The best of Newcastle, NSW

Lots of streets in Newcastle have Christmas lights so it’s worth a visit but my fav spot is Elanet Ave in Cameron Park, NSW – bewdiful!

4 Santas no question!

Should be starting up soon – can’t wait!

3 wise women

How different things could have been…

Do you know what would have happened if it had been Three Wise
Women instead of Three Wise Men?

They would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole and brought practical gifts!

Easy-in-advance-lasagne recipe

If you need to take a dish to a Christmas function, but know you won’t have time to cook anything at the time, why not cook it sooner and freeze it? Then just pull it out of the freezer in time for the event – a great back up for unexpected visitors over the holiday season, too. This is an easy to make lasagne that freezes nicely…

Easy, prepare-in-advance lasagne

2kg mince meat plus 2 large jars of prepared sauce and 1 large tin tomato puree*
4kg cheese – a combination of two works well, especially if one is mozzarella for the stringy effect!
2kg penne, ziti or other tube pasta

make a layer of meat sauce

cover with pasta

cover with cheese

cover with sauce

repeat until the pan is full and/or you run out of ingredients, but make sure cheese is the top layer. Wrap tightly and freeze.

Bake at 180 C for about 30 minutes, plus 5 minutes uncovered – longer if cooking from frozen.

* If you have time, add chopped vegies into the sauce for more flavour and to make it a complete meal when serving it.

Turron de yema

This is the other form of Spanish almond nougat – the other one is hard but this one has egg yolks in it so is a bit softer.


300g icing sugar

300g ground almonds

6 egg yolks

grated rind of one lemon

grated cinnamon (or ground if you haven’t got any fresh cinnamon to use)


Fold the egg yolks with the almond.

Heat the icing sugar, cinnamon and lemon rind until you have a brown syrup.

Slowly stir in the almond and egg mixture.

Once it has thickened and isn’t sticking, press it into a baking tray. Some people like to add a weight on top, such as a wooden chopping board.

After two or three days, tip the nougat out of the  tray and cut into pieces.

Falling from bed

Christmas dreams in bedWhen I was about 6, I feel out of bed on Christmas Eve taking the mattress and blankets with me! Santa arrived to deliver presents and helped me – he lifted the bedding and me back onto the bed! He did it so well I didn’t even stir.

I don’t remember how I knew this – I guess Mum and Dad told me the next morning after Santa told them – but I knew it was a fact and I loved Santa for it 🙂


Turron is a Spanish almond nougat that they make especially for Christmas.


1kg honey

500g sugar

1.5kg almonds

rind of 1 lemon

2 egg whites


Heat the almonds in the oven

Slowly heat the honey in a saucepan until all its water is gone

Add sugar and mix with the honey

Whisk the egg white until it forms peaks. Gently fold this into the sugar/honey mix.

Stir rapidly for 8 – 10 minutes (less if using an electric beater) then slowly over a low heat until it caramelises.

Add the lemon rind and hot almonds, and mix thoroughly.

Cook for 3 – 5 minutes, but be careful it doesn’t stick.

Line baking trays or moulds with rice paper.

Pour the mix onto the rice paper and leave to set for 2.5 hours. Cut into pieces.

Store in airtight containers once it has completely cooled. Yummy!

Leave some out for Santa and use some as Christmas gifts.

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