Only one more sleep until Christmas! Looking for that last minute easy solution to a Christmas Pudding? This is it! I love this time of year but the older I get, there always seems to be so much to do and the Magic of Christmas can get lost among the To Do lists, year end school and sporting events, holiday programmes, meal planning, gift buying and wrapping…wow, tiring just writing that!
Last night as I lay in bed going over the events of the day and thinking about what still needs to be done, I found myself reminiscing about Christmases at my Gran’s house in the beautiful city of Port Elizabeth. My paternal Grandmother was a force to be reckoned with. She brought 6 children into this world, worked hard, taught Speech & Drama and generally ruled with an iron fist – all 5ft of her, if that.
I remember being a little scared of her when I was very young, but Christmases were always magical, especially when the whole family got together. Always a real tree sparkling with multi coloured lights and making the house smell like Christmas. These were the days when decorations, streamers and all manner of twirling shapes were draped in patterns from the ceiling. Adding my Gran’s brother’s family, as well as my Grandpa’s three sisters and their families, not to mention all the Grandchildren and cousins, Christmases could probably have looked more like a riot to an outsider, but tables were set up alongside one another, everyone brought food – the tables groaned under the weight of the food – and we ate, laughed, argued, discussed, rested, ate some more after which all the kids moved across the road to the park while the adults tidied up and rested some more. At one such gathering we took a photo of all the Grandchildren and I think there were 17 of us there that day.
Sadly, those days are long gone with the majority of the older generation having passed on and even a few of the younger generation no longer with us. Our family seems to have moved all around the world so these gatherings don’t happen anymore quite like they used to, but each generation takes a piece of their history and experience and passes it on to their own families.
Since moving to New Zealand, our Christmases have been much quieter, more relaxed affairs, more often than not opening our home and hearts to new friends, but the one thing we don’t compromise on is a real Christmas Tree. My family “surprise” me with a specially chosen tree each year and we spend an afternoon decorating it beautifully. The smell, the lights, the glass coloured decorations always remind me of my Gran and the privilege and pleasure of happy childhood memories. I think she would have liked this Christmas Log recipe too, glace cherries are another reminder of her so here’s to you Gran. A wonderful example of a strong, loving, energetic slightly eccentric lady. I wish I’d made the time to learn more about your cooking and baking while I had the chance. xxx
I copied this recipe from a magazine a few years ago and although the recipe calls for Amaretto liqueur, feel free to substitute with an Irish Cream to give it a “softer” flavour or leave the alcohol out completely.
It literally comes together in under 10 minutes and then you leave it in the fridge overnight to set. Ice with a ganache or simply smear a good helping of melted chocolate over the top. Allow that to set and slice before serving
Another simple and delicious Festive treat.
100 g butter, cubed
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup dark chocolate melts
1 tsp Amaretto liqueur (optional)
75 g crushed Amaretti biscuits (shortbread work well as a replacement)
75 g white chocolate drops
1 cup desiccated coconut
½ cup raisins
½ cup whole cherries
70 g hazelnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
Icing: 1 cup dark chocolate melts
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the butter, condenses milk and ½ cup chocolate into a bowl in the microwave on 50% power for 30-second intervals, stirring well (or just use the Melting Chocolate setting if your microwave has one – mine does, yay!)
- Allow to cool slightly and add the remaining ingredients, mixing well to combine.
- Spoon the mixture into a log shape ± 10 cm x 30 cm and refrigerate overnight.
- Melt the remaining chocolate and ice the log. Allow that to set before slicing and serving.