Macaroni pie made with Smoked Gouda cheese Photo by Cynthia Nelson

Hi Everyone,

Do not stress yourself this holiday season trying to come up with new dishes, just try these 12 little twists on traditional things. People are bound to be talking about them long after Christmas.

You see that aged bottle or container of rum-soaked fruits that you have? Put it to work for you in more than just the traditional Christmas cake. Start by turning your ham sandwich into an extraordinary sandwich with heat and spice.

Mix hot pepper sauce with some rum fruits and spread a thin layer on one slice of bread (both if you like) then proceed with building your sandwich – the sweetness, along with heat from the pepper sauce pairs well with the salty ham, and warm mustard.

Warm potato salad with boiled eggs & mustard dressing Photo by Cynthia Nelson

Elevate your ham sandwich even more by mixing some of the rum fruits with mango or souree achar. The blend of spices, heat and sweetness compliment the ham exceptionally well.

It is traditional to make Coconut Sweet Bread as one of the many holiday treats. This year, ditch the raisins and cherries and stir in some rum fruits. You will almost never want to make or eat Coconut Sweet Bread again without

Garlicky plantains with garlic pork bits Photo by Cynthia Nelson

rum fruits.

One of the easiest desserts to make is bread pudding, however, bread pudding can be considered rather passé at this time of the year. I can tell you it won’t be, if you make it with cured rum fruits that you stir in just before adding the custard-soaked pudding mixture into a baking dish. Move over Christmas cake, there is new pudding in town.

The ham

Do more than stud your ham with cloves and slices of pineapple. Make your ham glaze with orange marmalade, guava jam, sorrel jam or the traditional pineapple jam, mixed with some hot and spicy mango or souree achar for a sweet-spice-heat combo.

Okay, I know this one will have people shaking their heads – it is too traditional to mess with. Hear me out. Instead of plain white bread or anise seed bread, make cardamom bread. For this recipe, simply replace the anise seed with cardamom. You’ll be surprised at how well the cardamom compliments the cinnamon and gloves traditionally found in Pepperpot.

I don’t think you’ll resist number 7.

Finely mince Garlic Pork and cook until crisp and top your baked potato with them (think bacon bits) or a green/garden salad with a creamy dressing. Goes well scattered over Caesar salad.

Are you still with me? Let’s bring it home with these 5 side dishes.

In making your macaroni pie, opt for a smoked cheese and watch your family and friends devour your pie, because it smells and tastes so meaty good!

Instead of making a baked stuffing, casserole style, to spoon and serve, roll the mixture into balls and bake on a sheet pan.

The holiday table would just not be the same without potato salad right? Give this twist a try – instead of using regular English potatoes or even sweet potatoes, use boiled and diced breadfruit. Shhh… don’t tell them before they eat it, they may resist you. Now stand back watch them fall in love with your breadfruit salad.

Space in a refrigerator and freezer become prime locations during the holidays. Consider making a warm potato salad instead of a mayo-based salad that is best served cold. A warm potato salad also makes it possible for a variety of ingredients to be added to the mix.

You must be asking by now, Cynthia, where is the rice? Here it is, coming in at number 12.

To your vegetable fried rice, add some golden raisins/sultanas. You can add the regular dark raisins if that is all you have but it’s the holidays and we are changing things up. Besides, the golden raisins/sultanas will be more aesthetically pleasing and complement the colour of the fried rice. And they do have a slightly different flavour. You’ll write and tell me how much you enjoyed biting in to a plump sweet raisin amidst the savoury rice and vegetables.

Have ideas, you’d like to share? Inbox me and I’ll share them on Tastes Like Home social media pages with full credit to you.


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