Monday 4 December 2006

recipe carousel #25 - festive food fair

Festive Food Fair: The Recap

For those not familiar with my Recipe Carousels, let me start with a small introduction. Since the 19th June 2006, every Monday I have written about seven unique or interesting recipes from the blogosphere and highlighted them for others to see.

The idea is to spread good recipes around and around and around . . .

This week’s Recipe Carousel is much more than seven recipes. This week I have invited all the bloggers to share their festive or special occasion foods with each other.

Where there are festivals there are always feasts.

So THANK YOU to everyone who joined in the Festive Food Fair.

Together we shared 67 recipes for birthdays, family gatherings, visiting guests, BBQs, parent-teacher nights, bridal showers, Christmas, Channukah, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Karthigai Deepam, New Years Eve, Chinese New Year, Stir-Up-Sunday and Advent. Our recipes came from 52 different chefs based in 14 countries (and even more countries of origin)!

Without further ado . . .


Gingerbread Muffins
Ange from Vicious Ange
Melbourne, Australia
Using a Nigella Lawson recipe, Ange whipped these up in no time. The lightness of the muffin and the spicy aroma makes an excellent Christmas breakfast or a sweet treat for unexpected guests.

Lorne Sausage
Emma from The Laughing Gastronome
Wellington, New Zealand

Emma introduces us to a family Christmas breakfast tradition, a spicy skinless sausage seasoned with pepper, nutmeg and coriander and eaten on a roll with HP sauce. What better way to indulge while sipping on wheat beer and tearing open your presents.

Mixed Berries Cream Scones
Asha from Foodie's Hope
North Carolina, USA
Asha gives us a history on these Scottish quick breads, thought to have originated in the 1500s and named after the stone where Scottish kings were crowned. Her more modern version forgoes oats for flour and a griddle for an oven. She also gives them a sweet lift with some dried mixed berries. What a way to start the day.


Zorra from 1x umruehren bitte a.k.a. kochtopf
Andalucia, Spain
Zorra explains that, in Swiss tradition, Samichlaus (St. Nikolaus) visits children in their homes recounting the naughtiness that took place throughout the year. But it’s not all bad because children are given treats as well, including the gorgeous Grittibänz, this man-shaped bread decorated with raisins and almonds.

Pumpkin Yeast Bread
Sher from What Did You Eat?
Davis, California, USA
This wonderfully golden bread gets its dainty hue from pumpkin. Sher finds that people appreciate getting homemade bread and jam as Christmas gifts. This particular bread has a slightly sweet tinge and pairs nicely with cranberry conserve, cream cheese and even peanut butter.

Loaves and Loaves and Loaves
Brilynn from Jumbo Empanadas
Parent-Teacher night can be trying for both parties, so Brilynn tries to add some festive cheer with loaves of homemade bread to feed the masses. She took her mother’s recipe for a week’s worth of bread and then scaled it down to a more humanly quantity – hey, kneading is tough work!

Time for Tea?

Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once
Melbourne, Australia
Hailing from Siena in Italy, panforte (strong bread) is chewy, spicy sweet that was once given as thank you gifts to the clergy around Christmas time. Haalo’s version lives up to its spicy name with cocoa, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, nutmeg and white pepper mixed with hazelnuts, almonds and candied orange peel. Serve in thin slices.

Death by Chocolate Cookies
Monisha from Coconut Chutney
Columbia, South Carolina, USA
Monisha’s philosophical intro to her recipe got me smiling, as did her positive resignation about forgotten New Year’s resolutions: “every new year should be celebrated with a hopeful heart, an insightful eye and a flute bubbling with champagne” . And she was right about one other very important thing “no festivity is complete without some rich, dark chocolate” so go no further than her decadent cookies.

Bureka Boy from Is That My Bureka?
Montréal, Québec, Canada
In honour of Hannukah, and his Sephardic half of his ancestry, Bureka Boy has made these scrumptious deep fried dough balls which are found all over the eastern Mediterranean under different names. The balls are fried then soaked in deliciously sweet syrup. They can also be stuffed if that’s what takes your fancy. There’s also a recipe from Biscuits Breton in this post too!

Baklava With A Filipino Twist
pinaygourmand from pinaygourmand's Passion for Thy Bounty
Manila, Philippines

This talented pinay has taken the signature dessert of the Mediterranean and Middle East and given it a Filipino twist. The traditional recipe of filo pastry, cashews and pistachios is given new inspiration with a calamansi syrup (a small citrus fruit described as a cross between a tangerine and kumquat). Fusion food at its best!

Ulrike from Küchenlatein
Kronshagen, Germany
Inspired by Germany’s centuries old tradition of spicy Christmas biscuits (lebkuchen), Ulrike set about making sweet muffins to be eaten with coffee or tea. These are flavoured heavily with sweet spices, vanilla sugar, almond essence, lingonberries and hazelnuts.

Apricot Gelt
By The Bay from Gluten-Free By The Bay
Oakland, California, USA

Come Chanukah time and Jewish children play dreidel (a game of chance) with chocolate coins (Chanukah gelt). By The Bay has decided to turn Chanukah gelt gourmet by smothering luscious dried apricots with dark, bittersweet chocolate. Throw your apricot gelt into the pot and hope you win gantz (everything)!

Pfeffernusse Cookies
Christa from Calendule & Concrete
Washington D.C., USA
For Christa, Christmas means cookies! These beautiful little nuggets dusted in powdered sugar are called pfeffernusse or pepper nuts, perhaps because of the high amounts of spices used to give them an excellent kick. Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, almonds, candied orange peel, dark molasses and brandy are all present.

Fruit Mince Tarts
Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once
Melbourne, Australia

Haalo has made some of the most amazing fruit mince with currants, raisins, sultanas, slivered almonds and glacé fruit (orange slices, apricots, pears, peaches, figs, mandarin, angelica, cedro) all soaked in Frangelico and Vecchia Romagna Brandy. After a few weeks she turned it into these wonderful tarts with star lids. Should you wish to see a variation on the theme, why not try her fragipani (almond meal) topping instead.

Pecan Pralines
Annie from Buttermilk Clouds
St Jacob, Illinois, USA
Of course buttermilk is used in this mouth watering recipe where brown sugar is caramelised into a liquid fudge then smothered over pecans. Annie suggests eating these crumbled over vanilla ice cream or over your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. I think they’d be excellent sweet snacks with tea and coffee too.

Pori Urundai (rice puffs)
Priya from Sugar and Spice
Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
In India, festivals are synonymous with sweets and Tamil Nadu’s Karthigai Deepam (Festival of Lights), celebrated on a full moon, is no exception. Tiny earthen lamps twinkle at every home and the main Naivedyam (food offering) are Pori Urundai (rice puffs). Priya’s pori are sweetened with jaggery (an unrefined sugar from sugarcane juice) and spiced with cardamom powder.

Chocolate & Bergamot Truffles
Virginie from Absolutely Green
Nantes, France

Virginie believes that chocolates are always received well by all kinds of people but I imagine even more so when they’re enhanced with the essential oil of bergamot (a pear shaped sour citrus fruit crossed between a lemon and an orange, used to flavour Earl Grey tea). If bergamot oil is used to treat depression, then what joy Virginie’s soya cream and bitter cocoa truffles will bring!

Apricot Walnut Crescents
Ivonne from Cream Puffs in Venice
Ivonne has created her own Christmas tradition by baking rugelach for the past eleven years. She shares with us her treasured recipe for the most gorgeous looking pastry crescents. The decadent dough is made with cream cheese and then rolled with a sweet filling of apricot jam, ground walnuts and cinnamon.

Snacks & Appetisers

Tomato & Basil Palmiers
Tami from Running with Tweezers
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Inspired by the simplicity of puff pastry, Tami has created an elegant and easy to make appetiser. Folded with sun dried tomatoes, basil, garlic and generous amounts of parmesan, these light pastries will disappear as fast as you can make them.

Lemony Olives
Brandon from Brandon Eats
Richmond, USA
What better way to wait for the thanksgiving roast to cook than to munch upon these kalamata olives marinated in a gorgeous combination of lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon thyme, rosemary, oregano, chilli and garlic. It takes a little bit of forethought to give the olives time to absorb the flavours, but you’ll be delighted with the results.

Cinnamon Flavoured Nuts
Dianne from A Gluten Free Journey
Southsea, UK

Dianne’s Christmas always begin with a trip to the German Market to relive the sights and smells of her childhood. She also prepares this excellent snack of assorted nuts first roasted and then coated in cinnamon butter. They are served warm and I imagine would make a perfect accompaniment to mulled wine.


Holiday Hot Cocoa (Cocoa del Ticino)
Kieran from Ice Cream Ireland
Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland
Inspired by Swiss-Italian cioccolati caldi, Kieran devises an excellent hot drink for true chocolate lovers, in fact it comes with a warning that it’s not for the faint hearted! Rich, unsweetened cocoa is combined with cinnamon, orange zest and almond essence and is topped with whipped cream. Perfect for a cold winter day.

St Nick Sour
Paul from The Cocktail Chronicles
Seattle, Washington, USA
Paul delivers a gussied up whiskey sour in honour of the festive season. Elijah Craig or rye bourbon is shaken with orange juice, lemon juice and orgeat (almond syrup) then poured into an old fashioned glass and garnished with spiral cut citrus peel. If you left this out for Santa, I’m sure you’d get all the pressies on your Christmas list!

Masala Chai
Asha from Foodie's Hope
North Carolina, USA
Festivities don’t need to be religious or national days! Just having guests in your house is enough cause for celebration. In northern India guests are always greeted with a cup of chai – hot milky Darjeeling or Assam tea flavoured with green, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole peppercorns and fresh ginger. Now that’s what I call a warm welcome.

Sarina Nicole from TriniGourmet
Trinidad and Tobago
Christmas in Trinidad would not be complete without a cold refreshing glass of sorrel, made from the sepals of the sorrel flower. This fruity, fragrant drink tastes similar to hibiscus and also includes cloves and fresh ginger. The consistency is thick and syrupy, but this is overcome with a little club soda or, even more delicious, a splash of rum.

Lingonberry Daiquiri
Anna from Morsels & Musings
Sydney, Australia

A Swedish Christmas flavour, lingonberries, are given an Australian tweak and turned into a refreshing summer cocktail. It’s possible to transplant the northern hemisphere Christmas traditions into the south if you just adapt to the weather.


Real Mincemeat
Emma from The Laughing Gastronome
Wellington, New Zealand
Up until the Victorian era, mince pies actually contained real minced meat flavoured with spices and fruits. Emma has taken us back to the old school recipe using good quality beef, apple, currants, sugar, almonds, candied ginger and mixed peel, not to mention the sweet spices and Cognac. Use this to make mince pies or to stuff pork, but if mixing meat with your ‘dessert’ doesn’t appeal to you Emma also included a fruit-only version.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Anh from Food Lover's Journey
Melbourne, Australia
Anh brings us an essential element of any Vietnamese feast. Whether it’s New Year or a simple family gathering it’s just not festive unless there are spring rolls to be munched on. Vietnamese rolls are different from Chinese because they use rice paper, not wheat, and fill them with minced chicken, pork prawn and crab meat, julienned carrot and kohlrabi, glass noodles and wood ear mushrooms.

Reb from CucinaRebecca
Sydney, Australia

As the summer holidays approach, Reb’s Shiraz vine starts producing grapes for verjuice and leaves for dolmades. In the Greek tradition, she uses tender young leaves and wraps these around rice cooked with lamb, onion, mint, dill, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg and tomatoes. She cooks these with chicken stock and white wine then tops with lemon sauce.

Chicken Satay w Spicy Peanut Sauce
Meena from Hooked on Heat
Ontario, Canada

In Meena’s house satay, the traditional Malaysian kebab, was always festive food. Meena used her memories and intuition to develop her own recipe where she marinated chicken overnight in honey, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger, green onions, sesame oil and pepper. These are grilled and served with a peanut sauce made with peanut butter, garlic, chilli, lime juice, soy sauce and pure sesame oil. Delicious!

The Main Course

No-Brine Roast Turkey
Veronica from Veronica's Test Kitchen
Richmond, Virginia, USA

I never realised just how much of an art roasting a turkey can be and I now have sympathy for all the Americans and Canadians who go through this nerve wrecking process annually. Veronica walks us through the steps in a very scientific manner and even devises an ingenious method of cooling down the breast with ice, prior to cooking, to ensure all turkey parts cook evenly. This is Turkey Roasting 101 and a must read for those contemplating their first attempt.

Maori Hāngi Barbecue Thanksgiving Feast
Joe from Kimchi Korean Food Journal
Anyang, South Korea

Joe experienced an amazingly multicultural festive event: a Maori Hāngi (New Zealand) thanksgiving feast (North America) in Cheonan (South Korea). Huh?!? In true Polynesian style a multitude of meat and vegetables were buried in a hole filled with hot rocks then left to cook for hours. Joe revelled in the Western style roast meats and Costco pies after a lengthy period of Korean food and accommodation without ovens.

Ginger Pepper Chicken w Cranberry Balsamic Sauce
Rinku from Cooking in Westchester, the flavorful, spicy, way.
Valhalla, New York, USA

With the festive season upon her and the bright, twinkling lights warming up the cold northern hemisphere, Rinku is looking forward to a charity potluck she takes part in. Last year she developed this chicken dish which was a real hit. Ginger, garlic, chillies and peppercorns are made into a paste to marinate the chicken. Leeks, mushrooms, onions and turnips provide vegetable sustenance and a balsalmic vinegar and fresh cranberry sauce is the final touch.

Perfectly Cooked Crispy Duck w Mango Chutney
Mia from Nosh
Munich, Germany
Short on ingredients, Mia took a walk to the store and discovered fresh, young ducks for sale. In Germany, Mia has learnt that roasted goose and duck are considered the festive fare and on this occasion she rubbed the skin with sage leaves and fleur de sel, stuffed it with yet more sage and some orange halves, then roasted on a bed of vegetables. Not only did Mia make the most deliciously cooked duck I’ve ever seen, this thanksgiving feast was also a beautiful tribute to her mother, who passed away exactly one year ago. My thoughts are with you Mia.

Eggplant Moussaka
Kate from Veggie Friendly
Sydney, Australia

If you have a vegetarian at your festive table, instead of just handing them the salad bowl, why not cook up this delicious eggplant moussaka, baked in the hollowed out eggplant. It’s flavoured with garlic, white wine, tomatoes, oregano, cannelloni beans and fresh parsley. And don’t forget the cheddar cheese!!!

Salad with that?

Beetroot Salad
Anna from Morsels & Musings
Sydney, Australia
Here’s another of my recipes. This time it’s a salad that’s so pink it could easily trick someone into thinking it’s a dessert (my seven year old nephew was fooled). Introduced to us by my sister-in-law-to-be, Helena, this is flavoured with red onions, red apples, Dijon mustard and crème fraîche.

Double Berry Jello Salad
Kalyn from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

While trying to develop a South Beach Diet friendly salad for Thanksgiving, Kalyn thought she’d utilise Utah’s official state snack, jello, in this intriguing savoury salad. Raspberry jello is mixed with pecans, celery and cranberry sauce for one mind boggling and yet strangely inviting salad.

Yam & Tomato Salad
Pooja from My Creative Ideas
Pune, India

This salad is so interesting to me and looks like a vegetarian’s dream. Yams are steamed, mashed then fried with mustard seeds, green chillies, tomato and curd. Formed into dumplings, they are served inside tomato and cucumber petals. A real show-stopper.

Zucchini, Mint & Fetta
Kate from Veggie Friendly
Sydney, Australia
This delicious side dish provides an excellent vegetarian option to either a hot or cold meal. As Kate explains “the lemon and mint add a fresh, zesty taste, but the hot zucchini and feta cheese give the dish a bit more formality than a cold salad.” I don’t know about you, but I could eat the whole bowl!

Anna from Morsels & Musings
Sydney, Australia
Here’s the third of my four festive recipes. This dish from the US south is a particularly weird combination of pineapple, orange, coconut and marshmallows all bound together with sour cream. I think of it as a dessert salad, whereas others serve it as part of a savoury buffet. However you choose to eat it, it’s very good!

Sides & Soups

Cranberry-Apple Chutney
Vee from Past, Present and Me.
Virginia, USA

Vee stays clear of all things cranberry year round and then when Thanksgiving approaches she embraces them wholeheartedly. This year she went Indian with her cranberries and developed a “wonderful-tart-yet-sweet-and-with-a-hint-of-heat chutney” using black mustard seeds, cloves, green chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida (hing), jaggery and orange juice. This was all cooked up with apples and cranberries to create her excellent chutney.

Kashmiri Pulao
Mythreyee from Try This Recipe
California, USA

This rice side dish is packed full of fruits, nuts and vegetables. Sona Masoori rice is cooked with saffron while carrots, peas and corn are also prepared. These are mixed together with cardamom, fresh apple and pomegranate seeds and almonds, cashews and raisins fried in ghee.

Ginger and Pumpkin Soup
Mandira from Ahaar
Buffalo, New York, USA

Mandira made this vegetarian soup the night before serving to ensure the ginger would permeate the ingredients. Here vegetable stock is boiled with chilli, cinnamon and cloves then cider vinegar, pumpkin puree, coconut milk and fresh ginger is added. Mandira recommends you serve the soup hot, garnished with fresh ginger.

Something Sweet

Milk Cake
Vaishali from Happy Burp
Kondhwa, Pune, India
Vaishali explains that in India, dessert is almost always a special occasion food! This special cake was made for her little sister's bridal shower and is a delicious combination of condensed milk, paneer, milk, sugar and ghee. This dairy delight is seasoned with saffron and nuts for a golden finish.

Christmas Cake from Margaret
Y from Lemon Pi
Sydney, Australia
Although not suited to hot Australian Decembers, Y can’t help but indulge in a small slice of the festive season by baking traditional Christmas cakes. Inspired by one of Australia’s foremost cooking queens, Stephanie Alexander, Y’s cake includes all the usual Christmas cake suspects as well as Australian dried apricots, prunes and black treacle. There’s also a “sly wink” of brandy too.

Brandied Apple Tart
Genie from The Inadvertent Gardener
Iowa City, Iowa, USA
Shocked that her family produced leftovers after Thanksgiving, Genie turned some remaining pie crust into a simple, boozy apple tart. Apples were simmered in sugar and brandy until soft, then baked in the pie crust with sweet spices. A little milk was added to the brandy and turned into a decadent sauce to drizzle over slices of the tart.

Christmas Pudding
Emma from The Laughing Gastronome
Wellington, New Zealand
This fantastic bomb of a dessert was boiled in a spherical mould on stir-up-sunday. It was flavoured with some of the common Christmas ingredients as well as mace, fresh ginger, dried cranberries, Brazil nuts, brown breadcrumbs, beef suet and Guinness. The final result looks deliciously rich and moist.

Cranberry Mousse
Kevin from Seriously Good
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

This makes a very attractive dessert. Fresh cranberries are softened with orange juice, Triple Sec, ginger, orange zest then strained. Gelatine is added, as well as egg custard and whipped cream, before chilling. The tart sweetness makes an “elegant ending to a heavy Christmas meal”.

Ice Cream Snowman
Kieran from Ice Cream Ireland
Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland

Ice cream maker extraordinaire, Kieran, has made this adorable ice cream sundae in the shape of a snowman. His arms, eyes and buttons are made from pure chocolate whereas the snowman’s hat is a chocolate truffle on a disc of dark chocolate. Since Kieran makes the ice cream for his own ice cream parlours in Ireland, perhaps those that visit might find this on the menu over the festive period.

Dual Torte
Roberto from El Ocio de Roberto
Houston, Texas, USA
For those fluent in the Spanish language, you’ll enjoy this recipe by Roberto. The rest of us will have to use Babelfish or another hilariously funny web page translation service to learn about his cake flavoured heavily with almonds, almonds and almonds. But it is a Dual Torte so don’t forget there’s chocolate in there too!

Persimmon Spice Cake
Meeta from What's For Lunch Honey?
Weimar, Germany
After some baking successes, Meeta was feeling bold so she developed her own Christmas flavoured cake using persimmons and nuts. The final result was outstanding since “the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg harmonise so well with the persimmon's ripe and sweet flavours”. Using puréed persimmon added extra moisture and Meeta suggests eating slices warm with some melted butter.

Pandoro X'mas Tree
Gattina from Gattina
New Jersey, USA

Eating pandoro (an Italian sweet bread) has become an important part of Gattina’s household festivities at every special occasion. So, after watching people in her town decorate local pine trees, Gattina had an interesting idea to turn pandoro into her very own Christmas tree using strawberry preserve and pistachio custard. Artistic inspiration!

Délice Au Chocolat (Chocolate Mousse)
Rosa from Rosa's Yummy Yums
Veyrier, Geneva, Switzerland

I think everyone should read Rosa’s post because she has really sold me on the positive aspects of this amazing Swiss chocolate mousse. Served for birthdays and most special occasions in her family, this dessert came from her grandmother’s canton Vaud and is easy to make, delicious to eat and wonderfully, wonderfully chocolate. And what better way to celebrate Rosa’s birthday, which is also Christmas Day!

Orange and Pomegranate Salad w Chai Syrup
Jennifer from Eat Drink Talk cooking school
London, UK
Fresh oranges and pomegranate kernels are drizzled with a sugar syrup flavoured by Earl Grey tea, cardamom pods and orange zest. This is a refreshing dish, recommended served with tea. For Jennifer’s recipe please read the comments section of this post.

Pumpkin Mousse w Whipped Cream & Glazed Pecans
Mandira from Ahaar
Buffalo, New York, USA
Mandira turned instant vanilla pudding mix into something much more exciting with the addition of pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon and allspice. This spicy mixture is combined with whipped cream and garnished with more cream and glazed pecans.

Mixed Berry & Ricotta Panettone Cake
Kathryn from Limes & Lycopene
Sydney, Australia
This is one of those recipes that’s fast, easy and yet still exceptionally elegant. Fragrant store-bought Italian panettone is cut in half then filled with sweetened ricotta and fresh berries. The top is deocarted with more ricotta and strawberries. The cake looks spectacular and takes around 10 minutes to throw together. Perfect for Christmas parties or even as a dessert after a BBQ.

Steamed Cranberry Pudding
RP from My Workshop

Using cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving, RP devised this moist steamed pudding. RP was sceptical of a recipe without eggs, butter or sugar but the presence of molasses made sure the pudding was sweet enough. The final result seems rich and comforting, not to mention pretty with the red flecks of the cranberries peaking out from the slice.

Sheera (sweet semolina) w a touch of saffron
Anu from Food-n-More
Milton Keynes, UK

With Diwali behind her and no festivals close at hand, Anu was afraid she’d miss the Festive Food Fair, but her son came to the rescue with a request for sheera, a deliciously rich sweet offered to the gods on any occasion. Fine semolina is cooked gently with ghee then enriched with milk and flavoured with mashed banana, cardamom and saffron. Anu’s version looks divine: extra points for presentation!

Trinidad Black Cake
Sarina Nicole from TriniGourmet
Trinidad and Tobago

In Trinidad Black Cake is truly festival food and is used at both Christmas and weddings. Sarina Nicole gives us a great insight into this Caribbean fruit cake which is literally drenched in rum, kirsch and maybe even a little Baileys. This cake looks so decadent and I wouldn’t be lighting candles too close unless you don’t mind singeing your eyebrows!

Persimmon Fruit Cake
Dolores from Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity
San Ramon, California, USA

Dolores was sifting through her parents’ recipes and happened upon her father’s famous persimmon fruit cake recipe. He would make loads of them every year and it seemed as if their home kitchen had become a commercial factory. Dolores is not a fan of fruit cake and yet she remembers how people loved this recipe, so she gave it a try and yielded exquisite results that even she adores.

Khejur Gur er Paayesh (Rice Pudding with Palm Date Jaggery)
Sandeepa from Bong Mom's Cookbook
New Jersey, USA

Although I have never tasted date jaggery, I know it is regarded as an exquisite delicacy that sugar cannot even come close to. Here Sandeepa has utilised this unrefined sugar in liquid form to sweeten and flavour payesh or rice pudding. Raisins, ghee and bay leaves are also used to enhance the pudding. Since it is auspicious to eat payesh on your birthday, this dish is very much a special occasion food.

Gajar ka Halwa
Manasi from A Cook At Heart
Torrance, California, USA

In Bollywood films all heroes after fighting villains and wooing beauties return home to their mothers for a well deserved bowl of Gajar ka Halwa (carrot halva). Carrot and ghee are cooked until tender and then the sweet vegetables are enriched with milk, cardamom and saffron. This is a delicious dessert and a great way to use up excess carrots.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Archana from Spicyana
Oregon, USA
This very elegant pudding was enhanced by the unique use of breadcrumbs rather than slices of bread. This was cooked gently with vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins, milk and pumpkin. Baked in the oven and then unmoulded and cut into squares, this pudding looks incredibly smooth and soft, almost mousse like. Served with spiced whipped cream this looks like an Autumnal dessert favourite.

Pepparkakor & Glacé Fruit Ice Cream Sandwiches
Anna from Morsels & Musings
Sydney, Australia

This was a last minute dessert, thrown together with ingredients that were on hand. Using Swedish gingerbread biscuits, good quality vanilla ice cream and some glace fruits – voilà, a perfectly festive flavour in an ice cream sandwich.

That’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed cooking your food as much as I enjoyed reading all your posts.

I found this such an enriching experience and learnt so much about many of you, your cultures, cuisines and even about new ingredients.

Thanks for making this such a success!

I also wanted to thank Mae from Rice & Noodles. She couldn't participate in the event because she's on holidays (lucky rascal) but she did design the Festive Food Fair logo that we've all been using. Thanks Mae, it was an unexpected gift. I guess that's what the festive season is all about!



  1. Jennifer’s Orange and Pomegranate Salad with Chai Syrup
    Serves 8
    4 medium oranges
    Kernels of 1 large pomegranate
    4 earl grey tea bags
    750mls of water
    Zest of 2 medium oranges
    14 cardamom pods, bruised
    175g castor sugar
    -To make the syrup, boil the water in a medium sized pot and add the tea bags and orange zest. Remove the water from the heat and allow the tea to infuse for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and discard.
    -Return the pot to the heat and add the cardamom pods and sugar. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
    -Once the sugar has dissolved, continue to simmer for 20 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by about a third and is lightly syrupy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
    -When ready to serve, peel the oranges and remove all the orange pith. Slice the oranges and arrange on a large plate. Scatter with the pomegranate kernels.
    -Drizzle over the chai syrup and serve with freshly brewed tea.

  2. Anna, thanks for the lovely events! You have done an exceptional job for the recap! :)

  3. wow, anna, thank you for this incredible project & listing of wonderful things for the holidays.

    i am sure your hard work will be much appreciated.

    happy holidays to you and j.

  4. wow, what a lovely round-up! Thanks for including me.

  5. Lovely round-up Anna! Great job!

  6. Beautiful round-up and thanks for creating this event. What a fantastic list of festive recipes!

  7. Thank you so much for this event. You've made a very good job. I link to this post to inform my readers.

  8. Wow, so many recipes! They all look great. My belated contribution is here:

  9. This is great Anna. Thanks for hosting this!

  10. Wow, what a fantastic turnout you've gotten. Congratulations, and great job.

  11. Anna, brilliant round-up and thank you so much for the effort. A lovely listing of scrumptious looking festive dishes.
    Thank you for hosting such a great event!


  12. Wow, that was an immense round-up chock-a-block full of great recipes! Thanks for making this great event possible...

  13. Anna, what a wonderful roundup and successfull event. You (and all the participants) did a great job!

  14. thank you everyone. it took all weekend but it was worth it!

  15. Anna,
    It is lovely-roundup!.You did a great job!

  16. Anna,
    I am stumped !!!
    You did such a wonderful round up with a individual write up for each of the entries.
    Thanks a lot, you had to sacrifice a weekend that too a summer one in your hemisphere, to present such a nice thing to us.

  17. Anna,

    wow, that is some line up. Great Work!
    oh..look at all that food. People just love dishing it up, don't they?...not that we mind, the more the merrier!

  18. Anna...hats off to u! wonderful roundup.... THANK U VERY MUCH!!

  19. What a great round up and recipes galore:) I enjoyed looking at each one of them and two of my own!!

    Wonderful job.Thank you.

  20. Anna, what a great round-up! So many tasty recipes...I'm marking this page to come back and study further. Thanks for taking the time to do this. Nice write ups for each entry.

    And thanks for including me!

  21. Another belated entry: Peppermint Bark made with yummy white chocolate. Sorry, I didn't find you sooner! Here's the link:

    I will look out for the next event!


  22. What a wonderful selection of festive treats! I just realised that i could have posted my Pistachio truffles as an inclusion to this event... duh. After all, it is kind of a Christmas give away tradition for me. Ah well.

    You've done a fabulous job rounding this up, Anna. Oh, and you're always, very welcome! :)


  23. Fabulous round up Anna.. I am drooling looking at all the recipes. 67 recipes... WOW!

  24. This is too cool... I can't wait to get my apron on.


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