When my children were small and then before that, when my sisters and I were young, Christmas was a time for making Bumble Bees, Apricot Balls and Rum Balls.
Food trends change and now the fashion is to make delicate chocolates and dusted truffles. But while we experiment with the more trendy Christmas treats, we always come back to our old fashioned favourites.
This recipe is my mother’s and I am sure the week before Christmas we will be going over to grandma’s with the boys and under her watchful eye, make Bumble Bees and Rum Balls yet again. We will have discussions about how big to make them, we will spill coconut everywhere and my mother will question why we are in her kitchen making the mess. But we will have fun, we will talk and we will share family time.
I found this quote which says so much: “Food is about family, food is about community, food is about identity.” (Michael Pollen)
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups Rice Puffs (gluten free)
2 tabs Rum
1. Combine dates, butter and sugar in a saucepan and cook on low heat and stir until butter is melted. Set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, add rice puffs, rum and date mixture and combine.
3. Roll tablespoon balls of mixture and coat in coconut.
For us in the land down under, we are starting to think about our Christmas preparations.
My cousin in Barcelona tells me that they don’t think about Christmas until after “Tots Sants” and La Castanyada when panellets and chestnuts are food of the day. I am sure for some of you, Halloween and Thanksgiving preparations are priority.
I enjoy reading about the various connections between food and traditions and particularly about northern hemisphere countries and the influence that the seasons have on food customs. Here in Australia, pumpkin is mainly used for three purposes roasted, mashed or in scones and chestnuts are found in a tin in the Asian food section of the supermarket.
For us, Christmas is the season for mangoes and lychees, prawns and bbqs, watermelon and pineapple. But each year while we struggle with the humidity of the season and try to shy away from the tradition of a hot meal on the day, we fall back into the traditions bequeathed to us by our parents and grandparents and we sit down to a table full of hot food in the sweltering heat.
When each year I try to reduce our Christmas menu, one son will say, but we HAVE to have lasagne. Another son will say, but we HAVE to have cigrons. And another son will say, but we HAVE to have a nut encrusted baked ham. And then there is at least one son (I have four) who says, we HAVE to make Bumble Bees… we always make Bumble Bees or Rocky Road or Rum Balls.
So here is my version of White Chocolate Rocky Road with a touch of Christmas colour.
White Chocolate Rocky Road
20 g Marshmallows chopped
100 g Turkish Delight chopped
25 g Pistachios
400 g White Chocolate
25 g Macadamia nuts, chopped
25 g Craisins or Glace Cherries, chopped
1/4 cup shredded coconut
(Make sure all ingredients are gluten free)