It is a rare occasion for us to celebrate Christmas in Zurich, a rather welcome change as it has given me the opportunity to cook on Christmas Day, something which might prompt fear and dread in most people but has instead filled me with glee as the Christmas season started to approach.
I love baking at this time of the year. With the scent of cakes and bakes heady with cinnamon and ginger wafting from the kitchen, you can really start to feel Christmas in the air. And what better way to kick off the festive season than with a batch of homemade gingerbread cookies?
Merry Christmas everyone! Wishing you all a happy holiday season with your families and loved ones.
Thank you so much for your support and company this past year on Eat, Little Bird. 2014 looks to be an exciting year ahead and I look forward to sharing more of my favourite recipes and travel tips here on this blog. Eat, drink and save room for Christmas pudding!
My husband and I are delighted to announce the arrival of our first child, a healthy and bouncing little boy, in late November. He has inherited his mother’s love for sleep and eating, except, of course, his mother has been doing little of either in recent weeks 😉
In preparation for his arrival, I had lined up several posts in readiness for publishing on this blog in the coming months, but pregnancy is so often fraught with periods of distraction (particularly nesting in the third trimester) that my to-do list soon became a to-do item in itself. And since the Little One’s birth, I’m not even sure where that to-do list is anymore …
But as our Little One is approaching one month old (didn’t we just bring him home from the hospital??), bits and pieces of my former life are reappearing and I suddenly feel a sense of normality returning, if only very briefly. So I am stealing a moment right now to try and quickly post something, not to mention that I even found time to do some food photography this morning! Amazing how little sleep one really needs to function 😉
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you have all had a good start to 2012 with lots of fine celebrations, good food and good company.
Christmas for us is usually spent with our family in Brittany, a cold and windy region in the north-west of France. Except, this year, it was thankfully not so cold and windy, which meant that my Ugg boots which I had lugged with me on the 9 hour train journey from Zurich didn’t even make an appearance this winter. There were even moments when the sun shone for more than a few hours, allowing us (and every other family it seemed) to take a lovely stroll along the magnificent beaches, something which one would normally only want to brave in summer.
The holiday season is often synonymous with an abundance of food, which is necessarily coupled with bouts of inactivity (preferably on the sofa) where one is unable to move for all of the food which has just been consumed. I have still yet to work out if it is a norm for my in-laws or a custom which they adopt only when I am visiting, but each meal that we sit down to comprises of an alarming 6 courses, and once you add up the time taken to get through each course, you will find that you’ve been eating for a good 3 hours before coming to the sudden realisation that the next 6 course meal is only a few hours away. Do this a few times a day for a week and you would hardly need encouragement to ensure that your New Year’s resolution will include some form of dieting.
Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings to everyone!
I hope you have had a wonderful season cooking and baking your Christmas favourites, as well as being inspired by some new recipes.
More importantly, I hope you are all enjoying this Christmas season in the company of good friends and family. Thank you so much for being a visitor to eat, little bird. This blog was started after several years of procrastination and perhaps intimidation by some amazing food blogs out there, but I am so happy to have bitten the bullet and to have met such wonderful foodie friends from all over the world. Thank you again for your company
The following recipe is inspired by one from Nigella Christmas, a book which is always a great source of comfort and inspiration to me at this time of the year. Nigella Christmas is a colourful and calorie-filled collection of recipes which are ideal at Christmas, but also for parties and entertaining in general. Oftentimes throughout the year, I find myself cooking from this book whenever we have a large gathering, particularly since a lot of the recipes are in the “serves 16-20 people” category. Though, most of the recipes can easily be scaled down to accommodate more sensible headcounts.
I have never really been a big fan of Swiss biscuits, Christmas or otherwise. In all fairness, I haven’t really sampled too many because, quite frankly, they are not always the most appealing when lined up next to the fancy American cookies or British biscuits. When presented with the choice between a cookie oozing with morsels of chocolate and a Läckerli, the latter doesn’t stand a chance, despite the fact that Läckerli is derived from the German word lecker which means delicious. Indeed, Läckerli – a hard, spiced biscuit made from hazelnuts and honey – is delicious, but just not my everyday biscuit of choice.
As soon as the street vendors start setting up their chestnut-roasting stations in Zurich, I know that Christmas is around the corner. I adore these roasted beauties, their sweet and fluffy interior making for the perfect street snack when you need something warm and filling. Sometimes when the air is bitingly cold, a little bag of roasted chestnuts is the perfect excuse to warm your hands while you are waiting for your tram.
If there is one cake which I always look forward to making and eating at Christmas, it would have to be gingerbread. Whether it is gingerbread in the form of beautifully iced and spicy biscuits, or the more sticky and moist sponge cake, I love them all. Anything which is heady with the aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger is something I would be happy to sit down to with a big mug of tea.
If you are a fan of white chocolate, you will love White Christmas. I’m not sure where this recipe originated from and how the name came about, but it is ridiculously easy to make and serves well as a sweet treat throughout the festive season, not to mention that they are great as Christmas gifts too.
In a perfect world, my biscuit tin would be constantly stocked with homemade biscuits and cookies, ready for those moments when I sit down to my afternoon cup of tea or when friends and neighbours drop by unexpectedly. Unfortunately, my full-time job often prevents the opportunity for frequent baking during the week, something which I try to make up for over the weekend.
I know that dried cranberries are available throughout the year, but somehow it seems more fitting to use them when Christmas is around the corner. I started off making a simple shortbread and then added my current seasonal favourites – dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, oats and lemon zest. The following recipe is the result of my experiment.
With Christmas looming around the corner, my thoughts have been turning to holiday baking and the return of seasonal favourites which make their annual (but much anticipated) appearance around this time of year. I always look forward to the first batch of fruit mince pies, which is a rather curious phenomenon for me considering that I am actually not a big fan of fruit mince. In fact, I loathe fruit cakes and traditional Christmas cakes; I can eat a slither of a slice out of politeness, so long as there is a nice cup of tea to help me wash it down.