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Saturday, December 22, 2012


We always have fresh dates for Christmas. Great mounds of them piled high in fancy bowls alongside fresh cherries and all the nut varieties: hazels, walnuts, brazil and monkeys. A colourful display of Christmas fare and one that always seems a little decadent yet irresistible to me.

Fresh dates stuffed with an almond or walnut make an excellent hors d'oeuvre (little savoury appetisers) served with drinks. Substituting perfumed almond paste takes them to another level and straight into the petit four department. Excellent with a strong coffee after dinner or lunch.


20 fresh dates, pitted
225gm almond powder
110gm caster sugar
½ teaspoon orange blossom water
1//8 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 tablespoons of butter - Lescure is a great French butter worthy of its cost for this recipe

Cream the butter and sugar with an electric hand whisk until it is pale and the sugar is incorporated well into the butter with no grainy bits felt on the tongue at taste. A wooden spoon works just as well but requires plenty of elbow grease.

Add the other ingredients and combine well together.

Stuff each date with a little paste. And place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas tapa

On the lookout for something fishy and tasty to serve with drinks this Christmas I remembered a tapa we had in San Sebastian this summer. The above tapa is just about perfect considering there's nothing more fitting than prawns for Christmas in Australia. 

Place, in any order, on a short wooden skewer: a stuffed olive or two, half a tinned artichoke heart, two cooked prawns and a small piece of smoked salmon. Glisten the made up tapas with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.