Embark on a culinary journey around the world this holiday season with an exquisite collection of food and drink recipes brought to you by the team at Gravitate Travel. The team has gathered their favourite family holiday recipes to share with you from around the globe. The holidays are all about family, friends, and food and we wanted to bring a few of our traditions to your homes this season. Get ready to savour the richness of cultural heritage and create unforgettable moments with these holiday dishes from around the world.
Gravitate Team Member: Scott Waldron
Family Favourite Recipe: Chocolate Fiddle Diddles
Origins of Recipe: UK
Family Story: Ever since I was young this recipe has been at family functions, but mostly at Xmas. I understand they have many different names (such as Hay Stacks etc.,) but in our family we called them Fiddle Diddles. My preference for eating them is right out of the freezer so the chocolate melts in your mouth, some like them room temperature and to take a bite with some milk and it becomes like a coconut chocolate milk in your mouth. Major bonus you can whip up a batch in under 30 mins.
½ cup shortening
½ cup milk
2 cups white sugar
6 tbsp cocoa
3 cups oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup coconut
In a saucepan, combine the shortening, white sugar, milk and cocoa and bring to a boil.
Then add in the vanilla, mixing in the oatmeal and coconut.
Once everything is mixed, drop by tablespoon onto wax paper to cool and set.
If you want these to set quicker, place in refrigerator.
Gravitate Team Member: Martha Henderson
Family Favourite Recipe: Mary Henderson’s Antipasto
Origins of Recipe: UK
Family Story: This recipe is a family favourite for holiday gatherings and one that my mother often shared with her family and friends. This is a light starter to tide people over before the heavy meal. I remember giving it as Christmas gifts in my first job. People turned up their noses and one person left it in the fridge for months. When they tried it, the reviews were glowing, and everyone asked for the recipe! Enjoy!
1 small tin pimento
1 tin flaked tuna
1 cup chopped sweet pickles
1 doz sliced ripe black olives
3 chopped green peppers
1 tin sliced mushrooms (drained)
1 doz pimento stuffed olives
½ bottle chili sauce
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup vegetable oil
10 oz ketchup
2 diced garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
Fry green peppers and pimento in oil until soft.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
Divide into bottles and refrigerate for 8 days before serving so all the yummy flavours combine together.
Keep in cool area like a cold basement or refrigerator.
Should be refrigerated after opening. Serve on Triscuits as a light Hors D’oeuvres.
Gravitate Team Member: Consuela Lewis
Family Favourite Recipe: Trinidadian Sorrel
Origins of Recipe: Trinidad
Family Story: I look forward to the holiday season to sit back and relax with the family, while we watch the Sound of Music and drink a chilled glass of Sorrel. The best part of this drink is that everybody in the family can enjoy because it can be made with or without alcohol.
2 OUNCES dried sorrel (hibiscus flowers) (heaping 1 cup)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 CUPS granulated sugar (roughly 1 pound)
12 CUPS boiling water
12 OUNCES dark rum (1½ cups) – optional
Place the sorrel, cinnamon sticks, cloves, sugar and orange peel into a large heat-proof bowl or saucepan. Bring 12 cups of water to a boil and pour the boiling water over the dried sorrel.
Let this mixture steep for 1 to 2 days at room temperature, loosely covered.
Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Discard the solid ingredients and transfer the liquid to bottles or jars.
To make a sorrel cocktail, mix 4 ounces of sorrel with 1 ounce of dark rum. Stir together and pour over ice cubes into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish.
Gravitate Team Member: Amber May
Family Favourite Recipe: Vegan Mushroom & White Bean Cottage Pie
Origins of Recipe: UK/Ireland
Family Story: I’m sharing my usual go-to holiday main course: Vegan Cottage Pie. It comes from my UK/Irish heritage, but instead of using lamb, beef, or pork, I always make a hearty mushroom version which is always a hit.
Potatoes – 24 ounces
Cremini Mushrooms – 8 ounces
Carrots – 12 ounces
Yellow Onion – 1
Olive Oil – 4 teaspoons
Dried Thyme – 1 teaspoon
Garlic Powder – 2 teaspoons
Flour – 2 tablespoons
Tomato Paste – small can
Veggie Stock Concentrate – 50ml
Cannellini Beans – 540ml can
Peas – 8 ounces
Vegan Mayo – 4 tablespoons
Panko Breadcrumbs – ½ cup
Dice potatoes into ½-inch pieces. Place in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, 10-12 minutes. Reserve ½ cup potato cooking liquid, then drain and return potatoes to pot. Keep covered off heat until ready to mash.
While the potatoes cook, trim and roughly chop mushrooms (or use pre-sliced!). Trim, peel, and cut carrots lengthwise, then cut into ¼-inch-thick half-moons. Halve, peel, and dice the onion.
Heat a large drizzle of olive oil in a large, preferably ovenproof, pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, carrots, onion, and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 8-10 minutes.
Reduce heat under pan to low. Add a drizzle of olive oil, flour, garlic powder, and the thyme to the veggies. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until incorporated, 1 minute.
Add 1 cup water, stock concentrate, beans and their liquid, and peas, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. TIP: If your pan isn’t ovenproof, transfer mixture to a baking dish now.
Heat broiler to high. Add mayonnaise to the pot with the potatoes and mash until smooth, adding splashes of reserved potato cooking liquid as needed. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mix together panko, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Once filling has thickened, spoon mashed potatoes over top; spreading into an even layer, leaving a 1-inch border around edge of pan. Sprinkle mashed potatoes with the panko mixture.
Broil the cottage pie until the panko topping is lightly browned, 3-4 minutes. TIP: Watch carefully to avoid burning. Let rest at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Gravitate Team Member: Rafaela Sanchez
Family Favourite Recipe: Venezuelan Egg Nog (Ponche Crema)
Origins of Recipe: Venezuela
Family Story: When you think of Venezuela, you might picture stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, but the country is also home to some delicious traditional dishes and beverages. One such delight is Venezuelan Egg Nog, known as “Ponche Crema.” This creamy, sweet, and slightly boozy concoction is a must-try when visiting Venezuela. In this recipe, we’ll show you how to make this delectable holiday treat in the comfort of your own kitchen.
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk.
1 can (14 oz) evaporated milk
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Venezuelan rum (typically Santa Teresa or Cacique, but any dark rum will do)
Zest from 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Crushed ice for serving
Start by separating the egg yolks from the whites. You’ll only need the yolks for this recipe, so save the whites for another culinary adventure.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Mix until they are well incorporated.
Add the egg yolks to the milk mixture and whisk vigorously. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens slightly and becomes smooth.
Pour in the Venezuelan rum of your choice. This is where the magic happens, so don’t skimp on the quality! Stir it into the mixture until it’s well combined.
Add the vanilla extract, lime zest, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. These ingredients will infuse your Ponche Crema with a delightful blend of flavours. Continue to whisk the mixture until everything is well incorporated. You’ll notice it becomes even creamier with each stir.
Once everything is mixed to your satisfaction, pour your Ponche Crema into a clean, airtight container or bottle. Seal it well and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight to let the flavours meld and the drink chill.
When you’re ready to serve, fill your glasses with crushed ice. This will give your Ponche Crema a delightful chill and refreshing quality. Pour the Ponche Crema over the ice, filling each glass about two-thirds full. You can adjust the amount of Ponche Crema to your preference, depending on how strong you want it.
Garnish each glass with a lime wedge, which adds a touch of zesty freshness to the drink. Grab your glass, take a sip, and transport your taste buds to the heart of Venezuela. The creamy, sweet, and slightly spicy flavours of Venezuelan Egg Nog will surely leave you craving for more.
Gravitate Team Member: Andrew Brudz
Family Favourite Recipe: Dad’s Cabbage Rolls
Origins of Recipe: Poland
Family Story: Growing up, I was always a little embarrassed about being Polish. Maybe it was the stereotypes around Polish people being dumb. And the various bland, boiled, grey foods indicative of Eastern Europe didn’t help. In my home-ec class one year, our teacher gave us an assignment: to make and share a dish from our heritage. I felt myself immediately sink into my seat. When I told my parents what I had to do, my dad was so gleeful. He would make his cabbage rolls, which were usually reserved only for Christmas. I sighed. When the day arrived, I brought my disposable foil pan filled with the tenderly wrapped little pockets along with me, already wincing at the smell of boiled cabbage as I stepped onto the school bus. In class, I lined my dish next to other more exciting creations: Dutch sugar cookies, baked ziti, baklava. Our teacher, whose name I wish I could remember, was the first to dive into my contribution. After one mouthful, she pointed to the cabbage rolls on her plate with her fork and said, “Now this is how you make cabbage rolls! The rice-to-beef ratio is perfect. People often use too much beef.” After her declaration of approval, I held my head a little higher.
2 Heads of Cabbage
2 Cans of Stewed Tomatoes (796ml each)
2 Cans of Tomato Juice (1.36L each)
2 Cups White Rice
2 Pounds of Lean Ground Beef
1 Large Spanish Onion
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Boil the cabbage until the leaves are tender and call off the head.
Cook the rice and set aside until cool.
Once the rice is cooled, mix in the ground beef, onion, ¾ of the tomato juice, salt and pepper.
Once this is well mixed, spoon the mix into a cabbage leaf and roll.
Place the rolled cabbage in a large roasting pan up to three quarter full. Add on stewed tomatoes. Sprinkle green parsley flakes.
Cook for about three hours. Add remainder of the tomato juice while cooking to keep from drying out.
When you smell the aroma of the cabbage rolls throughout the house, you’ll know they’re ready. Smacznego!
Gravitate Team Member: Diane Wilson
Family Favourite Recipe: Betty’s Scottish Trifle
Origins of Recipe: Scotland
Family Story: Every year at Christmas and New Year’s my mom would make her version of an English Trifle but with a Scottish twist. My friends loved her trifle so much that over the years my mom would occasionally make a special trifle for some of my friends to enjoy. For the family though, she always wanted to keep the trifle to the holidays only to make it special.
2 398mL tins half pears
2 packages of raspberry jelly rolls (smaller 4 packs are best)
340g Tin of Birds Custard
473mL container of Whipping Cream
½ cup Brandy, Sherry or Whiskey (your preference)
Start by cutting up the raspberry jelly rolls into equal sized slices. Empty the two tins of pears into a bowl (include the juice) and mash up with a potato masher. Make the custard as per directions on the tin, but don’t allow to harden (timing is everything here). Do the whipping cream last.
In a large serving bowl, start with a layer of raspberry jelly roll on the bottom and add a couple up the sides of the bowl. Spoon in some of your pear mixture on top of the jelly roll and spread evenly. Add ¼ cup of brandy (or to taste) to the top of the pear mixture. Follow this with a layer of the custard on top. Repeat one more layer in the bowl. Top off the bowl with the whipping cream, covering the top of the bowl. Add sprinkles for a decorative touch on top of the whipping cream (you could also use raspberries on top). Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours prior to serving. Enjoy!
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