Festivals are extraordinary times of the year and so we naturally associate them with eating out-of-the-ordinary foods. This may be the only time that you want to bake something really special, so try making one of these treats to enhance your celebratory feasting - your efforts are sure to be appreciated.

  • '44' Orange and Coffee Liqueur

    '44' Orange and Coffee Liqueur

    A friend recently told me this memorable recipe for a traditional home made orange liqueur which she was given in southern France. It has rapidly become a favourite, but it does take 44 days to... More »

  • Russian Easter Bread

    Russian Easter Bread

    This simple recipe for a light and golden orange-flavoured plaited loaf comes from a 1961 book by George and Cecilia Scurfield called 'Home Baked: A Little Book of Bread Recipes'. Published in Britain, it was... More »

  • Myra's Chocolate Log

    Myra's Chocolate Log

    Chocolate Log is a dessert cake the French call Bûche de Nöel, and is intended to represent the Yule Log traditionally burnt at Christmas. The word 'yule' is based on the Old Norse name of... More »

  • Schiacciata all' Uva / Sweet Tuscan Harvest Bread

    Schiacciata all' Uva / Sweet Tuscan Harvest Bread

    During the autumn grape harvest in the Italian province of Tuscany, bakers produce big trays of this delicious sweet flat bread covered in grapes which cook to a wonderful rich purple. I usually make Schiacciata... More »

  • Pascalinas


    There are many recipes for buttery Greek Easter biscuits in which the dough is twisted or rolled into pretty shapes, then glazed with beaten egg and baked. They generally include almonds, vanilla, aniseed, sesame seed... More »

  • Cardamom Christmas Crisps

    Cardamom Christmas Crisps

    Louette McInnes from Christchurch sent me a recipe she'd found in a Scandinavian book. As she astutely observed, it happily combines the cardamom and almonds typical of Finnish biscuits with the golden crispiness of New... More »

  • Pistachio and Almond Fingers (Kahk-bil-loz)

    Pistachio and Almond Fingers (Kahk-bil-loz)

    In his wonderful book, ‘Sweets and Desserts from the Middle East’, Arto der Haroutunian described this layered pistachio and almond sweetmeat as ‘One of the greatest in the whole Middle Eastern repertoire.’ A paste of... More »

  • Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)

    Cinnamon Stars (Zimtsterne)

    A traditional Swiss recipe, which is also made in Austria and Germany, this found its way to New Zealand in The Peace Recipe Book, by Elsie Harvey but Elsie cut her biscuits into fingers rather... More »

  • 2-4-6 Christmas Biscuits

    2-4-6 Christmas Biscuits

    This festive version of the 2-4-6 Refrigerator Biscuits is the invention of Yvonne Standen who made them for a morning tea at the Mairangi Bay Probus Club last year when I was talking about my... More »

  • Ricciarelli


    My favourite recipe for these 14th century Sienese Christmas sweetmeats is from 'Carluccio's Complete Italian Food' by Antonio and Priscilla Carluccio (1997). As the authors note, 'they can be bought ready-made, but the homemade version... More »

  • Apricot, Pistachio and Cardamom Sweetmeats (Zardalou Toush-porshodeh)

    Apricot, Pistachio and Cardamom Sweetmeats (Zardalou Toush-porshodeh)

    I used a combination of soft Turkish and tangy New Zealand dried apricots to make these delicious little sweets. The apricots are finely chopped and mixed with chopped pistachios, orange blossom water and cardamom and... More »

  • Stollen


    European festive breads are not difficult to bake, look very good on the table and are less demanding on strained digestions than rich cakes. Stollen are made from a light and fruity bread dough folded... More »

  • Simnel Cake

    Simnel Cake

    An utterly delicious idea - to bake a round of almond paste in the middle of a light fruit cake so it becomes an almost fudge-like marzipan layer. To be completely traditional you can then... More »

  • Easter Biscuits

    Easter Biscuits

    Crisp, lemony, sugary and golden, these currant biscuits are an English recipe that appears in a number of early New Zealand cookery books - one of the many festival foods that migrated to the Antipodes... More »