In My Kitchen – December 2023

Good health and cheer, it’s the first (day and month) of the year! I can’t believe I am actually organised enough to post on 1 January but I like to think I’ll start the year as I mean to go on and be a better and more frequent blogger. I can but hope!

That said, I’m very excited to be linking up with Sherry and friends for the first In My Kitchen of the year. Don’t get too excited though, there wasn’t much creative happening in the kitchen last month as we eating our way around Budapest for the first few days of the month, then I spent a week in the spare room with covid (watching some cracking Norweigan Christmas series,) and then David got a tummy bug over Christmas so our festive menu was exceedingly bland!

That said, I did produce some of my Christmas favourites namely Renee’s perfect puddings (pictured here) and my all year round much loved 4 ingredient pesto twists.

I finally shared the recipe for my Rocky Road Wreath which I’ve literally been making for years. I can’t believe it took me so long to share the recipe!

I actually recreated the wreath to take to the fam bam for Christmas but as we didn’t go, I cut it up and shared it among the neighbours – among with the lorry load of fudge I’d made for the rellos – so at least my neighbours had a sweet Christmas!

One of the perks of making rocky road or at least melting the chocolate in my Thermomix, is that by adding some milk to the chocolatey Thermomix bowl, I can clean the bowl easily and make a delicious hot chocolate drink (from any residue melted chocolate) at the same time! It’s so delicious and especially tasty when served in my special Santa cups. Waste not, want not and all that…

Despite having the biggest kitchen I’ve ever had, I still struggle for storage space. As I didn’t have room for a Christmas crockery set of my own, my neighbour kindly let me one of hers. You read that right, she’s got multiple Christmas sets – she’s living the dream! I had to pack some of my regular crockery away to make space for the Christmas plates but it was totally worth it. Every meal served on these plates was an absolute joy!

The advent calendars were a huge hit – David loved his pork scratchings (especially when eaten at breakfast time,) Teddy could not get enough of his treats and I’m now planning what I can do with my 17 mini jars of spreads and jams. I can highly recommend the Bonne Maman advent calendar and especially loved the pretty little tree decoration behind door number 24.

As we’re a multi faith household we also celebrated Hannukah. Growing up, I had a Christmas tree and my cousins had a menorah. I used to think they had Hanukkah so they didn’t miss out on Christmas but now I’m older and wiser, I know that’s not really the case at all. These days I enjoy the best of both worlds with a Christmas tree and a menorah. Incidentally, I’m a bit late to menorahs, I only got mine last year!

We had an amazing few days in Budapest and I brought back the obligatory Hungarian paprika. One night we went to an amazing Hungarian restaurant and now I’m obsessed with making Chicken Paprikash. Watch this space!

As well as the paprika, I also brought back Covid which I was not nearly as enthusiastic about. I was very lucky and had a mild dose by all accounts but you can bet your butt that I made a vat of chicken soup to see me on the road to recovery. Lucky I stashed some in the freezer because I was able to dose David up with some over Christmas. He existed on a festive diet of chicken soup and dry crackers! I know it doesn’t look like much but this bowl of goodness legit has soup-er powers!

When it comes to gift giving, we are more an experiences rather than things kind of household. That said, we did treat ourselves to 4 gorgeous mugs from my favourite shop in town Country Traditionals . I had been eyeing them off for ages – size wise they’re Goldilocks mugs, not too big, not too small, just right and they are the perfect shape for wrapping your hands around!

We agreed a few months ago to add one thing to our Country Traditionals collection monthly but as we skipped October and November, I argued that that meant we should add something in addition to our mugs and as it was Christmas, I chose the long coveted cheese dolly! It’s like a little pottery cloche – I don’t think the dolly should be limited to cheese, cakes and sweet treats would also go great under there!

When I was isolating in the spare room drowning in my own well of covid self pity, David was in charge of the kitchen. I sent him to the supermarket to buy items that he could just chuck in the oven or microwave so he wouldn’t have to get too busy or be too kitchen challenged. Among other delicious things, he brought back some of these holly baos which looked super cute and tasted jolly good too!

Last but definitely not least, I have been savouring this beautiful book. I always had a soft spot for Bill Granger – for me he was such an iconic Aussie and personified everything that I loved about Australia – I always got a kick out of visiting one of his restaurants, especially overseas. My favourite was Bill’s in Honolulu although I was sorry to see it’s closed now. I was so sad to hear of his untimely passing and am heartbroken for his nearest and dearest. I’ll definitely be cooking something from this book soon. Vale Bill.

Did you have a delicious December? Tell me what’s been cooking in your kitchen in the comments!

Linking up with Sherry for In My Kitchen