Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on December 10, 2010
FOOD. GLORIOUS CHRISTMAS FOOD.
It’s a time of celebration, of joy, of love, of giving and sharing, of reflection, of expressing spiritual thanks for the birth of Jesus Christ — and a time to check out beautiful photos of delectable, glorious Christmas goodies in this Yuletide edition.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… deck those halls!
As I’ve written before, recipes will be included with the “Fab Food Friday Fotos” when they’re available, with a guarantee that at least one recipe — preferably a frugal recipe — will always be included.
Christmas Cherry Snowballs recipe was provided by cook/photographer ChrissyJ:
Christmas Cherry Snowballs
* 1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
* 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1 Tbsp water
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup quick-cooking oats
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 36 maraschino cherries, well drained
* 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
* 1/4 cup milk
* 2 cups flaked coconut, finely chopped
In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, water and vanilla. Combine flour, oats and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
Shape a tablespoonful of dough around each cherry, forming a ball. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Combine sugar and enough milk to achieve smooth dipping consistency. Dip cookies, then roll in coconut.
Makes 36 cookies.
This delectable Christmas roast spiced pork belly roll and several other dishes (with recipes) that were photographed last Christmas are available at the terrific food blog Tamarind and Thyme — tagline for the blog is “Cooking and Eating Well in London Without Going Broke.”
Photographer/cook Su-Lin wrote this description, and provided a link to her pork belly roll recipe:
Hope you all had a lovely Christmas day! It was a quiet day for us, just me and my brother this year, but we still feasted on a roast spiced pork belly roll, Indian-spiced mashed potatoes, cavolo nero, bacon-wrapped cocktail sausages and much much much later that evening, a tiramisu. The pork belly was rubbed with salt and fennel and chili and cooked on a layer of onion and garlic, pretty simple and inspired by Niamh’s version. It was fabulous but if it’s one thing I learned this year, I prefer a flat slab of pork belly as the crackling crisps up more evenly. The cavolo nero was cooked with garlic and chili and a touch of chicken stock. The mashed potatoes were gorgeous with lots of fried onion throughout and that idea came from the Amateur Gourmet’s description of aloo bhurta (that’s a great post, by the way – do read it!), though I’m going to increase the spice content next time. There were plenty of leftovers which we turned into a lunch of bubble and squeak with sausages today.
This easy recipe for Vegan Eggnog was created by photographer/cook Elana Amsterdam… she has many more delectable vegan/gluten- and egg-free recipes, with beautiful accompanying food photos, on her website Elana’s Pantry.
Vegan Eggnog (dairy free, egg free, gluten free)
* 3 cups almonds
* 4 cups water
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 2 tablespoons agave nectar
* 2 tablespoons yacón syrup
* 2 teaspoons nutmeg, ground
* ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
* pinch cloves, ground
1. Soak almonds overnight
2. Discard soaking water and rinse almonds in a deep bowl of water, repeat until water is clear.
3. Place soaked almonds and 4 cups of water in a Vitamix.
4. Blend on highest speed for 90 seconds.
5. Strain milk through a fine mesh paint bag, discarding solids.
6. Place almond milk in a half-gallon mason jar.
7. Add vanilla, agave, yacón, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, then shake well.
8. Refrigerate until cold and serve.
The recipe for these whimsical Christmas tree cookies is below… photographer/cook Emily Carlin also has more information and photos on making them at her extraordinary website Back to the Cutting Board, so be sure to refer to it.
I bet these cookies would be fun to make if you have kids. You divide the dough into three rolls which you cover in green sugar, then after they’ve chilled for a while, you just sliced them up and bake. I think kids would definitely have fun assembling the little trees; I did and I’m almost 30 years old! These would be really festive and pretty for a party and they keep well in an air-tight container. As with all Betty Crocker cookies I’ve made (or maybe it’s just a personal preference?) I think these taste better the day after you bake them.
Christmas Tree Cookies
adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 tsp. vanilla
* 3 tsp. cinnamon
* 3 cups flour
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1-2 bottles of green sugar (1 was sufficient, but I wished I had a little extra to fill in some “bald” spots)
* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1/2 tsp. vanilla
* 3-6 tbsp. half and half (or however much you need to get it to spreading consistency, add a little at a time)
* Note: I cheated and bought icing at the store instead.
1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon and salt. Mix into butter mixture.
3. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour.
4. Take one half and mold into a 14-inch-long roll. Take the other half and remove 1/3 of it. Roll both pieces 14 inches long.
5. Pour out the green sugar on a large piece of wax paper or parchment and roll all three pieces back and forth until they are completely covered in sugar. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or until firm enough to slice.
6. Heat oven to 400 degrees (F).
7. Take out one of the rolls and cut it into 1/4 inch slices. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown around the edges. Immediately remove from pan and place on a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining rolls/slices.
8. Once all the cookies are cooled, make your icing. Stack a large, medium, and small cookie together with the icing and top with candy or frosting of your choice.
Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies.
The recipe for this easy, yet elegant prawns dish is provided by photographer/cook Audrey Low… check out more of her photographs and recipes at her website Papaya Tree Limited:
Christmas Prawns with Chilis and Limes Recipe
Pan fry 1 kg of prawns, with shells on.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from pan.
In a mixing bowl, add the following:
the juice of 1 lime
a handful of chopped coriander
2-3 chillies chopped
Toss and serve with wedges of lime.
Honey rings are a traditional, favorite Christmas dessert in Malta. For the honey rings recipe, click here.
This detailed description was provided by photographer Svein Halvor Halvorsen on Norwegian smalahove… aka Christmas sheep’s head:
Smalahove (Sheep’s Head)
Yesterday, I was invited for a Christmas dinner party, and was surprised to learn that we were having smalahove for dinner.
Smalahove is a traditional Norwegian dish, consisting of a sheep’s head, no less. This tradition dates back to the time when Norway was a very poor country, and people had to eat everything they could on an animal to survive. Today, it is considered a delicacy, and usually eaten around and before Christmas.
The head is burned, turning the skin into a charred crust. It is then cut in half, between the eyes, leaving one eye and one ear on each half. It then gets salted, dried, and smoked, and eventually boiled for several hours. It is served with mashed rutabaga and potatoes.
You first eat the eyes and ears while the fat is still hot. You then eat your way from front to back.
This was the first time I’ve ever eaten smalahove, and it was quite an experience. The meat on the chin was very tasty, but I did have some trouble with the eyes, ears, and tongue.
For all you maple lovers out there… here is photographer/cook Jennifer’s recipe for Christmas Maple Bonbons:
A family favorite! I made these for my mother-in-law many years ago, and now she requests it every Christmas!
Maple Bonbons Recipe:
* 2 sticks of creamed, salted butter (no substitutes!!!)
* 3-1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
* 3 tablespoons of maple flavoring
* 2 cups of chopped walnuts
* 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
* 1 cup of butterscotch chips
* Waxed paper
* Candy sprinkles (optional)
* Ziploc baggies (optional)
* Clean out enough space in your freezer to accommodate the freezing balls (insert naughty joke here…ba dum dum!)
* Soften the butter in the microwave. Cream together the butter, sugar, and maple flavoring until smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Insert a toothpick into each ball (I should just call them “bonbons,” shouldn’t I?) and make sure that the toothpick goes all the way in/through. This will save you from getting your hands VERRRY chocolate-y! Put the candy sprinkes, if you’re using them, into a Ziploc baggie. Insert bonbons into the Ziplocs, shake a few times to coat, and then return the bonbons to the cookie sheet. Freeze for several hours or, if desired, overnight.
* In a microwave, melt the butterscotch and semi-sweet chips. Stir to combine the chips. Dip the bonbons into the mix and return to the waxed paper. Return to the freezer (or refrigerator, if you’ll be eating them sooner than later). Store uneaten bonbons in the refrigerator.
JEN NOTE: Trust me when I tell you to play the toothpick game with these. Do NOT do what I did and attempt to coat the frozen bonbons in the hot chocolate mixture yourself! Doing so uses much more chocolate than you’ve got, and you’ll end up, as I did, with some poorly-coated chocolate. I simply ran out of chocolate!
Photographer/cook Ayngelina shared her grandmother’s recipe for Christmas Shrimp Dip:
Nanny’s Christmas Shrimp Dip
Growing up, shrimp dip had always been mandatory each Christmas. For some reason we never make it any other time of year. This year my grandmother wasn’t feeling well enough to make it so my sister and I tried to piece the recipe together:
* 1 can tomato soup
* 1 can cocktail shrimp
* 250g light cream cheese
* 3/4 cup minced celery
* 1/2 cup minced onion
Heat tomato soup over medium heat. When warm add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add celery, onion and shrimp until blended through. Remove from heat and place in glass bowl to cool in fridge.
Serve with Breton crackers.
Photographer/cook jpellgen wrote this about the Christmas duck:
A couple days before Christmas I decided to try my hand at duck (again). I know that the Anglo-Saxon tradition calls for goose, but since goose is $65 and duck is $20, I made the economical choice. The inspiration for this dish comes from the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story. Perhaps the best scene in the movie revolves around the destruction of the Christmas day turkey and the family’s subsequent quest for a replacement.
Background info from Wikipedia on this dessert named after Russian ballerina Ánna Pávlova:
Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova. Colloquially referred to as “pav”, it is a cake similar to meringue with a crispy crust and soft, light inner. The name is pronounced /pævˈloʊvə/ or /pɑːvˈloʊvə/, unlike the name of the dancer, which was /ˈpɑːvləvə/ or /ˈpævləvə/.
The dessert is believed to have been created in honor of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the more probable source.
The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and is frequently served during celebratory or holiday meals such as Christmas lunch.
I’m dying to try this vegan jalapeño truffle brownie bites recipe… the recipe was provided by photographer/cook Janet Hudson:
Christmas Jalapeño Chocolate Truffle Brownie Bites
* 2 tablespoon vegetable margarine
* 1/2 cup applesauce
* 1 cup raw sugar
* Egg Replacer for 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 2 tbsp diced jalapeños
* 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients but peppers together — batter will be somewhat stiff.
Add jalapeños and pour into mini cuppie liners; bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until done.
Makes 15 -20.
Food photos selected and posted are credited and have Creative Commons-licensed content with some rights reserved for noncommercial purposes, unless otherwise noted.
Previous Fab Food Friday Fotos posts: