christmas

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Multiracial life is an interesting one. People on the street sometimes speak to me in languages I don’t understand and my dual appearance often has me feeling uncomfortable in my own, somewhat tanned skin as I fit neither here nor there. Back in the old MySpace days I found their “nationality” profile section insufficient. In Japan I was mistaken for being French and in France I was mistaken for being Italian. I was paid out for having a big nose as a child but these days I’m complimented on my coveted, high cheekbones. The symbol of a watermelon as a prelude for party-times is ingrained in every thread of my being and the number of times sweet old gentlemen have approached me with “YOU GRIK GAHL?” is a relentless joy, both a blessing and a curse.

My amazing plan this week was to document both sides of my family, The Egyptians and The Cypriots, and how their Christmas celebrations draw exciting parallels despite their geographic difference; food served in loved Bessemer, lunch of both traditional and modern dishes, watermelon. When I first began this blog my intention was to highlight my colourful ethnic background illustrating these sorts of get-togethers but in almost one-and-a-half years nothing of the sort ever eventuated. Until now. My amazing plan fell short of amazing as I hadn’t factored in the amazing food coma element. Cameras and food, man. My eye for symmetry blurred significantly under the weight of BBQ lamb, chicken, duck, molokhia, fresh seafood, ham, kashk, stuffed tomato, my Teta’s famous crème caramel and more (I feel heavy). But I tried. I tried and then I fell asleep on a couch somewhere. I think my brother summed it up best in an instagram post simply captioned Dat wog lunch :’). Oh well, better luck next year.


















I wish you all the best time this holiday season, enjoy your time off, enjoy time with your friends and family and I’ll see you all in the new year with some new recipe posts. :)

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Festive Peppermint Hot Chocolate

It’s been one of those days. I’m wearing odd socks. I’ve uttered the term “IDGAF” to so many people today I am properly offending my very own sensibilities.

I demand COMFORT FOOD. And yes, anytime I type this phrase it is always in CAPITAL LETTERS ‘cos it’s kind of a BIG DEAL.

Festive Peppermint Hot Chocolate

I toyed with the idea of buying a mint pattie for myself earlier today at the supermarket for a split second, a decision I would live to regret; on the way home I was flooded by a remorse so deep I may have shed a teeny-tiny tear. Ravaged by this soul-destroying guilt I foraged around the pantry and found some leftover candy canes from my gingerbread house building venture a few days ago. I was craving peppermint and chocolate so badly I was willing to cast off the shackles of soy-based-beverage oppression that so constantly plagues my delicious lifestyle. The rest, as they say, is history. Quick, easy history.

Festive Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Festive Peppermint Hot Chocolate

The candy cane serves as lovely stirring utensil if you’re one to take your time enjoying a mug of hugs. If you’re in the company of anyone who doesn’t particularly enjoy peppermint however (a most unfortunate affliction) the candy cane can always be omitted as it is the sole source of peppermint in this recipe.

Festive Peppermint Hot ChocolateThis recipe follows my golden rule of cookery; where this is chocolate there must be salt. It’s basic ying and yang! This recipe will serve one comforting mug or two smaller shots if you’re in a generous, sharing mood.

 

FESTIVE PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE

(an original recipe)

3/4 cup milk

50 g chocolate (I used half dark, half milk)

pinch of salt

1 or 2 candy canes, curve removed

 

1. In a heat-proof bowl microwave milk until it is very hot (around one minute).

2. Chop your chocolate and once the milk is ready add to bowl and stir until melted and combined (a few flecks of chocolate may remain). Add salt.

3. Pour into glasses and adorn with can upside-down candy cane.

Festive Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Now, somebody please tell my brother if he doesn’t arrive home soon I’m drinking his for him.

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It’s December! Which marks this month as my very first Christmas as a recipe/food/baking/WHATEVER blogger – all photography from here on in will feature GREEN, RED, CUTENESS, SPARKLES, BAUBLES, etc etc.

Tonight I’m off to an annual Christmas  dinner with my old school friends. Traditionally we give each other small, cute gifts. Last year I made some sugar cookies and fudge however to celebrate this blogging landmark as a vaguely serious baker I figured it was time to step up my game.

At first I was dubious of baking with such a wintery flavour in (what should be) the beginning of Summer here in Sydney however thanks to much unprecedented and rain below-average temperatures I had no qualms whatsoever getting my gingerbread on. This recipe should make around 20-25 macarons, depending on the size.

GINGERBREAD MACARONS

(an original recipe)

 Gingerbread Shells

100g egg whites, room temperature

100g almond meal

200g pure icing sugar

30g caster sugar

1 tsp powdered egg whites

1 heaped tsp ground ginger

Powdered/gel colouring

White Chocolate Ginger Ganacahe

200g white couverture chocolate, chopped

100ml pouring cream

1/2 tsp cinnamon (plus extra for dusting)

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp ground ginger

2-3 lumps of crystallised ginger (around 10g), finely chopped

 

1. Preheat your oven 150°C.

2. Sift pure icing sugar, almond meal and ground ginger and place into a bowl and give it a quick stir.

3. Beat eggwhites and eggwhite powder in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar, beating well between each addition, until eggwhites are stiff and glossy. This process should take around 5-10 minutes.

4. Pour half of your dry ingredients and colouring (I used half brown half orange gel colour) into the bowl of beaten eggwhites and combine with a flat utensil, like a spatula, using “cutting strokes”. Once incorporated repeat with the remaining icing sugar and almond meal mixture. This is where things begin to get a little tricky as under-mixing or over-mixing will ruin your macarons as they attempt to rise and “grow feet” in the oven. Experts say to stir the mixture until it becomes the consistency of lava. The mixture will be sticky but you’ll know it’s ready when, upon holding your spatula above the bowl, it will begin just begin to flow freely back into the bowl. You’ll need to knock a lot of the air out of it.

5. Prepare a piping bag with the appropriate tip (around 1 cm or less), a baking tray with baking paper, and pipe small rounds (they must be small enough to balance on the cupcakes!). If there are any small lumps left from piping wet your finger and gently press them down (unlike cake batter, macaron mixture does not flatten out when in the oven). Dust some extra cinnamon over the shells and allow tray to rest for 30 minutes.

6. Place baking tray in the oven and allow to bake for around 15-20 minutes (this time will depend entirely on your oven, so keep an eye on them). Within 5 minutes or so they will begin to grow feet.

7. Once ready, remove from oven, and after 5 minutes transfer to cooling racks.

8. Whilst your shells are cooling place your cream in the microwave for 30 seconds or until relatively hot. Pour your chopped chocolate into the bowl and stir continuously until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is combined. Add cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger and finely chopped crystallised ginger and stir to combine. Place bowl into the refrigerator to cool and thicken.

9. Prepare another piping bag with a large tip and neatly pipe rounds of ganache into half of the shells. To close, gently place its partner shell on top of the ganache and twist shut, taking care to prevent ganache spilling over the edges.

As well as these macarons I’ve also bundled some of my berry and vanilla infused vodka in adorable little jam jars complete with mini baubles (a fluke discovery at Coles this morning!) – a cute reminder that a cocktail-fueled Summer is just around the corner… maybe.

Sugar and alcohol. Spice and berries. Here’s hoping they like my little edible trinkets!

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