Christmas cooking

A gingerbread sleigh and reindeer

Happy Gingerbread House Day!

To celebrate Gingerbread House day (yes, there really is a day celebrating gingerbread!), ChristmasJen and I made some gingerbread to give Santa a sleigh.

A gingerbread sleigh shown from different angles

We used a gingerbread recipe known to work well and a cutter set that I had grabbed from an op shop.

Cutter set

Using the cutters, we cut out two sleigh sides, two sleigh ends and four reindeer. My tip if you create a gingerbread sleigh – cut half the reindeer with the cutter upside down so some will face the other way for decorating.

gingerbread pieces and an empty piping bag

Baked gingerbread pieces

The set made this all very easy, but you could cut out cardboard templates instead – the ends are just squares and the sides were about 3 times longer with curved sections to look like a sleigh. Any other animal cutters may work if you don’t feel able to draw some reindeer templates!

Creating the sleigh

So you will need gingerbread and icing, plus a board to sit your sleigh on.

  • two sleigh sides
  • two sleigh ends
  • reindeer (as many as you want – I got four out of the recipe above)
  • egg whites
  • icing sugar

To make the icing, start by beating two egg whites until they are white and form stiff peaks.

Stiff peaks in the egg whites are important

Then add icing sugar, about half a cup at a time, to make a really thick icing. I used 3.5 cups in total, and probably could have used more. Remember that thinner (ie runnier) icing takes longer to set so you will end up holding pieces together for a while.

Spoon standing in icing to show how stiff the mixture is

Stiff enough to hold up a spoon!

Lay out your gingerbread pieces and pipe some icing to stick them together as a sleigh.

Sticking pieces of gingerbread together to form Santa's sleigh

Let the construction begin!

Decorating the sleigh

The reindeer were easier to decorate lying down, but the sleigh can be decorated once it is put together – especially if you want to decorate the back of the sleigh.

Some lollies ready to use in decorating the gingerbread

Some of the lollies used on our gingerbread sleigh

My son had a wonderful time using the remaining icing to stick on Smarties, candy canes and lolly cupcakes.

CHild's hand attaching lollies to a gingerbread sleigh

He was generous with the icing as he attached lollies!

To finish off our sleigh, we added a marshmallow Santa on top.

 

Decorating the reindeer was quick and simple – and we added a glacé cherry to one to be Rudolph!

Decorating gingerbread reindeer

They gained personality as added decorations!

Then we ran long streams of snow (also known as icing!) out in front of the sleigh and stood the decorated reindeer in the snow. This is where stiffer icing would have helped as I need supports for the reindeer for a little while as the icing fully set.

We used some sour pencils to form the reins between the sleigh and reindeer, and we were done!

Santa's gingerbread sleigh

Santa’s gingerbread sleigh

It was a lot of fun to make Santa’s sleigh. And the reaction at a local Christmas party when I presented the sleigh was priceless! There were compliments from adults, but more striking was the amazement and wonder on lots of little faces – I do love delighting young children! It didn’t take long for there to just be an empty board with bits of discarded icing…

Making a Christmas Gingerbread house

Yes, it is July but why should that stop us making a gingerbread house?

Our completed Gingerbread House!

I actually have had this kit for a while as we just didn’t get time to try it before Christmas and it seemed like a good way to spend a cold Sunday afternoon with my children. I have to say that the icing was a little stiff and difficult to manipulate but I am assuming it is because the kit was sitting around for so long.

Although there has been some debate about whether the house can be eaten now or if it must wait until Christmas Day… Do you have a tradition about when to eat gingerbread houses?

Gingerbread house kit

I know you can make a house from scratch, and there are dough cutter sets in appropriate shapes, but we used a kit this time to keep it fun and simple – and to learn some techniques!

This kit had everything we needed except for a tray to work on and scissors to cut the bags open, so it is definitely quick and easy to get going on the house.

Inside and outside of the gingerbread house kit

The gingerbread house kit we used.

Decorating the house

Most of the decorating happens before putting the actual house together. This is much easier as the pieces can lie flat on a tray or board as you work – and are much easier for little fingers to access.

In some instances, the kids tried to mimic the instructions exactly, and then other bits they were more creative over (like adding a back door on a side panel).

COllage of images where children's hands are putting icing onto the gingerbread pieces

The kids loved decorating the house…

Constructing the gingerbread house

I did most of the work constructing the house as it takes a little coordination and patience to hold the pieces in place as the icing dries enough to hold them together. Having said that, only adding the roof was particularly tricky and it didn’t take very long to constructs our Christmas Gingerbread House 🙂

Collage os photos showing stages of the gingerbread house being put together

Constructing the house didn’t take long…

Once the house was standing, some additional lollies and candy canes were arranged as well.

The results…

We ended up with a cute Christmas house which the kids were very proud of. They also enjoyed the consumption of the house over time, too!

In the packet, the amount of icing and lollies provided looked pretty good. But I think there were too many lollies for the size of the house in the end. Once the candy canes and other large lollies were added, it seemed a bit overdone to my eye.

back wall of the decorated gingerbread house

The back wall was decorated simply.

Other gingerbread house ideas

If you like the look of a gingerbread house or want to make one without feeling you have to eat them all, here are some other gingerbread house ideas to try:

images of the completed Christmas gingerbread house

BHG Christmas edition review

Better Homes & Garden Christmas magzineSo the latest edition of Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) magazine is out and it is based around Christmas and includes a Christmas cookbook attachment. I grabbed the magazine for inspiration (and witches fingers – see below) and thought I’d share my thoughts on the magazine as I did last year.

BHG “Hello Christmas” December 2016

It does feel a little ridiculous calling it a December edition when I bought it in October, but that is fairly common practice these days… Ironically, the editor writes as if the magazine isn’t published in October (she refers to some people starting Christmas preparations in October as if that was a while ago!) And yet the Priceline advertising feature (6 pages at one end of the magazine) talks about October being Breast Cancer Awareness month

The magazine includes some delicious recipes such as a chocolate orange fruitcake, prawns with hazelnut mayo and seared eye fillet with gado gado-style salad – I’m looking forward to trying some out 🙂

I really like that it includes some Christmas crafts and ideas that are not budget busting, like making coloured linens instead of paying a fortune for pre-made tablecloths and napkins.

On the other hand I just rolled my eyes at the December events calendar – all very interesting if you are in NSW or Queensland but not inclusive for the rest of Australia. Actually, there is a listing for Christmas Melodies in Melbourne (never heard of it before!) but ignoring Carols by Candlelight at the Myer Music Bowl  and other states is a bit nauseating.

If you are looking for recipes and craft ideas for Christmas, then this magazine will help you – and also give you some gardening and decorating information.

BHG “Your amazing Christmas cookbook” 2016

This 36 page cookbook has both recipes and tips for cooking meat beautifully for your Christmas events.

It starts with recipes for chicken, ham and pork (complete with crackling!) then moves onto side dishes such as whole roast cauliflower cheese and roast beetroot with figs, goat’s cheese and thyme. Of course, it finishes off with a Christmas pudding and brandy custard, and some pav stacks.

I haven’t tried the recipes yet, but they are written in clear steps with pictures so I think they will work fairly easily.Better Homes & Garden Cookbook

Witches fingers

witch finger shaped healthy biscuits

Biscuits that look like witches fingers suit Halloween more than Christmas!

Ok, this is definitely a Halloween recipe rather than Christmas but I had the magazine in time for Halloween and my kids had seen these made on the TV show and were keen to try them at home!

It is a simple recipe in that you throw everything in together and mix, but I found it more challenging and it took a lot longer than 10 minutes to prepare them! The mixture is quite thick and sticky while also needing to break up the nuts and fruit. I didn’t use a food processor but tried a vitamiser and hand processor – it was hard work! I’d suggest reducing the size of the nuts before adding everything else.

Santa shaped biscuits

Colour used as eyes and mouth instead of witches nails!

I couldn’t resist trying them in Christmas shapes, and will play with this recipe a bit as I can’t send these to school as they are (no nut policy) – so watch out for a Christmassy adaptation of Fast Ed’s witches fingers!

Christmas trolls ~ recipe

This is based on a recipe I used for my daughter’s Frozen party last year. We thought it would be fun to create some red and green trolls to help us have a delicious Christmas, and it was worth the experiment as they tasted yummy!Christmas trolls on a plate

 

Christmas trolls

Ingredients:

ingredients for Christmas trolls400g chocolate chip biscuits (about 2 packets)
250 g cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons dried cranberries
200g white chocolate (a bit more would be easier but 1 packet will just make it!)
red jelly crystals (most actually look pink or purple)
green jelly crystals (we used lime)

Method:

Crush the biscuits into crumbs (use a rolling pin to smash them or a blender – I used my red hand blender from Tupperware).

Add in the cream cheese, cranberries and 1 tablespoon of green jelly crystals, and mix until they are all blended together.mixing ingredients for Christmas trolls

Form the mixture into balls. Ideally, put them in the fridge for a little while as it makes them easier to work with if chilled.Rolling dough balls ot make Christmas trolls

Melt the white chocolate in a small bowl.

Roll each ball into the melted chocolate until it is covered.

transferring balls from chocolate to jelly

using a spoon to transfer the troll balls from the melted chocolate to the jelly plate.

little figners coated in melted chocolate

Rolling balls in chocolate can lead to messy little fingers!

Roll the ball in jelly crystals – you can make some balls red and some green, or use both colours on each ball. This is the messy bit, especially if little hands get involved 🙂

chocolate coated troll sitting on jelly crystals

Pop each ball on the jelly crystals then roll to coat – it doesn’t look this neat for long!

Pop them on a plate and the leave the plate in the fridge for half an hour or so to set.

Four chocolate Christmas trolls on a plate

Four chocolate Christmas trolls on a plate

Gently break off any dripped chocolate to make the tolls look nicer. remember to store these in the fridge (if they last that long!)

Alternatives:

To add more Christmas colour to the balls while eating them, you could also mix in some cut up green lollies (spearmint leaves would give a minty taste, while jelly babies or snakes would add sweetness and texture).

Instead of rolling the balls in jelly crystals (which give colour and glisten), you could try

  • adding food colours to the melted chocolate (use cake decorating quality dyes or it will set the chocolate)
  • using red and green sprinkles (1oos and 1000s) to roll the balls in
  • leaving the balls white and sticking some red and green on top like holly (as we did in the Christmas Royal puddings) and call them Christmas presents or Christmas puddings!

These are yummy so I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

A Christmassy salad

This is a colourful salad that really suits a Christmas lunch or would be great alongside a BBQ any time this summer!

Salad dressing

 ingredients

1/4 cup lime juice*
1 tablespoon of grated lime zest*
1 large spring onion
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
4 or 5 drops of sesame oil
2 or 3 mint leaves

* depending on their size, 3 or 4 limes will be needed

method

  1. Put lime zest and juice in a bowl
  2. whisk in finely chopped spring onion and mint leaves
  3. whisk in both oils
  4. cover and refrigerate (for up to 4 hours) until needed
  5. bring dressing out of fridge for about 15 minutes before serving and then whisk before use

Christmassy salad

Ingredients

350g snow peas, trimmed
kernels from 2 ears of corn (or 1 1/2 cups of tinned kernels, well drained)
1 red capsicum, seeded
2 Lebanese cucumbers
350g cherry tomatoes
3 spring onions
1 red chilli
1/2 bunch coriander leaves
1 avocado

Making the salad

  1. prepare vegetables and add to salad bowl
    1. cut snow peas into pieces about 2 or 3 cm long
    2. dice the capsicum
    3. quarter the cucumber lengthwise then chop into wedges
    4. half the tomatoes
    5. thinly slice the spring onions
    6. slice chili into very fine circles
    7. roughly chop half the coriander
  2. toss the salad
  3. add half the dressing and toss
  4. add more dressing until the vegetables are coated, but not so there is a wet layer at the bottom of the bowl. Toss salad gently
  5. peel the avocado, remove its stone and then dice the flesh
  6. roughly chop remaining coriander
  7. spread avocado and coriander over the salad
  8. serve and enjoy!

I think this would go beautifully with satay prawns or BBQ chicken… what will you try it with?

Tiny Christmas pudding gifts [recipe]

I’ve been busy so left it a little late to plan the gifts for prep/kinder teachers the children wanted to make. So I looked back through the Love Santa recipes and found Anna’s tiny Christmas puddings 🙂

These will be easy enough to make quickly, I figured, and the kids could be involved in every step – and enjoy the final decorating phase. So this is what our final gifts to the kinder teachers looked like:

Tiny Christmas puddings ready to be wrapped in celophane

Tiny Christmas puddings ready to be wrapped in cellophane

Making tiny Christmas puds

And this is what we did to make them…

I bought a fruit cake from the supermarket that we have enjoyed many times – it’s just a homebrand cake but it is moist and not too heavy. I’m not a huge fan of the dark traditional Christmas cakes as I find them too heavy and dry, but you could certainly use one if you, like my husband, do like them.

Ingredients

Prepared fruit cake – bought or home made!
yoghurt
icing sugar
red & green jelly babies
red & green smarties

Quantities will depend on how many puddings you want to make 🙂 I used about half a cup of icing sugar and 1.5 tablespoons of yoghurt and most of a purchased 1 kg fruit cake.

Small packets of jelly babies and/or smarties should be enough as long as there is enough red and green ones in there!

Instructions…

Cut the cake – slice off about 3cm piece

Slice cut off a fruit cake

Slice off a generous piece of cake

Cut the slice into smaller pieces. Roll each piece into a ball – actually, you’ll need to form the shape as it will fall apart if you try rolling it.

Fruit cake shaped into small balls

Not very glamourous at this stage – balls of fruit cake

Put the cake balls into the fridge for a while – I left them there overnight. This helps them firm up a little so they are easier to work with.

As the balls were fiddlier and less stable than I expected, I also tried do big pieces to effectively make small cakes for my son’s teachers. These were also easier for little fingers to decorate (and quicker to prepare!).

Small Christmas cakes, decorated and gift wrapped

Small Christmas cakes, decorated and gift wrapped

Slice up the jelly babies – making small red circles and long, thin green strips. Cut the green smarties in half.

red and green smarties and jelly babies on a plate

Whole or sliced, jelly babies and smarties are colourful

Mix the yoghurt and icing sugar to a reasonably thick mixture.

Spoon some icing over the cake balls.

Decorate the tiny puddings with the red and green lollies. I created a holly effect but my son just had fun making the cakes colourful!

Child's hand decorating small Christmas cakes

My son enjoyed adding lots of colour to the small Christmas cakes!

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits [recipe]

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits on a plate with tinsel

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits

While these biscuits don’t look or sound very Christmassy (other than by adding colouring to them or icing with Christmas colours like I have), they feel like a Christmas treat to me!

I think it is because the passionfruit flavour is a hint of summer and the texture is like shortbread (which I associate with Christmas).

These are fairly easy to make so are suitable for young children to help with – and I bet Santa would enjoy a few of these on Christmas Eve!

 

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs castor sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 Tbs passionfruit pulp (1 – 2 passionfruit)
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 Tbs cornflour

{Makes about 40 biscuits}

Mix the butter (softened butter makes this easier!) with the sugars and vanilla essence.

Mix in the passionfruit pulp then add in the flours.

Christmas passionfruit biscuit ingredients mixed together in a bowl

The mix is browner than most biscuits because of the brown sugar.

It forms a stiff mix, not quite like a pastry dough – and it looks a bit sticky.

Put a little plain flour on your hands then roll small bits of the mixture into balls (the flour is enough to stop them sticking to you).

Floured ahdn holding a ball of passionfruit Christmas biscuit dough

Turn a sticky blob into a ball…

Put the balls on a greased tray or tray lined with baking paper (I’ve tried both and neither seems superior to the other).

baked passionfruit Christmas biscuits on a greased tray and a baking paper lined tray

Greased tray or baking paper – the choice is yours!

Push down on each ball lightly with the back of a spoon to make them flatter. Note these biscuits don’t spread very much so you don’t need a lot of space between biscuits.

Bake at 160°C for 13 – 15 minutes.

Cool on the tray before serving, icing or storing.

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits on a white plate for serving

Passionfruit Christmas biscuits – they look simple but taste divine!

Some additional notes…

Why use the different flours? Well, corn flour and coconut flour are gluten free so these biscuits are lower gluten than most biscuits. The coconut flour also adds protein and fibre so these biscuits are lower carbohydrate than you’d expect. It also gives a slight hint of coconut to add to the summery effect.

Why brown sugar? It is less processed so healthier than white sugar of any type.

I melted some white chocolate and added colouring to cover some of my biscuits. I love the crunch of the set chocolate but I found it did overwhelm the passionfruit flavour a bit – they still were yummy and melted on the tongue though!

A child's ahnd reaching for the last passionfruit biscuit on the plate!

What my children and friends thought of the biscuits…

I am thinking of making batches of these with my kids this year for them to give to kinder/school teachers as Christmas gifts.

What will you do with the biscuits you make?

And I’m curious, if you are from the northern hemisphere, would these feel Christmassy or would you prefer them in summer?

Christmas pudding balls [recipe]

Christmas pudding balls on plate

Complete Christmas pudding balls – they didn’t last long on the plate in our house!

I came across a recipe for dough balls which looked yummy and adjusted it for taste and to make it more Christmassy.

It is easy to make, doesn’t need to be cooked and could be a nice snack to leave out for Santa, on a plate to take to a function. I’m finding these quite handy to send along to the kids’ Christmas parties at school and scouts because they are quick and easy and kids love them!

I don’t think they quite fit the nice gift category but that could just be me 🙂 Try the recipe and let me know if you’d give them as a gift…

Christmas pudding balls

100g unsalted butter (room temperature or almost melt it in the microwave to make it really soft if kids are helping you cook!)
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoons red food colouring
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup fruit mince (or dried mixed fruit plus 1-2 tablespoon of liquid*)
1 cup plain flour
125g white chocolate
1/2 teaspoon green food colouring

mixing ingredients for Christmas pudding balls

An easy recipe for little people to help with – although you may get a bit of flour splatter around the kitchen!

How to make Christmas pudding balls

Cream the butter and sugar.

Mix in the essence, red food colouring, cinnamon and flour.

Stir in choc chips and fruit mince.

Form balls of dough. I found it needed some moisture to really hold together and be able to roll it – dry fruit alone will be fairly crumbly and impossible to roll (forming shapes is ok) thus fruit mince or some liquid is required.

Put them in the fridge to harden – I left them for a few hours but half an hour or so is probably enough. Note they taste much better at this stage now when just mixed 🙂

Melt the while chocolate until liquid. Then add green food colour.

Christmas pudding balls created and ready for fridge

It’s not easy to make neat balls with this mix, so be comfortable with a rustic effect!

Dip each ball into the green chocolate and place on a tray.

Put back in the fridge for the chocolate to set, and for storage. Enjoy!

* You could use a liqueur or some orange or cranberry juice

Double Christmas treats [recipe]

Delicious Double Christmas Treats

These Double Christmas Treats are made of two layers and taste absolutely divine, ad are surprisingly moist, too.

Looking through Pinterest a few weeks ago, I came across an image which I really liked the look of. It had two layers but looked like a cupcake/muffin – something a bit different, I thought, plus two parts meant I could get my two littlies involved a different stages…

Unfortunately, the image was not linked to a recipe but a sales page for the most over-priced cake mix I’ve ever come across.

So I created my own version, adding Christmassy touches and I am very pleased with the results of this one!

Double Christmas treats

These do take a bit of time, especially if you have little helpers, but are SO worth it!

It would make a lovely Christmas Eve activity with the kids – there’s plenty to sample and still have a nice snack to leave out for Santa 🙂

Child cracking eggs into bowl

My three year old calls herself a ‘good egger’ and enjoyed making these treats…

brownie mix in muffin cases

First layer in some muffin cases, ready for cooking

Adding layer two to Xmas treats

Cover the lower layer with the biscuit mix – this photo shows the top layer on the back row and lower layer only in the front row.

cooked double Christmas treats

Double Christmas treats fresh out of the oven – a light brown top is what you are after.

Ingredients

180 g white chocolate, chopped plus about 100 g for decoration at the end
375g unsalted butter
420g smart sugar (or castor sugar as an alternative)
100g raw sugar
4 eggs
100g macadamia nuts, finely chopped
415g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
150g dried cranberries
1/4 cup mixed dried fruit
food colouring (optional)

Making Christmas double treats

Melt white chocolate and 150g butter.

Once it has cooled a little, mix in 220g (1 cup) smart sugar. Then add 3 eggs and mix well.

Stir in chopped macadamias and 115g (3/4 cup) flour.

Grease large muffin pans – prepare 24 large muffin holes.

Half fill muffin holes with mixture and put aside.

Preheat over to 185°C.

Cream raw sugar, 225g butter and 200g (bit under 1 cup) smart sugar.

Beat in 1 egg.

Mix in orange zest and juice.

Mix in 300g (2.5 generous cups) flour and bicarb soda.

Gently stir in cranberries and dried fruit until mixed throughout the dough.

Add a spoonful of mixture on top of the brownie mix in the muffin tins. You may need to use fingers to spread the biscuit dough evenly.

Place muffin trays into oven for 16 -17 minutes – the biscuit top should be lightly brown all over.

Leave the trays to cool completely before removing from the muffin trays.

Melt remaining white chocolate, add food colouring if you wish, and drizzle over the cooled Double Christmas Treats.

Once the chocolate has set, they’re ready to serve…

Decorated double Christmas treats

I tried a variety of decorating styles on my Double Christmas Treats…

 

Cooking notes…

  1.  If you undercook them, the bottom layer will be very sticky. Simply turn the treats upside down and serve with ice-cream as a pudding!
  2. You can use a skewer to check the treats are cooked – you are looking for crumbs from the lower layer. But be careful crumbs from the top layer don’t mislead – thus watching the time is  better judge.
  3. Finely chopped macadamias gives a lovely chewy, moist texture. A few bigger pieces are ok but it is worth getting them chopped well.

    Finely chopped macadamias

    It took a while to chop the macadamias this fine, but it gives a better result.

  4. To add some green to match the red cranberries, you could swap the mixed dried fruit with pistachios
  5. You could cook this as small slabs and cut into pieces. But given the layers, cooking it as one big slab would probably result in the bottom being undercooked or the top burning.
  6. I used silicone muffin tray and some individual muffin cases – both worked equally well.
  7. I had a little left over biscuit mix so made a few biscuits as well – they take a bit less time to cook though.

 

Whip up a delicious Christmas trifle [recipe]

One of my husband’s favourite desserts is trifle so I played around with it and made a more Christmassy version. It seemed to work – there was nothing left in the bowl afterwards anyway!

So here’s my recipe…

Love Santa’s Christmas Trifle

Bowl of Christmas trifle

My Christmas trifle, all ready to be served and enjoyed…

  • 1 cake – make it or buy it as suits your time and tastes. Plain, lemon and orange are nice but I used a cinnamon cake to get the Christmas scents involved
  • about a cup of cherries – halve them to remove the pits
  • 4 kiwi fruit – cut into chunks about 2cm cubed
  • a punnet of strawberries – hull and quarter them
  • half a honey-dew melon – cut into chunks of about 3 cm cubed
  • 1 litre of custard – make it brandy custard if you like. It adds to the Christmas flavour and is pretty low alcohol but it’s not for everyone
  • 500 ml (one packet) of set red jelly
  • 500 ml (one packet) of set green jelly
  • 1/3 cup cranberries (dried or halved fresh ones) for garnish
  • 1/3 cup of pistachios for garnish (adds a nice green tinge to the top)

Christmas trifle recipe

1. Cut the cake into pieces – 3 – 4 cm cubes fits nicely on spoons but it can all be rough. A sprinkling of a liqueur over the cake is nice (especially if you use a stale cake like the traditional recipes call for) but optional – brandy, Frangelico or Cointreau are the most Christmassy choices.

2.

making the layers of trifle in a glass bowl

Trifle is made in layers – my beautiful glass bowl doesn’t photograph so well though unfortunately…

Put about half the cake in the bottom of a glass bowl. Does it have to be a glass bowl? Technically, no, it will taste just the same in any type of serving dish but the visual impact will be lost if you can’t see the layers before you serve.

3. Break up the green jelly and put about half of it on top of the cake. Sprinkle half of the fruit over the jelly.

4. Break up the red jelly and put about half of it over the fruit.

5. Pour half the custard over the jelly.

6. Repeat – cake, green jelly, fruit, red jelly, custard.

7. You could top it all with whipped cream (I didn’t as I don’t like it!)

Garnish with pistachios and cranberries. Or make the top layer pieces of jelly as in my photo below – very quick and easy.

Serve immediately or the next day, but keep it in the fridge.

red and green jelly topped Christmas trifle

Red and green jelly on top of the custard is a simple presentation option

Other Christmas trifles

Do you have any other Christmas trifle recipes? Or do you just stick to the traditional type of trifle, whatever the occasion or season?

I came across another recipe, which uses egg nog and glace cherries. Their additional of banana and pineapple would give it a summery taste, I think.

Cheerful and quick salad

Last night we had one of those ‘hmm, what shall we have for dinner?’ nights so I ended up making up a new salad. And it turned out really well – refreshing and tasty, and even Christmas themed!

I just love this salad and plan on taking it to some upcoming BBQs and Christmas functions as it suits the theme (red and green being Christmas colours!), is easy, appeals to many and is very healthy. It’s also nice and moist (without a dressing) which was lovely with our grilled chicken last night.

My kids were fighting over the last serve of it, too…

healthy red and green salad

Colourful, healthy and even the kids will eat this salad!

Easy Christmas salad

chunk of watermelon

1 cucumber

1 stick of celery

2 tomatoes

Chop celery into small pieces.

Chop everything else into chunks.

Mix in a bowl.

Optional – garnish with some chopped mint.

Serve!

Quick Christmas Royal Puddings Recipe

These cute little Christmas Royals look like teeny-tiny Christmas puddings and they are the perfect take-along party plate for busy Mums. They’re a similar concept to the Christmas Anzacs I made last year, but a bit more decadent and fancy-looking.

You can get these made in ten minutes, and they are the sort of ingredients you can have in the cupboard for a while so you can make them at the last minute.

Or let the kids work on them – it will take longer obviously but it’s an easy snack for them to make for Santa.

Christmas Royals

ingredients and equipment to prepare Christmas royal puddings

Ingredients and preparations required to make your Christmas Royal Puddings!

Ingredients:

2x 200g Arnott’s Royals Biscuits
200g white chocolate
1 x 180g Smarties
1 x resealable or freezer bag
spearmint leaves, cut into about 6 slices

 

Method:

Take the biscuits out of the packet and lay them on  board or plate. You can put them straight onto a serving plate if you trust you won’t make a mess (and that could depend on whether you have any little helpers or not!)

Melt white chocolate  – over a pan of water will work but takes time and isn’t suitable with young children. So I just pop them into the microwave for about 70 seconds – test then repeat for 20 second bursts until they are nicely melted.

Pour the melted chocolate into the plastic bag. Snip off the corner of the bag. Of course, if you have a piping bag, just use that! You can drizzle the chocolate from a spoon but it does tend to get messy and takes longer so the chocolate will start to set.

Pipe (or drizzle) chocolate onto the top of each biscuit.

Pop a red smartie on top of the chocolate. Arrange two or three pieces of spearmint leave to be the holly leaves.

Let the chocolate set and serve 🙂

Sprinkle some halved spearmint leaves around the Christmas Royals for a pretty presentation.

Stages of creating some Royal Puddings as a Christmas treat or snack for Santa

Piping chocolate ‘custard’, adding smartie ‘berries’, add spearmint ‘holly leaves’ and putting royal puddings on a plate – an easy recipe!

 

Pink centred Royal Christmas puddings

Pink centres add a little extra!

Sometimes you can get Royals with a pink centre, too, and they are even better when it comes to making a Christmassy treat!

If you can’t get Royals, other chocolate biscuits can work (mint slices are an obvious option) but they don’t stand up as high to look like little Christmas puddings.

 

** You could win $300 worth of Arnott’s free samples to maintain the Arnott’s taste after eating those Royals! Free and fast entry, and you may get an immediate sample, too. **

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