December is one of my favourite months of the year. Not only is it the month in which I celebrate my birthday, on Boxing Day, but it's cherry season and I can eat my weight in these delicious morsels of goodness. Among the best that I've ever tasted are the cherries from CherryHill Orchards in the Yarra Valley. One of Australia's leading cherry producers, CherryHill Orchards will deliver plump, fresh cherries to your door, or you can visit the orchard and pick your own. You'll also find them at a number of farmer's markets in Victoria and there's a pop up shop at QV in Melbourne.
I've been busy cooking with cherries and will share a gorgeous recipe and the fruits of my labour in an upcoming article, so please stay tuned.
Now, let's take a look at what else is in my kitchen this month. In my kitchen there's a Panettone, purchased from our local Aldi store. I adore Panettone. It's my treat to myself at Christmas time, and I really must try making my own some day. I promise I will.
Zonin Prosecco is the quintessential Italian beverage, rich in both heritage and taste... and I was delighted when the company sent me a bottle to sample, ahead of the festive season. I'm still picking home grown strawberries, so The Rossini, made with Zonin Prosecco is at the top of my list for Christmas Day... or perhaps my birthday on Boxing Day!
The Rossini has a sweeter taste than the classic Bellini and with its festive red colour it’s the perfect seasonal thirst-quencher. To create a Rossini, you'll need a punnet of strawberries, pureed, and a bottle of Zonin Prosecco. Pour the strawberry puree into a chilled flute, add the Prosecco and stir. Serve the drink straight up; without ice. For extra goodness, add some diced strawberries to the glass or garnish with a whole strawberry. Be ready to have more than one! Cin cin.
Youngcare Christmas cakes...
Youngcare is an organisation whose mission is to help young people avoid admissions to aged care. They also aim to develop viable and replicable models to solve the problem once and for all, giving young people with high care needs the choice in care and accommodation they deserve.
Celebrity chef Ben O’Donoghue has cooked up a Christmas gift idea with Youngcare resident, Bronwyn Tarlton, that has the power to change young lives. Based on Bronwyn’s unique family recipe for a blonde Christmas cake, and tested by Ben, the Youngcake is now available for sale nationwide to raise much needed funds for Youngcare.
Popular Brisbane bakery, Vanilla Pod, has been busy baking the cakes, while award winning Australian artist Michael Zavros created the bespoke art that adorns the cake box.
All proceeds from the sale of the Youngcakes will go towards creating better futures for young people with high care needs. To help support Youngcare, buy a cake online. Order Youngcakes by 14 December to have them delivered in time for Christmas.
Dishes is a premium wall calendar featuring twelve of Australia's hottest chefs. Every month, a top chef will present a new recipe that will be sure to please the most demanding of foodies and housewives alike — all in an effort to raise money for a good cause. All proceeds from sales of Dishes 2016 will be donated to Restore One — an amazing non-profit organisation who help support women living in vulnerable situations in Cambodia.
Please Santa, may I have a cookbook...
It's never too late to visit a bookstore and add another cookbook to your collection, methinks. Once again, a number of the best cookbooks published this year have come from the Murdoch Books stable. Among the most recent are these below, which include Special Delivery by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe; Love, Aimee x - 50 beautiful sweet gifts for friends and family by Aimee Twigger; My Family Table by Eleanor Ozich; Fried Chicken & Friends by Gregory Llewellyn and Naomi Hart; and the glorious Biota: grow, gather, cook by James Viles. I'll be reviewing each of these individually in the fullness of time, so please keep an eye on my Bookshelf.
And finally, a warm thank you to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial...
Since 2010, inspirational blogger, friend and fellow cook, Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, has been hosting a monthly round up titled In My Kitchen (IMK). I don't know how I stumbled across her blog, but I joined in sometime in 2011 and have been posting a regular IMK story ever since. Over the years, Celia has built up a strong community of like-minded folks from around the globe who love to cook. During this time, we met in person and became friends, too. It wasn't difficult, because Celia is such a genuinely warm, generous and welcoming person. The time has come for Celia to hand over the IMK baton and I just wanted to give her a huge THANK YOU for all that she has done. She will still be blogging, of course, but our mutual friend, the lovely Maureen, will play host/ess to the IMK party. It's going to be fun.
I had just mentioned Celia to Peter, last week, wondering how she was getting along, when the postman arrived on my doorstep with a tiny parcel. From Celia. A beautiful gift, thank you, darling one. xx
A note of thanks to the good folks from CherryHill Orchards, Murdoch Books, Youngcare, Zonin Prosecco and the Dishes Calendar for sending me products to eat, drink and read. Wishing you a peaceful Christmas and prosperity in the coming year.
Tell me dear readers, what's happening in your kitchen? Are you ready for the festive season? Eeeks!
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.