Gingerbread house

gingerbread house completed

Market ingredient: Not applicable this week
Difficulty: Can be fairly difficult, depending on the degree to which you decorate
Deliciousness: So sweet
Did The Beard like it? He didn’t even get to try it. Unlucky.

A gingerbread house is really a labour of love. And man do I love making them. A bit of a family tradition in the Brown household, they were always the most hotly anticipated aspect of Christmas when we were kids. My Aunt & Uncle would bring one along every year and we would wait patiently all day, only to destroy it as we all scrambled to claim the lolly-filled chimney for ourselves. Whilst I could never take replace T&S’s role of gingerbread creators for family Christmases, I’ve taken it upon myself to be come the bearer of all things gingerbread at the Christmas party my friends & I have every year. Generally about a month out from Christmas, we get together to eat, drink and open ridiculous Secret Santa presents. Each person brings something and my role is always the house.

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Beef, mushroom & spinach lasagne

beef, mushroom and spinach lasagne

Market ingredient: Pasta Gallery Fresh Lasagne sheets (although the mushies, spinach and basil were also from the markets)
Difficulty: Easy but bechamel takes a lot of love
Deliciousness: Hearty
Did The Beard like it? It’s apparently his favourite lasagne (just don’t tell his Mum)

So, it’s a bit of an excited blog post for 2 reasons:

  1. I’ve finally opened up some fantastic box lights that were given to me by Stevie-from-across-the-road’s wonderful wife-to-be, the divine Miss H. Miss H is a spectacular designer and photographer. Not only does she take better photos of food than I could ever hope to take (my iphone isn’t really helping my cause much either) but she is also ridiculously generous. When she told me she had two box lights just sitting under her desk at work and they were mine if I wanted them, I was tres excited. So this is my first crack at banishing yellow-lit food from this blog.
  2. The Beard and I are in the middle of planning a big holiday to North Africa / Sicily / Malta. Those that know me know that I’m a bit of an Italian-want-to-be and have a bit of a romantic notion of that country. I’ve just spent the entire weekend reading up on Sicily, where we are going to be spending 2 out of the 4 weeks away. After picking up some of Pasta Gallery’s Fresh Lasagne sheets this week, it seemed only appropriate that we finish the weekend out with some hearty Italian fare.

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Hazelnut meringue stack with hazelnut praline cream

Singular Hazelnut meringue stack

Market ingredient: Australian Gourmet Hazelnuts, from Mudgee
Difficulty: Not hard, just takes time
Deliciousness: Sweet with a hint of bitterness
Did The Beard’s friend Jim like it? The praline was a bit bitter for his liking

It’s been over a month since I’ve blogged about something I’ve cooked. Pretty lame, I know. Apologies. No excuse other than the fact that I’ve been lazy. So lazy in that I’d actually cooked this particular dish 3 weeks ago and it has taken me this long to write it up. What I actually really liked about this particular recipe is that is was part of an impromptu dinner party The Beard and I had one Saturday night with AOB & Jim. For no reason at all other than we just felt like it. Now the Hazelnut Guy at Eveleigh is pretty new. Seems to swap in and out with the Macadamia Nut Guy. Selling these goodies roasted or raw, ground or whole, they were really delicious. Much like the Macadamias I’ve used before, there’s something to be said for fresh nuts that haven’t been sitting in a supermarket for months on end. These are so much more flavoursome.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like…

Gingerbread house of 2010So it suddenly occurred to me in the wee hours of this morning that Christmas is almost upon us and I haven’t put a second’s thought to this year’s Gingerbread house! For those who are unaware of this event, I’ve made it a bit of an annual tradition to make up a gingerbread house for Friends Christmas Party we hold every year. I generally put the word out for feature requests and see what I can come up with. And each year I try to incorporate at least some of the features.

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Infographic of dining etiquette

Dining Etiquette 101

Browse more data visualization.
So who doesn’t love a good bit of data visualisation? I sure do. Especially when it has to do with graphically representing dining etiquette (thanks, Visually). Although I’m not sure that I agree with the Finished Position of the knife & fork. And I didn’t realise that asparagus could be classed as a finger food.
The things you learn….