Monday 31 December 2007

2007 food challenges

Back on the eve of 2006 I set myself some food challenges to complete in 2007. I didn’t blog about them because I was a bit frightened that with the wedding and honeymoon etc I wouldn’t even get close to completing them.

Call me chicken.

But, after recently reading over the ones I’d set for 07, I realised I’d accomplished all but a few.

Here was my 2007 list:

Cook Recipes I’ve Coveted Forever
1. pickled nectarines
2. meggyleves
3. coeur a la crème (finally accomplished in 2011)

Taste Tests
1. soursop
2. guinea fowl
3. goose

Cook w New Ingredients
1. plantains
2. palm oil
3. pomegranate

Recreate Food Memories
1. Grandma’s pumpkin pie
2. Mum’s hummingbird cake (I made it in Jan 07 but haven’t blogged it yet)
3. Ludo’s chocolate cake

Find Recipes & Make
1. kimchi jjigae
2. mussels w blue cheese & leeks
3. ras el hanout

Learn More About Food from
1. Middle East: cooked recipes from Iran (dessert and main), Oman (breakfast and main), Syria (breakfast) & Lebanon (salad)
2. North Africa: cooked recipes from Libya (main), Morocco (side), Algeria (casserole) and Tunisia (main, made in 07 but blogged in 08).
3. Germany: travelled to Frankfurt in May and December and ate loads of local dishes. I also made a dessert and a soup.

Well, I'm pretty pleased with my 2007 effort.

I’ll announce my 2008 food challenges in a separate post tomorrow, the 1st of January.

Sticking to the 2007 theme, Zorra from Kochtopf and Sandra from Un Tocco di Zenzero are pulling together the best recipes from 07 into Best of 2007: Foodblogger's Recipe Collection.

All bloggers have been invited to submit their favourite creations and the results will go live sometime today.

I submitted two recipes and asked Sandra and Zorra to choose which one they preferred to include:

Muhallabiah Mousse w Pomegranate & Orange Blossom Syrup

Moreton Bay Bugs w Donut Peach Salsa

Wednesday 26 December 2007

ras el-hanout

Ras el-Hanout is the premium spice blend. Its name translates to “top-shelf” or “best in the shop” and refers to any spice merchant’s best quality blend. All recipes contain a few basic spices but after that it’s anyone’s guess as to what is in the mix. Each spice merchant will have their own, closely guarded, recipe and combination of flavours.

Traditionally, ras el-hanout contained mind-altering ingredients such as narcotic belladonna berries, hashish and Spanish fly.

Spanish fly is actually a beautiful green beetle whose dried body was ground into powder and used as an aphrodisiac. It’s effects are well documented and today it is still used in animal husbandry to stimulate mating. Since the difference between inducing seduction and death by overdose ran such a fine line, this powder was banned from the Moroccan souk in the 1990s.

These days the drugs are usually left out and what remains is an aromatic culinary spice blend.

It can be used to marinate meats or flavour couscous and is an important ingredient in bastilla (Moroccan pigeon pastry). It can also be used in stews and I like to include a little when I make chermoula.

Ras el-Hanout
Anna’s very own blend. Makes approximately 2 tablespoons or 15g.
4 whole allspice (pimento)
3 green cardamom pods
Recipe is featured in this book
3 whole cloves
1 small dried red chilli
2 teaspoons dried rose petals
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cinnamon stick, roughly crushed
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
1. Over a low heat, dry roast all the spices in a frying pan (except the salt). Stir constantly to evenly roast and be careful not to burn.
2. Watch carefully as seeds start to pop and remove when beginning to brown.
3. Let them cool a little then grind in a spice / coffee grinder while warm, with the salt.
4. The spice blend will remain fresh, in an airtight container, for up to 2 weeks.

I just want to say another big thank you to all my colleagues in Europe who banded together to buy Jonas and I a spice grinder and kitchen scales for a wedding present. We love it and, as you can see, are getting good use out of them.


Tuesday 25 December 2007

frankfurt's christmas markets

Frankfurt’s Christmas Markets are believed to be the biggest in Germany in terms of stalls and visitor numbers. The first record of the markets was in 1393 when religious plays were performed outside the Römerberg (town hall).

Goethe’s favourite sweets, Bethmännchen, were sold throughout the markets as well as lebkuchen and magenbrot, all still visble today.

The modern-day Frankfurt Christmas Markets are huge and encompass all of Römerberg and Paulsplatz, sprawling all the way down to the Main River, as well as the famous Zeil shopping street. They are very pretty and definitely worth visiting if you’re in Frankfurt at that time of year (late November and throughout December).

Below is a selection of photos, but for the full set visit my Flickr page.

This glühwein (mulled wine) stand was the perfect post-work drinks venue. People huddled around cocktail tables with steaming mugs of mulled wine, raspberry beer, egg nog and apple wine. I love sweet, warm alcoholic drinks so it was a dream come true for me.

A steaming brew of glühwein, complete in a themed Frankfurt market mug.

Handkäse mit Musik is a traditional local speciality of Frankfurt and translates to the mysterious hand cheese with music. It’s a sour milk cheese which means it uses a non-rennet based curdling technique and has a very short maturation. You can order Handkäse on its own or mit Musik, where it comes with diced onions and caraway seeds. Why the music? So-called for the flatulence that comes after consumption.

Roast goose! For a little Aussie girl nothing seems more luxurious and exotically European than roast goose. Served with a orange tinged gravy and boiled potatoes it tasted good but not too different from duck.

Magenbrot are soft gingerbread from Switzerland and they were sold all over the markets in Germany. Their name translates to stomach bread because they are supposedly made from stomach friendly spices like cinnamon and cocoa.

Pretty gingerbread hearts with icing messages like ich liebe dich hang from a stall.

Spritzkuchen are delicious donut-like cakes which I adore! The patterns make them look almost crispy but they’re very soft to touch and are drenched in a glaze that reminds me of Krispy Kreme donuts. I heard spritzkuchen are most popular in Baden, throughout Austria and the Southern Tyrol region. They were my greatest discovery on this visit to Germany and I ate them almost daily for breakfast.

Hmmm. These delectable morsels are rösti. Who can turn down fried potato?

Here’s a traditional bratwurst, smothered in ketchup and mustard. As my Australian colleague, Damien, pointed out (as both he and I were ear to ear in sauce) the Germans have mastered sausage eating because Simone, our German colleague, finished her sausage without a misplaced drop of sauce.

This is a Schwenkgrill, a very traditional way to cook in Frankfurt. The open fire gives the sausages a smoky flavour and from the long lines it seems to be the preferred way to eat bratwurst.

This was an apricot strudel. I love strudel but I’m not a big cooked apple fan so this was right up my alley.

I adored this dish of puréed, herby potatoes topped with a leg of roast guinea fowl. It was divine and my first ever taste of guinea fowl!

I never knew it, but Germans call these bretzels, not pretzels! Where did the P come from? Here you can see some sweet bretzels smothered in chocolate.

Candy stalls sold boiled sweets with flavours like chilli, apple or glühwein. I bought some glühwein hearts to take home to Jonas and they really do taste like spicy, red wine!

Stalls sold fruits dipped in chocolate. Here you can see the apples but I also tried a skewer of bananas and strawberries.

Apart from chocolate dipped fruit they also had toffee dipped fruit, like these grapes.

This last photo is the gorgeous Frankfurt town hall and the huge Christmas fir tree they bring in every year and decorate.

Well that’s it from the Frankfurt Christmas Markets.

Merry Christmas to everyone out there!!!


Monday 24 December 2007

göteborg's christmas markets

I recently spent the weekend in Sweden’s second largest city Göteborg, visiting Jonas' big sister (Helena) and her Australian fiancé (Christian) as well as Jonas’s mum (Ulla), stepdad (Anders) and little sister (Caroline).

While I was there Helena, Christian and I visited Liseberg, Göteborg’s fun park which during this time of year transforms itself into a pretty Christmas market.

In honour of Christmas Eve, when Jonas and all other Swedes celebrate Christmas, I have posted some of the photos of the Göteborg Christmas Markets. For the full set you can visit my Flickr pages.

All the trees along the main avenue were decorated with thousands of tiny lights which were very pretty but it interested me just how much the Swedish people loved these lights. I guess when you spend most of your winter days in semi-darkness you become moths to a flame . . .

This stall sold cured reindeer and moose meats. The moose sausage was deliciously rich and fatty and the reindeer meat was sweet and salty all at once. This photo is of the semi-dried reindeer meat.

There was a little girl (approx 5yrs old) at this tent who couldn't get enough of the free sill (herring) available to taste test.

Snus is a very common oral tobacco in Sweden. You can buy it with a wide variety of flavours (lychee, eucalyptus, licorice etc) and this particular one was Julsnus (Christmas snus) which I assume involves cinnamon, ginger and other warm spices. It’s not a chewing tobacco though; you roll a tiny amount into a ball and place it under your upper lip where the nicotine is absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream. This one is loose leaf, but you can also buy them packaged like tiny tea bags.

At Christmas time Swedes indulge in an interesting soft drink called Julmust (Christmas Must) which, in my opinion, tastes very similar to Cherry Coke or Dr Pepper. I think this was an alcoholic version since must is actually a by-product of the wine industry.

Mumma is a cardamom flavoured, very potent drink usually made from gin, soft drink and various dark beers. The producers of this particular blend recommend mixing it with porter beer.

This stall was full of soft, pink cured sausages rolled in crushed green peppercorns. Unlike the usual hard salami these sausages seemed rich and fatty, more like devon/baloney but with a more natural flavour. They were so tasty!

We bought this hot, meaty snack called suovas from a Sami tent. They had lightly smoked reindeer meat over an open fire then filled flatbread with iceberg lettuce, the reindeer meat, cream and lingonberries. It was perfect in the cold wet weather.

I admit I’m pretty lame, but the swing carousel is one of my all time favourite rides. As you can see behind the swing carousel, the sky was threatening to pour down on us, and it did later on that evening.

So those are my photos from the Göteborg Christmas Markets. If I have time tomorrow I'll post the photos of Frankfurt's Christmas Markets too. And stay tuned for photos from Göteborg's famous Feskekörka or fish church.


Sunday 23 December 2007


This post is a record of all the blogs out there that I read every now and then.

I started getting lazy about updating the blog roll on my template so here's my way of making it easier for myself going forward.

Blogs are listed by the country in which the author resides, however the author themselves may have originated elsewhere (hence the brackets).

If you want to recommend a good blog, I'm always open to new sources.

If I have listed a blog under the wrong country (or author origin), please let me know.

Australian Food Bloggers Ring
Appellation Australia
Breath of the Wok
Citrus and Candy
Eat, Show and Tell
Fig and Cherry
Grab Your Fork
Here Comes the Food
One More Bite
Limes & Lycopene
Not Quite Nigella
Pickles Perks
Pikelet & Pie
Simon Food Favourites
Stone Soup
Sweet Sin
Sydney Food Diary - ended
The Food Palate - ended
Veggie Friendly
Butter Sugar Flour
Confessions of a Food Nazi
Cook Almost Anything At Least Once
Food Lover's Journey (Vietnam)
My Favourite Plum
Only Turkish Food
Tummy Rumbles
What's On My Plate
My Korean Kitchen (Korea)
The Old Foodie
Abstract Gourmet
The Foodologist
A Life (Time) of Cooking

Asado Argentina (USA)
La Otra Dimension (Australia)

Chili & Vanilla (Hungary) - in Hungarian

Technicolor Kitchen

Phnomenon (Australia) - ended

Binnur's Cookbook (Turkey)
Cream Puffs in Venice
Hooked On Heat (Malaysia/India
Is That My Buréka? (Kosher)
Kalofagas (Greece)
Lex Culinaria
Once Upon A Feast
Seven Spoons
Soy and Pepper (Singapore)
sweet pleasure : plaisir sucré
Thai & Lao Food (Thailand/Laos)

Channel Islands
Rice & Noodles (Philippines)

Food and Thoughts



David Lebovitz (USA)
Food Beam
Oswega Tea (Canada) - ended
Thyme for Cooking (USA)

Delicious Days
Nosh (USA)
What's For Lunch Honey? (UAE/India)

Bread and Butter

The Scent of Green Bananas (USA)

Hong Kong
C is for Chaxiubao
Eating China

Anthony's Kitchen
Saffron Trail
Sailu's Food
The Cook's Cottage

For the Love of Baking

Ice Cream Ireland

Food Vagabond (Turkey/Germany)
Lucullian Delights (Sweden)
Ms Adventures in Italy (USA)

Rubber Slippers in Italy (USA)
The Kitchen Pantry - in italiano

nihon no ryori (Australia)

Zen Kimchi (USA)

Malaysia Best
The Last Appetite (Australia)
Rasa Malaysia

Flavours of the Sun

New Zealand
Bron Marshall
The Laughing Gastronome
Winos & Foodies

Make Life Sweeter!


Cooking Diva

Market Manila


Chubby Hubby
Mad Baker
Piggy's Cooking Journal
The Modern Vegetarian

1x umrühren bitte / Kochtopf (Switzerland)

A Cat in the Kitchen (Poland)
Anne's Food
Viaggi & Sapori (Italy)
Tea For One (Hungary/Romania)

I Was Just Really Very Hungry (USA/Japan)
La Cerise (USA/France/Germany)

Appon’s Thai Food
Enjoy Thai Food
Real Thai (USA)

Trinidad & Tobago

Glutton Cat
Veggie Way

United Arab Emirates
Vegetarian In Me (India)

United Kingdom
Fiordizucca (Italy)
Milk & Cookies (Australia)
Nordljus (Japan)
Spittoon Extra
The Passionate Cook (Austria)
The Traveler's Lunchbox (USA/Germany)

United States of America
101 Cookbooks
A Perfect Pear
Almost Turkish
Becks & Posh (UK)
Candy Blog
Cannelle et Vanille (Basque)
C for Cooking
Chez Pim (Thailand)
Culinary Concoctions by Peabody (Canada)
Cured Meats
Curiosity Killed the Cook
Desert Candy
Dessert First
Evil Jungle Prince
Farida’s Azerbaijani Cookbook (Azerbaijan)
Figs, Lavender and Chesse
Gattina (Hong Kong)
Habeas Brûlée
Hot.Sour.Salty.Sweet. And Umami
In Mol Araan (Kosher)
Jaden's Steamy Kitchen (Hong Kong)
Kalyn's Kitchen
La Tartine Gourmande (France)
matt bites
Never Bashful With Butter
Our Patisserie (Turkey)
Paajaka (India)
Peru Food (Peru)
Pinch My Salt (USA)
Simply Recipes
Smitten Kitten
Straight Up & Down (Australia)
Sugar and Spice (India)

This Heaven Gives Me Migraine
Use Real Butter
World on a Plate

Noodlepie (UK)
Sticky Rice (Australia)

Field to Feast

Monday 17 December 2007

attention all food photographers!

Behind The Scenes with Australian Gourmet Traveller!

If you’re a food photography buff and you live in Sydney, then this prize is for you!

As part of the Menu For Hope IV, Australian Gourmet Traveller have offered one lucky prize winner the opportunity to spend a day on set as they style and photograph one of their feature articles.

The winner will get the chance to watch the professionals at work and pick up some great inside tips.

The practicalities:
*Since most of GT’s recipe feature articles are shot in Sydney, the winner will have the best experience if they join the team here. So you’ll need to come to Sydney to claim your prize.
*The winner is responsible for transport costs to and from the photography location in the Sydney metro area.
*This prize needs to booked in with GT by June 2008.
*GT photo shoots take place during weekdays so the prize recipient must flexible in meeting the photography schedule.

For budding food stylists and photographers, I can’t imagine a better way to develop your techniques than to spend a day with one of Australia’s top food magazines.

How to win this prize?
*Go to the donation page run by Firstgiving
*Buy your tickets (US$10 each)
*Nominate which prize you want your tickets to be allocated against. This prize is AP38!
*Please make sure you tick the box to allow your email address to be seen by the admin staff so you can be notified if you win.
*Winners will be announced by Chez Pim on 9th January 2008.

What other prizes are available?
Asia Pacific: Grab Your Fork
UK: The Passionate Cook and Cooksister!
Europe: Food Beam
US: West Coast: Rasa Malaysia
US: East Coast: Serious Eats
US: Central: Kalyn's Kitchen
Canada: The Domestic Goddess
and our special wine host: Vinography

What is Menu For Hope?
An annual fundraising event founded by Chez Pim to support the UN World Food Programme. Food bloggers from around the world raise $$$ through an online raffle of gastronomic prizes. Each raffle ticket is worth US$10 and hopeful foodies can try their luck for their prize of choice.

A huge thank you to the Australian Gourmet Traveller team for donating this prize!

The 2007 Menu for Hope raised over US$90,000!!!
GT's nifty prize was won by the lucky Simon B O'Regan and raised US$3,500 direct to the UN World Food Programme.
Simon, please contact me at morselsandmusingsATyahooDOTcomDOTau to collect your prize!!!

Sunday 16 December 2007


I should start off this post with a disclaimer that provoleta is one of the most unhealthy dishes I've ever made.

You can rightly assume that it was also delicious!

I think this dish really highlights Argentina’s strong cultural heritage from Spain and Italy. The sauce combines the essence of pesto with an Italian cheese in a Spanish style recipe.

Although very rich, I read that provoleta is a traditional entrée to a meaty main course in Argentina. It’s heavy so I find it hard to imagine eating provoleta and then tucking into a steak, but the flavours match red meat well and the chimichurri sauce is wonderful with grilled beef.

My photo shows a quarter chunk of provolone, but it's better to get a thinner, round slice (top section) from the whole wheel than a quarter. It's easier to grill and melt through that way.

Traditional Argentinean recipe. Serves 4.
250g provolone, in a whole round slice
½ cup chimichurri sauce
Crusty bread
1. Grease the base of a baking dish very lightly with olive oil.
2. Grill provolone until bubbly and melted.
3. Pour over chimicurri sauce and serve immediately with crusty bread.

Recipe by The Food Network. Makes 375ml (1½ cups).
½ cup canola oil
½ cup olive oil
½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
¼ cup malt vinegar
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon powdered aji molido (substitute sweet paprika)
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
Pinch coarse sea salt
1. Place garlic, aji molido, parsley, chilli flakes and salt in the bowl of a food processor and purée until well ground.
2. With the machine running, add vinegar and slowly pour in oil. Process until emulsified.
3. In a deep jar, the sauce can be kept for up to 3 months in the refrigerator.

This is the final Weekend Herb Blogging for 2007. It's been a big year and I've contributed 37 times to WHB in 2007. I'm pretty pleased with that effort considering all the overseas holidays and work related trips I've been on this year.

In this last week our WHB host is Astrid from Paulchen's Food Blog in Vienna, Austria. Be sure to visit her recap for the final herb frenzy of '07!


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!


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