Christmas 2010

27 12 2010

The Christmas holidays is a time of year that is inextricably linked with the cooking (yay!) and then eating (hurrah!) of food.  This year I was fortunate enough to be able to travel back to the land of All Blacks and Hobbits where I celebrated the festive season with my kiwi family and friends.  Unlike Christmas 2009 I wasn’t responsible for a full multi-course meal, however I did spend some time in the kitchen cooking.

The cooking started at my friend Cat‘s house with a group of us and an all day Bake-a-Rama. The goal was to create a treasure chest of treats that could be brought out when required for visitors during the Christmas holidays.  After the measuring, sifting, mixing and baking Cat’s kitchen table was flooded with dozens (and dozens and dozens) of cookies. Clockwise from the top we created the following:

Gingerbread Cookies
White Chocolate and Strawberry Cookies
Dark Chocolate and Apricot Cookies
Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles
Passionfruit Melting Moments (still to be iced)
Shortbread
Cathedral Cookies
Iced Spice Cookies
Iced Sugar Cookies

 

A Caramel Fruit Cake was then also added to the booty of culinary treasures:

Needless to say, visitors to Cat’s house have had a selection of baked goodness to choose from while having their cuppa tea.

More time was spent in the kitchen on Christmas Day where I cooked breakfast and then dinner for my brother and his young family.  Since I was spending Christmas with small children I knew that the big day would start early…which meant that I had to start even earlier.  I set my alarm on Christmas Eve and by 0630 on Christmas Day I was up and about cooking the pancakes, moving around the kitchen extremely quietly so as to not wake the smaller members of the household.  I finished the double batch of batter just before the small ones invaded the lounge and the carnage that is a children’s Christmas started.

Once the carnage had ended and the little ones were out visiting the Grandparents I started on a batch of Delia Smith’s Vegetarian ‘Sausage’ Rolls (the same recipe that I used last year) and the Christmas dinner.  As I mentioned in the Christmas 2009 post, a roast Christmas dinner is a tradition in our family.  This year I opted to not do a full roast and instead settled on a smaller cut of cow for the family which I served with roasties, fresh peas, maple-glazed baby carrots and onion and mushroom gravy.  I reckon the peas and carrots were the best bit, especially the peas.  I love fresh peas, I even love shelling them, bizarre but true.

Being able to spend this festive season with family and friends that I haven’t seen for over two years has made Christmas 2010 just that little bit more special.  I hope that this festive season was just as enjoyable for you as well.

See you in the new year,

Lizzie

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shininglikeadiamond turns one

3 07 2010

About thirteen months ago I created shininglikeadiamond: a result of a curiosity about the blogosphere combined with the desire to write more.  I played around with the settings and set up of the blog for a while, read up about the ins and outs of the blogosphere and sat and chewed the end of my metaphorical pencil while I contemplated the topic of my first post.  Nothing came, and then the unexpected passing of Michael Jackson provided the spark my Muse needed to create my first post.  Twelve months later we arrive here, post number 20 and one year older.  I’ll admit that I haven’t written as much as I would have liked, and that’s something that I will rectify, but overall I’m pleased with shininglikeadiamond

Ideally I would have penned a post centered around this little milestone, but to be honest it kinda snuck up on me and I haven’t had the time to fully create the celebratory post that I would’ve liked to have written.  Instead, and in order to not miss the anniversary completely,  I offer a Lizzie update and birthday cupcake.

Last post centered around Bon Jovi concert number 4 of 12 at the O2.  I ended the post with

In the end, the concert was so enjoyable that I’m going back for the final of the twelve shows.*  Proof that you can’t have too much of a good thing – and that you should take all the opportunities there are to let out your inner Rock Chick.

Not a truer word has been written, heed the lesson my friends: always take the opportunity to let the Rock Chick out (or whatever musical form it may take).  Despite the fact that this concert clashed with the second of the two-part finale of Dr Who (thank you VCR) it was the right decision to go.  We were treated to not only a spine tingling Bed of Roses, but also a wicked set list (see the end of the post) which included a six song encore.  Jon and the boys were on fire when it came to energy and musicianship.  It was easily the best sixty quid I’ve spent this year, and totally worth a wait before seeing the Doctor in action. 

Update now out of the way, it is time for birthday cupcake.  If I haven’t mentioned yet that I worship at the altar of the culinary genius that is Isa and Terry, then I will now.  Isa and Terry rock, and if I could cook and bake like anyone else on this planet it would be them.  Needless to say the birthday cupcake came via the awesome Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and is the mighty yummy Toasted Coconut Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream Frosting.  Did I mention that there is also cocoa powder involved?  Oh yes, this recipe is a perfect ten. 

Not wanting to waste half a can of coconut milk, I also made some Chocolate Coconut Pudding from the ever faithful VWAV.  Seriously delicious pudding.

Now there is nothing left but to say many and sincere thanks to those who take the time to read my musings.  Here’s to another year.

Lizzie

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Set list: blood on blood/we weren’t born to follow/you give love a bad name/born to be my baby/lost highway/in these arms/when we were beautiful/blaze of glory/captain crash/sleep when I’m dead/we got it going on/bad medicine w/ old time rock & roll (performed with Kid Rock)/lay your hands on me (Richie Samora)/bed of roses/diamond ring/I’ll be there for you/Saturday night/bullet/it’s my life/who says you can’t go home/keep the faith.

Encore: have a nice day/wanted/these days/it’s hard letting you go/I love this town/livin’ on a prayer





Lizzie Bakes: Hot Cross Buns

5 04 2010

I did a bit of baking over the weekend – it’s the kinda thing I do during a lazy long weekend where the only firm plans are to dye my hair and watch Dr Who.  The most successful of these baking endeavours were my Hot Cross Buns. Determined to better my 2009 results at making Hot Cross Buns, I spent Friday afternoon ensconced in the kitchen making not only Hot Cross Buns, but three variations which were dreamt up during one afternoon a couple of weeks ago.  Happily I can report that the results were astronomically better than last year.  The final results were a half dozen each of the following:

  • Hot Cross Buns Made with glacé cherries instead of candied peel, because I prefer my fruit that way.
  • Lady Grey Buns Made with currants and sultanas soaked in Lady Grey tea and with the zest of lemon and orange.  My Aunt has a recipe for Tea Bread made with currants macerated in tea which is one of the best things ever.  This was a variation on that idea.
  • Chocolate and Orange Buns I remember having Hot Cross Buns made with chocolate chips instead of the usual fruit when I was a kid.  I decided to revisit this idea in a couple of different forms this year.  The first of these was this jaffa-type bun made with dark chocolate chips and orange zest.
  • Chocolate and Ginger Buns This was the second of the chocolate varieties.  Made with equal parts dark chocolate chips and chopped stem ginger (a new food find of mine), they were mighty yummy.

Of course there is photographic evidence of my endeavours (though admittedly not the best quality photographic evidence).  Here are the buns about ten minutes after they came out of the oven.

And here they are about five minutes after that

And remember how I said I was looking forward to the new Doctor Who? Well, after watching Saturday’s episode I am very much looking forward to the upcoming season.  First impressions of the new Doctor were favourable, and I like the new look of the TARDIS.