Saturday, December 31, 2016

Food in style around my home during the holiday season

With Christmas just over and the New Year just arrived, there is no shortage of food at home. That's because when everyone in your family knows you are a foodie, Christmas presents from family gravitate towards that theme. And with that gives me an opportunity to show you some of the delicious food I prepared around the holiday season, either from gifts I received or just generally, I had spare time on my hands to dabble.

Firstly, I love my new Maggie Beer hamper that we gratefully received for Christmas a cousin. Maggie Beer's burnt fig jam is delicious with my cheeses and other goodies from Woolworths. I finally made use of the beautiful cheeseboard, a gift from Poning Dining Restaurant at The Rocks to celebrate the restaurant's 10th anniversary. I saw Maggie Beer's products from Woolworths so you could grab some of her condiments there.

I also tested out a smoothie made by my Nutri Ninja, a blender made for fruit juices that you could drink straight out of the blending cup. It took me awhile to figure out how to get the right consistency for my drinks. The first time I used it I got too excited and threw every fruit and vegetable I could think of into it and the result is something rather gluggy which I couldn't drink. I probably should have read the recipes to start with and I've worked out this machine likes water based pulpy fruits and veges the best and ice, like oranges, pineapples, watermelons, tomatoes and if you are wanting to add harder things like carrots, then you need to add ice and it crushes it resulting in a nice refreshing healthy juice smoothie. I'm still testing it and hopefully I'll come up with my own summer drink recipes too! It doesn't only make drinks. I made a yummy babaganoush dip the other day too following a recipe I got from Depot Eatery's book I got from the venue when I was in Auckland, New Zealand as part of my trip onboard the Celebrity Cruises
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I loved (past tense, as it's all gone now) munching on some delicious homemade coconut covered brownies on Boxing Day with my cup of tea (yes I'm a two teabag person) that another cousin made, which were beautifully wrapped in a Christmas box. A delicious and thoughtful gift.


I've never tried the garlic infused olive oil on toast until I got a pack of 4 Cobram Estate infused extra virgin olive oils as a Kris Kringle present on Christmas Day. The others are lemon, chilli and herb infused extra virgin Australian olive oils. I haven't tried these ones yet but the garlic one is nice! It gives my toast the taste of garlic bread. Another awesome practical Christmas gift.


Popcorn, chocolate and vanilla ... the flavours of the movies. I created my own popcorn chocolate sundae using Maggie Beers dark chocolate and vino cotto caramel I received in a Christmas hamper. I watched the new Star Wars film the other day and wondered why people eat popcorn at the movies. According to one source, popcorn was hugely popular at fairs and carnivals in the mid-1800s. Street vendors were able to easily make and sell popcorn by the bag when the first steam-powered popcorn maker was created in 1885. However, movie theatres would you believe wanted to stay far, far away from the pungent crunch. During the Great Depression, popcorn was fairly inexpensive at 5-10 cents a bag and became popular. Thus, while other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived and became a source of income for many struggling farmers. During World War II, sugar rations diminished candy production, and Americans compensated by eating three times as much popcorn. The snack was popular at theatres, much to the initial displeasure of many of the theatre owners, who thought it distracted from the films. Their minds eventually changed, however, and in 1938 a Midwestern theatre owner named Glen W. Dickson installed popcorn machines in the lobbies of his theatres. The venture was a financial success, and the trend soon spread ... but as to why we eat choc tops at movies? I don't really know, but I know it originated from Australia


And on a final note, I just felt like making a burger one lunch time. You may only eat burgers at restaurants or cafes where you might take out the pickles or slaw, add more sauce even. This may be norm for you, but what if you made your own? A new activity that requires a bit more thought, that can be custom made to your preferences than just ordering from the menu. How you make mince, where to source the meat, what seasoning goes in it, how to put it together, what sides do you want with that? Much harder if you hardly make your own but rewarding and tastier when you put your own burger together. I gave some advice to my young cousin the other day a few weeks into her first job: "Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable because that's when you know you are learning.". Some may say the New Year is a natural time to dabble in new activities but whether its New Year or not, dabbling in new activities is routine for me, so that when new opportunities come, I'm not afraid to try it and give it a go. And it becomes a spiral that gets bigger and bigger. It allows you to meet new people and come across new opportunities. It certainly keeps life interesting. Some of us have day jobs that could be considered routine as well as a hobbies that give you that creative unrestricted outlet. As you explore new spaces and activities, you might find ways to connect seemingly unrelated experiences to your day-to-day, so that you end up thinking up something no one has thought of in your day to day.

Food for thought. Happy New Year and may you have a prosperous 2017!


Food styling and photography by See.Taste.Do

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