When I was a child Christmas time was just SO exciting! Santa Claus came down our chimney every single year, without a sound but right on queue (it was pure magic that he knew we were sound asleep) with a sack full of presents for me and my family... and he would eat his Christmas mince pie (always leaving a few crumbs) and empty a big brown bottle of beer just to prove to my brothers and I that he really had been there! AMAZING!!
Thanks Mum and Dad xx
Then I grew up and had my own children and Christmas time was just a little less exciting but still a lot of fun (and a lot more work) creating the fantasy of Santa Claus for them.
Now my darlings have nearly all grown up and left home and while I wait (in no hurry at all) for them to start producing their offspring so I can play with the fantasy of Santa once again) I can really enjoy what I love most of all at this time of year - celebrating friends and family with love and laughter and good food.
The "good food" is at it's very best over Christmas with all our early summer harvests.
Last night we had friends for dinner and the meal was a delicious Mediterranean based bar-b-q feast with plenty of garlic and parmesan cheese, which normally would have been the prominent aroma's wafting around my house, but instead, when one of my guests stepped into the kitchen, what she delighted exclaimed she could smell was the amazing sweet heady scent of the strawberries I had bought yesterday from one of our local growers. They are divinely good right now!
Last night I served my delicious strawberries with home-made chocolate truffles (a Jamie Oliver inspiration)
These delightfully decadent and very Christmassy morsels are a fabulous gift idea. Find a beautiful little box or jar and wrap them up for the best Christmas chocolates ever!
Divine and easy Chocolate Truffles
(makes 30 or 40 or 50 depending on how big or small you make them!)
2 blocks 100g Green & Black's organic Dark 85% Chocolate
1 Block 100g Green & Black's organic Dark 70% Chocolate
(this chocolate brand is readily available in the confectionary section of all good supermarkets)
Break up all the chocolate (into roughly single square size) into a medium sized mixing bowl
Heat together until almost boiling, but DO NOT BOIL:
300mls Lewis Road organic cream (available at most supermarkets, otherwise regular cream)
finely grated zest of 1 small (preferably organic of course) orange
1 generous knob of butter
Pour the hot cream mix over the chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until chocolate has all melted and the mixture is smooth.
Then, stir in a single nip of whiskey or Brandy or whatever you wish for very subtle flavouring, or none of the afore mentioned if you would prefer booze free and plain
Now scrape truffle mix into a smaller bowl, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, after which time it will be firm to handle and form into balls using a teaspoon or whatever tool you wish. Have a small bowl of Cacao powder, cocoa and/or finely chopped nuts of choice, ready to drop formed balls into and they are ready to serve.
Warning - VERY delish and VERY rich, as all good chocolate things are! So as with all good food, eat mindfully and enjoy!!
Meryn Wakelin is a Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, Nutrition Consultant (and passionate cook of all good food) with clinics in Pukekohe and Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand.