There is something rather wonderful about this time of year. Having family all together to catch up and celebrate, and reminisce on the year just past. Our Christmas, this year, was just that. A celebration of the wonderful 2012 we have had – particularly with the newest addition to our family… And I went a little crazy with the camera, so be prepared for photo overload! I could really break this post up into 2 or 3 posts, but I’m going to jam it all into one. Our Christmas, as I mentioned, was delightful indeed. I was lucky to have my mum and brother travel to Canberra to join us and Mr BBB’s family for Christmas lunch, which we hosted at our house. The day started before 6am, as Mum and I finished the final touches on the table, the food and the desserts. Charlotte woke at 7am, and had fun checking our her ‘Santa’ gifts. And by 11am, Mr BBB’s family had arrived, and our library was transformed into quite the present explosion! We broke out the cocktails and nibbles, and passed around the presents. And I can well and truly say this little Miss was SPOILT rotten by her grandparents, aunty, uncle and cousins (and friends, and neighbours….). Oh and her parents too! And I didn’t fare too badly either, with a new ICECREAM maker, purse, magazine subscription, recipe books, movie voucher and a massage voucher! By 1pm the presents had been opened, cocktails had been consumed and our tummies were rumbling. So it was time to move into the living room for lunch. On the menu, we had prawn cocktails to start, and Christmas meats and a selection of vegetable sides for the main course. Washed down with some fine bubbles. My plate: It was lovely that Miss C is now old enough to join us for lunch, and she impressed us all by gobbling up a full plate of Christmas food! She was not a fan, however, of her Christmas hat The afternoon was spent toying with our new Christmas presents, playing a few games of Pictionary and waiting for our lunch to digest! We were actually so full from lunch that we didn’t even make a start on dessert until day turned into night! But slowly as the clock ticked by, our appetites returned, and we headed to the dessert table for dinner! Featuring a rocky road Christmas tree, meringue trees, rum balls and a summer berry trifle. And it was was with some caution we sliced up the rocky road tree for all to enjoy. It really was a memorable Christmas, and I felt so blessed to be celebrating the occasion with most of my nearest and dearest. Charlotte loved the attention, but was certainly exhausted by the end of the day (as was I!). A fine start to this Summer of fun! What about you? What did you get up to this Christmas?
What a wonderful wonderful Christmas we had. Our house was filled with family, love, baby laughter and food – and we went to sleep last night feeling very blessed and content. I will be back soon with a full recap of our celebration, but for now I just want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. And say ‘thankyou’ for your support of this little blog over the last year!
I was taking a little look back at my previous Christmas blog posts, and it struck me that this will be my FOURTH Christmas since I started BBB. And boy has life and this little blog changed in those four years. Four years ago my photos were terrible, we were living in our old house, I was newly married and no bambinos were in sight. Now, we are in our new place, (I think) my photography skills have improved and we are blessed to have our adorable baby girl in our lives. You can find links to our previous Christmas celebrations (and cringe at my terrible photography) here….
I am so very excited to be hosting Christmas lunch this year. I have quite a few ‘fun’ things planned – that I will be sure to share with you over the coming weeks. But for now – let’s take a look back at Christmases past – with a little link up to a few of my previous Christmas planning tips and recipe ideas…. Planning and decorating ideas…
- Apricot and coconut biscuits
- Gingerbread donuts
- Salted caramel fudge
- Chocolate bark
- Spiced apple and coconut cake
- Apple butter
Stay tuned for the full details of our 2012 celebrations! What about you? Are you planning on doing some Christmas baking this year?
Merry Christmas to all! Mr BBB and I have just returned from a wonderful few days spent with family in Melbourne. And, although the time never seems to be long enough, with many kilometres travelled (and many toilet breaks taken along the way!) we managed to spend at least a little time with each of our nearest and dearest. Our celebrations began on Christmas Eve, continued all day Christmas Day… Well into Boxing Day… And beyond also… There was food… So much food… There were laughs… There were presents… (even for those of us that can’t yet unwrap them!) There was a family Boxing Day cricket match, played on a pitch with a farm view… Spectators… And baby BBB’s first cricket game being played…. poorly There were many walks taken to balance out the abundance of good food. In suburbia… The country… Past the cows… And through the bush! And there were picnics amongst the trees. Overall, our 2011 Christmas celebrations were just as I had hoped. Fun and family filled – but also relaxed and carefree! It’s hard to believe that this time next year we will have a 9 month old daughter along for the ride! What about you? What did you get up to over Christmas?
Happy Christmas Eve Eve I hope that you have all made it to the end of the working year safely. I for one, was most happy when the clock struck 1pm (yay for half work days), and it was time to head home and finish packing for our trip to Melbourne. Which included packing up the final treat in my homemade holiday treats series… On the menu today… Apricot and coconut biscuits (cookies)! aka. a break from chocolate overload that was occasioned by yesterday’s chocolate bark. Oats, spelt, brown sugar coconut, apricots and nuts. Mixed with eggs, vanilla and butter to form a sticky biscuit mix. Rolled into balls, flattened… And baked for 15 minutes until golden. These biscuits turned out nice and light, but also rather chewy… Quite reminding me of ANZAC biscuits actually. And, once they had cooled sufficiently, I wasted no time in filling a Christmas tin and leaving half of the batch on my neighbour’s front door step by way of a little Christmas gift. The rest, however, will be coming with us as we make our way down South for the Christmas holiday. Delish! Apricot & Coconut Biscuits (makes 16-18 large biscuits) (adapted from here)
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1cup desiccated coconut
- 3/4 cup diced dried apricots
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Preheat oven to 180°C, and line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
- Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl. Add the oats, coconut, apricot and almonds and stir until well combined. Make a well in the centre.
- Whisk together the melted butter, eggs and vanilla in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
- Use your hands to roll heaped tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls. Place balls onto the prepared trays (leaving room to spread) and flatten slightly.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and set aside to cool completely
I hope that you have enjoyed this 5 days of Homemade Holiday treats. You can find links to all the treats below… Day 1 – Gingerbread doughnuts Day 2 – Salted caramel fudge Day 3 – Chilli lime nut mix Day 4 – Chocolate bark Day 5 – Apricot and coconut biscuits But enough ‘sweet talk, its time to get this BBB show on the road! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas Eve Eve, safe travels if you are travelling and happy eating if you are eating! What about you? What are your plans for the festive season?
It is day 3 of my homemade holiday treats series and I am pleased to report that we are still going strong. And, although I am loving all the sweet treats that are slowly filling my fridge, I couldn’t resist throwing in a ‘savoury’ treat which happens to also be one of my favourite ‘nibbles’. Spiced nuts. Or in particular… A chilli lime nut mix! Which really are just nuts… Tamari, honey, lime zest and chilli… Roasted… And voila! Simple to make, but guaranteed to be gobbled up in no time at all. My version ended up a little sticky, so I will hold off providing a specific recipe at this stage. It still needs some more tweaking, but I am sure to have one for you in the not too distant future. The flavours, however, were rather tasty with the freshness of the lime zest and the hint of spice from the chilli. I think they will make a nice alternative for those who are feeling a little sugar overloaded over the festive season (although these do have an element of sweetness in them owing to the honey!). What about you? Ever made your own nut mix?
Happy Tuesday lovely people! With Christmas well and truly on its way, it is time for day 2 of my 5 days of Homemade Holiday treats. And today’s treat is a good one. Even if I do say so myself. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that caramel is involved. And caramel is my favourite flavour. I wanted to create a treat that could be made in advance, would survive a car trip to Melbourne and that would keep for a couple of weeks. Hence caramel fudge seemed like the perfect option! Fudge is one of those sweet treats that I love to indulge in, although when I make it from scratch I realise why one should only indulge in a little piece. For this treat is really nothing more than sugar. And butter. With a side of sugar. And chocolate. But boy it is delicious! Particularly when sprinkled with sea salt. The only shame with this fudge is that it turned out a little soft (I think I took it off the stove too early). But all is not lost, I just plan on keeping it in the fridge until serving time. The flavour, however, was spot on – rich in caramel with just a hint of sea salt. Delish! Salted Caramel Fudge (recipe here)
- 395g can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tbs glucose syrup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup golden syrup
- 125g butter, chopped
- 180g white chocolate, chopped
- 1tsp sea salt flakes
Grease 20 x 20cm square cake pan, and line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
Heat condensed milk, sugar, glucose syrup, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 10 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Sprinkle with salt, pressing in with the back of a spoon to secure.
- Set aside for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm. Cut into pieces and serve.
And then, because I just couldn’t stop … I also made a batch of Jessica’s mocha coconut fudge. Sprinkled with a little coloured coconut in honour of the festive season. And, which, unlike my caramel version, had a perfect fudge texture. But you will have to head over to her blog for that recipe! What about you? Are you a fan of fudge?? What is your favourite flavour?
I think it will come as no surprise, that hosting events and parties for family and friends is one of my favourite hobbies. Be it Christmas, a birthday or some other party, I really do enjoy all the planning, decorating and cooking that is required (much to Mr BBB’s frustration lol). Last year, Mr BBB and I hosted our first Christmas in our new family home, with a flurry of decorating and baking taking place before the big day. You can find all of my 2010 Christmas Countdown posts below:
- How to plan the perfect Christmas menu
- How to be a stress-free host
- It’s a wrap
- Getting crafty (homemade bonbons)
- Oh Christmas Tree
- Feeling Saucy: Cherry Port Sauce
- Room at the Inn
- Truffle time
- To market she did go
This year, we are spending Christmas with my family in Melbourne. Christmas Eve will be with family and friends in Melbourne, Christmas Day with my Mum and little brother, and Boxing Day with my Dad in rural Victoria. And, although we are planning on keeping it pretty low key, I wanted to put together a basket of homemade sweet treats and other nibbles to take down with me – to share amongst our guests at the various parties and mealtimes. I also have a few functions this week that call for a plate of treats to be provided. And so my 5 days of Homemade Holiday Treats begins! That’s right – 5 days of nothing but sugar and sweetness on BBB! I think I should probably give my dentist a call now Starting with…. Gingerbread doughnuts! aka. a tasty little treat to take to a work morning tea. Just whisk the dry. Add the wet. Stir to a batter. Pipe… Bake… And glaze. And serve. I am loving the baked variety of this normally-fried treat. These took only 10 minutes in the oven, a few minutes to glaze, making them a morning tea that you can throw together quite easily. They will keep overnight in an airtight container, but they really are best eaten on the day they are made. Delish! Gingerbread doughnuts (makes 12 large) (adapted from Pinch of Yum)
- 2 cups spelt (use GF plain flour to make these GF)
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1tbs ground ginger
- 1tbs ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 3 tbs maple syrup
- 50ml milk
- 50g melted butter
- 30g butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 40ml milk
- 1 cup icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 180C. Grease 2 x 6 hole large doughnut pans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the Centre.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.
- Spoon into a piping bag, and pipe into doughnut tins (to about 3/4 full).
- Bake for 10 –12 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack.
- To make the glaze – melt the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the milk, and heat (stirring) for 1 minute. Add the icing sugar, and whisk to combine until smooth and glossy.
- While warm, pour the glaze over the doughnuts.
What about you? Are you more of party planner or a party goer?
The last few days have been filled with family, friends and, perhaps most of all, food! We have loved playing host for the Christmas festivities, and loved having my mum, brother and his girlfriend stay with us in our new house. In addition to Christmas Day, we hosted a Boxing Day BBQ. Complete with Christmas leftovers, and the stars of the show… Homemade spelt pide. Served with homemade hummus and lemon wedges. Despite all appearances, I promise you that we have done some things over the last few days that don’t involve eating. Not many. But some 😉 I managed to fit in a 5km run, and we also spent an entire day playing tourist, and showing our interstate guests around a very dunny Nation’s Capital. I must say, our house seems so quiet now that all our guests have left. Well apart from these furry house guests of course 😉 There is no time for rest, however, as Mr BBB and I are packing the car and heading to the coast for New Years Eve. What about you? What are you up to for New Years Eve? Happy Baking 🙂
Greetings from the ever-busy BBB household! I hope that you are all enjoying your festive season! We have had such a wonderful few days – filled with family, friends, food, drinks, sunshine and lots of laughter. Oh, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Just how the festive season should be really. Our party season all started on Christmas Day (sneak preview here). And for me, it started when I woke up at 5.30am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Rather than complain, I decided to ‘wake up’ the kitchen nice and early to prepare our Christmas dessert – GF spiced apple cake. An hour later, our kitchen was filled with the ever-addictive aromas of cinnamon and ginger. And a cake laid waiting on our kitchen bench. Served on my new cake stand – a very timely Christmas gift from Mr BBB 🙂 Stay tuned for the recipe…I’ll share it with you in the next few days! With dessert baked and ready by 7.00am, it wasn’t long until my Mum arrived. We spent the morning catching up while preparing the roasted vegetables. On one tray was a big batch of hasselback potatoes (desiree potatoes – peeled, halved, with little ‘slits’ cut into one side allowing for extra crunch to be created!) Combined with olive oil, garlic and rosemary. On another was a selection of orange, purple and white sweet potatoes, Combined with olive oil and maple syrup. Luckily we were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day, so moving Christmas lunch alfresco and setting the outdoor table seemed to be the logical choice. The table was set with a mixture of green/pinks/reds, and finished with fresh flowers and homemade bon bons. A touch of Spring if you will! The morning slowly slipped away from us and it wasn’t long until our lunch guests arrived. By this stage the drinks were flowing, including a Pimm’s fruit cocktail – which was a refreshing addition to the lunch menu. Pimm’s mixed with lemonade, served with chopped apple, orange, strawberries and lime…. Plus a few sprigs of fresh mint. I had a few glasses of champagne, and they were enough for me. After all, I needed to keep as much room as possible for the lunch fare 🙂 We served lunch banquet style, making the most of our new kitchen bench and allowing everyone to serve their own. Smoked ham, turkey and roast pork… Roast potatoes and sweet potatoes… Fennel and beans…. Plus a selection of condiments… Including gravy (3 types!), apple butter, and cherry port sauce. My plate was piled high… And I loved every mouthful. Enjoyed alfresco, in the warm Canberra weather. (Mum and I) And what Christmas lunch would be complete without groan-worthy bon bon jokes 😉 Room was, however, saved for dessert… Gingerbread and fudge, made by Mr BBB’s niece. My spiced apple cake, served with caramel and brandy cream. And, for an extra indulgence, truffles… Picked straight from the truffle ‘tree’. All together now. Phew – I hope you are as visually sated as we were physically after such a big lunch! All in all, it was a wonderful day made all the more special by having our family with us to celebrate. Having completed many of our preparations in advance, we were able to just sit back and enjoy the moment. Oh and indulge in a lot of great food. It is Christmas after all 😉 What about you? What was your food highlight this Christmas? Happy Baking 🙂