Christmas Cooking – My Favourite Recipes Reblogged – White Christmas

Here is another post from  2014 when I shared some favourite Christmas recipes. I thought that I would share them all again this year for those that may not have seen them last time around. White Christmas is a great no-cook recipe.

White Christmas

Unlike the previous recipes in my Christmas Cooking series of posts White Christmas is a relatively new thing to me. I had never heard of it until I was well into my forties. It has become a firm favourite though and I sometimes make it to give as gifts to friends  as well as for the Christmas goodie basket I give my sister. It is very easy to make and doesn’t take long. In fact it’s so easy you could hardly even call it cooking.

I have two recipes for it to share with you.  One is made with copha and the other with white chocolate.

Go on, you have still got time to make some before Christmas.

Recipe One: submitted by austhome on www.allrecipes.com.au

Ingredients:

Serves: 6 

  • 3 cups Rice Bubbles
  • 1 cup dried mixed fruit
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup dry powdered milk
  • 3/4 cup of sifted icing sugar
  • 225 grams copha
  • drop of vanilla essence

Method:

Preparation:10min  ›  Cook:10min  ›  Ready in:20min 

  1. Put 3 cups of rice bubbles, 1 cup of mixed fruit, desiccated coconut, dry powdered milk and 3/4 sifted icing sugar in a bowl.
  2. Melt copha in saucepan. Add copha to dry ingredients in bowl and mix well.
  3. Press mixture firmly into a biscuit tray. Set in a refrigerator. Cut into squares.

    Mix the dry ingredients
    Mix the dry ingredients
Press into a biscuit tin
Press into a biscuit tin
White Christmas, this is the version made with copha.
White Christmas, this is the version made with copha.

It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Recipe Two: White Christmas with white chocolate

Sadly I didn’t make a note of who came up with this recipe but it came from the internet, either from allrecipes.com.au or a similar site. It is delicious and my favourite of the two.

Ingredients:

  • 375 grams white chocolate melts
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 cup dried mixed fruit
  • 1 cup rice bubbles
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup dry powdered milk – skim or full cream as you prefer
  • 1/4 cup halved glace cherries (optional).

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof  bowl over a pot of simmering water, don’t let the base of the bowl touch the water.
  2. Boil the cream in a small saucepan
  3. Mix the dried fruit, rice bubbles, coconut and milk powder into the melted chocolate.
  4. Stir in the cream and cherries and mix together carefully until well combined.
  5. Press into the tin and allow to set at room temperature (should take about an hour).

Cut into small squares with a knife dipped in boiling water.

This can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

I’m dreaming of more White Christmas:

http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/8738/white-christmas-made-with-white-chocolate

http://www.exclusivelyfood.com.au/2007/11/white-christmas-recipe.html

http://www.bakers-corner.com.au/recipes/slices/rocky-road/fruitless-white-christmas/

The food dish "White Christmas"
The food dish “White Christmas” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Magic Sunday in Wellington

Wellington is just across Cook Strait from Picton, the Interislander ferry takes about three hours to get there but for us on Explorer of the Seas it was an overnight journey. A few days later we attended a Q & A session with the Captain and some of the senior officers and a passenger asked why it had taken us so long to get there. I loved the answer which was “We are on a cruise.”

We arrived in Wellington very early though and after a short bus ride from the freight terminal (more stacks of timber) we reached the Visitor Information Centre where volunteers were waiting to meet us and help us find our way to wherever we wanted to go. We only had until about four o’clock in the afternoon to see as much as we could of Wellington and believe me that is nowhere near enough.  Naomi and I both wanted to ride on Wellington’s famous cable car and as it was Sunday and we’d heard there were markets on the waterfront we wanted to see those as well.

We were directed to the waterfront by way of an interesting bridge which the lady from the Visitors Centre told us was designed by a Maori artist.   It is a public artwork and was opened in 1994. We liked it very much.


We passed by a statue depicting rugby players. New Zealanders really love their rugby. Last year New Zealand hosted the rugby World Cup which they won.

 

Rugby sculpture Wellington
The Rugby sculpture.

Down on the waterfront we found one market which was just setting up, it seemed to be mostly produce and craft, the other one which I had read was more of a bric a brac market was supposed to be in a nearby building. We found the building but not the market so it appears we were misinformed again. I took some photographs anyway although it was a little bit overcast and dull.

Next we made our way through the city to the terminus of the cable car near Lambton Quay. There was already a long line of people waiting to ride on it. When I say long I mean the queue stretched out to the street. Unfortunately, although we didn’t have too long to wait it did mean that the car was very crowded and it was not easy to take pictures. After a short trip we arrived at the upper terminus and spent some time taking pictures of the cable car descending and then went to visit the Cable Car Museum next door.

A nearby cafe was our next stop for lunch and then we went for a walk in the adjacent Botanical Gardens. We didn’t try it because we had return tickets but you can walk back through the Botanical Gardens to the city. It’s all downhill so easier than going the other way. I definitely want to do that next time I am in Wellington.  We passed the Carter Observatory and an interesting structure called “The Sundial of Human Involvement”. It works by using a series of fixed points around an ellipse and then it takes a person standing on the right day and month within a figure eight on a brass slab to point out the correct time. In effect you become the hands of the clock. It sounds weird but we tried it and it works.   Neither of us had ever seen anything like this before but when I googled it just now several came up including some in Australia so apparently Wellington’s is not unique.

Sundial, Wellington NZ
Sundial of Human Involvement, Botanical Gardens Wellington
Wellington view
View from the Botanical Gardens.

We enjoyed the view of Wellington from the Botanical Gardens and explored a little before heading back to the Cable Car as we knew our time was short.

The cable car was not as crowded on the way down so we were able to enjoy the ride seated. Naomi was lucky enough to bag the front seat as she had her video camera. She was able to record most of the journey down to the city. I’m still waiting to see the movie but she tells me it came out quite well which she was pleased about because the camera was new for the trip.

As we were now in the CBD we walked around some of the main streets admiring the old buildings before stopping for a cold drink then we made our way back to the waterfront. It was now very bright and sunny and Naomi was keen to revisit some of the places we’d passed earlier when she felt it was too dull for filming anything.  We had a wonderful stroll through the waterfront precinct where many of the old buildings house cafe’s and businesses. Lots of people were out and about making use of the space. We passed two gaily painted pianos which were available for the public to play. I have heard of these street piano’s, I think they have appeared in cities all over the world but again this was the first time I’d seen any.

One of the old buildings we admired.
One of the old buildings we admired.
Clarries Museum. Wellington
Sadly I did not have time to find out what is in Clarrie’s Museum.

It is very hard to describe how a simple walk could be so enjoyable but I fell in love with Wellington that afternoon. I love the architecture, the water, the quotations that I saw painted on various buildings and the way that the people seemed to enjoy their city. Even the dogs were having a good time.

There are two museums located at the waterfront, the Wellington Museum which is housed in an old Bond Store on Queens Wharf and showcases the history of the Wellington region and at the other end the very modern looking Te Papa Tongarewa which is the National Museum and Art Gallery of New Zealand. Everyone says that the Te Papa is a “must” when you visit Wellington. I like visiting museums but on this visit we chose not to go because had we visited the two big museums we would not have had time to see anything else.  There are also ferries that go to other parts of the city and local trains which we would love to take so another visit to Wellington is going to be a “must”.

The Te Papa -National Museum and Art Gallery of New Zealand.
The Te Papa National Museum and Art Gallery of New Zealand.
The Wellington Museum
The Wellington Museum.

 

When we reluctantly headed back to the Visitor Information Centre to browse in the gift shop before catching the shutle bus back we were surprised to find that there was another cruise ship in town. It turned out to be “Radiance of the Seas” a younger and smaller sister of our  Explorer of the Seas. We’ve seen Radiance before in Sydney but it was a treat to see the two ships together on the wharf and to sail past her when we left at around five o’clock. Our last sight of Wellington was one of a small orange boat enthusiastically doing “donuts” before leaving us. A fitting end to a very happy day.

 

 

 

Information

For those of you who would like to know more about the places we visited or Wellington in general here are some links to explore.

Heritage Trails – http://wellington.govt.nz/recreation/enjoy-the-outdoors/walks-and-walkways/across-the-city/heritage-trails

City to Sea Bridge – http://www.sculptures.org.nz/tours/civic-square/city-to-sea-bridge

Rugby Sculpture – http://www.sculptures.org.nz/tours/civic-square/the-rugby-world-cup-celebration-sculpture

Kupe Sculpture – http://www.sculptures.org.nz/tours/waterfront-tour/kupe-statue

Wellington Botanical Gardens – http://wellington.govt.nz/recreation/enjoy-the-outdoors/gardens/botanic-garden/visitor-information

Wellington Museum – http://www.museumswellington.org.nz/wellington-museum/

Te Papa Tongarewa – https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/

 

 

Holiday Break

12386.jpgDear Blogging Friends

As you know I am heading off on a cruise holiday with my sister today. I will be taking my tablet to check emails and Naomi plans to take a laptop but we have been told that internet on board ship is slow and expensive so I am not expecting to be online very much for the next two weeks. I do expect to be taking a lot of photos so when I get back there will be the online equivalent of the holiday slide night on this blog. You have been warned :).

In the meantime I have scheduled some posts on both my blogs which I hope you will enjoy.

 

The Surprise Present

Nautical themed Surprise
Nautical themed Surprise

Have you all been agog with curiosity to find out what is in here? I was, as my sister had been dropping hints about it for some time. I wasn’t even sure why she was getting me a present as my birthday had been and gone ages ago.

On the day that she gave it to me she explained that she’d started collecting bits for it soon after we booked our holiday and that it was a thank you present to me for organising it.

Here is what was inside:

My Surprise present.
My Surprise present.

Everything in the bag is to be used on holiday, except for the old book “Mediterranean Holiday”. I am reading that now. I’m very fond of old travel books like this. Some things are for entertainment, others are practical.

Luggage scales will be handy for both of us. Lint rollers, well I don’t want to go on holidays covered in dog hair. I’ll probably have to run one over myself at the airport after saying goodbye to Cindy. A First Aid Kit is always a handy thing to have.

Practical items in my suprise package.
Practical items in my surprise package.

I would certainly have bought a travel diary, now I won’t have to and I love the design on this one. There is a notebook too which will be handy for shopping lists, things to do lists and assorted notes and scribbles. She even remembered the pens.

Stickers for the scrapbook I’ll make of the holiday photos when we come back and a scarf with a dog that looks like Cindy because you need something to remind you of your dog when you are away.

Travel diary and note book, my sister knows me well.
Travel diary and note-book, my sister knows me well.
Pens for writing, stickers for scrapbooking the journey later.
Pens for writing, stickers for scrapbooking the journey later.

Something to do when we’re lounging around on deck. I’m probably going to take some knitting as well. I’ll make Barbie outfits or some other small items. A good excuse to take a Barbie on holidays. There is another scarf there too, a nautical one which you probably can’t see very well and a moonstone to keep me safe.

To pass the time on deck with.
To pass the time on deck with.

 

As well as all the things mentioned the Moonstone is supposed to keep you safe when you travel.
As well as all the things mentioned the Moonstone is supposed to keep you safe when you travel.

The other book ” Surprise Sailaway” I’m keeping for shipboard reading. It’s about two sisters who go on a cruise holiday together. Of course we are not looking for romance but a little adventure might be fun.

My sister said when she saw this book she had to get it for me.
My sister said when she saw this book she had to get it for me.

I thought that this was such a thoughtful gift and I am really looking forward to using all the things in it especially the diary.

 

The Sail Away Sisters

My sister said when she saw this book she had to get it for me.
My sister said when she saw this book she had to get it for me.

Dear Blogging friends

For some time now I have been holding out on you. I’ve been keeping a secret and now I want to share it with you all. My sister and I are going on a cruise next year.

We started planning it in late April but both of us were scared to say anything to anyone in case we jinxed ourselves. There were obstacles to be overcome. My sister  did not know if she’d be able to get leave from work. I didn’t have a valid passport, we had to save up enough money to pay for the holiday and of course there is the uncertainty over my Hubby’s health.

Gradually we are getting there, we’ve both been saving hard and selling a few things on eBay to make a little extra cash. My sister’s leave has been approved and I have applied for and received my brand new passport. Hubby’s health is still a cause of concern. When we began to plan this I had no idea he would be in hospital for so long. I have no idea how well he will be in six months time  but decided to go ahead with the plans anyway. I will worry of course but I’ll make sure that he is taken care of. I feel that I really need a couple of weeks break from stress and worry because we still have a very long way to go .

We will be sailing from Sydney in February of next year on Royal Caribbean’s “Explorer of the Seas” for an 11 day cruise to New Zealand. We’ve both wanted to go on a cruise for ages and have often talked about places we’d like to go but usually our talks would end up as fantasies about sailing across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary rather than cruises we could actually afford to do right now. One day my sister sent me an email about this New Zealand cruise which she’d seen an advertisement for saying that it would be a nice trip to do. I decided to pop in to a travel agent next time I was in Hobart and ask about prices to see if there were any better deals than the one in the ad and my timing was just right. There was a special. Buy one fare and get the second one for half price. The very helpful young man at the travel agent did some calculations for me and I was able to give my sister actual costs and say. “Could you save this amount by the end of the year? She thought she could.

Explorer of the Seas

We haven’t been on a holiday together since we went to Sydney in 2012 and we’ve never been overseas together. We decided that the time had come and committed ourselves to the trip. Since then talking about and planning for our holiday has kept us both going through all the trials of this year. We just can’t wait to go although I feel like I won’t really believe it’s happening until we’re in the plane flying to Sydney.

In my next post I’ll show you the “Surprise Present” my sister had been working on since we booked the trip.

Nautical themed Surprise
Nautical themed Surprise

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

image blue line
The Blue Line

The Hobart Christmas Pageant

Blue lines on the road mean just one thing. It’s Christmas Pageant time. Today was the day of the Hobart Christmas Pageant and it was a bright and sunny one, a pleasant change from the wet weather we’ve been having lately.

I have only seen the Hobart Pageant once or twice and compared to the famous Christmas parades around the world it is small and has rather a home-made feel to it. Nevertheless it is full of colour and participants and spectators clearly enjoyed it.

image clown doctor car
The Clown Doctors organisation
image toy train
Can’t have a Christmas parade without a train.
image vintage car
Enjoying being part of the pageant
image pipers
The Police Pipe Band

The pageant is sponsored by the local Myer department store. Local businesses, clubs and organisations made up the parade, there were not many motorised floats but there was a lot of music from brass band, pipe bands and other live music.

Image Pipers
Another of the three pipe bands.

image  brass instrument

image drummer

The most colourful display of all came from the local Buddhist group who provided not only a float but a colourfully costumed group of marchers and a lion dance. The RSPCA was out if force with dogs as were the Royal Guide Dogs people and not to be outdone the Speech Pathology people brought along a couple of poodles!

image marching with flag
They proudly marched chanting “Left, Left, Left, Right, Left”
image Lion Dancers
Lion Dancers
image dogs
The RSPCA brought dogs along.
image Guide Dogs
The Guide Dogs in training enjoyed the walk.
image poodles
The “Speechies” from Speech Pathology thought they shouldn’t miss out on a walk.

Being the sentimental type the sound of the pipes and the smiles of the people made me tear up a bit. I thoroughly enjoyed the morning and it does feel as if Christmas is right around the corner.

image Polish Dancers
The Polish Dancers
image steam tractor
One of my favourites
image man and donkey
Churches also participated
image Santa's Sleigh
The jolly old gentleman arrives at last.

Santa Claus

image float
Ho Ho Ho Hobart