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Bake Around the World at Christmas

I love the food associated with Christmas. Christmas is a time of feasting. A time we come together with those we love and deepen our relationships, whilst sharing wonderful food. Different countries around the world have fantastic traditions around food, that can add a depth to our own celebrations. Here are a few to try, that will gladden the hearts of all those around your table. So use the season as an excuse to bake your way around the world. Gingerbread Men We eat gingerbread men around the 6th December to coincide with St. Nicholas Day. We read the lovely book The Baker’s Dozen by Aaron Shepard. The book shares the tradition of making St. Nicholas Day cookies within the Dutch culture. Cougnou: Jesus Bread from Belgium We made this beautiful bread a few years ago. It is an easy bread to make, although my bread shaping skills are not good. When I made them I just baked them as little rolls. They are meant to be shaped to resemble the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes! St. Lucia Buns St. Lucia buns are a traditional bread from Sweden made at Christmas. Stollen Stollen is a German bread with marzipan in the centre. The marzipan is meant to represent baby Jesus (yes another baby Jesus in a bread creation!). These are absolutely delicious. Baklava Baklava is a traditional sweet pastry dish from the Middle East, although Greece also have a tradition of making Baklava as well. The pastry is filled with nuts, honey and spices. Epiphany Cake: Dreik√∂nigskuchen This is a cake made for Epiphany in Liechtenstein. It remembers the Wise Men visiting the baby Jesus. Again it is another bread recipe, but it looks amazing! A traditional Christmas Cake Christmas really wouldn’t be Christmas without the smell of a proper Christmas cake baking in the house. This is a tradition handed down the generations of women in my family. And although I love exploring the food cultures in other countries this very British cake is a must. I have linked to Mary Berry’s recipe. This is a big cake, but it keeps for ages. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Easy Mild Chicken Curry Recipe

I’ve fiddled around with many curry recipes over the years. I go through phases where I have a favourite. This one is my current favourite. Although I mainly use chicken other meat can be used. I sometimes add chick peas to bulk it out. I often make this to use up leftover meat, and just put whatever amount I have. My children are not great spice fans, the boys hear the word spice and immediately decide they don’t like it! But this is very mild, but very tasty. I also really enjoy using the mortar and pestle to grind the spices, I find it therapeutic, I love the smell of the freshly ground spices filling the kitchen- especially the cardamon. I serve this with rice, I also really enjoy having naan bread or roti to go along with it. I recently discovered the website Global Table Adventure and would love to make this Eritrean bread to go with this (this bread tastes amazing!) Ingredients 300g of chicken thighs or breasts. This can be altered to suit family size, with leftovers it is whatever amount I have left over. 1 onion, chopped 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated 2 fat cloves of garlic minced 1 large tablespoon of coconut oil (if you don’t have this use vegetable oil) 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 1 teaspoon garam marsala seeds of 5 cardamon pods a pinch of cayenne pepper 250 ml chicken stock 1 tablespoon tomato puree 75g ground almonds 2 tablespoons mango chutney 150ml single cream 4 large tablespoons natural yogurt Begin by grinding the cumin seed and the cardamon seeds together. Fry off the onion, garlic, and ginger in the coconut oil until softened, make sure not to burn the onion. Add the chicken and the spices. Stir in the stock, the tomato puree and the mango chutney. Cook until the meat is tender. Stir in the ground almonds, this will thicken the sauce. Finish by adding the cream and the yogurt. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

What Difference Meal Planning Has Made to Us

I’ve friends who meal plan, I have friends who having monthly meal plans. I always liked the idea of it. But for years I told myself that I would miss out on the deals if I planned our meals. My thinking was, that I would see what was on offer as I went round the shops and decide what we’d have for dinner that coming week based on that. The reality was I’d leave the shop with a trolly load and each night wonder what to have for dinner, then come up with something and realise I didn’t have the ingredients and needed to go to the shops. These frequent top up shop add up. Now I plan our meals these top up shops have come to an end. I usually spend the same amount on the main weekly shop as before, sometimes less, but with the top ups now under control we are making significant savings each week. I think what had stopped me for years was highly impressive meal charts written out for weeks ahead. The effort to do that put me off. Stress Free Meal Planning How I do my meal planning: I note in my diary what we will have each night. I then look at what ingredients we will need, and what other essentials we are due to run out of. I make a note of these in my diary, so I remember when going round the shop. It’s simple, and it takes 5 minutes before I go shopping. I can look through cookery books for some inspiration as I do it. If I see a great deal at the shops it is easy to swap something in the meal plan, but honestly this doesn’t happen often. Doing this has also reduced the amount of waste food we through away. I’m less likely to have vegetables that have gone bad in the fridge, because I’m only buying what we will need that week. I might one day sit down and type up a monthly plan, but then again I might not! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Soup

This is a lovely comforting recipe. I added half a teaspoon of chilli powder, you could add a red chilli, or leave out altogether. My children do not like spicy food.  1 leek 1 carrot 2 sweet potatoes 500 mls chicken stock 1 can coconut milk 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (optional) Chop the leek and soften in a large saucepan with a little oil. Add in the carrots and sweet potatoes. Cover with the stock and coconut milk, and chilli (if using), and simmer until the vegetable are cooked. Blend in a food processor. Serve with some lovely crusty bread.  Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Activities for Easter

Here are a list of activities to do over Easter with the children: 1. Make an Easter Banner Decorate a large piece of paper, then glue on it the key events of Holy Week. I have kept it simple focusing on Palm Sunday, Jesus clearing the temple, The Last Supper, Jesus arrest, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. Have the children draw simple pictures on pieces of paper, and either write a scripture verse or a sentence about what has happened. 2. Make a Simnel Cake I love marzipan! So this is a great excuse to use some. The balls of marzipan on top represent the apostles minus Judas. Here is a lovely easy recipe. 3. An Easter Egg Hunt! Who does not like looking for chocolate!! 4. Decorating and Rolling Eggs Part of me thinks this is a bit of a waste of eggs, but children love it… and with this cold spring I’m sure the local wildlife will be grateful for the free lunch! 5. Hot Cross Buns Why not try and make your own! Lovely recipe from Make Do and Mend 6. Visit a farm We went to a farm this week, with lambing in full swing we were able to see the baby lambs. We all loved it! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Easy Homemade Burgers Recipe

I have adapted this from the cookery book Apples for Jam. The Knight boy has been asking for burgers, myself and The Girl are not great fans of burgers! However, the half beef and half pork make these a bit lighter than usual burgers… and not a horse in sight. 250g Beef mince 250g Pork mince 4 slices white bread 125mls milk 1 teaspoon dried parsley ¬Ĺ teaspoon paprika 1 tablespoon ketchup Remove the crusts, and tear up the bread. Pour over the milk, and squidge it together until the bread if collapsing. Then put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hand until they are combined. Form the mixture into little patties, about 5/6cm in diameter, and 1cm thick. Heat some olive oil in frying pan and cook the burgers on a medium heat until cooked through. There should be enough mixture for around 8-10 burgers. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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