Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cooking up Christmas

Many years ago, we would all start thinking about our Christmas baking very early - around November, then our Supermarkets decided to start providing us with all the trimmings - not just Christmas cakes and puds, but everything - Rum Balls, Coconut Ice, White Christmas, Rocky Road etc.  So like everyone with too little time to spend days baking and making I joined in the easy Christmas.  That was about 9 years ago now, and of course what happens is we simply forget to plan, we simply forget  how to make our favorite things as the years go by.

At first I was proud of Coles because they didn't have all these things out in October and I thought YAY they have finally worked out to wait until it is actually Christmas time - so image my surprise this year when in the first week of December I asked "when are your Christmas Yummies coming out" not just cakes, puds and fruit mince pies (after all not too many of today's generation eat these things), and they said - not getting any this year.  BOO Coles, (but to be honest I also tried Woolies and Aldi and they didn't have these things either) not really good enough after all these things would walk off the shelves quickly and if you didn't get in early often there was nothing left even the week prior to Christmas.

Samples of Julies Yummy Corner

However in hindsight, I have had a lovely Christmas making things I haven't made forever.  Yes at first it seemed daunting, but I quickly got on line, found all those recipes I haven't needed forever, plus a few more - and low and behold Christmas was served.  To my amazement it didn't take days it just took some thought.  It was actually fun - if not a bit sticky, but I really enjoyed my day of Christmas Yummy Making, so maybe I should thank Coles for being baa-humbugs and putting me out of my comfort zone, for making me create shopping lists and troll through recipes and then have to find all the ingredients - yes that part was mildly annoying, but the end result was fun and it made me think of all those Christmas's with the kids making, baking and faking (for those things that didn't quite work out - we would rename them into something that seemed credible) in anticipation of a Julie's Yummy Christmas Corner.

If you want good recipes that take you back in time - google Nanna's eg Rum Balls - using the word Nanna in front seems to bring up the good old fashioned recipes - however I tried to do a bit of combining of the old and the new.  How?  Well back in the days Weet-Bix where primarily used - of course today its more upmarket biscuits or cakes - so I chose to use Weet-Bix.  Weet-Bix where used primarily because they where in easy supply as well as back then no one had blenders etc - it was crush by fingers or rolling pin - usually however there were lumps - now days well blenders do the hard work - but Weet-Bix are healthier, cheaper and still easier to use in my books, although the use of a blender helps to make the mixture more in keeping with the textures of today.  Also I found most of the older fashioned recipes used milk powder/coco and copha (something I have not had in the fridge for years), but the new ones tend to use melted chocolate so I decided to use a bit of both to give a smoother more luxurious taste (by using melted choc), but making the mixture go further and easier to handle by using copha and powders.

I must say I enjoyed the journey back and the fun of creating Christmas rather than buying Christmas in a packet.  I love my Christmas and love to get my Yummy Corner out early Christmas Eve (see my photos of my various Yummy Corners of the years) when everyone arrives.  We make guts out of ourselves as we hoe into all those incredible sweet Christmas treats, and I think we will enjoy them even just a little more this year given we haven't had any all month - yes Christmas Eve will be the first time we will have any of these out.  Well ..... except for my pudding nights.

Whats a pudding night you ask - well a few years ago after Christmas we had a lot of puddings left over (generally while I buy puddings for our Christmas Eve dinner we are generally too stuffed to eat them) and then the same goes on Christmas Day - so we 

invited some friends around to help us eat the remaining Christmas puddings (primarily this was to stop Derek from eating them all), it was most enjoyable.  I was looking for a way  to have some pre-Christmas fun with friends this year and so we decided to have some pudding nights, as they generally are a bit easier to prepare, they are a bit different and it's a nice way to share Christmas with everyone.  It helps to get you into the spirit, it's a night time event so generally a bit cooler and there isn't lots of prep and mess so a good way to entertain.  Take my advice if you are looking for something different to do next year try the pudding night.  I started off with Egg Nog (spiced with espresso and Tia Maria - very nice), we crank the air to about 20 and then put on the video of the log fire just add to the atmosphere, then some nice bits and pieces and then to the table to enjoy warm puds with all the trimmings.  Very yum, very special.

If you haven't started on your Christmas treat shopping don't be surprised if your favorite supermarket doesn't have much, but prepare to make a few things and enjoy the making of Christmas once again.

Merry Christmas Everyone!


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