Gingerbread scented scrub

gingerbread-scrub

This gingerbread scented scrub makes a great last minute present for Christmas. If like me, you’ll be able to find all the ingredients in your cupboards so you won’t need to buy anything. I used recycled tomato paste jars, and the amount fills five of them easily.

The label is from Raining Hot coupons. They use a different recipe from the one below and it is based on sugar and coconut oil. Perhaps I’ll try it next year.

I’ve used Herbie’s Spices sweet quatre epices, which is made up of a traditional combination of spices based on classic French cuisine. If you don’t have this one, just make up 1 teaspoon of each of the following spices: allspice, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.

Gingerbread scented scrub recipe

2 cups of salt
1 cup of epsom salts
4 tsps of quatre epices
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond essence

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix thoroughly together.
  2. Label recycled jars or containers and fill with mixture.

Thank you Herbie’s Spices for the spice sample. 

At My Tradition

Christmas tree

Jason from Don’t Boil the Sauce has started off At My Tradition for bloggers to share their end of year traditions. We celebrate summer solstice in our house, but it’s very much like a nature based Christmas so we have many of the same traditions.

Christmas tree decorations

The main feature in the house is the tree which is covered in red and white decorations, many of them made by my Aunty and some made by myself. We have fairy lights but tend to not put them on to save electricity. Our tree is missing something for the top, but we haven’t found the right thing yet. There is also some red and white heart banners my Aunty also made.

xmas-stockings

We all have stockings, even the dog who gets some treats on the day. Here’s mine – I used iron-on transfers to add the birds, so it’s a unique stocking.

Christmas pudding

We alternate who’s family we spend Christmas day with each year and do all the traditional Christmasy things then. You know….. Christmas crackers and silly paper hats, and coins in the pudding.

In our family we try to have a roast meal on solstice day (but sometimes we do a day that’s close by).  Matt cooks it and we usually have the works with Yorkshire puddings. Afterwards we have Christmas pudding and save the mince pies for another day because we are usually full by then. I made a Christmas pudding one year, but since then my pudding pan has gone rusty! I try to make rum balls and gingerbread around this time of year.

Happy summer solstice.

Thanks Jason for organising At My Tradition

Book review: Maggie’s Christmas by Maggie Beer

maggies-xmas-cover

I was pleased as punch when I got myself a copy of Maggie’s Christmas by Maggie Beer.

The book is divided into sections and includes crabbing at Port Parham, Pre-Christmas Drinks, Carols Buffet, Christmas Eve Supper, Christmas Day Lunch, Boxing Day Leftoverss and then New Year’s Eve Lunch and Dinner as well as Food for the Beach House.

maggies-xmas-lunch

The book is illustrated by full pages of colour photography for most of the recipes.

Some of the recipes contain unusual ingredients such as burrata, vino cotto, and verjuice which you can find at a good deli or online at Maggie Beer.

maggies-xmas-turkey

The only drawback to the book is most of the recipes serve 8 people, which is ideal if you have a big family, but not so good for the every day. But these are really recipes for special occasions so it is appropriate.

I cooked the warm brioche and ice-cream sandwiches and since it was my first time at brioche, I was comforted by Maggie’s reassuring instructions that the mixture would be moist. They were delicious.

maggies-xmas-pudding

Be tempted by seasonal recipes such as pickled fig-glazed leg of ham, pavlova with lady finger banana and passion fruit topping, and Christmas pudding with cumquat brandy butter. For Christmas day lunch choose between roost goose with marmalade and cumquat stuffing and goose fat roasted potatoes, roast turkey with prune and orange stuffing and Cumberland sauce, or roast pork loin with verjuice and grapes.

Maggie’s Christmas by Maggie Beer is a beautiful book you’ll want to cherish for special occasions with family.

Maggie’s Christmas by Maggie Beer – available on Fishpond.com.au

Winning rum balls

rum-balls

Here is my top-secret recipe for winning work’s rum ball competition. There’s no coconut, condensed milk, weetbix or biscuits. It’s not something to eat all time, but an easy one for a work night.

I’ve used a store-bought cake to cut down on the preparation time and I’ve tried a number of different varieties – plain cake with jam works well, so does the chocolate version (see photo) for a double dose of chocolate. I did scrap the mock cream off though. If the mixture is a little damp leave it for 10 minutes or so for the chocolate to harden up a little. Roll in coconut at the end if you wish.

These are rich, decadent and moist.

500g swiss roll or Madeira cake
150g dark cooking chocolate
25ml rum

  1. Crumb the prepared cake in a large glass bowl.
  2. Melt chocolate as per instructions on packet.
  3. Mix the melting chocolate into the cake mix, then mix in the rum. Keep mixing until well combined.
  4. Scoop out and roll into balls. Place on a tray or container lined with baking paper.

Keep in the fridge, especially during summer.

Jason’s winning Christmas pudding

This is Jason’s Christmas Pudding recipe which he won first prize in the local show. Last year I regrettably made a different version, but we didn’t like the addition of nuts and it was more work . I also bought a special pudding tin and it went rusty after only a few months! Anyhow I’ve gone back to this winning one which was well received the year I made it. I’ve made a few changes, mostly notably I’ve divided everything in half which you’ll find is still plenty.

375g sultanas, sundried
375g raisins, sundried
200g glaced cherries, or cranberries
50g dried mangos, or your favourite
125g butter
½ large cup of rum
1 cup sugar
2 cups plain flour
½ tbps baking soda
pinch of salt
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, organic
Parisian essense or vanilla

  1. Soak the dried fruit in the rum overnight. You can use any combination of dried fruit – the original recipe had 500g mixed fruit, 250g raisins and 250g sultanas, but I wanted to use up some things in the cupboard.
  2. The next day, cream the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs and beat well.
  4. Add the fruit and essence, then the remaining ingredients.
  5. Place mixture in an oven bag. Tie bag tightly with some string about 3 cm from the mixture. It’s important to make sure that you get all the edges tied with the string so no water gets in.
  6. Place in the fridge for 2 hours.
  7. Put small plate upside down or rock in the bottom of a boiler. I use a large pasta pot with an enclosed strainer. Add water to nearly cover the pudding and bring to the boil. Cook for 4 hours.
  8. As needed top up with more boiling water.
  9. Mature for a few weeks in the fridge.
  10. To reheat: place in boiling water for ½ hour. We just use the microwave.

Notes: Suitable for freezing, but keeps for ages.