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‘Mele Kalikimaka…

…is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day.’

It was a rude shock to race into the supermarket at 7.30pm on a Tuesday evening and hear Bing Crosby crooning to the one or two souls wandering the aisles.  It was the first real reminder for me that Christmas is not long away.  It’s a busy time of year so I thought I’d round up a few posts that may be of help during the festive season.  Just click on the link in the heading to find out more information.

Right! Let’s get the present out of the way first.

For those that are hard to buy for

Tastetrekkers Cooking School & Food Treks
….No judgements about whether you like things spicy, how good your knife skills were or whether you had been to the far flung places that Sally had brought these recipes back from….

Golden Pig Cooking School
…..The Golden Pig Food & Wine School offers first class premises and equipment as well as high quality, responsibly sourced ingredients…..

Adopt an Olive Tree
……OlivFresh Organic Olives have their grove at Coominya, literally on the shores of Lake Wivenhoe.  They are a Queensland family owned business and all produce is certified organic.  The olives are plump and tasty….

Try your hand at a home cooked gift

Bengal Apple Chutney
…..You can’t go far wrong as long as there is vinegar, sugar, fruit and spices in the pan…..

OK – so what about the big day?

Make these for breakfast or to enjoy with morning coffee
– before things get crazy!

Polenta Muffins
….What to make? What to make?  What to make when you only want to use what you’ve already got in the cupboard but yet still want to impress?….

Along with the main course you’ll need:

Some starters

….a cold soup so it took the performance pressure off.  It was also fuss free and quick to prepare as there was no cooking involved.  Tangy and refreshing….

Pumpkin & Tahini Spread
….this recipe is so quick and simple to make, you’ll want to have it as a standby for dips, sandwich fillings and as a sauce for all manner of grilled meats….

Some sauces

Spicy Cherry Sauce
….With lots of Christmas ham, turkey and perhaps even duck coming up, I decided to make a Spicy Cherry Sauce to serve cold alongside the cold meat.  The Asian flavours give a modern twist and the spiciness helps to cut through any fattiness in the meat.  Also nice with a strong cheddar, salad leaves and fresh, crusty bread…..

….There’s as many different versions of Chimichurri around as there are editions of Gerald Durrell novels so use this recipe as a base and feel free to add and subtract as your taste buds guide you. There’ll be no kissing right after you’ve eaten this tangy, garlicky sauce unless your partner eats it too…..

A salad

Pearl Barley Tabouleh
…..This is so quick and simple, I will be making it quite a lot on a Sunday night so we can take it for lunch during the week.  With some good bread, it makes a filling lunch.  With some sumac rubbed BBQ lamb, it would be out of sight……

And a decadent dessert!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
….the state of mind and even being when you commit to making Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake. The combination of salty sweet peanuts and chocolate is a Camp Hill classic.  I have wanted to make this for so long but it’s an ‘occassion’ dessert –  there needs to be a swag of people around to ooh and aah and partake of this divine and decadent treat…..

So that’s at least half of your Christmas concerns out of the way.  This has been a TIFFIN public service announcement.

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