What’s your Christmas menu?

I have just arrived home in Angouleme for the holidays. And what is the first thing we discussed around the table? The menu for the holidays of course!

I like to share what I do for Christmas, but I am also really curious to see whether you have any tradition you like to enjoy every year or if you like to change the menu from time to time?  What are your Christmas classics ? Which new recipe are you going to try this year ?

For or us this Christmas it will be:

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Banana-toffee Christmas cake

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!! Christmas has not started yet and I am already a couple of kilos heavier than usual. I have been doing goodbye/Christmas lunches, dinners and breakfasts all week before going back to France for the Christmas break and these don’t forgive! Good thing that I don’t eat all the cakes I bake in addition to this, otherwise I would not have fit in my seat on the Eurostar! But hey, that’s part of the festive spirit! My birthday is also just before Christmas (tomorrow actually!) so there is always a lot for me to celebrate at the end of December.

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Cauliflower gratin in parsley sauce & Enchanted Woodland

Cauliflower gratin 2

 

2 weeks ago I went to see the Enchanted Woodland Garden at Syon Park (Brentford). It was a truly magical experience that hits all senses. The whole parc is lit and decorated and the organisers have done an amazing job of making you feel like you are in a fairy tale, using all sorts of effects such as changing colours, twinkling lights, sound effects, steam and shadows.

Visiting this garden at night really added to the experience as you feel like all your senses are more awake, while the light effects really bring out every root and branch in the garden. If you live in London and missed it this year, plan a visit in 2015, especially if you have kids, they will love it.

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Pumpkin bread with vanilla drizzle

Pumpkin bread

And this is my contribution to the Home-Start Ealing Christmas Party! I have been contacted by Free Cake For Kids to bake for the event. I was really excited about it as it is my first time baking for FCFK, and hopefully not the last one! For the story, Home-Start Ealing is a charity supporting parents through challenging times. They are having a Christmas party this Tuesday and the bakers of FCFK Ealing have been asked to help out.

I wanted to make something seasonal for the occasion and decided to go for pumpkin bread. I made a batch of smaller ones which you can see on the cover picture, and also a bigger cake, below, which I fully iced and decorated. I am not exactly the queen of cake decoration, but it is a good start.

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Skinny Quince upside-down cake

Quince UPSD cake 2

So this is it, it is officially December and the count-down to Christmas has started. Well, sadly here it started right after Halloween, which felt a bit awkward.  And because I still can, I am baking yet another cake recipe with quince! Only wrote one a month ago, but then the season for quince is so short you gotta make the best of them while they last!

This cake is actually a great winter warmer with its caramelized fruit and hints of ginger, vanilla and cinnamon. It would be perfect with a cup of warm tea after an afternoon wandering around the streets looking at the decorated shop windows. And it is not that bad for you as I replaced half of the sugar with Splenda in this recipe .. does not do anything for the fat content sadly.

I have done just that last week. I happened to be working in central London on a Tuesday morning and I figured it was a great occasion to go and see the Christmas decorations in Covent Garden – I am not a fan of the crowded London streets in December so I jump on any occasion to avoid them.

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