On the mark, set, eat!

>> Saturday, 1 December 2007

What?! Snow in the Caribbean? (lol)

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"The Christmas holidays are brutal, they are not for the weak or faint-hearted. Christmas is for the fittest, the strongest and the bravest. You have to possess certain qualities in order to survive, and still have the energy needed for January 2 when you return to work. You need to be an organizer, a shopper, an entertainer and oh, a cook.... And, if we’re not careful, the holidays can take the joy out of cooking even for those of us who love to cook." Click here to read the rest of the column in which I outline a plan for tackling the big meal most of us are going to have this year.

It’s a very flexible plan and can be adjusted to suit your needs and circumstances.

I’ve been busy in the kitchen these past weeks experimenting and remaking some things as I suggest in my column. Experimenting like this is a way to avoid being frustrated on the day itself just in case a dish I’m trying for the first time does not come out right. Today, I’m sharing those dishes with you.

Let me start by drawing your attention to the photograph at the top of this post - pumpkin fritters. There is more than one version of this dish, the one above can be eaten as a savoury dish with a hint of sweetness or it can be eaten as a sweet when dusted with powdered sugar. Be warned, once you start popping these little beauties into your mouth, there is no stopping until all are gone.

I like any dessert with apples and apple pie is one of my favourites. So I thought that I’d experiment by making small individual apple pies, you know, so each guest would feel oh so special with their own little pie. While the thought is a lovely one, don't bother making these if you're having more than 6 people over because it's time consuming; especially if you want to do like I did (inspired by Martha Stewert) and cut out pretty little patterns to cover the pie. Save this dramatic presentation for a smaller gathering, or if you find someone you can designate to be the pie-making person.

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Next, it was time to channel two of my favourite chefs in the kitchen. Both of these recipes I've tried before and they have not failed me and more importantly, they never fail to impress.

This is Tyler Florence’s Scallop Potato Gratin. The recipe is here.

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And this here is Jamie Oliver's Baked Onions. Click here for the recipe.

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Welcome to my table.

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For the past 2 years I've been making my Christmas presents and this year is no exception so when Zuzana at Burntmouth.com announced her event: A spoonful of Christmas, I was excited. My gift basket this year is going to be made up of chutneys, jams, spice rubs and flavoured salts and sugars among other things. Here are the flavoured salts I've made so far. They can be used as finishing salts or as seasoning salts.

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Finally, my good friend Bee of Jugalbandi and I are co-authoring a new blog, Forgive Me My Nonsense... We invite you to come visit and share your thoughts with us, and feel free to add us to your blog rolls and feeds. So you're probably wondering what this blog is all about. I'm not going to tell you, find out for yourself, go on, click here. :)

Please email me if you need any of the recipes in this post.

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