Mouth-watering Recipes for a More Festive Holiday Season

Mouth-watering Recipes for a More Festive Holiday Season

Almost every family or individual will have a festive tradition whether it’s singing songs, playing a certain game, or just how the day proceeds. One thing is for sure though, there is generally a fair amount of food involved. The sharing of food provides important social interactions where people feel a sense of belonging and kinship, but it can also be where the difference between us can become apparent in our food traditions.

So, in the spirit of our small but diverse team, we share with you our food traditions.

Rosell (Client Applications Manager):

As someone from the Philippines, I’ve noticed that we Filipinos serve recipes based on our status. Well-off families normally have gastronomic niceties such as Quezo de bola, Embutido, Kaldereta, Bibingka, Puto Bumbong, leche flan, or salads for dessert. However, for middle class or lower-income families, it’s more like a birthday celebration wherein spaghetti and fried chicken are served. You may notice that the dishes have a bit of American or Spanish influence—understandable since our country spent hundreds of years under colonial rule. Here are two of my favourites:

Embutido

 

Mouth-watering Recipes for a More Festive Holiday Season

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ground pork
  • 12 pieces vienna sausage or 6 pcs hotdogs cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 hard boiled eggs sliced
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 raw eggs
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 cup red bell pepper minced
  • 1 cup green bell pepper minced
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup carrots minced
  • 1 cup onion minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups bread crumbs made by placing 4 slices of tasty bread in a food processor. If not using any food processor, just tear the bread.

Instructions:

  1. Place the ground pork in a large container
  2. Add the bread crumbs then break the raw eggs and add it in. Mix well
  3. Put-in the carrots, bell pepper (red and green), onion, pickle relish, and cheddar cheese. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the raisins, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper then mix well.
  5. Place the meat mixture in an aluminium foil and flatten it.
  6. Put in the sliced Vienna sausages and sliced boiled eggs alternately on the middle of the flat meat mixture.
  7. Roll the foil to form a cylinder—locking the sausage and egg in the middle of the meat mixture. Once done, lock the edges of the foil.
  8. Place in a steamer and cook for an hour.
  9. Place inside the refrigerator until temperature turns cold
  10. Slice and serve.

Leche Flan

Mouth-watering Recipes for a More Festive Holiday Season

Ingredients:

  • 10 eggs
  • 1 can condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 1 cup fresh milk or evaporated milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Using all the eggs, separate the yolk from the egg white (only egg yolks will be used).
  2. Place the egg yolks in a big bowl then beat them using a fork or an egg beater.
  3. Add the condensed milk and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour-in the fresh milk and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Put the mold (llanera) on top of the stove and heat using low fire
  6. Put-in the granulated sugar on the mold and mix thoroughly until the solid sugar turns into liquid (caramel) having a light brown colour. Note: Sometimes it is hard to find a llanera (traditional flan mold) depending on your location. I find it more convenient to use individual round pans in making leche flan.
  7. Spread the caramel (liquid sugar) evenly on the flat side of the mold.
  8. Wait for five minutes then pour the egg yolk and milk mixture into the mold.
  9. Cover the top of the mold using an aluminium foil
  10. Steam the mold with egg and milk mixture for 30 to 35 minutes.
  11. After steaming, let the temperature cool down then refrigerate.

Celeste (Client Experience Manager):

My family is a bit of a cocktail of nationalities and traditions because of the various cultural influences of the countries we’ve lived in and from our friends. I generally make blueberry and strawberry pancakes for everyone during Christmas morning with lots of bacon. And we do real maple syrup, none of the flavoured stuff. Trust me, it’s worth the extra money. If Christmas is a hot day, we generally have what my mother calls “The Persian Version”, which is a cold soup and so refreshing! If it’s a cooler day we’ll do that really North American thing of maple, brown sugar, and mustard glaze on ham.

These are directly from my mother, I had to beg to get them:

The Persian Version

Mouth-watering Recipes for a More Festive Holiday Season

A delicious traditional cold soup from Iran, refreshing for those hot summer days and a real crowd pleaser.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup small sultanas in enough water to cover
  • 2-3 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1 cucumber peeled, chopped into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup scallions/spring onions copped, both white and green parts
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • Optional – 1 cup sour cream for extra body and creaminess

Instructions:

  1. Soak raisins for five minutes.
  2. Combine yogurt, light cream, ice cubes, cucumber, spring onions, walnuts, salt, and pepper in a large serving bowl.
  3. Drain raisins. Add the raisins, cold water, dill, and parsley.
  4. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate for two hours to develop the flavours. If adding sour cream, do so before refrigerating.

Maple Sugar Ham Glaze

Mouth-watering Recipes for a More Festive Holiday Season

Ingredients with instructions:

  • In a saucepan combine:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or verjuice
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
  1. Heat gently until all ingredients are blended.

(You can replace the brown sugar with marmalade, currant jelly, or BBQ sauce. And you can replace the water with dry white wine. To adapt the glaze for your family’s tastes, you can add any of the following:)

  • 1 tablespoon of harissa paste
  • 1 tablespoon of Texas style bbq spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce and I tablespoon dry Chinese style wine
  • 2 tablespoons of a flavoured liquor such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Limoncello, Drambuie, or a red or white vermouth.
  1. Remove the rind/skin from the ham and score the fat layer only, avoiding cutting into the ham itself.
  2. Baste the ham and place it in the oven to heat on 180C.
  3. Baste every half hour with the glazing sauce.

The ham may need to bake for up to two hours depending on its weight.

My husband is a first-gen Aussie from Dutch parents, so is my best friend, and my master’s supervisor is Dutch too (I feel a little surrounded sometimes). One of the things I love, and not just during Christmas, is Speculaas cookies. I love dipping them in tea because of the beautiful spices but you also MUST try them with both a camembert and swiss cheese. I know it sounds crazy but you will never go back to plain crackers. Also, though I’ve never tried it, my best friend swears by Ham, Cabbage, and Potatoes One Pot Meal. He says it’s very easy and really quick for those unexpected guests that just happen to descend at your door during the festive period (thank you brother dearest for bringing your new girlfriend unannounced!).

Ham, Cabbage, and Potatoes One Pot Meal

Mouth-watering Recipes for a More Festive Holiday Season

Ingredients:

  • Ham (bone in is best—NOT flavored) Size determined by your preference
  • Potatoes-as many or as few as you would like
  • Cabbage-1 head

Instructions:

  1. Cube the ham into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes and place on bottom of a large pot.
  2. Cube the cabbage {1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes} layer on top of ham.
  3. Peel and cube potatoes and layer on top of the cabbage.
  4. Cover all with water about one inch above top of potatoes. Cook on high heat bringing to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft and cabbage is cooked—approximately 60 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to serve.
  6. Save the broth for soup.

Speculaas

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (donkerbruine basterdsuiker, see tips below, or pure raw cane sugar demerara)
  • 7 tablespoons butter (room-temperature)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or speculaaskruiden)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 orange (zested, finely grated)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or enough to dust the work surface)
  • 1 large egg white (beaten room-temperature)
  • Brown sugar (for sprinkling)
  • Flaked almonds (for sprinkling)

Instructions:

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, raw cane sugar, butter, milk, spice, baking soda, and zest with your hands or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. The dough is ready when you can shape it into a ball without it sticking to your hands.
  3. Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for an hour so the spices can work their magic.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 347 F or 175 C. Grease one or more cookie sheet pans or line them with parchment paper.
  5. Lightly flour your work surface and roll 1/4-inch thick.
  6. Using a cookie cutter or speculaas plank, cut the dough and place the shapes on the prepared sheet pan(s).
  7. Brush the cookies with egg white and sprinkle brown sugar and flaked almonds on top.
  8. Bake 10 to 25 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the cookies, or until the almonds are caramelizing and the cookies are turning a slightly darker shade of brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a few minutes on the pan(s) and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  10. Serve and enjoy!
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