In My Kitchen, December 2015

My last IMK post for the year and firstly, I’d like to thank my friend, Celia, for hosting the series for the last five years.  Celia has done an amazing job of managing all our posts and sending them out all over social media.  She is now passing the baton to Maureen who couldn’t be a better choice for managing this series.

Mini Christmas Cakes

Mini Christmas Cakes from last year.

In my kitchen I have some condiments sent to me by Rosella.  Rosella is an Australian owned company that was started in 1895.  They make excellent, quality products that I have had in my home for as long as I can remember.  My Alfie particularly likes Rosella tomato sauce.

Rosella products

Rosella products

In my kitchen there is a lot of baking, baking, baking and it’s all in the name of Christmas.  Here is a large bowl of fruit and nuts soaking in orange juice, lemon juice and brandy.

The first step in making a Christmas cake

The first step in making a Christmas cake

After a number of steps it became four smallish Christmas cakes that in the days ahead I will cover in marzipan and royal icing, then decorate like the cake in the first image.  I’ve made the cakes to give to school teachers and swimming coaches.  And just in case there’s an allergy I’m not aware of, these have been made gluten-free.

Four Christmas cakes

Four Christmas cakes

In my kitchen I have glace fruits and nuts sitting in a bowl.  This is the first step in making festive fruit and nut cakes.  Usually you just make one cake in a ring-tin but another option is to put the cake mix into two bar tins.

Preparing the fruit and nuts for the Festive Fruit and Nut Cakes

Preparing the fruit and nuts for the Festive Fruit and Nut Cakes

Here are the cakes cooling after coming out of the oven.  They have been drizzled with a toffee which gives them a glossy look.  I’ve made four of these cakes and they’re all gifts except for the one I’ll keep for me.

Festive Fruit and Nut Cakes

Festive Fruit and Nut Cakes

They don’t look all that good in the cake tin but here’s a photo from a cake I made last year.  These cakes are dense in fruit and nuts and there’s only around 1/2 a cup of flour shared between the two cakes.  When sliced, these cakes remind me of stained glass windows with all their pretty colours.

Hardly any flour in this cake

Hardly any flour in this cake

In my kitchen I have glace fruits and nuts soaking in rum.  This was the first step in making a frozen chocolate Christmas pudding.  Europeans traditionally eat plum pudding at Christmas but here in Oz we’ve modified the idea to suit our summer season.  In the high heat of summer, a frozen dessert on Christmas Day is greatly appreciated.

Soaking the fruit and nuts in rum

Soaking the fruit and nuts in rum

I made the frozen chocolate Christmas pudding to take to a Christmas party that was held last weekend.  It was a sit-down lunch for around 12 adults with a few children running around.  Everyone loved the pudding and so I promised I’d blog the recipe – stand by – next post coming up!

Frozen Chocolate Christmas Pudding

Frozen Chocolate Christmas Pudding

In my kitchen I have a saucepan full of cranberries.  This is 2kgs (4.25lbs) of cranberries that I bought to make cranberry sauce.  As fresh cranberries are non-existent in these parts, these cranberries are sold frozen and come from the USA.

One or two cranberries

One or two cranberries

The 2kgs of cranberries turned into eight jars of cranberry sauce.  Here are three jars I tied with Christmas ribbon to give away as gifts.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

In my kitchen I have cherry chutney that for some reason, I didn’t photograph.  I can tell you that stoning 1kg (1lb) of cherries is a very messy business and when the cherry chutney was simmering away, I spent the next 90-minutes wiping all the surfaces that had been splattered with a cherry juice sprinkle.

Cherry Chutney

Cherry Chutney

In my kitchen I have Rosie.  She always joins me on a cooking season, staying very close to my feet.  How she doesn’t think I’ll trip over her one day is beyond me.  I constantly rely on a sixth sense letting me know where she is as I move across the kitchen carrying hot saucepans and scolding cake tins.



You can see where she has been shaved by the vet for diagnostic purposes.  She looks a bit odd with all the bald patches but with all the heat we’re having she doesn’t need that fur anyway.

A very 'squat' snowman

How I’m hoping to decorate my Christmas cakes

If you’d like to do an IMK post in December, please link up with Celia from before December 10.  After that, Maureen from Orgasmic Chef will host the series.

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  1. Amazing assortment of Christmas treats and cooking supplies. I’ll have to keep an eye out for a nice Christmas fruit cake to enjoy on the day. Rosie’s smart … the kitchen is a warm place, especially when it’s nippy, she has her ‘mom’ nearby and you never know when a treat may be headed your way. 🙂

  2. Things look very busy in your kitchen with all of that baking! I’ll bet the recipients of those cakes love you to bits!

  3. Wow, look at your, all organised with your Christmas cakes and preserves! Nice one Charlie xx

  4. You sure have a lot of tasty treats in your kitchen. I just started thinking about my Christmas baking, I’m hoping to make about ten different things. I love these in my kitchen series, so fun. Maureen is an excellent choice to host next year.

  5. Wish you could bottle up some of your kitchen smell and attach it to this post. With all of that baking you have going on, I bet your kitchen smells delicious! Fruit and nut cakes – YUM!!!

  6. What delicious-looking presents. It’s so thoughtful of you to make the gift cakes gluten-free. Have a great Xmas. I’ll be off line from Dec 18 but hope to catch up again with your blog in the new year.

  7. Oh the pictures of Rosie! She is so beautiful and plainly so devoted to you 💜💜💜

  8. Wow you really are in the swing of christmas – I started gingerbread for some gingerbread houses today – v nervous as I am still a novice but am using the recipe from your blog which worked well for me. But not much christmas stuff in our kitchen yet. I love your little labels for the preserves – your whole packaging look is really lovely – I should do some jam for presents – did it the last few years but have to get organised to do it

  9. Your cakes are so gorgeous! Like stained glass windows with the light through them. 🙂

  10. Your whole house must smell like Christmas! I raided Marks & Spencers today and that’s as Christmassy as I’m going to get I’m afraid. I wish you could bottle up the smells in your kitchen and send them my way!

  11. I love holiday baking season! It looks like you are off to a great start!

  12. We all envy you for your holiday baking. I can’t imagine doing all that. Do you have a big oven? I have a small oven with ONE baking rack. Everything takes forever.

  13. I always love to see what’s going on in your kitchen during the Christmas season! What a good idea to give cranberry sauce and cherry chutney as gifts. And sweet Rosie, you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful and sweet kitchen companion. 🙂

  14. Ooo, I would love to be in your kitchen with all the Christmas baking. Can’t resist a slice of Christmas cake with a nice cup of tea. I see a lot of weight gain happening with me this holiday!
    Have a beautiful day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  15. Oh, the colors of the cranberry and cherry gifts. So lovely.

  16. Wow, your kitchen is bursting with goodies! Great stuff this month. And always good to see a picture of Rosie. Our cat loves to get underfoot when we’re in the kitchen (or anywhere, really). I think she enjoys tripping us. 🙂

  17. Charlie, I adore your Christmas cakes – such a great idea to give them as gifts – the recipients are so lucky! And your fruit and nut cakes are amazing too – love all those fruit chunks in there!

  18. Wow, your kitchen is quite busy in December! Everything looks so delicious! The homemade cranberry sauce and chutney are my favorites – great presentation, the recipients are so lucky!

  19. Your cakes are absolutely gorgeous Charlie!! You are so clever, I hate dealing with fondant icing! Thank you for the peek inside your kitchen.

    Gourmet Getaways

  20. Nothing beats a homemade fruit and nut cake at Christmas Charlie and your’s all look amazing….and as for plum pudding I can hardly wait for Christmas day and the week after so I can eat it every day :)x Love the look of your cherry chutney and cranberry sauces too. Merry Christmas to you, Jan x

  21. It looks so very busy in your kitchen Charlie!! Full of festive treats 😀

  22. your tiffany cakes look very pretty. aka stained glass window cakes. what a lot is going on in your kitchen but it is that time of year isn’t it? rosie looks ever so sweet even with patches.:) i couldn’t get frozen cranberries anywhere last year but coles did have some bags so i managed to snaffle one so i can make a wee bit of relish. i don’t know why the big stores have to make our lives so difficult. Merry Xmas to you and yours! xx

  23. Those Mini XMAS cakes are perfectly adorable!!

  24. The aromas that come from your kitchen must be amazing! I absolutely love those fruit and nut cakes. I can’t think of any Christmas delicacy I’d enjoy more! Rosie looks absolutely adorable and I’m sure she’s enjoying your company while you spend hours in the kitchen!

  25. What a very productive Christmas kitchen!

  26. It’s looking like Christmas in your kitchen already! I am hoping to compile my holiday baking list this weekend. I’m sure the boys will have some input as to what cookies we bake. Then. Need to plan Christmas brunch and dinner… Your cakes look so beautiful as do your preserves.

  27. The holiday prep has already started at your house! I remember those gorgeous cakes—lucky teachers!!! And Izzy is just like Rosie—always underfoot 🙂

  28. Mr Bite insists there isn’t a UK tomato sauce to rival the Rosella brand! They do make excellent sauces.

    I am so impressed with your Christmas efforts – I haven’t started!!

  29. Oh my goodness, I’m feeling very disorganised now LOL! Your fruit cakes look so lovely. I made some Christmas cakes in empty pineapple tins a few years ago and gave them as presents. Must do that again, though I’d better get moving!!!

  30. Hello Rosie 🙂 Your cakes look lovely and impressive. And the cranberry sauce and cherry chutney jars are too cute. Happy December x

  31. I love all your pictures and all that fruit! So colourful and so tasty. My mom is currently soaking fruit for her Christmas cake! I want to try my hand and making mincemeat again this year (I did it my first year in Korea) and you’ve certainly inspired me. I think the recipe I am most curious about is the chocolate fruit and nut pudding! That looks and sounds divine – even in the depths of winter.

  32. Such a festive kitchen! You have so many wonderful holiday treats in the works. It will be a delicious Christmas no doubt! Love that Rosie is at your feet. One of our kitties is that way – always at my feet. One day I’m certain he will topple me over. Still I like their company. 🙂

  33. You are so good and so far ahead of me with you Christmas baking 🙂 I did make some of your cranberry sauce last year and it was delicious!!! Merry Christmas and have a wonderful time with friends and family! I look forward to all your adventures in 2016! Liz xx

  34. Some very lucky gift recipients from your kitchen, they all look gorgeous. Unfortunately I can’t get into the Christmas baking this year with the renovation and moving in and out of the house so I’m living vicariously through yours, okay. I hope you have a very lovely Christmas

    Every single thing in your kitchen, including Ruby!
    Those lush cakes.
    The gifts in a jar.
    You are quite something. xx

  36. There are a lot of things happening in your kitchen, my dear friend! I know that that easy cranberry sauve rocks! I made it last year. So yummy!
    The real old-fashioned Christmas cakes, I haven’t made yet because it is not a tradition in Belgium to eat them. You do a lot of baking, that is so true! xxx

  37. All those fruit cakes are making me hungry! Those preserves look wonderful too.


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