Without a doubt, Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love the glittery lights and vintage ornaments on our tree, my son’s non-stop singing of his rendition of “Jingle Bells” at the top of his voice, mad shopping for presents followed by mad gift-wrapping, and most of all, catching up with extended family and close friends over endless days of gorging on rich, decadent food. Turkey with its trimmings, champagne ham, leg of lamb, a variety of sausages, roast beef and smoked salmon are all regular features at our yearly family Christmas feast. But with all that meat, I make sure that there are delicious veggies to go along, and the dish that I never fail to make, is this honey and cinnamon-glazed butternut squash. I adore it so much that I sometimes think it should be the star of the show. Its sweetness pairs superbly with the savoury meats, and the intoxicating warm smell wafting from the oven as it bakes, defines what Christmas should really smell like.

While your guests wait for lunch or dinner proper, may I strongly suggest you serve them bowlfuls of these spiced bar nuts (adapted from Union Square Cafe’s famous recipe). Buttery, salty, sweet, and utterly irresistible, these crunchy nuggets are the best accompaniment to your bubbly. Even the kids will love munching on them while chugging sparkling apple juice (my son polished off a startling amount this afternoon, and he particularly likes the sugary, crispy rosemary leaves). But best of all, they are the perfect little nibbles for the sweaty cook toiling away in the kitchen (I speak from experience). Cheers and happy holidays!

About Dawn Chia

Dawn, a lanky food-crazed lady, started out writing for lifestyle magazines, and later spent several years in banking. When not eating, she's cooking, reading about, hankering after, and writing about food. On her first date with her boyfriend (now husband), they dined at four restaurants across Singapore. He's gained 25lbs since, and their culinary escapades continue after welcoming two rotund angels. Dawn's committed to feeding them with the best, and creating lasting food memories and traditions for her family.


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19 December 2012


Hi Blur Ting, a jar of these nuts makes a yummy hostess gift. I’m sure your friends will be happy to receive them. Happy holidays!

Hi there:) The recipes look great! Although I am having difficulty finding raw nuts,would they happen to be unsalted baked nuts that you can find from NTUC? If not where should I get them from?

Hi Pearlyn, yes you can use those that you find at the supermarket, but since they are already baked, you just need to heat them for a few minutes at the start. I buy my raw peanuts (without skins) from NTUC or Cold Storage, and the rest of the raw nuts from the baking supplies chain, Phoon Huat. The dried foods store in the wet markets might carry them too. Merry Christmas!

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