No Croutons Required - December Round-Up

No Croutons Required – Christmas 2008

To celebrate the festive season, I would like to present you with the December roundup of No Croutons Required - Festive Photos.

Everyone really got into the swing of this challenge and no one seemed to mind that we were indulging in visual instead of taste delights. We will resume our normal service next month, with a new soup or salad challenge and it will probably be a good thing too, to help us all recover from the excesses of Christmas. I am sure our waistbands will agree :)

So on with the roundup....


Our first entry is from Wendy over at A Wee Bit of Cooking who has submitted a gorgeous picture of some frost laden berries. Wendy is surrounded by some beautiful countryside, which she explores with her beloved and extremely cute dog, Marco.

(Inverness, Scotland)

Christmas Tree Biscuit

Next up is Antonia from Food Glorious Food. Antonia has taken a shot of her Spicy Christmas Tree Biscuits she baked and decorated to festoon her silver and red themed Christmas tree. If you would like to make these Nigella inspired Christmas decorations, then head over to Antonia’s blog for the recipe.

(London, UK)

Fireside Chats

We are visiting Lysy over at Munchkin Mail next. Picture the scene. It’s a cold winter’s night and you are cozied up in front of a log burning fire, chatting with a friend and sipping mulled wine. Perfect!

(Warwickshire, UK)

Christmas Pavlova

One of my dearest friends and my co host, Lisa from Lisa’s Kitchen has whipped us up a decadent delight of a dessert. I have to leave the description of this masterpiece to Lisa, who could rival Nigella herself while extolling the virtues of this dish. Feel free to drool!

“Like an enormous roasted marshmallow with a thick crispy caramelized-sugar exterior surrounding a light and creamy meringue” with “a jaunty slathering of whipped cream and a reckless scattering of fruit on top”!
Mmmmmmm :P
(not in vote)

(London, Canada)

A Pocky Christmas Forest

We are flying to Sydney next, to visit Lorraine over at Not Quite Nigella. (much as I love Nigella, I am honour bound to point out that is girl is way better than Nigella when it comes to baking and should consider renaming her blog!) Anyway, back to business! Lorraine has introduced me, for the first time to Pocky. These delicious bites were something that Lorraine treated herself to while visiting Tokyo and they have stuck in her mind, as you can well imagine. After accidentally abandoning her batch at her sister’s, Lorraine decided to make her own and the results are quite wondrous!

(Sydney, Australia)

A Christmas Cat

Ivy from Kopiaste has sent us a photo of her cat Lisa, who has definitely got into the Christmas spirit! Ivy also made some rather gorgeous Chocolate and Pistachio Brownies which she served with a raspberry sauce. You may want to pop over there to see the recipe.

(Athens, Greece)

Festive Punch

Johanna over at Green Gourmet Giraffe raises a glass of Festive Punch to us while she looks back on the year and thanks everyone who voted for her in previous challenges. Will this be third time lucky for Johanna, I wonder? The punch certainly looks delicious, as do the mince pies, she served with it. Johanna’s festive drink is a Spiced Redcurrant and Orange Punch with a splash of Cointreau. The Cointreau is purely optional and can be left out when served to those kindly souls who will be doing all the driving this Christmas.

(Melbourne, Australia)

Potato Salad and Tree

I now like to introduce you to a new contributor to No Croutons Required, S from Vegan About Town. S made us a Potato Salad, but not before she had made me green with envy by describing her 37 degree weather and a trip to the beach! So there will be no wintry scene from S. She did however taken the shot of her Potato Salad beside her Christmas Tree.

(Perth, Australia)


This one was not contributed as such, but sent as a tease by my friend Davimack over at Wish I Were Baking. You see, last year Davimack made this sumptuous Fruitcake and I drooled over the thought of it! Eventually, when Graham and I went to spend a day with Davimack and Tadmack in Glasgow, we were presented with a slice of this heavenly bake and boy was it worth the wait. This fruit cake is filled with dried mango, pineapple, cherries, apricots, crystallized ginger, raisins, cranberry juice and vodka, then spritzed every day for a few weeks with Port. You get the picture, don’t you? Well Davimack has been super-mean and added a link to a photo of this year’s cake in a comment to me, just before he jetted off to the States for Christmas. *huff*

(Glasgow, Scotland)


Next up be have the super talented Lucy from Nourish Me. Lucy always presents us with the most beautifully shot photographs, which puts the rest of us to shame and this entry is no different! Lucy has created a Reindeer collage especially for the challenge. Thanks Lucy :)

(Melbourne, Australia)

The Little Helpers

Next up we visit Soma from eCurry. Soma has taken a photo of her children decorating the Christmas Tree. Now isn’t that just a perfect photo? Soma also baked some Christopsomo (Christ’s Bread). Christopsomo is the traditional Greek Anise flavored Christmas Bread. You can find this recipe on the same post as the photo of her 2 little elves.

(Texas, US)

Christmas Shortbread

DK from DK’s Culinary Bazaar has made us some Christmas Shortbread. If you have never made shortbread before, then head over to DK’s post, to see a nice simple, step by step photo guide. DK used a basic recipe for shortbread, but added ground almonds for extra flavour. She was ably assisted in decorating her shortbread by her two little guests, but advises that you would be wise to make extra icing when children are helping you bake, as it seems to "dissolve in thin air".


Christmas Tree Cat

We are visiting Anne from Anne’s Kitchen next and a photograph of her favourite tree decoration, a cute little stripey cat. Anne bought her mum the same little cat, so it makes her smile every time she adds it to the tree. Oh, how I covet it!

(Middlesex, UK)

Photo With Santa

Aparna from Sumi’s Weblog has sent us a photo of her beautiful little 13 month old daughter. Aparna has decided that each year she will take a photo of her daughter with Santa. Isn’t that a lovely idea? You can see in this photo, her daughter is not so sure of Santa and isn’t quite certain if it is a good thing or not that he is holding her. Personally, I think I would have started screaming instantly, as soon as Mrs Claus started to get to close. Boy, is she scary! But, that is one cute toddler :)

(South Carolina, US)

Christmas Dry Fruits Frougasse

We are travelling to France next to visit Priya of Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes. Priya has made us a flat bread, which she has named Christmas Dry Fruits Fougasse. Fougasse is a flat bread typically associated with South Eastern part of France. There are sweet and savoury versions of this flatbread. The savoury version sometimes includes Roquefort and nuts or olives and goat cheese, which I hope Priya posts about another time, as they sound really good. This time, however, Priya has made this into a sweet Christmas bread with dry fruits soaked in Orange Flower Water. Can you imagine the smell off this as it bakes? Lovely!

(Paris, France)


Next up is my entry for the challenge. It is a photo I took on a recent walk through the snow with my friend Andrew. We had a great time, all wrapped up against the cold, crunching through the snow and watching children sledging and dogs gallopping about, then heading back home for some soup to warm us up.

Snow always reminds me of Christmas, even though the two coincide so infrequently.
(not in vote)

(Dundee, Scotland)

Marzipan-Topped Shortbread Cookies

Our last and final entry comes from Ricki over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs. Ricki has made Marzipan-Topped Shortbread Cookies. The marzipan in question is Ritter Sport Marzipan chocolate, which is cut into triangles and pressed into the top of each cookie. Ricki is suggesting these handsome cookies as a gastronomic gift for Christmas. Oh what lucky friends Ricki has!

In a totally unrelated aside, while I was reading about Ricki’s entry, two young boys walked past my house and I could here them singing “Oh ye canny chuck your granny of the bus!”, it did make me laugh and now Ricki’s cookies will be indelibly linked with that song in my head!

(Toronto, Canada)

So, if you have a favourite photo out of this roundup, then please vote for it in the voting panel or send me an email. The voting poll will be up until the 30th, then the winner will be announced at Hogmanay.

I can’t resist showing you the lyrics to Ye Canny Shove Yer Granny aff the Bus
(To the tune of She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain)

Ye canny shove yer grannie aff a bus
Ye canny shove yer grannie aff a bus
Ye canny shove yer grannie
Cause she’s yer mammie’s mammie
Ye canny shove yer grannie aff a bus

Ye can shove yer other grannie aff a bus PUSH PUSH
Ye can shove yer other grannie aff a bus PUSH PUSH
Ye can shove yer other grannie
Cause she’s just yer daddie’s mammie
Shove yer other grannie aff a bus PUSH PUSH


  1. Love the roundup, Holler! So many creative entries and gorgeous outdoor shots. And now I am going to forevermore hear that song in my head when I think of cookies--oh, no!

    Hope you and all the NCR participants have a wonderful holidy! :)

  2. This was such a great idea! I really enjoyed looking at the submissions (and am sorry I didn't get one in). Next year? Happy holidays to you and Graham.

  3. This will put us in the Christmas spirit Holler and Lisa:D

  4. It is one of those songs that stick Ricki, unfortunately! It was good hearing the two wee lads singing it with such gusto though.

    Thanks Joan! Happy Holidays to you too :)

    It's a good line up Val :)

  5. Those photos have me feeling very festive indeed!
    Happy Christmas, Holler.

  6. Fantastic roundup Holler! Such a good idea for the holiday season. Sending you a great big hug.


  7. Oh, how lovely! I couldn't participate, but I think it's ok, I wouldn't be able to compete with such nice photos!

  8. lovely round up - good festive fun - but hard to vote for just one as there are so many great photos and as always I love your descriptions - thanks to you and Lisa for a great year of NCR and hope you have a lovely christmas

  9. What a great set of photos, Holler! But it was the beach photo that was my festive shot, not the potato salad...


  10. Very nice pics ... its always nice to see the season from such different perspectives..

    happy holidays!

  11. M'dear, just so you know, we left the fruitcake muffins in the freezer just for you guys... so, no pouting. Santa's watching.

  12. Lovely round up! And that song was always sung in our car when I was a kid. My Gran used to shout (No no!) at the end of each line. :)

  13. Superb roundup Holler, thankyou for taking the time to put that together! Everyone's creations and images are so lovely and evocative! :)

  14. Thanks Lisa, I am sending a hug straight back to you :)

    I am sure you will catch up with us another time Rita. They are a nice mix of photos this time, which is great!

    Thanks Johanna and a Merry Christmas to you too!

    Sorry about that S! I'll tell you what, I will add your photo to the end of the post, so everyone (well a lot of us) can be jealous of your good weather!

    Happy Holidays Soma :)

    Hey Tadmack, You are such a sweetie! .......I was enjoying having a good old pout :(

    Have a great holiday and we will see you in 2009 :)

    Hi Wendy, I can just imagine you all in the car, singing at the top of your lungs. Very funny!

    Thanks Lorraine, it is a hard choice this month, such a great bunch of photos :)

  15. In our house it was always "cos she's your mammie's mammie ".....probably because she made the best potato soup !

  16. Happy New Year Holler. That was a great idea to make this festive roundup. We enjoyed it very much.


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x

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