I could Christmas-ify them up by colouring them green and putting little stars on top. And voila – Christmas Tree Meringues!

These were really easy to make, and also relatively quick although they do need to be in the oven for a while. Even though it’s only egg whites and sugar beaten together, they do become strangely addictive and I may or may not have munched on a few on the way to the picnic…

A big thank you to Helen from Grab Your Fork and Suze from chocolatesuze for organising the picnic, I had an awesome day! Looking forward to the next one already :)
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Christmas in July

Twas the night before Christmas (in July), when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

Except for a crazy onslaught of food bloggers and friends who were kindly invited by Billy and The Pom to join them in celebrating Christmas in July! Thanks for letting us invade your kitchen and your house for the night :) 

Of course Christmas just isn’t Christmas without being able to gorge yourself on all kinds of food. And indeed we had a great big feast in store that went on well into the night.

We kicked off the night with some snacks and a cheese platter brought by Shez including her yummy home-made labne.

Then the table was set, the Christmas music started playing, a picture of a crackling fireplace appeared on the tv screen and dinner was served! We all marvelled at Billy‘s beautiful bread wreath which he served with some delicious truffle butter.

Helen brought some home-made chicken liver parfait which was smooth, light and creamy. I couldn’t get enough of this and I slathered this thickly onto chunks of bread.

Minh dished out some sweetcorn soup which was awesome and full of sweetcorn flavour. I could’ve had a billion bowls of the stuff if it wasn’t for all the food still to come.

Billy also made some caramelised onion and goats cheese tartlets which were so addictive, especially with the sweet onions and the buttery pastry. Sir D couldn’t get enough of them!

Shez and Richard constructed this cute antipasto hedgehog – a honeydew melon with skewers of prosciutto, cabanossi, brie, honeydew melon, tasty cheese and olives, complete with eyes and nose! Almost too cute to eat :)

Karen and Shaun made some super tasty meatballs with a creamy white wine sauce and lingonberry jam (not pictured). These were sitting in front of me at the table and even though I knew there was loads more food to come I couldn’t help but keep going back for more!

Simon also cooked up some pan fried angel-fish fingers with a dipping sauce which were deliciously crunchy.

Onto the meats! Billy was slaving away in the kitchen all afternoon, roasting pork and turkey and ham, and soon there were multiple slices of meat on everyone’s plates! The apricot glazed ham was so good with the mustard + glaze as a sauce and omg the roast pork had the most awesome crackling ever. Billy also some roasted some potatoes in duck fat which were gone in a flash but I was too busy serving up my contribution of Maggie Beer’s country chicken and mushroom pie so unfortunately no photos!

Don’t worry, we did eat some vegetables too ;) There were brussels sprouts with bacon courtesy of Billy – my first time eating brussels sprouts and although they weren’t bad I can’t say I’m a big fan.

Helen made her roasted pumpkin salad with feta, and Karen also roasted a medley of mushrooms with garlic and thyme. Towards the end I was very grateful for the vegetables since it provided some respite from all the meat I was eating!

After some rather hilarious gift-giving, it was time for dessert! The Pom served up a ginormous Christmas pudding which reminded me of The Magic Pudding stories. It was flambéed at the table and served with vanilla custard.

Shez made a beautiful and boozy eggnog pound cake which was studded with glace cherries and accompanied by an eggnog cream. Pepe the cat got to the cream while we weren’t paying attention and seemed to love it so it must have been good!

Steph made some individual strawberry, rhubarb and moscato trifles which were was beautifully light and fruity. Perfect for us because at this stage we had all stuffed ourselves silly with Christmas food!

Of course, being full wasn’t going to stop us though and after a heated round of Pictionary we found ourselves eating some midnight snacks. Richard prepared a Fromager des Clarines with sparkling wine, garlic and thyme. After baking this in the oven it became lovely and gooey and the cheese was perfect for dipping slices of French baguette into.

We also had some pretty petit fours created by Karen which included light pillows of passionfruit marshmallow, chewy salted caramels with chocolate and rum cognac balls. Wheee sugar high!

Thank you to Suze who got up early to make brekky for us! I have no pictures to show for her efforts sadly but I can tell you that nothing is better than waking up to the smell and the sound of sizzling bacon on the frypan. And indulging in a breakfast of the crispiest bacon I’ve ever had, scrambled eggs, blueberry pancakes with Suze’s butterscotch sauce as well as leftovers from last night :) Best Christmas in July ever!