Christmas – it’s all about the food!

9780857200280It turns out that I blog a lot about food. I’ve blogged about baking failures and baking successes, trying new food and not trying new food, favourite cookbooks we’ve got and favourite cookbooks we haven’t got — I’ve even compared books to food. So it seems only right that I should blog about Christmas food.

I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that I just love Christmas fare. I’m vegetarian, so the hams, turkeys, and barbeques naturally don’t interest me. No, for me, its really all about dessert! Every year I make the same three desserts. A classic kiwi pav with strawberries and kiwifruit, a Chocolate Bombe Noel (fruit-laden chocolate ice-cream), and a plum and almond flan. I love all three desserts. The flan is a wonderful counterpoint to the rich, sweet pavlova, and it just wouldn’t be Christmas without my ice-cream! Also making all three keeps the egg yolk to egg white ratio perfectly balanced.

But, last year I really did feel a bit like Bill Murray waking up on Groundhog Day. Here I was, once again, making the same things I’ve been making every year since I don’t know when…

Suddenly I felt tired of it. So this year, it’s time to mix it up!

Cover of Australian Women's Weekly PuddingsI’ve got family coming to stay, so with more mouths to feed there’s no need to drop one of the favourites, I’ll just add another dessert!! And keeping it classic, I think I’ll make a trifle. Trouble is, I don’t have a good recipe. Mum never made trifle – no special family recipe to be had. So I’ve been scouring our website and catalogue for trifle recipes, looking for the quintessential trifle.

Now I have a new problem – which one should I make??!

Should I go retro with Classic Puds: From Pavlovas to Trifles?

Am I onto a winner with Lemon Curd and Blueberry Trifle from Kitchen Table Memoirs: Shared Stories From Australian Writers?

Or maybe White Chocolate and Berry Trifle? I discovered this little gem in the Culinary Arts Collection which is tucked away with our Science and Technology eResources

Cover of Christmas MagicSince we’re mixing it up, maybe Gingerbread and Pumpkin Trifle is the way to go? It doesn’t sound much like trifle, but it does sound delish! Check out Teens Cook Dessert if you’re game to give it a try.

Is your mouth watering yet? Why not take a look the list I put together – with 18 different trifle recipes, I’m sure there’ll be something to take your fancy! And if trifle isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other delicious desserts to whet your appetite.

I guess whatever I make has got to be better than Trifle à la Rachel Green, so I can’t go too far wrong, right?!

It’s winter – let’s eat!

Cover of PieIt’s winter and I am not advocating heading for the snow, but to the kitchen. This a winter food rave. You see, for me the best thing about this season is… WINTER FOOD!

Does this grab you like it does me? Steak, Caramelised  Onion and Red Capsicum Mustard Pies from a simply named but lip-smacking cookbook: Pie, by Dean Brettschneider. It helps that the pictures are of perfectly made pastry, of course. Mine never looks like this, more of a patchwork quilt effect. Normally pastry is something I avoid as being too fiddly, but some of these pies are going to have to cross my lips and settle on the hips.

Cover of SlowI have become a bit of a cookbook stalker since working daily with library books. One I came across was Slow by Allyson Gofton. Most of the recipes I had never seen before and that’s always a huge drawcard. I’ve  been a bit wary of using the slow cooker for vege dishes, but the North African Vegetable & Lentil Stew, on page 279,  was a huge success and the eggplant held together beautifully.

Cover of Soup KitchenSmoked Haddock and Shrimp Chowder and/or Yellow Split Pea and Frankfurter Soup from Soup Kitchen have also taken my fancy. The latter sounds interesting, but could have some startling after effects. It’s one of Nigella “Who needs chocolate” Lawson’s contributions. Among the other contributors are Mr “Beep Beep” Ramsay, Jamie “Lips” Oliver, Rick “My Hero” Stein, and Hugh “Three Good Things” Fearnley-Whittingstall is the editor. It’s hard to go past soup and in my freezer there’s Tomato and Roast Capsicum Soup (blended with  a few Jalapeno peppers), waiting for suitable soup weather… and possibly the purchase of a fire extinguisher.

Cover of What's for Pudding?If there’s room, and it pays to leave some, What’s for Pudding? used to be the greeting we offered my poor mother as soon as we had finished the main meal. Two of my childhood faves, Bread and Butter Pudding, and Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding are represented in Alexa Johnston’s yummy book, but Gingerbread Upside Down Pudding or Apricot Betty sound even better.

Hungry now? What are your winter food favourites?  Much used cook books? Did you bring any family dishes from your homeland?

This leaves me feeling and probably looking like a Roly Poly Pudding!