Plates To Share – Christmas Time

Now is the Christmas week, it is a very busy time.   A lot of preparation for Christmas, particularly the one who is going to host the Christmas celebration.  This year we will be at Susan’s place-our youngest daughter, she and her partner Tris are going to be our hosts.  We are looking forward to it. They both are very good at entertaining people, Susan is a good and excellent cook.  We were told that the feast is not a traditional Christmas , this is what she said: I’m hosting Christmas this year and doing a Southern theme, think fried chicken, lobster/prawn po boys, potato salad, grilled corn and peach cobbler and ice cream. Suits the Summer weather and feeds a crowd easy (but doing it with a celebratory touch).  I am sure it is going to be a fun and happy time for family gets together.

I do not doing any cooking for family Christmas any longer, I will share ideas through this post, and  my cooking recipes from the past.

Mini cakes, Scones, Sponges, Oliebollen and  Sandwiches.
Beautiful platter of mini cakes to share with people, or simply enjoy with family and friends.  Prior Christmas you may have visitors to catch up, and these delicate cakes are perfect for the occasion.

009 013 018 031Mini cake with white chocolate topping and shredded orange-glace orange, and almonds on top.

Collection of small cakes are perfect to serve a crowd.
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Scones are always the favourite for morning or afternoon tea.  While you are waiting for the children to come home, or having friends over why don’t you bake scones; plain, or fruit scones.

004as3

as5It is very pleasing to serve freshly baked scone, and is always a winner.

Dates Scones
Dates Scones

 

 

Platters of buttered date scones is always a crowd’s  pleaser

 

Oliebollen
It is a sweet delight, which is very popular in the Netherlands.

005 025 037

Oliebollen is a Dutch Delight, the family treat.  It is served warm around Christmas and New Year.
I enjoy this sweet with black coffee.   It tastes similar with doughnuts, but lighter and richer because it consists of dried fruit and egg.

The Recipe

Oliebollen
Make 20
Ingredients:
250g flour
5 g salt
5 g cinnamon
250 ml milk (lukewarm)
12 g yeast
half and egg
a knob of butter
1 tablespoon syrup
50 g currants
50 g sultanas
Grated rind of half a lemon
half an apple, chopped (optional)
oil for frying
You will also need an ice-cream scoop and a simmer.

Preparation
Mix together the flour, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre and bread the egg into it.
Dissolve the yeast in half of the milk and add to the flour mixture
Add a little more milk and stir to form a smooth batter.
Leave to rest in a warm place until it froths.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the rest of the milk to the melted butter.
Mix in the syrup. Now add this mixture to the batter and mix until smooth.
Add the currants, sultanas and grated lemon rind.
Cover the batter with a damp tea towel and let it rise to twice its size.
Heat enough oil to completely immerse the olibollen.  Stir the diced apple into the batter.
Fill an ice-cream scoop with the batter and gently slide the batter into the oil.
Test the temperature of the oil by first frying one oliebol until golden brown all over.
Cut in half, the oliebol should be done on the inside
Fry the remaining batter on scoop at a time, taking care the the oliebollen do not stick together.
Let them drain on absorbent kitchen paper and serve sprinkled with icing sugar.

Sandwiches
Sandwiches are easy to prepare, and always delightfully acceptable in any occasions.
100_9735For busy people, this is my suggestions, prepare them the day before, assemble the sandwiches with filling without any green or salad and freeze it.  In the morning thaw slightly, cut and trim the crusts.  Put in a platter garnish with any green or edible flowers.

Cakes and Sponges
Now, we are talking, home baked cakes and sponges.  They cannot go wrong.  Baked sponge freezes well.  When you need it, it is there for you already, what you have to do is only to dress it on the day.

101_3784Dressed sponges for Christmas break up.  They looked festive and people liked them.

Chocolate cakes with nut and shredded glace orange peel topping,  any one loves chocolate cake.

100_1454 100_1469

Sweets from Java Wajik

Wajik is a sweet cake made out of rice, coconut and sugar.  It is a traditional sweet from Java.  This is the recipe for you.

Wajik Merah Jambu
(Pink Sweet Glutenous Rice)

101_1776
Brown wajik and Pink wajik

Ingredients
1 cup glutenous rice + 1 cup water
1 cup water
¼ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon full vanilla sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Pink food colouring

Method

Soak the glutenous rice with 1 cup of water for a few hours
(the rice will be plumped, as it is absorbed all the water)
Put the rice in a cooking pot, add 1 cup water, and desiccated coconut.  Cook over medium heat (without a lid) until the liquid all absorbed.  Add in the sugar, salt, vanilla sugar, oil and the food colouring, stir and mix, makes sure it wont’ get burn.  When the sugar all is dissolved and the liquid has absorb by the rice, put the lid on.  Then reduce the heat at a lower setting.  Cook for 8 – 10 minutes further.  Let it cool.

 

Savouries and Main Dishes.
One of egg dishes from Java – Telur gulung,  it is filled omelette roll with prawns, sliced to serve as a garnish or a  part of banquet.

022 026042
Pork is one of our family favourites.
This is a fine cooking using pork fillet, it looks good, and the taste is great.

025 045 057 064A very good summer cooking, a delicious dish – fillet of pork which is cooked over the stove.  Serve in a platter and everyone can help themselves.

SOTO -SOUP

Beautiful soup for any occasion and it is suitable for summer, hot days for yummy fragrant chicken soup with vegetables ‘Soto Ayam’ (Javanese style)

100_0833 100_0837 100_0843 100_0855Cook the whole bird in a fragrant broth, to get the best flavour of the chicken and even better as it has rich flavourful herbs and spices.  The spices for this Soto are turmeric, garlic, onion, ginger, lemon grass, freshly ground white pepper, and kaffir lime leaves.

The Recipe for Soto

Soto Ayam (Chicken Soup Javanese Style)
A dish that bring people together, a flavoursome, rich and fragrant.

The Ingredients
A whole bird size 16-18

Herbs and spices
1 stalk lemon grass, a piece of ginger (as big as a thumb)and lightly bruised100_0848
1 large onion or 5 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, bruised
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, 1teaspoon sugar, and salt to taste

Garnishes
Cooked carrots, cabbage, mung bean sprouts
Mung bean vermicelli, fried shallots and chopped fresh parsley
Slices of limes or lemons and hot chilli sambal

To serve with white steamed rice

Method
Use a large and deep pot; sauté the herbs and spices with oil over medium heat for 2 minutes, keep on stirring to make sure that they are not burnt.
Add in two little hot water, and bring to a gentle simmer
Put the whole chicken in cook it with the fragrant broth over low heat for 1 hour
Add in the salt, sugar and the white pepper, and continue cooking for 25 minutes
Check the seasoning!!!!!
Keep the pot over very low heat until serving time.

Garnishes
While you are cooking the chicken in the broth, prepare or cook the garnishes.
Blanch or cook the carrots, cabbage, mung beans sprout
Soak the vermicelli with hot water until softened, drained and place it in a serving dish

Serving
Take the chicken and place it in a large bowl take some of the meat, and chopped and place them back on the dish (I would put the chicken meat on top of the chicken bone, it looks mount up and respectable). Pour the broth in a large serving pot (a soup tureen)

Bring these dishes to the dinning table, and place the pot broth in the middle and surround bey the chicken, vegetables, rice and garnishes.
Put bowls to serve, let every one helps themselves to create their own soup.
Start putting the steamed rice on the bowl, add the meat, vegetables and the garnishes, and ladle the fragrant broth over. Let the guest decide to help lime or lemon for the Soto.

A dish that brings people together indeed, while the guest preparing/creating the soup they can talk to catch up or to get to know one another.

Enjoy the recipe -Susy

 

Gulai Kambing-Javanese Cooking
101_3598

Gulai Kikil-Lamb shanks curry (Javanese)
Gulai Kikil-Lamb shanks curry (Javanese)

Delicious curry Javanese style or gulai kambing, a goat meat curry.   Australia has the best lamb meat in the world, to celebrate a lot of dishes are cooked in my kitchen, and of course the gulai is one of them.  Using the lamb shanks for the gulai is so perfect, the long braising with complex spices and rich coconut milk made the meat deliciously flavoursome.

GULAI
A type of food containing rich, spicy, curry-sauce.


Herbs and Spices for Gulai

Garlic, onion, lemongrass, lime, kaffir lime leaves, salam – leaves, ginger, galangal, tamarind, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, nutmeg and nuts (candle nuts)

Grind those herbs (except the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and salam-leaves) and spices to make a very smooth paste.  Use a mortar and pestle or a food processor.  To keep it better, place the paste in a jar, top it up with oil, refrigerate!

Other ingredients: stock, water, coconut milk, sugar, and salt.   Fried shallot to garnish.

To use the spice paste.

Pan fry or sauté the paste with oil until fragrant, add some sugar (coconut sugar) or brown sugar and also some salt.

(It has to be cooked for a few minutes, so all the spices release the flavour, and then you could add the main ingredients;  vegetables (for vegetarian gulai) or any meat, which has been sealed properly.  Stir and add stock or hot water, braise at least for one hour (a half of the cooking time), then add the coconut milk, continue braising over a very low heat.

The meat for gulai: goat meat ( but you can have chicken, or lamb)

Traditionally the gulai use all the cuts of the goat, and braised for a long time until it is tender.

Any cut of the lamb can be braised for the ‘gulai’, but I prefer using the leg of lamb, it is a very delicious food to be shared for a special occasion.  Recently I cooked lamb shanks for the curry (gulai) and it worked beautifully, the recipe is here for you.
The Recipe.

Gulai Kikil (Lamb Shanks Curry)

 

Ingredients:
4-6 lamb shanks, 2 tablespoons tamarind juice
(rub the shanks with the juice, keep aside)
2 cups water or stock
1 tin coconut milk (400 mil)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (for sauteeing the spices and herbs and also for pan frying the shanks)

Herbs: 5 kaffir lime leaves, 1 lemon grass.  Juice of a lime.
Spices: 3 cloves garlic,  2 large shallots (or a small onion), a slice of fresh ginger and galalangal, some kencur (can be purchased in Asian grocery stores), 1 heapful  tablespoon of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, *1 teaspoon ginger powder, 1 teaspoon chilli powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves powder, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 6 candle nuts.
Grind the coriander seeds, and mix with all spices, put in the grinder or food processor, process them to make a smooth paste.
* I use both ginger powder and also fresh ginger, you cannot omit the fresh ginger, but you can go without the ginger powder.

Salt, sugar (brown sugar or coconut sugar) about 2 teaspoons each.

Fried shallot and fresh chopped parsley or coriander leaves to garnish.

Method:
In a heavy based pot, fry the spice paste with oil until fragrant, add in the fresh herbs, the juice of a lime and the shanks, stir and let it cook for a few minutes.  Stir in the water or stock, and add in salt, sugar, cover the pot  and cook to braise for one hourover medium heat.  At this point add in the coconut milk and continue cooking for one hour over low heat.
The shanks are very tender and juicy in a rich and golden spiced coconut sauce.

To serve the dish, simply with steamed white rice, acar and krupuk udang (prawn crackers) for its accompaniment

Acar

– slice 1 cucumber, one sliced shallots, a teaspoon white sugar, 1 tablespoon white vinegar and a pinch of salt.  Mix them together, keep aside for five minutes.  Acar is ready to serve.  It keeps well refrigerated

 

Dessert

Pavlova and Cakes

Sweets to end up a beautiful meal, sweets to close for the festive feast.

100_6568Christmas cake is served at  Christmas, most of the time families have no chance to serve it, after the big feast people have no more room to enjoy.   May be small light dessert is better.  Pavlova the famous Australian sweet may be the best as it has fresh fruit topping.

101_0013101_0026Light cake dressed in Christmas colour instead of fruit cake is better after the big feast.

 

Cooking ideas from me  for the festive season, specially for you who decide not to serve the traditional Christmas.  Family gets together, time to catch up, time to share and enjoy delicious food from different recipes.   Enjoy,

Last but not least, I wish you all a very happy and enjoyable Christmas.  Thank you for101_7941 your supports, your comments and encouragements to my posts.  I will be back next year, once again ”Happy Christmas 2014 and Happy Feasting”.

 

 

Thank you

Susi

 

 

 

 

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