It’s that wonderful time of the year, decorations are being hung and you can just feel the magic of the season weave it’s way into your heart. The Festive Season is such a lovely time of year and I enjoy every moment of it. I remember as a child, being involved in the baking of the Christmas Cake and Christmas Pudding a yearly tradition with my Mum. We each had a stir for good luck and in those days sixpences were added to the Christmas Pudding to be found by a lucky person at lunch on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, decimal currency came in in 1966 and we couldn’t use the coins so it wasn’t quite the same.
Mum would make a traditional Christmas Pudding, wrapped in calico and boiled in the ‘copper’. The Christmas spices filled the house and announced that the Festive Season had begun.
In Australia, we perservered with the traditional Christmas fare despite Summer temperatures reaching over 30C at time – turkey, ham, roast vegetables, cranberry sauce and of course the Christmas pudding with custard. It wouldn’t be Christmas without this menu. Pre-luncheon nibbles were usually chocolate covered peanuts or sultanas, mixed nuts and Dad and I would both try to select all the cashews. the table would not be complete with out the Christmas Crackers which contained the silly paper crowns and the jokes that made us groan! It was a simple but wonderful time.
These days, we have become a little more sensible in Australia with many opting for a cold seafood platter – prawns, oysters, lobsters and salads. Of course, some of us just can’t break that childhood tradition.
My Christmas traditions changed especially over the last 25 years. Having a blended family can bring it’s share of problems – so many people to see on the one day of the year! When our children found partners and then our first grandchild arrived, I decided to make our combined family Christmas get-together a week before Christmas. I was fed up with being last on the list of visits for Christmas day when every one had eaten too much and were tired. Problem solved! We planned our get together a week before which enabled everyone to come along and enjoy themselves.
Now that we live in an apartment, it isn’t easy to keep this combined Christmas tradition going becasue we can’t fit everyone in. I feel sadness at yet another change to a tradition but that is life – changing and adapting.
In the past we would then go to my daughter’s for Christmas Day. This year, my son and his wife are hosting Christmas Day and whilst we need to pass the baton to the next generations, I’m missing that feeling of being the host and the flurry of preparations for my family.
My Traditional Festive Baking
Here are some of my favourite recipes that I make each year.
Despite not hosting Christmas Day festivities, I still do my traditional baking. I’ve made the Christmas Cake, the Christmas Pudding which I make in my slow cooker. I also had some mixture left over so made some mini puddings in my muffin tray. I’m still to make my Choc Nut Truffle Puddings which I give as gifts and still to make as a special treat for Mr M, Mocha pecan ice-cream.
I have linked each one to it’s own post which contains the detailed recipe. I hope you enjoy making them as much as I have and they have become part of my Festive Season tradition.
Mini Chocolate Nut Truffle Puddings
These look so impressive (even if I do say so myself). I originally found the recipe on the Nestle website and it is one of my favourites. Place them inside a Christmas themed box with a colourful bow and they instantly look festive! Alternatively you can wrap them in red cellophane paper with green ribbon (or reverse the colours) and keep as a last minute gift if required.
Mini Christmas Cakes
Looking for gift ideas? I make one Christmas Cake. Divide into four, ice with fondant and decorate with ribbon and holly. Or you could make these below in a muffin tray.
These little Christmas Cakes make the perfect gift and look effective with the almonds on top. You can go the extra step and ice them and decorate with holly or use your imagination to make different toppers (if you have time). For example, using Royal Icing you could use festive cookie cutters to make stars, santa, christmas trees etc.
Wrapped in red cellophane with a green curling ribbon they look very impressive. You could also use clear cellophane with gold curling ribbon.
Italian Chocolate Hazlenut Biscotti
My husband is Italian, so on our visits to Italy to visit his cousins, I’ve discovered much about Italian foods and traditions. I love them all and I love the Italian way of sitting for hours savouring a meal with the family gathered together around the table – no iphones!!!
Last year, I discovered this recipe when I was making my Christmas baking gifts and I have added it to my ‘must do’ recipes for the festive season. They are delicious, easy to make and look impressive as gifts. They are also a different alternative to the usual truffles that I tend to make.
Truffles are easy to make and last year I experimented with many different flavours. Using white, dark and milk chocolate as well as coconut I made a mixed box of truffles as gifts. They were a big hit and provided a variety of flavours to try.