Now G and I have the little one we have been starting our own family traditions for the season like visiting the Christmas windows at David Jones and photos with Santa. We've had a lovely time watching his little face take it all in.
One tradition I'm keen to start is baking and decorating Christmas cookies. As the little man is only 7 months old I had to borrow a friend's daughter S to help this year - we had a great time with brightly coloured icing, sprinkles and silver balls. S was entranced and stood on her little stool for a couple of hours decorating biscuits like a machine, she didn't even stop to lick her fingers! I think you'll agree she did a beautiful job!
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1 teaspoons coarse salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup golden syrup
Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and syrup. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut with assorted cookie cutters. Space 2 centimeters apart on greased baking sheets.
Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
Royal Icing In Australia we seem to be less concerned about raw eggs than in other places hence the recipe below - if raw eggs are a problem where you live Martha Stewart suggests substituting 5 tablespoons meringue powder and 1/3 cup water for raw eggs.
The little one has just started solids - G and I are thoroughly enjoying watching his face as he tries new flavours and textures. What comes out the other end - not so much. Our freezer is now full of little frozen jewels of apple, pumpkin, peas and the like.
On my recent trip to Indonesia we stayed at a lovely old Dutch house in the mountains near Jakarta. The house has an amazing garden - full of tropical fruits like durian, star fruit, cocoa and spices.
Some of the more interesting things I learned while I was to be careful of falling durians as people have been killed by the falling spiny fruit and that you can eat the flesh of the nutmeg fruit.
A friend of my mothers grew up in Indonesia and grew up eating nutmeg fruit. The fruit looks like an unripe apricot or peach. The nutmeg we were eating were not mature - the 'nut' inside was still soft. The flesh is crisp and tart - it has a very sour citrus flavour with a strong nutmeg aftertaste. We dipped the small slices in salt before eating them.
The flavour is quite pronounced and you can only eat a small amount before it gets a little overwhelming. Totally delicious though.
The Bub and I are in Jakarta at the moment visiting his Grandma - she hasn't seen him for a couple of months and as you can imagine we are both being spoiled rotten!
The wet season is approaching here and the weather is hot and humid so we are heading up to the mountains with some friends this weekend for a (slightly) cooler break. The weekend will be potluck and we are tasked with a couple of meals - Mom and I are making a couple of dishes but also these super easy super tasty brownies.
This recipe is via Bub's other grandmother - or as she likes to be known - Nan - and is the easiest dessert in the world. This is a one pan wonder and takes under 30 mins to make. I know there are richer, more complex brownie recipes around but this is your good basic that is gooey in the middle with a nice crust on the edges. They are divine straight out of the oven or if you want to go fancy served 'a la mode' with some good vanilla ice cream.
4 oz butter 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup cocoa 2 eggs 2/3 cup SR flour 1 Tbsp vanilla essence 1/2 cup nuts (optional)
Melt the butter and add the rest of ingredients in the order listed. Pour into a greased pan and bake in a moderate oven for 25-30 mins.
Ummm hello internet! I'm embarrassed about how long it's been since I've updated this site. I've got very few excuses, I've been cooking, I've been around....umm I had a baby...but anyway..
Actually I really did have a baby in May 2008 - a fantastically gorgeous boy called August. He is divine and very very time consuming. But I'm hoping to be able to update this site more regularly now that he's 12 weeks old and I feel like I'm getting my head around this motherhood thing.
In the meantime though here's some photos of the little man I made since I last spoke to you all....