Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Seed Crackers and Christmas eats and trees

After months of festive decorations in the shops, it is a surprise that Christmas is almost upon us.  We have had our fair share of Christmas and end of year events.  And so many involve sugar and lollies.  So yesterday when a friend asked if I wanted some leftovers from her birthday cake I declined.  Which is why when we made presents for Sylvia's teacher, we decided to make savoury seeded crackers.  I will give you the cracker recipe after some musing on Christmas eats and trees.

I made these sausage rolls for a Christmas carol service.  We also took bread and vegies but I forgot the hummus.  Sylvia wisely told me not to bother bringing any sweet food as she knew she would have enough there.  She and her friend had lollies from santa as well as fairy floss and gloopy slushies.

I had quite a bit of sausage roll filling leftover as I didn't have time to make them all up.  The remaining filling went into a tex mex puff pastry braid that was made with a layer of refiried beans (kidney beans, taco seasoning and tomato sauce), 1 mashed avocado and sausage roll filling.  It was delicious but I had hoped for a brighter green filling.

I grated cheese onto half of the remaining sheet of pastry.  Then I folded it in half and cut out shapes with some cookie cutters.  We baked the shapes and the rest of the sheet left over from the shape until golden brown.  Sylvia loved them.

I made gingerbread houses for an end of year raffle at Sylvia's gymnastics club.  We had fun photographing them and were late to gymnastics as a result!  The irony!  I have promised Sylvia I will make a gingerbread house with her.  I am planning to try a new gingerbread recipe.

Much as I try to avoid a new flavour of an old brand, every now and again I cannot resist temptation.  The idea of a ginger cola was irresistible.  Ginger beer is a favourite drink of mine.  The ginger cola was nice but I still prefer ginger beer.

We were at the Coburg Farmers Market the morning that we picked up Sylvia from her sleepover (at the ungodly hour of 8am).  There was Christmas cake being sold by the CWA, the above mince tarts from La Madre and also some cute mini chocolate Christmas puddings.  However we headed over to Cocoa Rhapsody for some chocolates to give as thank yous.

Last week Sylvia had her end of year Christmas lunch.  Her class was asked to bring crackers or chips.  Sylvia insisted I make cheese stars from Nigella's How to Eat.  Dutifully I made the dough the night before and rose early to bake on the day they were requested.  Afterwards Sylvia told me she just had BBQ shapes from a box.  I sighed!  Then I decided that I wasn't just baking for her but, to paraphrase Ghandi, to be the change I wish to see.

I am feeling quite behind in lots of Christmas organisation.  One small project I finished was this icy pole stick and button star.  It was inspired by one that a friend made. 

We went to see E play Christmas carols at some local libraries with his ukulele group on the weekend.  Afterwards E suggested stopping for a coffee at a cafe.  I was already behind so instead we bought doughnuts.

The carols were after Sylvia and I had picked up our Christmas tree.  I don't know if Sylvia was more excited about being in the front seat of the car for the first time or driving home with the tree in the back filing the car with wonderful pine aromas.  Unfortunately at home the tree was challenging to get into our stand.  I borrowed a hacksaw from a neighbour to trim the base and broke the blade.  The tree is now sitting at a rather laid back angle.  My button star on the top looks great.

Our tree is top left above.  Top right is a book Christmas tree at Preston Library.  I really loved this tree.  The top reminds me of making angels out of old books when we were young.  Bottom left is a sock tree I saw in a shop that took my fancy.  And bottom right is my parents' tree.

On Saturday after getting out tree into place, rushing off to E's carols and heading home to decorate the tree, Sylvia and I went to my parents so we could decorate the tree the next day.  It is a fake tree.  Previous to this year, they have always bought real trees.  So it seemed strange.  Even stranger was that it was a lot smaller than the past trees.  It looked great.

Before we decorated my parents' tree, I had taken down some fruit mince and chocolate pastry to make chocolate mince tarts.  Usually we put stars on top.  My mum didn't have star cookie cutters but she had gingerbread men cutters.  They looked quite cute on the mince pies.  I made them to take to book club after decorating the tree.  Our last bookclub of the year is a film night and we saw Girl on a Train and took along a plate.  The chocolate mince tarts were my contribution.

A few weeks ago I met my friend Yaz at The Glass Den where we ate curly fries and talked about healthy crackers.  He said he just mixes chia seeds and water to make a thick slurry and then adds as many other seeds as he could before baking them in thin sheets.  I looked up some similar recipes and found this one from New Zealand.

I had decided that we would try and avoid sweet food for gifts for Sylvia's class teacher.  So we made these seed crackers.  They have kept for 5 or 6 days in an airtight container but are slightly more fragile than I had hoped.  But they do hold together fine.  (Perhaps so more chia or linseeds would help.)  My main problem with them was that I misread the recipe and thought I had to scatter 1 teaspoon of salt over them before baking.  They were too salty.  A pinch of two of salt would do.

As well as being a different sort of gift, these crackers make great snacks if you like a birdseed sort of snack.  I do.  I am sure I will be making these again for myself and others.

I am sending these to Healthy Vegan Fridays, Gluten Free Fridays, and Treat Petite.

More Christmas gifts on Green Gourmet Giraffe: 
And for some more fun ideas, check out Tin and Thyme's Advent Calendar of Christmas recipe links.

Seed crackers
From bite.co,nz
Makes about 48 square crackers

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup linseed / flaxseed
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
flaky sea salt, to taste

Mix all seeds, 1/2 tsp of salt and all the water.  Leave to sit for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  Spread as thinly as possible on baking paper on two medium oven trays.  Sprinkle with a pinch or two of flaky sea salt.  Bake at 170 C for 30 minutes.  Cut into squares (I did 4 x 6 rows.)  At this point they are quite dry and crispy but can crisp up more.  Return to the oven and bake another 20 -30 minutes until slightly golden.  Cool on a wire rack.  Keep in an airtight container.

On the Stereo 
White Christmas: Bing Crosby


  1. I totally hear you, I'm on sugar overload already! What a great idea to make crackers instead of more sweets. :)

    Your sausage rolls look so good. My husband would especially love them as he kind of misses sausages since going veg. I'll try to make them for him over the holiday break.

    Thanks so much for linking up with us for Healthy Vegan Fridays! I’m Pinning and sharing!

    1. Thanks Mary-Ellen - definitely try these sausage rolls - they are so good - or just bake the filling as sausages or balls and that would work well too!

  2. What a Christmas packed blog post and always interesting to read. I've been good avoiding the sweet stuff, but i have been set loose today, we had a bring and share at work today and let me tell you i am stuffed. Ah I had a lot of chestnut mushroom filling left over and made some plaited mini chestnut loafs which are in the freezer which I hope to blog about in the near future, this is to say were on similar tracks here. i like the sound of Yaz seed crackers as i find those around us a tad boring so may make this and will er on the side of caution re saltiness and fragility.

    1. Thanks Shaheen - your chestnut mushroom filling sounds so good and I like to be able to share some good food with colleagues occasionally (though I have been in places where we have had overkill on shared meals)

  3. I've been wanting to make my own seed crackers. It seems the scandi have many variations of this. I will try your recipe with the chia seeds. Sounds really healthy! Thanks.

    1. Thanks May - the crackers were great to have around before Christmas for healthier snacking - and for healthier gifts. Hope it works for you.

  4. we're on sugar overload here too but have a few more events to get through. In fact as we speak I am looking up recipes for Christmas day-- urgh to 35C weather forecast! Love the photos of the Christmas trees you have seen and the gingerbread folk on the mince pies look wonderful!

    1. Thanks Faye - Christmas is just so full of sugar - we didn't do too badly til the last week and then it really went into overload.

  5. Well done on the gingerbread houses! Ooh ginger coke sounds interesting. I wonder if it will be around for my annual Coke craving? :P

    1. Thanks Lorraine - am curious when your annual coke craving it - if it is soon I have seen that the ginger coke is still in the supermarket near us!

  6. Christmas is the perfect excuse to push the boat out.... you have an amazing selection of treats here to choose from! Happy Christmas xx
    The Christmas book tree is incredible! x

    1. Thanks Kate - we have eaten well over Christmas :-)

  7. The seed crackers look so tasty, they would be a welcome healthy snack right now! Thanks for linking up to Treat Petite!

    1. Thanks Kat - I am thinking maybe I need to make another batch of these crackers!

  8. I'm sure the seed crackers were very welcome amidst the Christmassy sweet foods. They look delicious and well suited to starting a new year too! I am also really intrigued by ginger coca cola...how odd.


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