My photo
Sydney, Australia
My musings and meanderings on childhood - mine juxtaposed with that of my kids'. Everyday incidents and images from our life in Sydney turn my thoughts towards my own wonder years growing up in Bandra, Bombay, India.

23 December 2012

Festive feast

When you think of Christmas, what food comes to mind?

I think of:
  • Christmas sweets: marzipan, kulkuls, date rolls and milk-cream all painstakingly crafted after hours of tricep-building stirring.
I can still picture my Aunty Enid’s exquisitely formed marzipan fruit from when we were kids. She would manipulate and mould the marzipan mass to form a cornucopia of fruit that looked almost too good to eat! My brother Jason and I always made a beeline for the sugar-coated strawberries...

So this year, I decided to give marzipan a crack. I also tried my hand at date rolls, dal sweet and X’mas cookies, but, let’s face it, the piece de resistance was always going to be the marzipan. I’m quite chuffed with the fruits of my labour:


  •  Christmas cake: warm and spicy, bursting with sultanas and dried fruit that have been plumped up in brandy for over a month.
Strangely enough, in the Bandra of my childhood, Christmas cakes were never baked at home – everybody took theirs to the local bakery. Till today, I have no idea why! A couple of nights before Christmas, Nana Evelyn and Mum would measure and mix the ingredients – candied peel and fruit, flour, eggs, butter... At the crack of dawn the next day, dad would take the cake to the Bazaar Road bakery with our label placed front and centre on the cake batter. In a couple of hours, it was collected. The heady aroma of spice and fruit would waft through the whole house. Any thoughts of helping yourself to a slice were thwarted by Nana – midnight mass on St.Peter’s Church grounds first; cake only after that. Which made the wait all the more delicious!

  • Christmas lunch: there HAS to be roast chicken with stuffing and trifle for dessert. I’m not fussed if there’s no glazed ham and, confession time, I’ve NEVER tasted turkey!
Turkey was just not available in Bombay. Actually, strike that; there would be a few straggly birds gobbling in a cage outside Baptista Cold Meats come Christmas, but I don’t know anyone who actually bought one. Other Christmas lunch must-haves were Sorpotel (the East Indian version – not the Goan or Mangi ones), and Pork Vindaloo, both of which I refused to eat. And of course, Potato Chops, my all-time favourite food –YUM! We would feast, feast and then feast some more. But we always had a separate dessert stomach for trifle!

Fingers crossed, we’re going to have at least one of these festive foods this Christmas...

So tell me, what food springs to mind when you think of Christmas?
And what’s on your Christmas menu this year?


  1. recipes please --- marzipan and potato chops! Looks lovely ...

  2. Hi Al , By accident I went back to your blog-- its good that you have started blogging again , hope that this is your New Year resolution--- keep it up & the fruits will be delightful---Trevor


Would love to hear from you, so go ahead and post a comment here!