Celebrations International Travel Blog

Archive for December 2009

To celebrate the season, I thought it would be fun to take a look at Christmas and other similar holiday food traditions around the world.  In doing so, we’ll pay homage to each of the countries for which we currently offer our exclusive custom culinary tours. For more information, contact Celebrations International Travel, Inc.

The first in this series of blog entries is Australia:

Christmas takes place on December 25th, the summertime in Australia. People often spend part of Christmas day with their families at the beach. Christmas dinner is just as likely to be salads, cold meat and seafood as the traditional meal is roast turkey and plum pudding. Children believe that Santa Claus leaves presents for them under the Christmas tree on Christmas eve. One popular Australian song states that six white boomers, or large kangaroos, pull Santa’s sleigh.

Traditional Christmas Pudding

1/2 lb. plain flour
1/2 lb. breadcrumbs
1 lb. butter
1 lb. brown sugar
1 lb. currants
1/2 lb. raisins
1 lb. sultanas
1/2 lb. citron peel
9 eggs
pinch salt
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 lb. almonds
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, well beaten, also brandy. Stir in all fruit and chopped blanched almonds. Add breadcrumbs, flour, soda, and spices. Bake in greased pudding basin, leaving sufficient room for rising. (The pudding can also be poured onto a piece of calico and tied securely with string.) Steam for 6 hours. This pudding can be made ahead of time, say two or three months if wished. This recipe makes two very large puddings; It is best divided into 3 portions. A half quantity takes 3 1/2 hours to cook. For heating pudding when required, boil slowly for 2-3 hours.

Christmas Cake

1/2 lb. butter
1/4 lb. white sugar
1/4 lb. brown sugar
4 eggs
4 tablespoons brandy
1/2 lb. raisins
1/2 lb. sultanas
1/2 lb. currants
lemon peel and almonds to taste
10 oz. plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon or allspice
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon plum jelly

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs. Sift in half of flour and half of fruit, mix, then add rest of ingredients. Bake in an 8″ tin 3 1/2 to 4 hours at 300 degrees.

Pavlova

The Pavlova is a dessert invented in Australia and named are the great ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. Pavlova is a wonderful summer holiday dessert – and therefore makes a regular appearnace on many Australian Christmas menus.:

3 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
3/4 cup of castor sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 tablespoon of cornflour
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
300 ml / ½ pints of cream
kiwifruit or strawberries for garnish

Preheat the oven to 150°C, 300°F or gas mark 2 (the temperature is reduced for baking). Beat the egg whites to a foam, add the salt and beat until soft peaks form which fold over when the beater is removed. Slowly beat in the castor sugar, beating well after each addition. Keep beating until the mixture is stiff and the peaks stand up when the beater is removed. Mix together the white sugar and corn flour. Lightly fold into the meringue with the lemon juice.

Line an oven tray with baking paper. Spread the meringue into a circle and pipe a decoration around the edge or swirl with a spoon if desired. Bake in a cool oven (80°C or 180°F) for 2 to 2½ hours. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven overnight to cool.

Top with whipped cream and decorate with sliced kiwifruit, sliced strawberries, passion fruit, or just about any tropical fruit, just before serving.

Anzac Biscuits (Cookies)

A biscuit or cookie originally sent in food parcels to Australian and New Zealand troops during the First World War when eggs were scarce, the Anzac (named after the term for Australian and New Zealand soldiers) has become a national favorite.

100 grams / 4 oz of butter
1 dessertspoon of golden syrup
1/2 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of rolled oats
3/4 cup of coconut
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of water

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4. In a large saucepan melt the butter and golden syrup, then remove from the heat and cool. Add the white sugar, flour, rolled oats and coconut and mix thoroughly. Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tablespoon of water and add to the mixture. Line a baking tray with cooking paper. Roll small rounds of the mixture and place on the baking tray, remembering to allow room for the biscuits to spread. Flatten with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

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I just saw this tweet from @goplanit:

What do u think of a #cruise ship infused w/a signature smell? http://goplanit.com/l/zpm #travel

Personally, I prefer that the air around me not smell like anything, but if a nice smell in the air helps to please passengers and works well for the cruise line, more power to them!  Even the Magic Kingdom and Disneyworld and Disneyland are infused with the sweet smell of cotton candy through a number of vents located throughout the parks.

As for the term “signature smell,” I can’t say that I like it all that much, since I don’t know what it smells like, and the word “fragrance” or “scent” would have been a better choice, in my opinion.   My own experiences have biased me in this regard, but I think of the word “smell” as being more inline with “odor,” as opposed to a pleasing smell.

Why, you ask?  I’m still scarred from the experience of my college roommate using half a bottle of Jovan Musk to mask the odor of her sneakers and six-week-old pile of laundry.  And no, I promise that one day won’t color all my entries about travel and destinations in Pennsylvania!

Bottom line, I am not a huge fan of smells of any type, but for those to whom they appeal, enjoy!

This tweet just caught my attention:

@FoodieDownUnder “Tomato&oregano make it Italian,wine&tarragon make it French.Sour cream makes it Russian.Soy sauce makes it Chinese;garlic makes it good.”

These words got me thinking:   So true it is that certain foods and culinary traditions are automatically associated with certain countries and cultures.  On the other hand, is it fair to say that sometimes these associations can be somewhat stereotypical, or simply the result of pop culture’s influence?

Example:  Many people commonly associate soy sauce with Chinese food because it’s what we get with Chinese take-out.  But how many of us would automatically think of Japanese food when it comes to soy sauce?  I think we sushi lovers would be in a fine mess without it!

For the record, yes, I agree, garlic makes it good!  Almost dinnertime at my house!

We are pleased to announce that Adrienne Mitra, owner of Celebrations International Travel, Inc. is now on www.WhereIveBeen.com!  Take a look at Adrienne’s map.

I haven’t filled in all the places in the world I want to visit, simply because that would take all day and then some!  I’d like to see and experience as much of the world as I possible can with my family.  Having just completed my map, I have to say that I like using the search functions a lot more than the initial click-through myriad of destinations it gives you.  I say this because the search function allows you to search either for a country or city, whereas the initial display of destinations does not tell you about this upfront.   However, as an interactive map goes, I think it’s a neat concept!

Our friends at WhereIveBeen.com recently blogged about Celebrations International Travel and our culinary tours.

Very soon, you will see some of my travel, destination, and culture-related articles on WhereIveBeen.com, and I will be a panelist on their Round Table Forum to discuss travel-related topics.   I (CelebrationsInt) came in contact with WhereI’veBeen.com through their Community Manager, Katy Lynch (whereivebeen) on Twitter.  Her tweets are quite interesting and sometimes entertaining.  I look forward to Celebrations International Travel’s partnership with WhereIveBeen.com, and hope to hear from many of its users.


About Us


This is blog based on the experiences and interests of travel agency owners Adrienne and Agni Mitra. Through our blog entries, we will share our travel experience and expertise. We will also have other entries of interest to inspire your travels.

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