Reindeer Poo, a Christmas Cake and a Fairy-Bread Christmas Tree

How’s everyone holding up?  Here at Hotly Spiced Headquarters we (mostly me) feel we’re drowning.  With just one sleep to go before Christmas Eve and about 10 days of preparation to do, I’m clutching my worry beads.

Reindeer Poo

Reindeer Poo

One of the things we had to fit into yesterday’s schedule was a trip to Terminal 2 at Sydney’s domestic airport.  No, we weren’t going anywhere nor were we picking anyone up, but Carl’s parents were flying from the Sunshine Coast to Canberra with a three-hour pit-stop in Sydney.  Totally ridiculous when the entire flight takes no more than an hour and a half but there you go, some people don’t mind taking all day to do something that can be done in a couple of hours.

I made a double quantity

I made a double quantity

We rushed from a Christmas Brunch which was really enjoyable and I made this fairly-bread Christmas tree for all the children to enjoy and they certainly did enjoy it as it disappeared in just a couple of minutes.  I found the idea on my friend, Carolyn’s blog, Desire Empire.  The day was as hot as Hades but Alfie was nice and cool as there was a swimming pool and that was where he spent most of the morning.

A fairy-bread Christmas tree.  The trunk is bread sprinkled with drinking chocolate.  The star is covered in shimmering green sprinkles.

A fairy-bread Christmas tree. The trunk is bread sprinkled with drinking chocolate. The star is covered in shimmering green sprinkles.

Anyway, rushing home from that we packed up the presents for those relatives living in Canberra that we won’t be seeing this Christmas and headed to the airport.  As is fairly standard, when we arrived we tried to contact Carl’s parents to find out where, in that vast concrete chasm were they located only to have them not answer their phone, repeatedly.  And repeatedly.  ‘It will be switched off, Carl’, I said because his parents are very good at tipping me over the edge especially at this time of the year.

I didn't have shredded coconut so used dessicated

I didn’t have shredded coconut so used dessicated

Finally, after minutes of wandering around the terminal looking for them they answered their phone saying it had somehow switched itself off and perhaps I could take a look at it and work out why.  ‘I don’t have a Nokia’, I said.  Then they told us they had arrived at Gate 33 so we changed course and headed to Gate 33 but of course, they weren’t there were they.  They were sitting in the crowded food court eating McNuggets, a long way from Gate 33.  Like I said, they want to tip me over the edge.

Stir, stir, stir

Stir, stir, stir

We found them.  It was an effort but we got there.  There they were sandwiched between McDonalds and Subway in the most crowded and noisy part of the food court and I’m sure there was vomit under the table beside us.  It was almost impossible to hear anything that was said as the sound of the metal chairs being dragged and scratched across the tiled floor was deafening.  And headache inducing. mother-in-law handed me a paper bag.  It’s a present for you honey, it’s a book.  I don’t mind a bit of mystery with a gift but no surprises this year.  She then gave me the title of the book and spent 15 minutes giving me a summary of every chapter.  Now I won’t even need to read it.  I could have left it with her.

The bags say, 'Reindeer Treats' but that's only because I couldn't find poo bags!

The bags say, ‘Reindeer Treats’ but that’s only because I couldn’t find poo bags!

The first thing I did when I arrived home was pour myself a wine.  A big one.  Archie was home for dinner but not Arabella; she was working.  Archie’s girlfriend came for a pre-Christmas dinner as she is about to fly to Perth to spend Christmas with her family.  As we were seated out on the verandah under the shimmer of my multi-coloured icicle lights and hoping for any sign of a cool change, Archie said he won’t be home for the Christmas Eve dinner.  ‘What do you mean you won’t be home?  You’re already working Christmas Day’.

These make a great gift

These make a great gift

Yes, Archie has to work Christmas Day.  Wouldn’t be so bad if he was doing something important like putting out fires or driving an ambulance to the nearest hospital but no, he can’t spend Christmas Day with us because he’s been rostered onto an eight-hour shift waiting tables in a local restaurant.

And yesterday they told him he has to work Christmas Eve.  It’s another eight-hour shift starting at 8am.  ‘But Archie, if you’re starting at 8am you’ll be home just after four’.

‘No mum; they’ve given me a split shift.  I have to do 8am – 2pm then 6pm – 10pm’.  He’s the only one rostered for a split shift.  Call me bitter and twisted but I think the whole thing is grossly unfair.

On a happier note, I saw this Reindeer Poo on my good friend, Rebecca’s blog, The Intolerant Chef.  I thought this was such a fun idea and quickly made it.  And I mean ‘quickly’.  This can be put together in less than 15 minutes and that’s not going at Jamie Oliver speed either.  I made these for ‘Carols by the Sea’ that we went to on Saturday night.  I do love Carols by Candlelight and we get together with a bunch of good friends and go every year.  I even take my dogs; they love a sing-a-long.

The reindeer poo was a big hit with the children and the adults and the dogs didn’t mind a bit of poo either.  If you’re looking for something festive that doesn’t take all day to put together, try this poo.  I had a packet of pistachio nuts lying around so I added them to Rebecca’s recipe.

Reindeer Poo and it’s Gluten-Free

Makes:  A tray of poo

Degree of Difficulty:  1/5

Cost:  I think these can be put together with all the bits and pieces that are leftover from other baking so if that’s the case, they’re practically free!

  • 200gms Lindt chocolate- 70% and over is lactose free
  • 3/4 cup gf Mini Marshmallows
  • 3/4 cup shredded Coconut
  • 1/2 cup Glace Cherries, halved
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts
  • good pinch Salt

Melt chocolate over a double boiler.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and stir well.  Place tablespoons on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Place in the fridge or a cool place to set.

A Christmas cake covered in marzipan then white fondant

A Christmas cake covered in marzipan then white fondant

I also wanted to show you my Christmas cake.  I didn’t make the decorations and they’re not edible.  It’s a haphazard collection of things that’s grown over the years and I’d be in all sorts of trouble if I didn’t, every year, bring out these decorations.  You can see the little dog (same breed as my girls) has left footprints in the snow.  Carl made the footprints with the blunt end of a pencil – whatever works!

A white fondant rope twist twirls around the base and is affixed with edible glue

A white fondant rope twist twirls around the base and is affixed with edible glue

Here’s where you’ll find the recipe for this gluten-free Christmas cake.

Some Christmas bits and pieces collected over the years.  Not valuable, just precious.

Some Christmas bits and pieces collected over the years. Not valuable, just precious.

Best wishes to everyone who’s celebrating Christmas with the last minute preparations – my you have God-speed!

A dachshund leaves footprints in the snow.

A dachshund leaves footprints in the snow.

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  1. I loved so much… Thank you dear Charlie, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, love, nia

  2. Great post, so full of real Christmas, not the glossy telly one. Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. GG xx

  3. Love the footprints.
    So sorry that Archie will be AWOL on both the 24th and 25th, that must be so disappointing and of course he wont understand, your feelings until he has his own kids.
    Glad the fairy bread Christmas tree was a hit.

  4. Some people really know how to push your buttons, don’t they? It IS unfair to make Archie work Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day and then a split shift on top of it all. At least he’s in town and all your loved ones are safe and sound.

    I love those little gift bags and the chocolate treats are lovely though I thought doggies couldn’t eat chocolate safely. Your Christmas cake is lovely and all the decorations on top make it a family tradition. The little footprints are a very imaginative touch.

    I dug out a few Xmas ornaments I cross-stitched years ago and even though I don’t have a tree to hang them on, I’ll try to include them in the decorations somehow.

  5. I love love love!
    you. are. really. something.
    The Christmas Tree is OUTSTANDING!

    Merry Christmas! xx

  6. Oh, man. You have been put through the wringer, but you’re still cranking out wonderful treats for everyone!!! Merry, merry Christmas, my friend!!!

  7. No, that really is unfair. Many a year I had to work Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, but never Christmas Day as well. Boo to those evil bosses.

  8. Eating food made to look like something else is always paradoxically more delicious?! I don’t understand it but I love it!

  9. so creative! I LOVE IT ALL 🙂

  10. Your Chrissie cake looks perfect! Merry Christmas to you all, may Elvis croon you a tune to calm your frazzled nerves.. 🙂 xxx

  11. Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2014.

  12. MIL’s are sent to try us all :). Merry Christmas!

  13. I’m impressed you’re finding the time to blog to be honest with all this going on. There are so many food fads and new found allergies in my family this year I’m hitting the wine earlier and earlier each day so I can totally sympathise with you! Have a very Merry Christmas Charlie and all the very best to you and your family for 2014 x

  14. Love the fairy bread Xmas tree and the footsteps in the snow on your cake. What a challenging family you have! Wishing you survival and a happy Christmas. At least the food will be great!

  15. I have a headache just thinking about your (unnecessary!) trip to the airport. What an odd way to structure a flight and stressful way to squeeze in a Christmas visit. Still, even that might be more enjoyable than working a split shift Christmas eve and a full day on on Christmas. At least the poo looks great, and that fairy bread tree too!

  16. Sorry to hear that you’re not coping Charlie! It’s a stressful time isn’t it? I’ve been thrown a curve ball by family and I’m not happy about it. It seems like they all decided that Christmas is off this year. Um…what? Can we swap in laws?

  17. Another beautiful Christmas cake and I love your personal decorations, especially the wee dog. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

  18. I think it’s the time of year about being pushed over the edge. Today I was sure that elder abuse wasn’t going to be a crime because I was totally justified. Usually I’m just fine and can take everything in stride but today I wanted to punch him in the face. 🙂 And you thought I was nice.

    I loved your Christmas card. It made me smile through every line. Thank you.

  19. that cake is very cute and I think my 4 year old would love reindeer poo – just another excuse to talk about poo! Also love the fairy bread cake. And it sounds like the 3 hour stopover with Carl’s parents was enough time for you to spend with them at Christmas

  20. Thank you Charlie for the humor, I need a good chuckle. Love the idea for reindeer poo and those little treat bags are sweet as well. I also think those split shifts are really a bag of wax. My eldest had to work split shifts here in HK one summer a couple of years ago and he ended up quitting and working somewhere else. You have been a very busy girl and here is hoping that the new year brings a little calm to the home front.

  21. Thanks so much for sharing this reindeer poo! What a fun treat fo rkids – of ALL ages!

  22. Clearly, I have the maturity of a 10-year-old boy. When I saw the title of your post included the word “poo” I felt compelled to read it. When I got to the section about the poo, I laughed out loud.


  23. I am so impressed with what I have seen come out of your kitchen this holiday season–and less impressed with what has come out of my own. Fun recipe–looks tasty as well. Again, happy, happy Christmas to you and yours.

  24. Happy holidays Charlie! Here’s wishing you a speedy end to your to-do list and a few days full of merriment, relaxation and family fun. Cheers!

  25. That airport visit sounds like a disaster. But how nice of you to make the effort.

    I am sorry to hear that Archie has to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. That truly does not seem fair and do they really need to be open on Christmas Day? Now I can understand why my daughter, a Spanish medical interpreter, has to work. But…

    It does sound like you’ve managed some fun amid the challenges and disappointments.

  26. Your Christmas creativity is definitely coming out my friend, though this is the most delicious looking… ‘poo’ I have ever seen 😉

    Happy Holidays!

  27. G’day and Happy Holidays Charlie to you and your family!
    Thank you for always inspiring and love your creativity!
    Cheers! Joanne

  28. The footprints on your Christmas cake are adorable Charlie! Sorry you’ve been thrown a few curveballs but I know everything will come together perfectly. You have a knack! That’s not very fair for poor Archie.

  29. Your Christmas cake is just gorgeous. Love your fairy-bread Christmas tree, you are so creative. A very Merry Christmas to you and your family and a Healthy and Happy 2014.

  30. Life truly was not meant to be simple ~ especially at Christmas time!! Daresay you all will muddle thru’ . . . Meanwhile may Santa be good and the New Year better ~ thanks for the stories and the laughs . . .

  31. I love the ‘tray of poo’. What a great idea and kids will love it because it is chocolate and has the word ‘poo’ in it. Merry Christmas Charlie.

  32. That’s absolutely horrible! Is it legal to make kids work on Christmas?

  33. Perfect use for that cake board Charlie. Hope that you dont stay up too late tonight. Good luck see you on the other side!

  34. Oh my word, why did you bother going to the airport Charlie? Next time feign a migraine BEFORE hand to avoid going, and avoid getting a real one from the stress! We just had my MIL over for lunch (they were all invited but she’s the only one who bothered- Yay!) so we can justifiably not see them for more than a pop-in half hour tomorrow- double Yay!
    I hope Archie has checked his pay rates for Christmas day, as it doesn’t automatically count as penalty rates. I learnt that the hard way in hospitality 🙁
    I’m so glad you liked the reindeer poo 🙂 It’s a bit of fun and still very yummy
    Hope you have lovely day tomorrow sweetie, and that Santa brings you a stress free Christmas! Xox

  35. I had a good chuckle when I first saw the reindeer poo recipe and love that you made some, too. They’d be a big hit a many Christmas celebrations. That’s another great cake that you dreated, Charlie. Love the dog tracks in the snow.
    I hope you and your wonderful family share a very Merry Christmas with good health and happiness in the New Year.

  36. Just popping in to wish you and your family an awesome Christmas and looking forward to reading all about your adventures in 2014.

  37. Happy Happy Christmas to you Charlie and Carl, Archie, Arabella and little Alfie. May you get some rest and relaxation, you could try reading your book 🙂

    Nazneen xx

  38. Hahaha! Reindeer poo! I bet my kids will love these treats! And your cake looks fabulous. The foot steps idea is so cute. I love those little details.

  39. Love the reindeer poo treats! Soundalike you had a very busy lead up to Christmas!

  40. Well, I’m responding late, but I’m not sure you’re even going to read this! LOL! You may have gone to bed with a cold compress on your forehead, hoping for a Christmas recovery! The story of the trip to the airport almost made me break out in hives. I respond precisely like you do to the idea of any “meet up” in a food court! The noise (and vomit on the table) make it impossible to have even an informal chat. And as for Archie working a split shift–that’s intolerable and ridiculous on Christmas Eve. Hugs to you as you recover and next year I am definitely going for that fairy bread Christmas tree and the reindeer poo! Great for children! And I’d love to promise myself that I’d make that beautiful Christmas cake, but I don’t know that I have the ability. I just adore it, however. ox

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