Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Snug, Amanda Palmer and Missy Higgins in St Kilda

After seeing Amanda Palmer at the Gasometer on Thursday, it seemed a great idea to go and see her discuss motherhood with Missy Higgins on Sunday morning.  And I was so sure that Sylvia would love seeing Missy Higgins.  That was a parenting fail.  We had one bored 7 year old on our hands.  But she was delighted by the kiddie menu at The Snug Public House.

The Motherhood talk was at the Astor Theatre.  I didn't get as much out of it as I had hoped because I was dealing with my own motherhood issues.  Thank goodness for the break when E took Sylvia out to buy popcorn so that I could focus and photograph.

After the show, we went to The Snug.  It looks unassuming outside.  That means it is not an olde worlde pub that beckons you in but just a fairly plain building.  This is an Irish pub with a fireplace, lots of Guinness is Good posters and barrel tables.  As it was a pleasant summer day, we sat under the verandah at the front and enjoyed the sea breeze.

The reason we were at the Snug, is that is caters well to vegans.  (And we love pub grub.)  Above is the vegan menu.  Indeed it was a tyranny of choice.  I though I would never get through reading it and making decisions.  It had everything: loaded fries, pub grub (like mushroom and stout pie), burgers, raw food and the kiddie menu.

Sylvia went straight for the kiddie menu.  She was pretty excited to find it had food she likes other than chips.  So was I.  She chose the vegan nuggets and chips.  When it came it didn't look a lot for $14 but was so good and came with red cordial and ice cream so we were happy.  The nuggets seemed to be tofu in a crunchy batter.

Choosing my drink was easy.  I chose a berry and mixed spice kombucha.  Ordering food was harder.  I spent some time trying to be strategic.  What would give lots of vegies and something new and some comfort.

 I finally decided on the taco appetiser.  It was the jackfruit pulled pork that I really wanted to try as I have read about it but have never had it.  The pulled pork was paired with slaw, avocado salsa and barbecue corn, as well as some pineapple salsa on the side.  I really loved all the flavours and colourful vegies.  The pineapple salsa was really tasty.  The jackfruit was surprisingly soft and the tacos were so saucy that after eating one with my fingers, I had to eat the rest with a knife and fork for fear of wearing the sauce.

I knew from Faye and Cindy and Michael that the servings at The Snug are very generous.  Yet I still could not resist ordering some fries to share with E.  (He had a soda bread breakfast roll which was very unvegan with eggs, bacon and sausage!)  The chips were excellent.  Freshly fried, crispy and tasty.  It was a huge serving and between the two of us, we didn't finish it.

Lastly I ordered a side of rice paper bacon.  Though I have made it at home, this is the first time I have seen it in a cafe.  I was curious to see how they did it.  They kindly did this even though it was not on the menu.  It was crispy with very little seasoning but it is intended to be served with meals.  I crumbled mine up and put it in my tacos, which I enjoyed.

We looked out over some rundown buildings in Fitzroy Street.  It is amazing to drive through St Kilda and admire the beautiful tree lined streets with elegant heritage buildings and then turn in to Fitzroy Street and see how disappointing the modern architecture is along that strip.  Hard to believe I worked in that street many years ago. 

After our meal, we walked the short stroll to the beach.  It was such a lovely mild Summer's day.  Unfortunately, we were hostage to our parking meter and could not wade in the sea (urban pollution permitting).  So instead we wandered back under this leaning tree.

The Snug Public House
12 Fitzroy St, St Kilda
03 9534 4678

The Snug Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 13 January 2017

Orange baked tofu

Summer holidays!  We've been busy.  Painting a mural on the back wall.  Swimming at the beach.  Sharks on the next beach.  Driving past a grass fire.  Sunburn.  Tidying up.  Sleepovers.  Playgrounds.  Cafes.  Just a bit of work.  Heatwaves.  Not much cooking.  Just the occasionally favourite like dal, bread and bliss balls.  Last night E and I went out so my niece came to babysit Sylvia.  I made orange baked tofu for dinner that we all really enjoyed.  Almost!

I confess to a lack of cooking mojo lately.  As I have mentioned once or twice, my bookmarking site delicious.com is down and I can't access my thousands of bookmarked recipes.  It is not the I can't find recipes online.  But these are the ones I really want to make and are tagged with ingredients and other keywords.  I have some other bookmarks in odd locations but nothing quite so organised and extensive as this collection.
The hot weather is also making me have less of an appetite for cooking and turning on the stove.  The recipe is one that I had bookmarked from Cindy and Michael.   I bought a bag of oranges, forgetting I had some at home already.  This seemed a good way to buy them, though I got caught out with the expense of limes.  (I am willing those baby limes on my tree in the back yard to grow.)

This is a recipe for those who love citrus.  I pretty much followed the recipe but swapped mustard and ginger for oregano and cumin.  I didn't season the marinade at all other than the soy sauce because I was unsure about how it was meant to taste.  Another time I would do a little seasoning but not too much.  This is a dish where the orange and lime shines!

We ate the baked tofu with bread, a beetroot and lentil salad, and a deconstructed garden salad.  I didn't mean to be trendy with serving the garden salad on a chopping board but it just never made it to the bowl!  I was very pleased when my niece Quin said how much she loves tofu.  Sylvia turned up her nose at the tofu but the rest of us kept going back for more.  It was a very pleasing meal.

Then E and I headed out to see Amanda Palmer at the Gasometer Hotel.  It is the first time I have seen a gig in a pub under the stars (or clouds as the case may be).  The arched roof was rolled back and I could look up and see bats swooping overhead.  A mischievous fly crawled over the keyboard and held up a song!  We had an interlude where everyone was given paper and pencils to write something from the heart to contribute to song lyrics.  It was all quite weird and wonderful.

I am sending this to Healthy Vegan Fridays, Gluten Free Fridays and Meat Free Mondays.

More tofu marinade recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Apricot and orange glazed tofu (gf, v)
Aussie bbq tofu
Cocoa jerk tofu (gf, v)
Cranberry and orange glazed tofu (gf, v) 
Honey and mustard marinated smoked tofu (gf)
Tofu bacon (gf, v)
Tofu in a tomato, lemongrass and ginger sauce (gf, v)

Orange baked tofu
Adapted from Viva Vegan via Where's the Beef
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari
500g firm tofu

juice of 2 oranges
zest of 1 orange
juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp finely grated ginger
1/2 tsp tamari
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200 C.

Mix oil and tamari and pour into the base of a baking dish (mine was slightly smaller that 9x13 inch and only just fitted 450g tofu so I didn't do the full 500g).  Slice tofu into about 1cm pieces and place in pan not overlapping but tucked close together is fine.  Turn each piece so it is covered in the oil and tamari.

Bake tofu for 20 minutes.  While the tofu is baking, prepare marinade by mixing everything together and seasoning.  I didn't add any seasoning and it was very citrussy but I don't think it needs a lot of seasoning.  Flip tofu over when 20 minutes is up.  Pour marinade over tofu.  Bake 30 minutes until most of marinade is absorbed and tofu is golden brown.

On the Stereo:
Begin to Hope: Regina Spector

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Fruit salad for New Year's Eve

It is a hot summer.  Too hot.  When we have a few days in the 30s I just want to eat fruit and drink water.  Meals sort of fall off the radar.  New Year's Eve was hot.  And I had lots of fruit about.  So we had fruit salad for dessert. 

A few days before New Year's Eve, we went to a potluck picnic brunch.  I took along cashew cheese stuffed dates on a fruit platter.  I knew that Sylvia would eat some fruit if nothing else except Mr Nice Guy cinnamon buns and perhaps some tofu bacon.  And it seems a shame not to enjoy summer fruit at its peak.

I bought more fruit than I needed.  So it was fruit salad for dessert on New Year's Eve.  It has been too long since I last made one and many years since I blogged any.  I cut up some fruit in the afternoon and soaked it in orange juice and maple syrup.  So simple.  So delicious.  So refreshing.

We had dinner on New Year's Eve at home.  I made haggis nachos.  We drank Maiden's Press non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice with it.  Sylvia refuses to eat the haggis so she spread tomato paste on her corn chips and sprinkled them with cheese to make her special pizza nachos.

The nachos were so filling that I was glad to have fruit salad for dessert.  It was served with some vanilla ice cream and/or a Darrell Leigh chocolate covered coconut nougat in a pudding shape.   A fitting meal to see out the old year.  I loved the fruit salad.  E was less impressed and Sylvia wanted to just eat the apricots.

We went to my parents' for lunch on New Year's Day.  I took some leftover fruit salad because we had so much leftover.  We ate it with stollen, cheese and crackers, and some watermelon wedges.  Then we broke open the gingerbread house.  Which after a roast dinner was quite an impressive meal to see in the new year.

The festive period is receding into the past rapidly.  Our Christmas tree has been put out to be chopped up for green waste.  The decorations are in bags ready to be put into storage.  But before we forget the festivities altogether, I have a few random moments to share:
  • Being breathalysed right after school drop off a week before Christmas Day.
  • My brother coined the term "pav and run", which made me laugh.  It did not refer to his crazy midday run in sweltering temperatures on Christmas Day.  It meant grabbing a large slice of my mum's pavlova and running out the door to his partner's place.  
  • E was reeling from being accosted by my uncle about how we need coal power.  Ironically the next day I was in a conversation where everyone seemed to have solar power.
  • Attending a country funeral just after New Year's Day.  It was conducted in the cemetery on a warm day under a shady oak tree with a coffin strewn with flowers and friends singing acapella.  So sad but really beautiful too.

I am sending this fruit salad to Healthy Vegan Fridays and the No Waste Food Challenge.

More fruity desserts on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Choc-nut banana and fruit kebabs (gf, v)
Watermelon monster (gf, v)  
Pine-berry fruit salad (gf, v)
Rainbow fruit kebabs (gf, v)
Red fruit salad (gf, v)
Strawberry soup (gf, v)
Summer fruit salad (gf, v)

Fruit salad
Serves 6-8, maybe more

2 large peaches, chopped
3 kiwi fruit, diced
1 handful of grapes
4 apricots, chopped
125g punnet of blueberries
125g punnet of raspberries 
1 slice of watermelon, chopped (about a cup)
juice of 1 orange
1 tbsp maple syrup

Mix everything and serve.  Or make a day ahead and keep in the fridge.  I think it improves with sitting for an hour or so, which means it is good to make before dinner.  Make sure to stir through before serving so all the fruit has some orange juice and maple syrup over it.

On the Stereo:
Shine a Light: field recordings from the great American railroad: Billy Bragg and Joe Henry

Thursday, 5 January 2017

In My Kitchen - January 2017

So a new year begins with lots of luscious summer fruit, less baking and some festive treats still lingering.  Above is a plate of cherries.  They have to be one of my favourite summer fruits.  I could devour them by the bucketload.  If only they were cheap enough!

 I haven't been baking much bread lately but I made one particularly moist loaf of overnight sourdough.  I should have heeded Celia's suggestion of baking paper for such loaves.  Instead I put in into the heated ungreased and unlined tin as usual.  I had to hack it away from the tin!

Sylvia had a friend over for a day.  They decorated the above gingerbread men.  I love their crazy eyes.  They were meant for later.  To me that meant for her friend to take home.  To them that meant to eat as soon as I went to have a chat to the neighbour.

While Sylvia's friend was over we tried these new crispy oat crackers with a hint of honey.  They were a good snack after the girls had been trampolining at Bounce and the slushie machine was not cold enough.

We don't buy a lot of alcohol in our house.  So it seemed quite extravagant to have two trips to the bottle shop.  The first was because we had run out of whisky.  I don't drink the stuff but I like to have it on hand for cooking.

And while I don't drink much alcoholic drinks, when I look at the name and the labels I wish I did.  The monkeys on this Monkey Shoulder blended malt scotch whisky from Speyside are so gorgeous.

E is quite partial to Crabbies ginger beer at Christmas.  We bought three bottles: original, strawberry and lime, and  raspberry.  They are quite sweet but one glass was enough for me.  I was glad I had resisted a sudden seasonal longing for Baileys Irish Cream while in the bottle shop.

We were amused by this Cadbury Festive Cake Selection with a little cake that had Santa's name on it.  Sylvia insisted it was really for Santa.  I resisted telling her that mince pies were more traditional and tasty.  But like Tim Minchin, while I have all of the usual objections to consumerism, I really like Christmas.  (My favourite song of Christmas was his White Wine in the Sun.  It made me teary thinking of absent family.)

We have also had a few other festive treats from the shops.  Walkers Christmas shortbread shapes, Bundaberg spiced ginger beer and gold covered mini Christmas puddings!

Once Christmas finishes, it feels like the school holidays really begin.  We were watching Mr Maker the other day and he made a ribbon picture.  So we did!

January is a great time for summer fruit.  My brother in law has an abundance of plums from their tree.  We have been loving munching on these.

In our own small garden is our strawberry plant.  We got some net cloth from my mum to keep the birds away.  While the plant is not quite abundant, it is producing a nice amount of strawberries.  At first they were pretty mushy.

Today I was in the garden hanging out the washing at 5pm (it was one of those days - new glasses, playing card games, a trip to the hardware store) and eating fresh strawberries and blueberries from the garden.  They were wonderful.  Next year we will have to put some net over the blueberry plant as well.  Meanwhile Sylvia and I have a little garden project for the summer that I will share with you when it is done!

Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things is taking a break from hosting In My Kitchen in January but will be back in February (thanks Mae for the update).

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Reflections from 2016 and Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  Have you got used to saying 2017 yet?  I feel like it must still be 2015.  Or at least if it was I would not be so horribly behind.  But here we are!  I have a rambling post reflecting on 2016.  It has taken me a while to compile it so I expect you will want to put on the kettle and pull up a comfy chair to read it.  Or if you are as time poor as I feel, just scan it quickly and move on!  I understand.

It was a rollercoaster of a year that started off with a visit by my sister and her family from Ireland, a relaxing beach holiday in Torquay and Minion fever.  Then my father-in-law died suddenly in February, we went to Edinburgh, Scotland at short notice, attending the funeral the day after walking off the plane.  I really love Scotland and seeing E's family but would have preferred to visit for happier reasons.

As we were over the other side of the world, I organised for us to have a week in Paris.  It is one of my favourite cities and was delightful and romantic as ever.  Back home, Sylvia overcame her Minon fever to fall into the romance of reading Harry Potter and the Unladylike Detective series of novels.  

Then our cat (Zinc) died.  While around me, family and friends faced a whole host of personal problems.  Cancer and death touched too many people we knew this year.  Even up until New Year's Eve when I was told of the death from cancer of a 14 year old girl I know.

And that is before I even consider the global events of Brexit, Trump and too many celebrity deaths: Pop stars who had sung the soundtrack to my life such as David Bowie, George Michael and Leonard Cohen; Actors who had loomed large on the big screen of my life such as Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher, Alan Rickman; familiar faces from the small screen such as Florence Henderson, Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett and Andrew Sachs; and people who had been household names such as Fidel Castro, Muhammad Ali, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Max Walker and Reg Grundy.  I hardly dare look at lists of those who died in 2016 as I just find there are more and more gone that I treasured and admired.

It was a sad year.  Yet there were good things too.  (Including Edinburgh and Paris.)  Family outings.  A new camera.  Hosting We Should Cocoa blog event.  Taking part in Vegan MoFo.  My book club.  Body Balance.  Our local farmers market.  Singing group.  A pay rise at work.  And the support from family and friends.

Best of 2016
Here are my favourites from 2016.  Some of the choices were hard (especially films - Carol, Captain Fantastic and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them were hard to pass over) and others stood out!

Favourite Australian book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty
Favourite foreign book: Dietland by Sarai Walker
Favourite children's book: Ophelia and The Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee
Favourite television show: Code of a Killer (starring John Simm)
Favourite children's television show: Little Lunch
Favourite film: La La Land
Favourite children's film: Zootopia
Favourite live show: Matilda the Musical
Favourite Melbourne meal: Big Vegan Breakfast at the Glass Den
Favourite meal abroad: Vegan Nachos at The Auld Hoose 

Gorgeously gloomy Edinburgh buildings with a touch of scaffolding!

Blogging energy is down and so are my statistics.  I posted a few more posts than last year thanks to Vegan MoFo.  I became a level 8 superfoodie on Zomato.  My Apple Slice post continues to be my most popular post of all time (Google Analytics says it has 45,435 hits and Bloggers says it has 86,271 hits). I think my most popular FaceBook post was when I shared my Vegan Chocolate Olive Oil Cake.  Here are some numbers for 2016:

179 blog posts
368 FaceBook likes
31 posts shared by FoodGawker
22 reviews on Zomato
Number 135 on aussiefoodbloggers.com.au/ and Number 21 of Victoria blogs on this site.

Most popular posts of 2016
(according to Google Analytics)
  1. Damper
  2. One pot pasta with chickpeas and zucchini
  3. Creamy red pepper dressing
  4. Overnight sourdough fruit bread
  5. Milo weetbix slice
  6. Shrove Tuesday aquafaba crepes with haggis
  7. Vegan chocolate olive oil cake
  8. Split pea soup with sweet potato and mushroom
  9. Vegemite fudge
  10. The Vegemite burger
  11. Chokito fudge
  12. Dal with haloumi and mint
I really loved this salad I made at the end of 2015 but I lost the recipe and never blogged it.
What I enjoyed eating in 2016
This is some of my favourite food I posted in 2016 plus a few old favourites.  And yes it was hard to narrow it down!  But I assure you that there was lots more on the blog than this!

Our favourite meals: Pizza, Lo mein, Mock tuna salad, Kale salad. Tofu besan omeletteVegan Avgolemono, Tofu bacon

Healthy eating: Creamy red pepper dressing for bowl food, Asparagus, strawberry and greens salad with poppy seeds, Thai curry split pea soup, Chocolate tahini maca bliss balls, Rainbow fruit kebabs 

Pastry comfort: Homity pie, Vegan sausage rolls, Apple pie, Macaroni cheese pies,

Great discoveries: Rice paper bacon, Cauliflower, hummus and tofu "ricotta" in lasagne, Welsh laverbread in nutroast,

Chocolate amazingness:  Black tahini in chocolate biscuits, Chocolate nutella caramel cups, Malted loaf with chocolate, figs and brazil nuts, Nutella stuffed pancakes
Beautiful food: Rainbow salad with orange and sesame dressing, Easter egg fridge cake, Vegan chocolate olive oil cake, Malteser and Milo Mudcake

Fun food: Minion cake, Medieval castle cakeReindeer cake pops, Vegan mummy tarts,

Aussie food: Chokito fudge, Vegemite fudge, Damper, The Vegemite burger , Aboriginal flag cake, Milo weetbix slice, Lamingtons, Vegemite and poppy seed scones

Compilations: Australia Day recipes, Aquafaba (chickpea brine) recipes, Nutella recipes and ideas

Where my blog was featured in 2016

My strawberry sushi was included in the Oola dessert sushi round up and the Gourmandize 20 best recipes to welcome strawberry season.

My Strawberry, Avocado and Walnut Salad was included in Allotment to Kitchen's Baker's Dozen of Savoury Strawberry Recipes.

My Aboriginal street art phone was used in the ABC's article: It's a great time to be teaching about Indigenous Australia languages.

My sourdough vanilla sponge cake was featured in the Reader's Digest: 10 spring cakes that will make you smile.

My What Vegetarian is That post was linked to by the Houston Press in You say you're a vegan but you're really a lacto-ovo vegetarian in sheep's clothing.

My damper was included in the Huffpost Living Camping Recipes.

My Vegan mozzarella Spiderweb Pizza was included in She Knows: 20 savoury Halloween treats we like even better than all that candy, She Knows: 20 freaky Halloween dinners your trick or treaters will love coming home to, Simple Sojourns: 25 delightfully fun Halloween recipes, Family Fresh Meals: Spooky Fun Halloween Appetizers, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades: 25 super fun Halloween inspired snacks and treats.

My aquafaba ghost cupcakes were included in She Knows: We will take one of each of these Halloween cupcakes please and thank you, Divine Lifestyle: 20 Halloween cupcakes,

My vegan party pies were included in The most Aussie foods ever - made vegan by PETA Australia.

My aquafaba royal icing for gingerbread houses was included in the 21 amazing aquafaba recipes by Oh My Veggies.

My Maple Scones were included in the Juggling Act Mama's Sweet and Savoury Maple Recipes.

My tea towels III post was linked to from Kathy Shaidle's article on DNA Despair in Taki's Magazine.

My chocolate layered fudge was included in the Essential Kids Edible Christmas Gifts.

And I love taking part in blog events.  Some of the events I have participated in most this year are Healthy Vegan Fridays, Eat Your Greens, Meat Free Mondays, Gluten Free Fridays, No Waste Food Challenge and We Should Cocoa.  Thanks to the hosts of these and the other great blog events.  Finally I should acknowledge the mention of my blog in Week 1 of Vegan MoFo round ups.

Je t'aime Paris!  Sadly I don't expect it to feature in 2017.
Happy New Year 
I hope you had a good 2016 and wish you all the best for 2017.  Thanks for visiting today.  Thanks to everyone who commented, emailed, liked, pinned and shared food with me.  In 2017 it will be 10 years since I started my blog.  While I am blogging less than when I started (and don't we all) I still enjoy the sharing, the support and the inspiration I find in blogging.

I am grateful to friends and family for all the support, the shared meals and the laughter this year.  To E for the dishes, the music and the appreciation of dinner.  To Sylvia for challenging my cooking and occasionally eating it.  To my mum for discussion, advice and inspiration in cooking.  To my dad for sweeping up afterward!  To Faye for loaning me fantastic cookbooks.  To Shaheen for her gift of laverbread and other Welsh treats.  To everyone who contributes in their own unique way.  Indeed, it takes a village to write a blog!

And for 2017?  I hope it will be a better year for me.  I don't expect to have more time or to blog more.  I know I say every year that there will be less posts.  Sometimes it is true!  Life just seems to get busier and I am getting too old to live without sleep.  Busy times call for simple meals.  I hope there will be healthy food, celebration meals and fun experiments. And I hope you will drop by again.  Soon.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Watermelon, mint and feta salad

Melbourne is having a hot, humid and slightly damp spell.  The sort of weather where you get out your coolest dress, worry about the garden wilting and welcome thunderstorms to clear the air.  It is the sort of weather for salads.  I would recommend this watermelon, mint and feta salad.

When I was young I hated watermelon.  I still dislike a fruit salad that is filled with melon.  These days I have come around to watermelon.  It has its moments!  I can now appreciate the sticky juice dripping down your chin on a hot day.  Yet Sylvia wants me to buy it too often.  And too often it sits forgotten at the back of the fridge.  In an attempt to avoid such neglect,  I finally tried the ubiquitous watermelon salad.  As a little bonus, it used up lots of mint from the garden too.

The day I made this it was to serve with a leftover salad which had not lasted the distance.  So we ate it with spinach and spiced nuts.  It was a nice easy meal on the first day of the school holidays but would have been better with a wider range of salads.  We had a similar salad at my mum's over Christmas and it was much better as part of a selection of salads.

It looks like New Year's Eve tomorrow wont be so hot as the last few days.  However if you are like me and just discovered NYE is Saturday and not Sunday, you would probably welcome a simple salad to add to the festive table.  And now that I have discovered that the year ends tomorrow, I can safely say this will be my last post of 2016.  Wishing you and yours a happy and safe New Year's Eve and I will be back next year.

More watermelon recipes from Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Watermelon, banana, strawberry, peach juice (gf, v) 
Watermelon curry (gf, v)
Watermelon monster (gf, v) 

Watermelon, mint and feta salad
Adapted from Serious Eats
Serves 4 or more

900g watermelon, trimmed and cut into chunks
1/4 cup of mint leaves (loosely packed)
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
50g feta cheese
salt and pepper to season

Trim rind off watermelon and cut flesh into chunks.  If your mint leaves are large (mine weren't) roughly chop.  Mix watermelon with mint, lime juice and olive oil.  Arrange on a large shallow bowl.  Scatter with crumbled feta.  Season.

On the Stereo:
Matilda the Musical: Soundtrack

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Christmas day food, reflections and quicklinks

We are back at home after Christmas at my parents' home.  The suitcases are unpacked and we are having a quiet day after a busy time of feasting, family, swimming, lights and presents.  Here is a rundown with a few Christmas recipe links at the end of the post.

Christmas Day food starts early.  On Christmas Eve I baked nut roast, cranberry nut rolls, chocolate mince pies, panforte, and pizza.  In the above photo I had not yet made the panforte.  It always seems to get made in front of Carols by Candlelight on the telly.

The pizza was for dinner on Christmas Eve.  Sylvia had one with tomato and cheese.  We had one with tomato sauce, cheese, feta cheese, roast pumpkin and lightly microwaved kale.  I was most pleased with it.  We had leftovers that went into the freezer and were a nice easy meal when we got home from my parents' last night.

Christmas morning started in a blur when Sylvia woke at 4am to check what she had been given by Santa.  It took a while to get her back to sleep.  At a more reasonable hour we had breakfast (freshly squeezed orange juice, cranberry nut rolls and Swiss cheese) before heading down to Geelong.

We took the (vegan) gingerbread house that Sylvia and I had made.  I had hoped to write more about it but had an mishap while measuring the flour and the gingerbread seemed a bit dry.  Sylvia helped with lots of the piping and it looks cute.  We are planning to eat it on New Year's Day.

We opened presents at home and then there was more present giving at my parents' house.  Sylvia laid her presents out on the campbed.  You can see she was well and truly spoiled in the nicest of ways.  She didn't ask for too much but wanted lots of diaries.  I was pleased to read an article about how diaries inspire children to write.

E and I also received some lovely presents between us - perfume, books, chocolates, cordless chargers, a CD and a mug.  Here he is holding the hamper of bikkies, jams and tea that my brother gave us.

It was 38 C on Christmas Day but we had a traditional roast dinner and plum pudding.  With the air conditioner on!  As usual I had nut roast instead of turkey and ham.  My niece amused me with a huge serving of cauliflower cheese and gravy that looked like ice cream with chocolate sauce.

But it is not all traditional at lunch.  My mum also made pavlova and a black forest cheesecake.  I can take or leave a pav but a cheesecake makes me go weak at the knees.  This one was scrumptious.

In the afternoon most of my siblings head off to the in-laws.  Sylvia played with bubbles, fancy sticky tapes and watercolour paints, I read my book while E and my parents sleep.  Dinner is a simple affair of leftovers in a sandwich.  I am very partial to a salad sandwich with thinly sliced nut roast.  It is most excellent on sourdough bread that my mum baked that morning.

After dinner we drove out to see the fun Christmas lights on the Geelong Town Hall.

The next two days we went to the pool in the morning, had lunches with family and friends we don't see often, and played with the nieces.  Above is a picture of my nieces making bath bombs.

This is a platter of nibbles courtesy of my aunt.

Here are the salads that my mum made for two lunches and my leftover slices of nut roasts are in the bottom left corner.  Not included in the picture is the pan of Nigella's roasted potato and pepper bake.

My dad's school friend came to visit and brought a bottle of Lindeman's Maiden Press.  It is a non-alcoholic sparkling juice made in a champagne style.  I was very taken by it.

And we had my panforte with tea and coffee and a platter of my mum's mince pies, yo-yos and some chocolates.  A perfect way to end a meal.

Finally, I had collected a few Christmas recipes I have seen this year that I would love to add to my Christmas repertoire.  As my bookmarking site (delicious.com) seems to be down, I am sharing them here.

Christmas recipe quicklinks:

Barley salad with kale, walnuts, and cranberries - Bite Sized Thoughts
Parsnip and chestnut nut roasts - The VegHog
Parsnip chestnut and sage wreath - Sneaky Veg
Porcini and chestnut mini wreath roasts - The Veg Space
Puff pastry Christmas tree with chestnut mushrooms - Allotment to Kitchen
Sprout salad with cranberries, pecan vuts and clementines - Easy Peasy Foodie

Candy cane fudge cookies - The Taste Space
Chocolate peppermint bark - Rock My Vegan Socks
Lasso the moon cookies (It's a Wonderful Life) - Cadry's Kitchen
Layered chocolate mint Christmas tree cake - The Gluten Free Alchemist
Rich gingerbread brownies with frosting - Not Quite Nigella
Tear and share Christmas tree cinnamon rolls - Lavender and Lovage

I hope you had a happy Christmas and a relaxing holiday.