Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 in Review and Xmas Dishes

It's been both a  great year and a hard year in many ways personally:
  • I finished my thesis and studying finally and started working in my field
  • I got an article published in a journal
  • Toby become injured, had an operation and spent some time in hospital. He is thankfully ok but will never be able to do martial arts or contact sport again.
  • Between the two of us we lost 3 grand parents this year.
  • I paid off my car loan
  • I spent most of the year with some sort of minor illness or just feeling really blah.
  • I started jogging and yoga and ended up stopping due to the above.
  • It was recently Toby's 5 year anniversary of moving to Australia, it's gone so quickly!

Food wise:
We are planning on eating out less next year and looking forward to making lots more yummy meals and conquering some g/f adjustments to my favourite dishes.


Here's what we made for xmas this year:

After sampling the little fruit fudge puddings that Cindy made, I decided straight away that I had to make them for my family on xmas day because they were both cute and delicious.

I made a few adjustments by accident that ended up working quite well. I added a more orange juice and I used a combination of the gingernut biscuits and the orgran itsy bitsy bear biscuits. This resulted in some of them being more fudge like and they had slightly less ginger flavour. Also I skipped the cherries and oil and only used currants.They were gobbled down quite quickly by family on xmas day and I don't think any of my dark chocolate hating family detected the dark chocolate.

Xmas pudding bites (which were originally sourced from here)

1 cup raisins, chopped (I used more currants)
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup of orange juice or rum (I used orange juice)
1/2 cup dry roasted almonds
300g vegan and gluten free cookies
200g dark chocolate
100g white chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable oil(I skipped this)
pistachios and cherries  to garnish

In a small saucepan, stir together the raisins, currants, brown sugar and orange juice.  Simmer the fruit for 3 minutes, then set it aside to cool.

Blend the almonds to a coarse meal in a food processor.  Mix them together with the biscuit crumbs in a large bowl, then stir through the cooled fruit mixture.  Gently melt the dark chocolate and add it to the bowl, stirring to combine.  The mixture should have formed a firm and slightly crumbly dough.

Roll inch-diameter balls from the pudding mixture, place them on a lined tray and refrigerate until firm. (I skipped this and just added more orange juice til they held together a little better)

Finely chop the red and green garnishes.  Gently melt the white chocolate and oil together so that they're silky and quite liquid.  Drizzle the white chocolate over the pudding balls and sprinkle over the garnish.  Refrigerate until the chocolate has set, and continue to store them there until serving. 

And I made a g/f free version of our family Vegemite Gravy recipe, I found a similar looking recipe here which I copied.

    2 tbsp margarine
    2 tbsp plain flour (I used orgran gluten free flour)
    500 ml stock, heated (I think I may have used a little less)
    1 Tbsp Aussie mite (g/f version of vegemite) (start with 1 teaspoon and taste)
   1.  Start your gravy in a saucepan by melting the margarine. Sprinkle margarine with flour, and stir over a gentle heat to colour it, but be careful of burning. When it is really grungy-looking, after about five minutes, add the hot stock slowly, stirring quickly to incorporate the cooked flour.
   3. Add the Aussie Mite and stir well. If it's too thin, continue to simmer and reduce in volume. If it's too thick, add more stock or water. At this point, taste for salt and pepper. If it's just right, strain and serve in a warmed sauce boat.

I had issues with lumps as you can see but the flavour was pretty similar. Don't be deceived by the aussie mite (or vegemite) it adds a depth of flavour without being obvious.


  1. Merry xmas, K! Your balls and gravy sound like a great way to celebrate the end of an eventful year.

  2. Merry Christmas, K and T! I've really enjoyed reading about your adventures this years, and am looking forward to doing the same in 2011. Also, the frozen margarita pie is still high on my 'to-do' recipe list :D

  3. The team cooking efforts have been fun! Let's do more of that in 2011 - it'll fit in nicely with your resolution to eat out less. :-)

  4. Merry christmas K and Toby - you've had a great year of blogging among the ups and downs of your life - I have enjoyed catching up with you at potlucks and being inspired by your cooking

  5. Merry Christmas and happy new year K and Toby! I hope 2011 is a fantastic year for you.
    Your resolution to eat out less fits well with Mosh and I deciding today that we will have regular cooking sessions at my house - Mosh has made 2011 his year to start cooking more, so you will have to come over for dinners and be our Matt Preston :)

  6. Thanks Johanna, Hannah and Theresa!

    Cindy, sounds like a plan!

    Katie, I could definitely help out with that.