Friday, December 23, 2016
Well, we're really on the countdown to Christmas now!
This year I have made a concerted effort to get organised early for Christmas.
We bought a few presents during the year and then I made sure I had all the kids presents bought and wrapped before school finished. Go me!
I've had lists upon lists of gifts, shopping and food prepared so that this week has just been crossing things off. I've even got a timeline prepared for all the Christmas Eve cooking to make sure everything gets done.
This year we are hosting both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Normally we wouldn't do both but that's just how it's worked out.
This is the 4th year now that I've posted our Christmas menu and it's so helpful to be able to look back at previous years and see what worked and what didn't, and importantly what we can cut back on.
Our Christmas food this year is quite traditional - all our favourite things, homemade of course, and with lots leftover so I don't need to cook for a few days.
It's going to be great.
Christmas Eve Dinner
Honey, mustard and ginger glazed ham
Pigs in blankets (by special request from the kids who saw Jamie Oliver make some on one of his Christmas cooking shows)
Duck fat roast potatoes
Steamed greens with almonds
Tapioca Christmas pudding (GF, DF)
Coconut vanilla bean custard
Scrambled eggs with leftover ham and garlic spinach
Spiced fig gingerbread
Nibbles - nuts, pate, GF crackers, Christmas bliss balls
BBQ side of salmon
Prawn and chorizo salad
Mango and avocado salad
Mango and raspberry trifle (similar to this one I made last year but with a few changes to make it both GF and DF)
So that's it!
I wish all of you a very happy and safe Christmas 2016.
What's on your Christmas menu this year? Do you do a hot or cold Christmas lunch? Tell me below
Monday, December 19, 2016
Now I know I'm venturing into dangerous territory here.
It seems like everyone's mum or nanna makes rum balls at Christmas - and everyone thinks their version is the best!
Some have crumbled cake, some use crushed biscuits or weetbix, all have chocolate and of course, rum.
My previous favourite back in my BW days (Before Wholefoods) was this version I made with Madeira cake and condensed milk. So good but so bad!
I've tried a few different variations and this one is a definite winner.
It has the fewest ingredients and tastes out of this world!
They are rich, intensely chocolatey and have a lovely warmth from the rum. Just perfect.
So I started these a few days ahead of time by soaking the sultanas in the rum and leaving them to steep. As soon as the rum was gone and the sultanas were plump and juicy they were ready to use.
If you don't have time for that (or just don't want to), you can place the sultanas and rum in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and then simmer until all the liquid is absorbed.
Despite it being school holidays I have somehow managed to keep these hidden from the kids in the freezer. They are definitely adults only and if I'm honest, just to good to share!
Healthy Cacao Rum Balls
1/2 cup organic sultanas*
2-3 tbs rum
250g organic raw almonds (or almond meal)
2 heaped tbs raw cacao + 1/2 cup extra
2 tbs coconut oil
*See the post above for details on how to prepare the sultanas and rum - by either steeping or boiling. When you are ready, follow the instructions below to make the rum balls.
Place the almonds into your food processor and blend to a fine meal (Thermomix 10 secs / SP 9).
Add all remaining ingredients (except the extra cacao) and blitz until the mix is sticky and clumping together.
Place the extra 1/2 cup raw cacao into a bowl.
Roll spoonfuls of mixture into balls and then drop into the cacao. Toss until covered and place into a storage container.
Makes approximately 16 balls.
Store in the fridge or freezer.
Do you have a favourite treat that it just wouldn't be Christmas without? Tell me below!
Friday, December 9, 2016
Why do I always wake up at 4.57am these days??
Today I got up straight away and crept downstairs to enjoy the extra quiet time by myself. And at the bottom of the stairs, I took a deep breath and smelt ... Christmas.
After going to the markets on the weekend our fruit bowls are full of mangoes, pineapples and peaches and the smell instantly transported to me my childhood Christmas holidays on the Gold Coast!
The power of smell is truly amazing don't you think?
I can't quite believe it but today is the last day of school for the boys. All the breakup parties, concerts and swimming carnivals are done and Christmas will be here before we know it.
This year I'm easing myself into some Christmas cooking with some simple and oh-so delicious bliss balls that have some of the best flavours of Christmas time.
These little beauties are free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar and taste fabulous. I defy you to taste one and not get a smile on your face!
They were also a great way to use some of the blackstrap molasses which I bought but then couldn't remember why!
I've just included the Thermomix ingredients here but of course a food processor or high powered blender will also do the job.
Super quick and no baking - the perfect Christmas treat!
Christmas Bliss Balls
3/4 cup rolled quinoa
3/4 cup organic sundried dates
1/2 cup raw almonds
A thumb-sized piece of ginger (grated)
1 tbs blackstrap molasses
zest of 1 orange
1/2 ts vanilla extract
1/2 ts cinnamon
14 ts salt
1/8 ts ground cloves
Place the quinoa flakes and almonds into the Thermomix and blitz for 8 seconds / SP 9.
Add all remaining ingredients and process for 30-40 seconds / SP 8, or until the mixture is sticky and holds together.
Roll spoonfuls into balls and store in the fridge.
Makes 16-18 balls.
Do you have a favourite food or smell that reminds you of Christmas?