Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Round-up

We had a lovely Christmas this year - a very relaxing 3 days of full on eating, family, gifts and more eating. Here is some of the amazing food we ate over the holidays

Gazpacho with prawns and avocado cream

Roast turkey

The traditional sides - roast vegetables and ham

Bean and asparagus salad with mustard vinaigrette and hazelnuts

Christmas pudding

Maggie - festively attired and stuffed full of ham and turkey

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

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!

Gingerbread Cookies
(adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe)
  • 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
  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

2 egg whites
2 cups of icing sugar
assorted food colours

Beat the egg whites till they form soft peaks - slowly add the icing sugar. Divide the icing up into smaller bowls and colour with a few drops of food colouring.

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and I wish you all the best for 2009!