As part of FBC’s 5th anniversary we’re sharing a special 24-day Holiday Countdown from December 1st to the 24th. We’re going back in time to reconnect with some very special FBC Members. These Canadian food bloggers were among the very first FBCers to be showcased in our Friday Featured Blogger series that still runs today (we’ve featured almost 250 bloggers in five years!).
Name: Julie Van Rosendaal
Blog Name: Dinner with Julie
How has your blog evolved over the past five years?
Besides a new design (that still unfortunately has some kinks to work out), my blog has not evolved a whole lot over the past five years — it remains a direct outlet to share recipes with my readers. I find there are far fewer comments and engagement on the blog itself, as so many people are engaged on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms, but it has remained a place where I can post in real time, as opposed to publishing cookbooks, which take years to put together, or stories for magazines, newspapers and other publications, which have lead times of weeks or months, meaning I’m often making turkey dinner in the middle of August.
What’s your favourite holiday tradition?
I’ve baked the same fruitcake recipe with my best friend since junior high, but don’t always manage every year since she moved to another province. Our annual holiday party theme is polyester and cheese; polyester is optional, but everyone brings a chunk of cheese or something made with cheese, and the table is loaded with cheesy goodness all night. Best of all, I wind up with an entire drawer of leftover cheese ends to nibble and make grilled cheese and mac & cheese with throughout the holiday season.
Share a favourite holiday recipe with our readers
It’s tough to choose one holiday recipe that’s my favourite, but I love making panettone or stollen every year — and I’m a sucker for baking in Weck jars, which are oven safe.
- ½ cup milk, warmed
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 pkg. (2¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
- 3 large eggs
- Grated zest of an orange or lemon (optional)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra if needed
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup butter, at room temperature
- 1½ cups dried fruit: raisins, cranberries, candied citrus zest, currants, chopped dried apricots
- 1 egg, for brushing
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Put the warmed milk in a large bowl and sprinkle a big pinch of the sugar and all of the yeast overtop; set aside for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
- Add the remaining sugar, eggs, orange zest, about half the flour and salt and beat until thick and sticky. Add the remaining flour and the butter, cut into pieces, and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic – it should be tacky, but not overly sticky. Stir or knead in the dry fruit.
- Transfer to an oiled bowl, turn the dough to oil all over, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1½ hours.
- Meanwhile, butter 4-6 Weck jars, panettone moulds or a muffin tin. Punch the dough down and pull apart into pieces big enough to come halfway up the jars or tins; loosely cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside for another hour, until the dough rises slightly, making the containers about ¾ full. (Alternatively, slow the rise by refrigerating overnight; leave at room temperature for an hour before baking.)
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the tops with a little beaten egg and bake for 20–30 minutes, depending on size, or until deep golden. Cool in the pans on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
What are the must-have staples in your holiday pantry?
Tons of dried fruit — light and dark raisins, currants, cranberries, apricots, figs, dates, cherries — and plenty of almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans. Pastry (regular and puff) in the freezer, lots of chocolate and loads of butter.
Follow Dinner with Julie on Social Media
Be sure to check out all the bloggers in our Holiday Countdown Series and find out how their blogging journey has progressed over the last five years!