Friday, 14 December 2007

festive food fair 2007: the round-up

Well, I can confirm for a second year in a row that most of us bloggers are sweet tooths! Or perhaps festival food just brings out the indulgent side in everyone?

This year’s Festive Food Fair contains 40 recipes from 37 bloggers in 13 countries (and I’m sure even more countries of origin). Our main festivals of focus were Diwali (Hindu), Eid-ul Adha (Islamic), Chanukah (Jewish), Thanksgiving (North American) and Christmas (Christian).

Thanks to everyone for participating. I know there were a lot more holiday food blogging events this year!

Here we go . . .


Panakam (Festive Lemonade)
Paru from Brindavan Recipes
Connecticut, USA

This thirst-quencher is cooling relief after festival rituals and Paru particularly associates this drink with the Rama Navami festival. It’s simple and flavoursome, using pre-made lemonade, cardamom, fresh ginger, saffron and rose petals. Gentle, refreshing and elegant.

Peanut Butter & Banana Milkshake
Anna from Morsels & Musings
Sydney, Australia

This is one of mine and was inspired by memories of my cousin's milk obsession and the candy bars of America. Sweetened with honey, this salty-sweet shake would make a great accompaniment to Thanksgiving dessert.


Cranberry Bread & Pumpkin Bread
Katie from Thyme for Cooking
Vendée, France

Sourced from her extensive collection of Church Cookbooks, Katie baked two breads/tea cakes. Cranberry Bread is flavoured with orange juice, vanilla and walnuts while the sweet and spicy Pumpkin Bread contains cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and crystallised ginger.

Vegan Chestnut-Coconut Buns
Bee & Jai from jugalbandi
North Western, USA

I read from this post that no feast from Kerala is complete without a pudding known as pradhaman. But with a craving for bread, Bee and Jai used pradhaman ingredients to create an inspired, slightly sweet bread flavoured with chestnut, coconut milk, jaggery, cardamom and saffron.

Challah Loaves
Chris from Mele Cotte
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

These six braid Challah loaves were tricky to get the hang of, but once in the rhythm Chris was able to create an intricate effect. Topped off with black and white sesame seeds, these traditional challah loaves would complete any Chanukah table.

Swedish Apricot Nut Bread
Chelsea from Rolling in Dough
Denver, Colorado, USA

Fearing that her baked gifts will end up in Colorado’s annual Fruitcake Toss, Chelsea did some research to find a less brick-like fruitcake and, in a moment of genius, renamed her product as a bread. Made with orange juice, citrus zest, apricots and walnuts and tucked in for the night in cosy Calvados, Chelsea produced a golden bread that won’t get chucked in the name of sport.

Cookies & Tea Time Treats

Maninas from Maninas: Food Matters

These divine donut-like treats hail from the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia and are a traditional Christmas offering. A batter is mixed with vanilla sugar, lemon and orange zest, loza (grape brandy) and dark rum then sprinkled with icing sugar. Served with more brandy and eaten with a little laughter.

Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti
Smita from Smita Serves You Right
Rochester, New York, USA

Baking goodies is a popular thing amongst food bloggers and I am positive the gifts are always welcome for those that receive them. This recipe was shared by a self-confessed chocolaholic who professed her undying love for these chocolate-free biscotti. Flavoured simply with hazelnuts, cinnamon and sugar, the recipe seems to be a fool-proof offering to the festive baking gods.

One-Pan Christmas Cakes
CakeLaw from Laws of the Kitchen
Melbourne, Australia

Here CakeLaw leans on Nigella Lawson for a one-pan fruit cake recipe that doesn’t need to be prepared months in advance. This cake is bursting with sultanas, raisins, currants, raisins, citrus zest, glace cherries, chestnut purée, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

Double Jam Short Bread Cookies
Margot from Coffee & Vanilla
London, UK

Using some swish little cookie cutters, Margot produced these delightful shortbread biscuits using vanilla sugar and sandwiching a dollop of sweet strawberry conserve. Links to the source of the cookie cutters are also included.

Candied Orange Peels
Meryl from My Bit of Earth
Lawrence, Kansas, USA

Orange peel is soaked overnight in salty water and then boiled repeatedly to remove any bitterness. Once this process is complete, the peels are cooked in sugar syrup until translucent and then rolled in fine sugar to produce glittering, magical Christmas sweets.

Mini Panettones
Gretchen from Canela & Comino
Lima, Peru

Gretchen is spreading Christmas cheer in Peru by delivering hot chocolate and delicious panettone to villages in the mountains and jungle. Although Italian by origin it seems Peruvians have made panettone an integral part of their Christmas traditions and in preparation Gretchen prepared two types of mini-panettone: chocolate and cranberry.

Oma's Hazelnut Cookies
Christa from Calendula & Concrete
Maryland, USA

Christa conjures a beautiful image of her childhood: cooking her grandmother’s cookies was an activity for the whole family and involved an old fashioned nut grinder to pulverise hazelnuts into a fine meal. These pretty cookies are flavoured with cinnamon and lightened by meringue.

Sour Cream Raspberry Brownies
Mansi from Fun and Food
Fremont, California, USA

After declaring her long-lasting passion for brownies, Mansi shares her favourite brownie recipe where sour cream adds a moist, velvety texture and raspberries provide a refreshing, tart break from the chocolate.

Appetisers & Starters

Japanese Carrot Sticks
Anna from Anna’s Cool Finds
Mill Valley, California, USA

During the festive season we’re all pretty busy and this recipe provides a great appetiser in minimal cooking time. Rice vinegar, salt and sugar are boiled together and then carrot sticks are marinated in the mix 4 hours, creating a tangy, crunchy veggie snack.

Soutzoukakia (Smyrna Sausages in Tomato-Wine Sauce)
Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Smyrna was a Greek city on the Turkish mainland whose populace returned to Greece in the 1920s and introduced wonderful recipes to the mainstream Greek diet. This includes Soutzoukakia, flavoursome beef and pork sausages made from onion, fresh parsley, garlic, cumin and a special type of paprika known as Aleppo pepper. The sausages are then smothered in a spicy tomato-red wine sauce.

Potato Latkes
Ruth from Once Upon a Feast
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Come Chanukah, the smell of frying latkes fills the homes of many North American Jews. Ruth manages to offer up her own recipe for potato latkes, as well as roasted smashed potatoes and roasted chicken with shallot and ginger glaze.

Patatesli Sigara Boregi (Potato Cigarette Borek)
Binnur from Binnur's Turkish Cookbook
Toronto, Canada

Just imagine biting into these gorgeous crispy pastries filled with potato, onion and flavoured with red pepper. Binnur recommends you serve them with Turkish-style tea.

Flambéed Caipirinha Scallops
Desie from maybahay
Sydney, Australia

Inspired by her favourite summer drink, the Brazilian Caipirinha, Desie creates her own special dish to treat her friends. Scallops are fried in lime, sugar and butter then a dash of Cachaça brings on the flames.

White Bean & Artichoke Dip w Whole Wheat Tortilla Chips
Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Perhaps it’s just my recent obsession with all things savoury and dip-like, but Kalyn’s appetiser seems like a perfect start to a family feast: something to munch on while everyone arrives. Whole wheat flour tortillas make excellent oven grilled chips while the blend of cannellini beans and artichoke hearts mixed with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, parmesan cheese and rosemary come together in a moreish dip.

Potato & Pumpkin Latkes
Rinku from Cooking in Westchester
Valhalla, New York, USA

Rinku blended cultures to join in “the feel good spirit of Chanukah” by combining this traditional Jewish snack with her own Indian heritage. Armed with a good quality grater, she used red pumpkin, idaho potatoes, green chillies, garlic, shallots and a little coriander. She declared the result a happy success and advocated that cooking beyond cultural boundaries leads to wonderful flavour discoveries.

Garlic Dip
Ayone from Food is Love
Bremen, Germany

It’s garlic dip. With those simple words you already know it’s going to taste amazing! Ayone and Sayangku combined their Middle Eastern and Indonesian heritage by creating this dip of potatoes, garlic, mayonnaise and yoghurt and serving them with grilled meats from other national cuisine (or fries!).

The Main Course

Chicken Sopas
Iska from
Auckland, New Zealand

Iska is getting together with friends over Christmas and she plans to cook this hearty soup made of pasta, chicken, eggs, onions, veggies and milk. This Pinoy dish is comfort food Filipinos and very popular during the rainy season.

Elly from Elly Says Opa!
Chicago, Illinois, USA

This rustic savoury pie of cornmeal crust and greens is a regional variation of the famous Greek dish spanakopita. What’s better is that this specific recipe is an action-packed lesson from Elly’s grandmother, who comes from Karditsa in central Greece. The stuffing consists of dandelion leaves, spinach, swiss chard, leeks and fresh dill combined with crumbled feta while the crunchy crust is made from milk, cornmeal and butter.

Murgh Malai Kabab (Chicken Kebabs)
Nabeela from Trial and Error
San Jose, California, USA

This dish is a good way to begin any family feast. Chicken thighs are marinated overnight in yogurt, sour cream, coriander, ginger, garlic, garam masala, red chilli powder and lime before oven roasting to juicy perfection.

Fishes for Loaves
Sarah from What Smells So Good?
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

To celebrate the Catholic Feast of the Seven Fishes, Sarah creates a dish inspired by the Loaves and Fishes story of Jesus. For this she poaches cod fillets in a wine, tomato and caper sauce and garnishes with fresh coriander. I’m sure after one taste you’ll wish the supply was never ending, just like the Bible legend.

Fried Fish in Soy Sauce & Ginger
Tigerfish from Teczcape - an escape to food
Sunnyvale, California, USA

Reminded by an old proverb that Chinese New Year feasts are not complete without a sumptuous fish dish representing abundance for the coming year, Tigerfish shares this crunchy recipe. Fish fillets are coated in corn flour and deep fried, then served with a sauce of Chinese cooking wine, sesame oil, dark soy sauce and crushed ginger.

Duck in Orange Sauce
HappyCook from My Kitchen Treasures

HappyCook makes an effort to spoil her husband and daughter on special occasions. Their dish of choice is duck with orange sauce, made from rich fried duck breast and a sauce of onions, carrots, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, white wine, orange zest and juice and a little Grand Marnier. Served with potato croquettes, it’s a feast fit for royalty.

Mäsový Koláč (Chicken Meat Pie)
Zlamushka from Zlamushka's Spicy Kitchen
Malmö, Sweden

This traditional Slovak dish is an example of how leftovers can be lifted to new levels and become meals in their own right. After Sunday roasts of stuffed chicken, the delicious stuffing was turned into a pie. Stale bread rolls, chicken liver and eggs are mixed simply with salt and pepper then blended into a paste that’s basted in butter and baked until crispy. Decadent and delicious.

Turkey Caldereta
Gay from A Scientist in the Kitchen
Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines

This Filipino stew is usually served at parties and special occasions and Gay and her family certainly cook it a lot! They use their home raised turkey meat with loads of garlic, soy sauce, potatoes, red and green bell peppers, green olives, capers, tomato sauce, liver spread and peanuts.

Iga Kambing Guling (Barbequed Lamb Ribs)
Ayone from Food is Love
Bremen, Germany

These marinated ribs (lamb or goat) are an indulgence for Jakarta wedding parties or families during Islam’s Eid-ul Adha celebrations. The traditional recipe calls for an open fire and a marinade made of coriander, garlic, nutmeg, white pepper, Kecap Bango (sweet soy), palm sugar, vinegar and salty soy sauce.


Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa)
Meeta from What's For Lunch, Honey?
Weimar, Germany

Originating in Northern India, this is one of the subcontininent’s most famous sweets turning the boring old carrot into a heavenly dessert. Grated carrots are softened and flavoured with milk, cardamom, cinnamon, almonds, cashews, pistachios and sweet raisins. It’s eaten with gusto during Diwali, a five day Hindu religious festival when Indian desserts are given centre stage.

Bûche de Noël
Julius from Occassional Baker
Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada

This Christmas log is pure decadence: dark chocolate génoise sponge rolled around white chocolate mousse and all encased in Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. Julius goes further with delightful meringue mushrooms to make the dessert go that little bit further.

Zafran Kheer
Nabeela from Trial and Error
San Jose, California, USA

Rich cream, fragrant basmati rice, saffron, brown sugar and spicy cardamom pods flavour this thick, luscious Indian dessert. Slivered almonds and raisins are also added for flavour and texture. Nabeela warns that this artery-clogging dessert is very popular during the Islamic festival of Eid ul Adha, so watch your waistline!

Mom's Christmas Pudding
Deborah from The Humble Housewife
Tullamore, Ireland

Memories of baking this pudding with her mother adds sentimentality to this traditional recipe, making it doubly delicious for Deb. In fact, Deb tells us these kinds of Christmas puddings are very, very traditional. Her family recipe includes mixed spice, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, brown sugar, currant, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, glace cherries, ground almonds, treacle or molasses, grated apple, Irish Whiskey and, of course, Guinness.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Manju from Three Tastes
Oahu, Hawaii, USA

Manju managed to her friend to share his recipe for one of the best cheesecakes ever. Full of Thanksgiving flavours, light and creamy rather than dense, this cheesecake seems to have converted Manju to a dessert-lover. The base is made from Lebkuchen (German ginger cookies) and pecans while the filling is cream cheese, pumpkin purée and a spicy combination of cloves, ginger and allspice.

Riskrem (Rice Cream)
Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen
Bellingham, Washington, USA

Harking back to her Norwegian ancestry, Mallory makes the ultimate Scandinavian comfort food and Christmas dessert. Milk, pearl rice, sugar, salt and vanilla are cooked until soft and after it cools down whipped cream is folded through to make it light and fluffy. Traditionally a whole almond is hidden within and the finder wins a small prize, so watch out for your teeth!

Pecan Pie w Bourbon Cream
Mansi from Fun and Food
Fremont, California, USA

Instead of buying a pecan pie this year, Mansi made her own version laced with nutty amaretto, vanilla and rich dark corn syrup. Served with boozy bourbon cream this all-American dessert was a decadent Thanksgiving treat.

Deeba from Passionate About Cooking
Gurgaon, New Delhi, India

Kheer is a very popular dessert in India and is similar to Middle Eastern style rice puddings: rich, creamy and chilled to counteract the heat. Deeba flavoured her kheer with saffron, fresh nutmeg, cardamom, raisins and almonds for a gorgeous finish. This rich dessert would be popular all year round but would also have its place at any Diwali feast.

Pumpkin Pie w Candied Pecans
Anna from Morsels & Musings
Sydney, Australia

This is my second contribution to FFF. It was my first attempt at baking a pumpkin pie and remembering my grandmothers advice I made a great version spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and topped off with pecan pralines. The pie crust is also a combination of cookies and candied nuts.

That's it!

For those interesting in finding festive food recipes sources from the blogosphere, here are links to round-ups of various festive food events in 2007:

If you know of others, please leave a comment or send an email so I can include the link.

Hopefully we can do it again next year!



  1. Anna, These all look delicious! I am excited to have so many international holiday dishes at my fingertips. Great job! And your first pumpkin pie attempt looks perfect!

  2. Anna, what a fantastic roundup. My waistline has expanded 4 inches just by reading. This is one post I will definitely bookmark.

    Thanks so much for putting it all together.

  3. Absolutely wonderful Anna! Great round-up & so festive. Such a load of variety; am already itching to have a go!! Thanks for taking me on board even though I was late...appreciate it.
    Hope you've got over the jet-lag & can rest for a bit!

  4. Great job Anna. I have to go to school right now, but when I get home I will come back and read about all the dishes everyone has made!

  5. What an amazing collection of recipes from around the world! They all look so delicious, can't wait to read about everyone's tradions. Thanks for hosting this wonderful event, Anna.

  6. Wow! This is a wonderful round up. I can't wait to read about all the traditions, etc. Thanks for all the work you did to make this happen. Happy Holidays!

  7. What a wonderful roundup. And so many different cuisine. It is like international frstive food fair. I have bookemarked the page so i know where to come when i need a really special celebration recipe.
    Thanks for hosting this wonderful event.
    Have a great Christmas. You have to ,after having all these wonderul dishes.

  8. Lovely roundup Anna..
    Thanks for taking the time to host this event..

    Happy hols All....

    Paru (

  9. This is a wonderful, All of them look yummy!Thank you and Happy New Year Dear Anna:)

  10. Fabulous round-up! So much diversity at the table. Great job, Anna!


  11. I could only skim before going to work, but WOW! These look awesome. I'll be coming back so I can visit these sites leisurely. Thanks for doing this!

  12. what a diverse and beautiful collection!!! thanks for organising this.

  13. Anna, all of these look so fabulous I just can't wait for someone to serve me one by one:)

    great roundup, and thanks for your efforts!

  14. Thanks for hosting Anna. Everything sounds wonderful....and the secret baker in me is drooling at the breads here :)

  15. This is a particularly well-written and organized round-up. You did a really good job, which makes it so much easier for the reader. Thank you!

  16. Anna,
    I have to agree with laurie constantino, the roundup is both amazing looking and laid out oh-so clearly. Each dish is honored with a little blurb from you, and gives the reader a better understanding of each dish. It's simply lovely! I look forward to getting in the kitchen and whipping up some tasty international dishes!

  17. Great job Anna. The roundup just amazing. I hope I can join again next year.

    Thanks for hosting this wonderful event.

    Happy holiday!

  18. Wonderful line-up. The dishes are really worth celebrating over.
    Happy Holidays to everyone!

  19. Anna, Thank you for the round-up!

    Greetings, Margot

  20. Hi Anna,

    That was a lovely round-up. It was fun to discover various traditions all over the world. I myself was hosting a festive event A Spoonful of Christmas - dedicated to foods as gifts. Feel free to add it to your collection of links to other round-ups, if you want.

    Thanx again for letting me participate.

  21. What a wonderful idea this is! And great round-up!
    I love reading about other (than my own) holiday foods....and then trying them!

  22. What a gorgeous round-up! I'm sorry I could not participate...



  23. Anna a wonderful roundup and as always a great pleasure to be a part of this lovely party!

  24. Thanks Anna for such delicious dishes.Yummy....WIsh you all the best.

    Best Regards
    Send gifts to chennai|Send gifts to Bangalore|Send gifts to India


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