Sunday, January 10, 2010
Crikey, its new year already! There I was struggling to keep up the pace pre-christmas and here we are weeks into the new year and I haven't done a blog for AGES..not even looked at blogs for AGES. I'm loving the holidays. As it is nearly time to put out my January things I love list, I thought I'd better get a wriggle on telling you the foodie things I loved in December. ONE : ripe figs, straight from my neighbours tree! Yum. Every year we watch and we watch and we watch as they ripen, hoping to beat the birds to them. Apparently a rainstorm can cause them to split on the tree so after quite a few trips en famile to peek at them, the moment we heard the few drops of rain, it was a race to see who could get to the tree in time to save them!We literally RAN outside and picked the four off the tree that were just ripe enough to eat. A small pleasure, but one we all enjoyed, thank goodness there was one for each of us. TWO : Koh Kae BBQ Peanuts. Not good for people with allergies, but thankfully my lot is allergy free as far as nuts are concerned. I was hot-tailing it through Westfield getting amonst the Christmas rush, and passed the new asian grocery store. Lucky for me, they had a lineup of tasting bowls out side for passers-by. I wasn't all that interested, as I was on a mission, but for some reason I decided to taste all 3 varieties. I absolutely loved the BBQ flavour. Once I did the taste, I walked away, then had to turn around and go back, they were so yummy. The the lad and myself particularly liked them and have bought out the tin on our days at home, to share a little handful. Surprisingly yummy. They are GREAT with a cold beer at a summer bbq which has been handy as we've had many. THREE : the traditionalist in me loves mixed nuts at Christmas time. The lad was grilling me on what a nutcracker soldier actually did, after explaining that the original ones cracked nuts (he was fascinated that nuts had shells..he hadn't seen many in the shell before being used to the pre-shelled nuts from the supermarket!). He then harangued me to get him some nuts in shells so he could crack them. How fortunate that only days later, the Christmas bags were on display and he loved cracking nut after nut and running around asking each family member...Want another nut dad? Want another nut mum? Want another nut? Funny as. FOUR : Bears in cars! At my great-neices 4th birthday party, we enjoyed cupcakes, and tiny teddie's in itty bitty chocolate cars. I loved them! Made from milky ways, smarties and tiny teddy bickies, they are apparently easy to put together and are a hit with the under 5's. I'm an over 40 and loved 'em so they made my list. FIVE ; thick, gooey, golden syrup by Tate and Lyle, England. It is liquid gold and if its good enough for the Queen, its good enough for me. I was drawn to the retro "special edition anniversary tin". It looks cool in my kitchen and Lyles have been making this stuff since 1883. I reckon if you're on a good thing, stick to it. It tastes stunning on pancakes and not bad for glazing a christmas ham with either! SIX : I know its a bit twee, but candy canes on a tree still bring out the child in me. I don't eat them as much as I used to, but the kids like finding them hidden amongst the branches, although you have to make sure there is no breaks in the cellophane because boy the ants love'em too! I still love the old peppermint ones, but these days there is bubblegum flavour, cherry and others that are more interesting to the kids but I'm glad Christmas is now gone...too much of a good thing here for all of us. SEVEN : having English parents means I have had exposure to lots of flavours and goodies from the UK throughout my lifetime. I still get a kick out of imports from the UK. I was happy to receive a gift of Harrods Peanut Brittle, and their Marmalade too. This of course was nothing like my home made marmalade, it had finely cut slivers of orange, lovely in flavour and consistency (again not like my home made version) it was a delight to have on my morning toast. The brittle was also lovely, but not as nice as the one I tried at Ya Ya's house, made by one of the Ya Ya team. Home made always does it for me, and it was a stunning effort! You'll have to wait for the blog for method and show and tell on that one. EIGHT : my fantastic foodie inspired bags from my creative quilting big sister. She made me two, making sure she matched squares of fabric with food. The cute pink one has strawberries, cupcakes, jelly beans, fruit and birthday cake, finished off with a cute little teapot button. Its a great bag, fits everything, easy to pick up and throw a few things in for the beach, shopping or for school pick up and washable. Very importan for those times your packet of parma violets spills all over the inside! Big sis also made me a lovely red and green one which was great for the christmas season, my favourite colour is also red so I especially love this one. It has red apple print lining (which is mouth wateringly cute) and squares of strawberries, watermelon, green beans (yes, there is a fabric with green beans printed all over it - believe it or not, quilters are mad!), radishes, cherries, blueberries and carrots. I love them both and use them all the time..one of my favourite gifts this season by far. NINE : home made christmas cake. I had a pre-season test run that ended up dry and more like rock cake than fruit cake. This one was from my final batch and I packed them for my elderly neighbour, and in-laws, and got no complaints! I used a mini loaf pan, and tied them up with ribbon, adding the stars (I also did some icing reindeers) for final decoration. The oldies don't like you messing with fruit cake, so no fancy icing for this one. Finally, TEN ; what I loved MOST in December was helpers in the kitchen! The lad was a great help with summer salads and any general chopping (he LOVES a sharp implement as all young lads seem to) so I let him loose with the mezzaluna. Having a very small and cramped 1950's kitchen I usually prefer to work alone, but when I'm more relaxed, and the meals are more casual and there is not as many time constraints on meals, I'm happy for helpers. I really want to encourage my children to help me, with the food prep but I'm not always in the right frame of mind for it, so I have to say that the time was right last month and we had a ball. Enjoy the January weather and food..happi eating!