A Bush Christmas
Words & photography by Jane Smith, our resident baker. As a young family we are gradually establishing our own bush Christmas traditions and most of them involve home baked gifts and fresh, tasty food to share on the day.
Read and browse the Graziher Summer Christmas recipes in the Summer edition, shop here: Summer magazine
Recipe adapted from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook.
- 1125g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 400g unsalted butter, softened
- 400g soft brown sugar
- 320g golden syrup
- 1 egg
- 4 egg yolks
- Sift flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and spices together in a large bowl.
- Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a large bowl and mix with a sturdy wooden spoon until pale and creamy. Alternatively, mix in a large stand mixer. Add the egg and egg yolks in a slow stream and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients, in three batches, until thoroughly mixed. Divide the dough into four portions and flatten each piece into a rough disk. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm or for up to three days.
- Preheat oven to 170°C.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and allow to soften slightly. Roll out each disc between two sheets of baking paper until about 3mm thick. Cut into desired shapes using biscuit cutters or a knife. Continue to re-roll to make use of all the dough.
- Place the biscuits on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake, in batches for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on trays.
There are many printable templates available online for gingerbread houses, in various sizes.
Store bought royal icing is an easy option for gingerbread house construction.
Cooked gingerbread freezes successfully.
An Australian Bush Christmas
After the initial excitement of discovering the presents and the mysterious tracks left by the reindeers, the adults enjoy a long, refreshing Bloody Mary. This is a perfect drink to sip upon while putting the finishing touches on lunch, adjusting the playlist and demolishing flaky croissants for breakfast.
No one can resist the charm of a small gingerbread house. Each year I bake these well in advance and our children are given a house each to decorate. These houses make the centrepiece of our lunch table. Over the years these delicious little townships have been invaded by lolly snakes along with many other entertaining decorations and scenarios.
Given that the temperature can often exceed 40 degrees in December a cold lunch suits our relaxed approach to the day. Succulent smoked salmon, Asian style roast duck and generous, zingy salads are some dishes that appear on our Christmas table.
The aroma of a traditional plum pudding invokes many memories from my childhood but panettone ice cream cake has also become a favourite in our house. The warm, rich panettone balances the cold ice cream centre perfectly and makes a lighter end to the meal.
Late in the afternoon we like to pack up some cold drinks and a simple meal of leftovers and head to one of our dams for a relaxing afternoon, yabbying with friends or simply watching the sun set over our property as we reflect on Christmas Day.
Words & photography by our resident cook, Jane Smith. See more of her work over here: http://shadybaker.blogspot.com.au/