Daily Archives: December 22, 2008

A Christmas Recipe

Here is something I haven’t done before on this blog: a recipe!

I actually enjoy cooking a lot, and the girls are starting to join in. I was delighted to find this recipe for Speculaas on the Insight Scoop blog, and they really are yummy. I would make one modification – forget about slicing them after they have been in the fridge. In fact, probably only a few hours for the dough in the fridge would suffice, and then roll the dough out real thin and use little biscuit cutters. Don’t over cook them either. If anyone knows where I can buy some proper speculaas biscuit moulds, please let me know.


1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening (I used copha – which worked okay)
1/2 cup butter [that’s 113g – much easier]
1/2 cup condensed milk
4 tbsp cinnamon
1 pinch each nutmeg, cloves, salt
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup slivered almonds, crushed

Mix together the sugars, the shortening and the butter. Add the condensed milk and spices and gradually blend in the flour and baking soda. Crush the almonds with a rolling pin and mix in. The dough will be somewhat stiff. Roll into logs covered with plastic or waxed paper.

Leave in refrigerator overnight. [Or just a couple of hours]

Cut into slices [or roll out thin and use biscuit cutters] and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees F [180 degrees C] for around 10 minutes. Traditionally Speculaas are imprinted with some pattern created by a wooden mold (before baking). If you imprint the cookies with a mold, they will look better.

Makes about 80 cookies [or lots of little ones].

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Silly Christmas Songs with Maddy and Mia

Okay, here are the girls singing “Jingle Bells”. Mia does the Aussie version and Maddy does her impression of Elvis…


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Celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul on Sunday 25 January 2009

But, you say, doesn’t the Church always celebrate the Conversion of St Paul in January 25th? Well, yes, it does. BUT not when it falls on a Sunday (it is not a Solemnity), as it does in 2009.

HOWEVER, on May 30 2008 the Pope released a special declaration through the Congregation for Divine Worship to the effect that since this is the Jubilee Year of St Paul, for 2009 only the readings and propers for the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul may be used on the Sunday. There are special considerations (see below), but I just thought I would point this out now, since most Australian parishes will be in “holiday mode” still on the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary time. Now is the time to contact whoever is in charge of liturgy in your parish (your parish priest maybe???) and urge them to make Sunday 25 January a little less ordinary and more special by marking it as a Pauline Sunday.

Vatican permits parishes to mark feast of conversion of St. Paul

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As part of the 2008-2009 celebration of the special year devoted to St. Paul, Catholic parishes may mark the traditional Jan. 25 feast of the Conversion of St. Paul even though it falls on a Sunday in 2009.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments issued a decree saying Pope Benedict XVI, “in an extraordinary manner,” has given permission for parishes and churches to use the prayers and readings for the feast day instead of those for the third Sunday of ordinary time.

The decree was released May 30 at the Vatican.

Generally, the Mass texts for feasts such as the Conversion of St. Paul are not used when the feast day falls on a Sunday.

“The apostle St. Paul, who proclaimed the truth of Christ to the whole world,” and who converted after having persecuted followers of Christ, “always was and still is venerated by the faithful, especially in this particular year,” which marks the 2,000th anniversary of his birth, the decree said.

For that reason, “only for the year 2009,” Pope Benedict has decided that parishes may use the prayers and readings for the feast day Jan. 25.

Because the feast day Mass does not include a second reading, the second reading from the third Sunday of ordinary time should be used and the Creed, often not recited at Mass during the week, should be recited, the decree said.

The decree was signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the congregation, and by Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, congregation secretary.

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ABC to televise Carols from St Patrick’s Cathedral and Pope Benedict XVI’s Christmas Midnight Mass

So, while you don’t get Pontifical Vespers, you do get Pontifical Carols and Lessons AND Pontifical (indeed, PAPAL) Mass – which I think is a good deal. So here are the details, and don’t forget to set your video recorders!

ABC TV1 will broadcast the annual Festival of Readings and Carols (Pre-Recorded) from St Patrick’s Cathedral at 7.30pm Christmas Eve.

Archbishop Denis Hart will [“has” – past tense – would be more accurate – this is a recording after all!] preside, accompanied by the Cathedral clergy and complemented by both highly acclaimed choirs of St Patrick’s Cathedral.

On Christmas Day, with the memory of Pope Benedict’s WYD visit to Sydney still fresh in our minds, Australians will be able to join with the Pope when the ABC telecasts Midnight Mass into homes, hospitals and nursing homes across the country.

The Mass, direct from St Peter’s Basilica, will air at 11am on ABC Television 1.

The Holy Father will preside at the Mass which will, as usual, feature the participation of children from around the world.

The ABC’s telecast will feature English-language commentary.

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