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Queer Town Abbey Christmas Blog Hop

This post is a part of the QTA Christmas Blog Hop. Be sure to head over there and visit the other blogs in the hop. To enter the giveaway, you just need to go to the blog hop page on the QTA blog and enter the answer to a simple question:
What tree is also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree?

It's a rafflecopter giveaway and there are instructions there about what you need to do to enter.

Christmas here in New Zealand is in summer, so we're never going to have a 'traditional' White Christmas. Instead, it's hot (if the weather behaves) and sunny – not great weather for cooking a hot meal. A lot of people, for that reason, have moved towards a BBQ Christmas dinner. Christmas on the beach has its appeal too, but I still tend to do more the traditional meal, but more of a roast chicken dinner with dessert than anything heavy. I used to make Christmas cake and Fruit Mince pies, but my kids don't like either so there's not much point if I have to eat it all myself. Christmas is more an opportunity to get together as a family especially now they've moved out.

Last Christmas was the first one without my dad, and I always think of him this time of year. When I was growing up we'd always go for a long walk after Christmas lunch. It was a tradition we kept up right until I left home. We also used to have a competition to find funny Christmas cards, some of which weren't exactly 'appropriate' although that stopped after one year when my mother wasn't impressed with what we'd found.

One of the signs that Christmas is approaching in New Zealand is that the pohutakawa trees start to flower. They're also known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree, although we also decorate pine trees inside, either real or artificial. Local events leading up to Christmas include 'Christmas in the Park', which is carols and live performances, and Christmas parades. With our school summer holidays starting the week before Christmas, a lot of regular events close down about this time too, with end of year parties to celebrate. Most won't start up again until late January/early February when the schools go back.

With December up on us, we're already heading into the 'silly season'. Orchestra has finished for the year with one last concert, SF club's Christmas potluck was on Saturday, and Christmas breakfasts and the like are being organised at work.

It's time to finish my Christmas shopping, and start filling my freezer with batches of Christmas fruit mince muffins. If the kids are really lucky and I have the time I'll also make some Russian fudge for us to munch on over the break.

One of my favourite Christmas recipes is from Alison Holst. She's one of our go to recipe people in New Zealand. Her recipes are always straightforward, without expensive ingredients, they work, and are yummy. I've made a lot of them.

Her Christmas Mincemeat Muffins are no exception. I make these every year and take them to every function I need to take a plate to. They're a lot less fiddly than Christmas mincemeat pies, but still give me my fix of fruit mince for the season.

Christmas Mincemeat Muffins
Makes 12
1 ¾ C SR flour
¾ C caster sugar
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ C sour cream (150g pottle)
½ C milk
½ teaspoon whisky or brandy essence
½ C Christmas (fruit) mincemeat

Measure first 3 ingredients into large bowl. In another bowl mix together with whisk until smooth: eggs, sour cream, milk and essence. Without over mixing add liquids to dry ingredients.

Half fill muffin pans (aprox 1 teas) with mixture. Using dampened teaspoon, make small indentation on top of each and into it put 1-2 teaspoon of mincemeat. Cover each with a spoonful of remaining mixture trying to cover the 'enclosed' mincemeat.

Bake 200C 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Centres should spring back when pressed.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nancy Sorrels
Dec. 9th, 2013 01:12 am (UTC)
I would gladly trade you some of this white crap that's outside for some of your warmth. We got ice first then snow on top of that, so I haven't been out of the house for 3 days and no end in sight.
Dec. 16th, 2013 12:50 am (UTC)
Re: Hi
Hi, I'd trade some of this muggy heat for your white stuff. I'm really hoping it's not going to be unpleasantly hot this Christmas like it was last year. There was even a drought which is unheard of here.
Dec. 9th, 2013 09:50 am (UTC)
Those trees are gorgeous.

If you ice the muffins and put on a glace cherry, it will look like Rudolph's nose!
Dec. 16th, 2013 12:51 am (UTC)
I love those trees when they flower. I hadn't thought of icing the muffins - I tend to leave the decorative coloured icing stuff to one of my daughters. I've really missed her cup cakes since she moved out.
Shirley Ann Speakman
Dec. 9th, 2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
QTA Christmas Blog Hop
I love mince pies when I was at school we used to make them every Christmas they weren't always perfect but they tasted good.

Dec. 16th, 2013 12:52 am (UTC)
Re: QTA Christmas Blog Hop
I love mince pies. Years ago I used to make them from scratch, including the pastry. The muffins are me taking the lazy way out ;)
Dec. 13th, 2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
Love the recipe, and those are pretty trees. Sounds like a fun Christmas :)

Dec. 16th, 2013 12:54 am (UTC)
Thanks. I've just pulled a batch of the muffins out of the oven. The nice thing about the fruit mince is it keeps for ages...

Christmas should be fun. I've been asked to make carrot cake for dessert as none of the kids like Christmas cake.

Dec. 14th, 2013 03:33 am (UTC)
Happy holidays to you!
Hi! Great post! Right now, i will so trade ya your christmas for mine! I could definitely get rid of the snow and cold! lol The BBQ christmas dinner sounds so fun! Happy holidays to you! Have a great time with your family and friends!
Dec. 16th, 2013 12:56 am (UTC)
Re: Happy holidays to you!
Thanks! Happy holidays to you too. I'm hoping it cools down a bit, it's getting a bit too hot and muggy.
Dec. 15th, 2013 08:07 pm (UTC)
Hi Anne,

I want to send a personal thank you for your participation in the xmas blog hop 2013. Thanks to you the Christmas Blog Hop was a great success.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you, your family and friends a very happy holiday and joyful New Year 2014

All the best,

Founder/Administrations Manager
Queer Town Abbey
Dec. 16th, 2013 12:57 am (UTC)
Thanks, Anders. This is the first Queer Town Abbey blog hop I've done and I really enjoyed it. I'll be definitely taking part in more.

All the best, and I hope you, your family and friends have a great holiday season and a very happy 2014.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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