Round-Up: The December Cooking with Herbs AND Christmas Spices Challenge

The December Cooking with Herbs Challenge……AND Christmas Spices!


The December Cooking with Herbs AND Christmas Spices Challenge

Cooking with Herbs

Welcome to the BIG New Year’s Festive Cooking with Herbs Round-Up! And what a FABULOUS and FESTIVE selection of recipes I have to share with you all today. The theme for December was SPICES and you all sent in some spicy AND herbal delights, as you can see from the list below……the winning recipe, as picked by a mystery judge, will be revealed in the NEW YEAR’S challenge, which will be live on the first of January! Have a wonderful and happy New Year and see you next year, as my dad always says!


The December Cooking with Herbs......AND Spices!

The December Cooking with Herbs……AND Spices!


The December Cooking with Herbs AND Christmas Spices Challenge

1. Chicken Casserole & Cheesy Herb Dumplings by Camilla of Fab Food 4 All: A family favourite kicks off our December challenge for cooking with herbs and who wouldn’t want a BIG bowl of this DELICIOUS casserole with herby dumplings that Camilla has made!  Definitely FAB food 4 all here!

Stew, Crockpot, slow cooker, frugal, budget,

2, 3, and 4. Kirsten from Kitchen of Kiki has entered THREE fabulous and festive DANISH entries for December! All of them boozy and all of them heavy with Christmas spices! I LOVE her recipe for Christmas aquavita with spices and then the Christmas Sparkling Cocktail which is made with elderflower cordial and sparkling wine, as well as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger, it sounds so floral and yet with that essential Christmas flavour. Here are her three spicy entries now:

 Christmas aquavita with spices

Christmas Sparkling Cocktail

Mulled white wine

5. Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack by Paula of Nutmeg and Chives: Welcome to Paula and her FIRST entry into Cooking with Herbs and spices this December! Paula has made some amazing flapjacks with ginger, which sound and look fabulous, plus she has wrapped them so beautifully too!

Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack

6. Sweet Chestnuts Italian-style (Castanea sativa) by wildcraft diva: Perfect timing, we now have an entry for Sweet Roast Chestnuts, ITALIAN style and wildcraft diva suggests we eat these lovely sweet chestnuts with a glass of  “vino novello”, very young red wine,  the Italian equivalent of Beaujolais Nouveau – yes please!

7. Orchard Fete by Janice of Farmersgirl Kitchen:  A cocktail made with maple syrup infused with rosemary and thyme and topped up with applejack or Calvados and cider, and Janice highly recommends it – it does look  FAB!

8. Game pie with leeks and mushrooms by Galina of Chez Maximka:  When a reminder came for Galina to have a look at the forthcoming vegetable box from Abel & Cole, she was curious to see what’s on offer. A game pie mix looked good, so she added it to the basket, and here is the result, a festive game pie, with mushrooms, leeks and cranberries!

9. Honey-Roasted Figs and Plums with Blueberries by Maria of Moonshine and Lemon:  A big welcome to Maria and her lovely first post for Honey-Roasted Figs and Plums with Blueberries – a simple but beautiful dessert for when you only want the fruit on its own and the blueberries lend to it a luxurious crimson tint.

10. Partridge in a Pear Tree – Nigel Slater by London Busy Body:    The caramelised pears were divine and London Busy Body will serve these  with other dishes or even as a dessert in the future.  She also added some cinnamon and cassia bark powder for a bit of festive spice.

Roasted Partridge

 11. Christmas confetti salad by Lucy of The Kitchen Maid: Lucy presents us with a lovely salad that is so colourful and says that this salad is the sort of job you can give someone who walks into the kitchen and says ‘what can I do to help?’ – on the basis that a) they have basic knife skills and b) you have delegated out all the other jobs, like washing dishes, setting the table and corralling the children/elderly relatives.

12. Cabbage salad by Johanna and Green Gourmet Giraffe: A thoughtful and interesting post accompanies this refreshing salad and Johanna says that on the first night I found it refreshing but slightly piquant. However, the next night Sylvia had rejected some chopped peach, so Johanna cut it into small pieces and added it to the salad and it worked very nicely!

13. Zaa’tar Twists by Shazia of cutchikitchen:  Welcome to another Cooking with Herbs newbie and what a lovely entry too!  Shazia makes her blend from scratch – using the basic ingredients – dried thyme, marjoram, sumac, sesame seeds and olive oil and these twists look amazing!

14. Cinnamon Raisin Focaccia by Alexandra of The Lass in the Apron: Alexandra says what better way could she celebrate the first snowfall than by baking something warm and comforting, all done up with “sugar and spice,” while carols played on the radio and snowflakes swirled against the windowpanes? Awwww, I wish it was Christmas again!

Cinnamon-Raisin Focaccia Sqaures

15. Christmas Carollers’ Casserole: Elizabethan Spiced Beef Stew by Karen of Lavender and Lovage: Speaking of Christmas, here is a fabulous spicy casserole recipe of mine! This is based on a genuine Elizabethan recipe, which I have adapted for modern day cooking. This is the perfect comfort dish to serve on a cold night and can be re-heated if you make it beforehand.

Christmas Eve Comfort Food - Christmas Carollers' Casserole: Elizabethan Spiced Beef Stew

16. Cardamom Cashew Pistachio Bars (Kaaju Pista Burfi) by Janet of Taste Space:  In the spirit of holidays, candies and confectionaries, Janet broke it out for her latest treat: Indian Burfi. It sounds more dramatic, but really it is similar to her maple pecan shortbread cookies because it is simply nuts and sweetener with an Indian twist from cardamom and saffron.

Indian Cashew Pistachio Bars (Kaaju Pista Burfi)

17. Southern Cornbread Dressing (Stuffing) – gluten-free and vegan by Kellie of Food to Glow: Kellie suggests some Southern and not-so-Southern add-ins at the end of the recipe, but plain old cornbread stuffing is fine by her! And just so you know, cornbread dressing is not exclusive to Thanksgiving and Christmas she says; Southern cooks will put it on the table with a weekend roast ham or chicken, as well as cracking over some eggs for the last few minutes of baking.


18. Oreo Crust Eggnog Marshmallow Pie by Stuart of Cakeyboi: What a FABULOUS entry from Stuart and such lovely photos too! Stuart loves eggnog – it’s creamy and delicious and very festive. He doesn’t usually don’t like rum, but added to eggnog, with all the sweetness and spices going on, it just works – well!

19. Savoury Chocolate Vol au Vents and Canapes by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog:  A delectable assortment of canapés made with pre-made pastry cases, and Choclette says that she and CT managed to demolish all of these with unseemly gusto. Nuff said!!

20. Pomegranate and Pistachio Couscous by Bintu of Recipes from a Pantry: Bintu serves up some VERY festive couscous in the next recipe and with such vibrant and pretty colours too! Bintu uses couscous a lot as it is quick, easy and versatile and as this particular dish takes all of fifteen minutes to make. She served it with some grilled peppers and grilled halloumi  and her OH heartily approved.

Pomegranate and Pistachio Couscous

21. Christmas ice cream by Kirsten of Kitchen of Kiki:  ANOTHER fabulous entry by Kirsten and this time it is ice cream! Kirsten decided to let the spices infuse the ice cream mix for 4 hour, before they were removed – wow, that is SPICY!

22, 23 and 24: Cinnamon and Date Cake, Gingerbread Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Roasted Tomato, Basil and Gruyere Quiche ALL by Ros of the More than Occasional Baker! This FABULOUS trio of herbal and spicy cakes and bakes comes from Ros, and wow, what a splendid spread she has put on for us! A BIG thanks Ros and pass me one of those gingerbread men cakes over!

25. CRANBERRY-BANANA NUT BREAD by Sue of Palatable Pastime: This lovely entry from Sue is so festive and seasonal and also SUCH a pretty bread. Sue says that this makes the perfect snack or simple dessert for those watching calories. Really! I DO believe her, now pass a slice over please!

26. Lemon, Ginger & Cardamom Jam Tarts by Elizabeth of Elizabeth’s Kitchen: LOOK at these wonderful little tarts, and made with some home-made jam too, for that extra special touch!

27. Spiced Stollen Tray Bake by Laura of How to Cook Good Food: I LOVE this next entry, as I am a HUGE fan of stollen! Laura says ” If you are looking for a lighter afternoon tea cake than the rich and weighty traditional Christmas cake to enjoy along with a Sherry/Mulled wine or two then this could be the one for you.”

spiced stollen tray bake

28 and 29. Baked Spiced Chicken Drumsticks – A Christmas Edition and Baked Quails with Bacon Rashers in White Grapes Sauce – A Christmas Eve Special by Nasifriet over at By The Way: These DELECTABLE two spicy numbers have been cooked by Nasifriet and I LOVE them! What fabulous recipes for the festive period, with a bit of a kick to perk up the palate!

7. Baked spice chix_platter

3b. Quail

30. Rogan Josh from Revival Bootcamp by Fiona of London Unattached: I am not sure if Fiona has ever entered into the herbs challenge before, so welcome, and I am so pleased she has entered this month, as she has brought a lovely low-calorie curry to the pass! Perfect for January Dieting!

Beef Rogan Josh

31. Gingerbread, Bramble and Lemon Trifle by Vohn of Vohn’s Vittels:  A decadent trifle made with gingerbread and lemon, as well as brambles, a festive feast of cream and cake if I ever I saw one and a BIG thanks to Vohn for bringing it to the herbs and spices party this month!

Gingerbread, bramble and lemon trifle

32. Apple Fritters – With and Without Sage by Helen of Casa Costello:  A BIG warm welcome to Helen and especially as she comes bearing gifts on the form of these delectable apple fritters……one of my favourite things to eat! So pretty and with digestive sage as an added extra too!

apple sage fritters


Christmas Herbs and Spices

Christmas Herbs and Spices


  1. says

    Ooh wonderful stuff, thanks Karen. Just wish Christmas could last another month so I had a chance to try out some of the recipes.

    Wishing you all the best for 2014

  2. says

    This round up is one of the most beautiful yet Karen!! Loving the herb and spice infusions and the beautiful festive cocktails! I can already see plenty that I would like to try. Thanks for the beautiful post and for always hosting these great herb cook-ups. It’s been a while since I last commented on your blog but I do love everything you do! Happy new year for tomorrow as well xxx

    • says

      Thanks so much for stopping by Laura, funnily enough, I was just thinking of you the other day………Happy New Year to you too! XXX

  3. says

    happy new year Karen and thanks for a lovely round up of some scrummy festive food – I think I need a lie down from just looking at all of it but will be bookmarking for sure

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