Holiday Party Prep

Holiday party:

• greenery hung, with the help of Gabriella and one of my students and his partner (cedar garlands from the Oak Park Conservatory Winter Greens market make my old Victorian feel very Victorian Christmas somehow)

• trifle (this year’s was pear, blackberry, strawberry, with ladyfinger cookies, Bird’s custard, a thin drizzling of ginger jam and a smidge of lemon curd, whipped lightly sweetened cream, and a topping of pomegranate seeds — no sherry for a change, so the kids could dig in freely, and I didn’t miss it) — all devoured by end of party

• ribbon sandwiches of beet, carrot, and spinach (Kevin made the spreads, Kavi and I spread the sandwiches Saturday and layered them with damp paper towels, two half-size sheet pan trays wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge overnight, and then we cut them just before serving at the party) went over well, per usual — very popular, all got eaten, and everyone agreed they were both tasty and pretty

• mango fluff was topped with plenty of frozen thawed mango, which is pretty much the best I could do in Chicago in the winter — also all finished by end of party, but we didn’t actually start the second tray that Kavi insisted we’d need, so I guess she’ll just be eating that herself for the rest of the week — she doesn’t seem sad at the prospect…

• Kavi and I are festive; Anand and Kevin were also suitably festive, but I spared them the agony of suffering through a photo this year, because I am the kindest

Recipes for ribbon sandwiches and mango fluff in A Feast of Serendib. (I didn’t include them in Vegan Serendib, but you can make both vegan by substituting in vegan cream cheese, agar-agar, etc. appropriately).

The trifle I just kind of make up every year, but if you google ‘berry trifle,’ you should be able to find some good starting points.


I can’t take any credit for this recipe.

I pretty much exactly followed the one I found here.

Came out great – I only regret that I don’t have enough elderberry syrup left from this summer’s berries to make many truffles. Vaguely healthy too – dark chocolate, cashew butter, and elderberries are supposed to be good for warding off winter colds. Shipped some off in the Patreon boxes, and there are a few boxes left for the flash sale. And then that’s it until next summer. 🙂


Wolfberry Cream Tea Scones

with Wolfberry-Lime Glaze

Okay, so I know that these look weird. I promise you, they are tasty, and not even a little bit moldy, even though they’re kind of grey-blue, which normally might mean something you wouldn’t want to eat. Am I selling it to you yet?

See, I happened across wolfberries (aka black goji berries), and I really wanted to include them in my Autumn Woods treat boxes somehow, so I thought I’d try baking them into scones. They’re superfoods, supposedly, so these are even scones that are somewhat good for you, but yeah – I think I’m going to have to include a note in the treat boxes explaining all this, or my patrons are going to be afraid to eat them.

Not sure I’d make them again – maybe for Halloween? But they really do taste quite nice – the wolfberries lend a lightly fruity flavor to the cream scones. Trust me.

3 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1 t. salt
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 T wolfberry powder
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
For (optional) glaze:
1 c. powdered sugar
2-3 T lime juice

1/2 t. wolfberry powder

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray mini scone pan with Baker’s Joy (or butter and flour pan). (Alternately, you can plan to pat dough out in a circle on a greased baking sheet and cut into wedges.)

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and 2 T of wolfberry powder.

3. Combine 1 1/2 c. cream with vanilla. Drizzle liquid mixture over the dry ingredients, stirring gently just to combine.

4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times. Cut into 16 equal pieces and press into the cavities of the pan.

5. Bake 14-15 minutes, until starting to brown and cooked all the way through; turn out onto a rack to cool. You can serve them warm as is (nice with butter and preserves), but I like boosting the flavor with a lime-wolfberry glaze.

6. Optional: Combine glaze ingredients in a small bowl, and drizzle with a fork over completely cooled scones.

I’m wondering what Saku was thinking with her vatallappam.

8 eggs? My recipe uses 4, which I think is pretty standard. She’s generally a much more skilled cook than me, and makes some beautiful dishes, but I wonder what happened here. I think she said it was her mother’s recipe, and I don’t want to blame her Amma, but someone seems to have led Saku astray…

(Yes, there’s a Sri Lankan on GBBO this season, and yes, I’m of course looking at every dish she makes and pondering how I’d approach it….)

My recipe is here – it doesn’t have the caramelized jaggery because we usually do that for caramel pudding in my family, which is a different dish.

(Please avoid any dramatic spoilers for the latest episode in your comments – it just aired yesterday. Thanks!)