Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas traditions and decorating at my place

As the countdown approaches to Christmas Day, I have been starting the traditions at our place. In the lead up to Christmas, I bake almond bread and make chicken liver pate. For many years, since Year 12 in 1984, I made apricot jam from dried apricots, but can't see that happening this year. Our Christmas tree seems to go up earlier and earlier each year. One year we might just leave it up. Last year it was up in September. This year it took until November to be found and 'erected'. This was because our eldest usually puts it up, however, she moved out of home this year and has a new tree at her new place. Last year the tree wasn't put into the tree box, but into the trampoline box, so remained hidden until I had a mother look! We open presents of new pyjamas on Christmas Eve after attending church and wear them to bed that night. Christmas morning is usually at my mum's, but she moved out of town this year, so bacon, eggs, fruit and champagne will be breakfast, then a late lunch of ham, turkey and vegetables followed by an afternoon snooze if we are lucky. The kids tend to be in and out of the pool all day.
Do you have family traditions at Christmas?
I have taken a few photographs of my Christmas decorating around my place. Enjoy.

You would be excused for thinking I was Santa's washing lady. The Santa hats and kid-sized Santa outfits were looking a bit on the grubby side. Now nice and fresh.

My nativity set that I sewed a few years ago.

My ancient old angel looks a little stunned at the top of our gorgeous white tree. This year the theme is pink, gold and white.

our beautiful white Christmas tree adorned in pink, gold and pearl coloured ornaments

The Christmas tree shaped arrangement of Christmas cards on the door of the cupboard in our entry foyer.
(Please excuse the angle of the photo. I can't seem to upload photos taken portrait sytle and then edited. This photo was taken landscape then cropped).

Joseph looking adoringly at Mary and baby Jesus.
Wishing you all the joys of Christmas and the fun of Christmas season decorating.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chicken Liver Pate

One of my Christmas cooking recipes is chicken liver pate. It is delicious served with water crackers or toast triangles with quince paste. The recipe comes from the NMAA Cooks red cookbook. I have my own copy now, however the recipe came from my Aunt's copy many years ago. The cookbook was originally printed in 1975 and I have a 2002 copy. The cookbook is available by mail order from
250g chicken livers
125g butter
2 tbsp cream cheese or cream
1 tbsp brandy
1 tbsp snipped chives
1/4 teaspoon mixed herbs
salt and pepper
more butter for topping

chop livers and cook slowly in 1/4 of the butter.

until livers are nearly cooked 

add the rest of the butter to the pan along with the chopped herbs, cream or cream cheese, brandy, dash of nutmeg and salt & pepper

cook for about five minutes

decant into a container to blend the pate to your desired consistancy,
then pour into ramekins.

melt some more butter and pour onto top of ramekins. I like to add a sprig of fresh herbs. The butter will set and the pate will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. I also cover with plastic wrap and freeze.

Rosemary & thyme focaccia

In issue one of 'Baked &Delicious International Classics to bake at home' magazine is the recipe for rosemary and thyme focaccia. I bit the bullet and made some of this style of bread and it was delicious. The kids loved it. It is best eaten the day it is made, although I did slice some up the next day and added a garlic butter.

450g strong white flour
2 tsp fast action yeast
sea salt
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped plus a few extra sprigs
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sift flour into large bowl with yeast and sea salt. Add chopped herbs, olive oil and water and using dough hooks make into soft dough.

once the dough is kneaded for ten minutes, leave in a warm place for at least an hour
unitl the dough is doubled in size

knock back the dough and divide into four portions and roll out to four oval shapes about 1cm thick, place on oiled trays and leave again for 20 minutes

poke rosemary sprigs into the surface and scatter with sea salt. Drizzle with oil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

there you have first ever focaccia made from scratch. It was time consuming, but well worth it for the taste.
This recipe was from the first issue of Baked &Delicious magazine.

....Donna Hay deliciousness! Giveaway on posie patchwork

Donna Hay 'Deliciousness'....not sure if that is a word, but it certainly works with Donna Hay foods and products! For one chance, or more, pop over to Posie Patchwork's blog to see the great competition for Donna Hay Brownies and Christmas Issue Magazine.
I love the Donna Hay range of boxed mixes....they are certainly no fail and I adore her magazines. My tradition has been to buy the annual kids' I might have to start another tradition of buying her Christmas edition. However, if I am super lucky with this competition, I won't have to buy it this year!
There will be some more of my Christmas baking posts coming soon,
smiles and hope your Christmas baking is going well.