Virtual Christmas Advent Tour 2013


Kailana from The Written World and Marg from Adventures of an Intrepid Reader are very pleased to be hosting the Virtual Advent Tour for the 7th year, inviting book bloggers to participate by sharing a tradition or treat with their readers.  Last year I shared my favourite holiday event – attending the community Carols by Candelight celebrations. This year, I thought I would share with you something that crops up during the holidays, three seemingly innocuous words inscribed on every invitation – Bring a plate! It’s an Australian expression that is not asking you to donate your china, but to bring a plate filled with food to share among the guests.

With the children’s end of year parties for school and various groups, bring a plate often equates to providing ‘party’ food – individual serves of something sweet for up to 30 children. I’m not much of a cook, but with four children I have collected a range of quick, easy (and cheap) recipes I can whip up with a moment’s notice.

Mars Bar Slice

  • 90g butter
  • 3 x 85g Mars Bars, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups Rice Bubbles
  • 250g milk chocolate block
  • red and green sprinkles or mini red and green M&M’s

Prepare a slice tin by lining with baking paper and set aside.
In a glass bowl, place butter and Mars Bars. Heat in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes and remove to stir.
Pour Rice Bubbles into the butter/Mars Bar mixture one cup at a time mix. Mix until all combined.
Press into the slice tin with the back of a large metal spoon. Set aside.
Break the block of chocolate into small squares and microwave for 1 minute and stir for 30 seconds. Heat for 20 seconds more if it doesn’t become smooth and creamy.
Pour the melted chocolate over the Rice Bubbles mixture and spread evenly. Scatter chocolate with red and green sprinkles or mini M&M’s
Cool in fridge untill chocolate hardens. Lift slab out of tray with baking paper place on cutting board.
Once it is room temperature, cut into squares with a large sharp knife.

Nutella Fairy Bread

  • fresh sliced white bread
  • 1 jar of Nutella (chocolate hazlenut spread)
  • 100’s and 1000’s (use a red, white and green mix for Christmas cheer)

Spread each slice of bread generously with Nutella.
Press slices face down into 100’s and 1000’s.
Slice into triangles or use cookie cutters to create shapes

Strawberry Santa’s


  • 2 (or more) punnets of strawberries
  • 1 can of whipped cream
  • chocolate sprinkles
  • small white meringue nests
Slice the leafy end off each strawberry, then slice the tip off to make a little hat.
Place the base of the strawberry in a meringue nest. Using a spoon or a large icing tip, place a large dollop (about 1-2 tsp) of whipped cream on top of the strawberry base. Plop the little hat on top. Add another small dollop of whipped cream to the tip of the hat to make a mock pom-pom.
Place two chocolate sprinkles in the Santas “face” for the eyes. Place two very small splotches of whipped cream down the front of the strawberry for buttons.
Store them in the fridge to keep them cold and serve immediately. Santa doesn’t do well with heat.
It’s not just kids parties at this time of year though, we also tend to have lots of get together’s with friends and family. Again, I have a handful of recipes I rely on to create something I can share. Nothing takes longer than 15 minutes to put together and they always impress.

Cabanossi Bites


  • 4 sticks of cabanossi
  • 4 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 jar of pizza sauce (with garlic and herbs)
  • 2  eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk

Heat oven to hot 200C
Beat eggs and milk to create glaze
Brush edges of puff pastry sheet with glaze
Spread half the pastry with pizza sauce (not to thick or it will ooze out)
Roll a cabanossi stick in pastry sheet
Slice into inch long pieces
Arrange pieces if a tray lined with non stick baking paper and baste with glaze
Bake for 10 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Best served warm

Cheese and Bacon Cob Dip


  • 1 cob life
  • 1 loaf unsliced fresh bread
  • 300 ml sour cream
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • 500g diced bacon
  • 300g shallots
  • 1 small can creamed corn

Heat oven to moderate 180c
Fry bacon and shallots.
Slice top off of the cob loaf and pull out the bread in chunks (keep aside) leaving a solid crust. Place hollowed crust in a shallow oven proof dish
Mix cream, cream cheese, corn, fried bacon and shallots and pour into the bread case.
Bake for 10 -15 mins
Serve warm with torn bread from cob and unsliced loaf for dipping.

Lattice Vanilla Slice


  • 2 x 200g pkt Arnott’s Lattice Biscuits
  • 2 x 100g pkts vanilla instant pudding
  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 300ml milk
  • icing sugar

Grease then line a slice tin with baking paper. Place a layer of lattice biscuits on the bottom of the tin to fit (glossy side down)
Use a mixer to whip the instant pudding, cream and milk until it has a smooth, creamy texture. Pour over the Lattice biscuits.
Lay more lattice biscuits over the top (glossy side up)
Refrigerate for 3 hours or until chilled. Cut into slices and serve sprinkled lightly with icing sugar.

* To convert metric cooking terms to imperial download this simple pdf conversion chart


I hope you and yours are enjoying the festive season and you have enjoyed these quick and easy recipes!



13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kate Loveday
    Dec 15, 2012 @ 08:11:04

    Thanks for the super quick recipes Shelleyrae. With two g/daughters who always seem to be hungry I am copying them to my recipe file as permanent standbys as well as ‘bring a plate’.



  2. joyweesemoll
    Dec 15, 2012 @ 15:16:41

    Those strawberry Santas are so cute! And perfect for the season in Australia. I love that!



  3. Pepca
    Dec 15, 2012 @ 21:26:52

    These look delicious! I might try making Lattice Vanilla slices myself. Thanks for sharing!



  4. Marg
    Dec 15, 2012 @ 22:14:26

    Oh, nutella fairy bread. I would love to make that, but my son is allergic to hazelnuts so I never have any in the house unless he is away!

    Those strawberry santas are so cute, and thank you for the recipe for lattice vanilla slice. My auntie makes it but I had never found a recipe!

    Thanks for participating in the tour this year Shelleyrae!



  5. sprite
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 03:37:58

    This is one of the things I love about the Advent Tour: hearing about different cultures. These recipes are all new to me, as were some of the ingredients and terms (punnet and cob loaf had to be looked up — so exciting to have new phrases to bandy about!). Thank you for sharing such tasty treats!



  6. The Australian Bookshelf
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 08:39:28

    These look delicious Shelleyrae. I especially love the strawberry santas, they are so cute! Haven’t seen that recipe before.



  7. perkinsy
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 15:52:25

    Those strawberry santa clauses (sounds quite legal!) are sooo cute. I was thinking of giving them a go. How do you make “small white meringue nests”? Should you use an ordinary meringue recipe and just make a heap of very small ones?



  8. Teddyree
    Dec 17, 2012 @ 21:22:37

    I make cob loaf to take to everything this time of the year lol. Love the strawberry santas, impressive looking but still easy. Might give the Cabanossi Bites a go, thanks for the recipes 🙂



  9. Denise Maclaren
    Apr 10, 2013 @ 11:29:47

    Please note: I have a new email address It is as follows: Thank you, Denise.




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