Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I start to get excited, sometimes even before Halloween. Today I took a little time to reflect on why I love Christmas.
Every Christmas my son and I build a gingerbread house. We tend to do this on Christmas eve, and I have some really wonderful memories about houses falling down, crazy icing decorations and much laughter. How the house comes together isn’t important, what is important is the special time I share with my son.
We also have a lovely tradition based on the french idea of 13 desserts. Our interpretation is a plate with 13 different goodies – fruits, nuts, and sweets. We replenish this each day both for visitors and for ourselves. The ‘plate’ as it is called in our house is a key tradition also laced with memories, especially when the dog helped himself!
Family and friends and food
Christmas is also about taking time out. Each family has it’s own way of celebrating this holiday. For me it is about family and friends. A simple Christmas dinner with family is always followed in my home with a fabulous tea party spent with friends. There is so much delicious Christmas food to be eaten, that it simply cannot be eaten in one day.
I love Christmas food. The sweet yummy stuff for sure ( I have secretly been eating mince pies since they came into the shops). I also love the more savoury treats from a great roast turkey with fruity stuffing to blue cheese and crackers.
Sharing food with family and friends is just the perfect combination.
Gift giving has become synonamous with Christmas. I love buying presents and really enjoy this part of Christmas. I don’t spend a huge amount of money, but really enjoy seeking out special treats for special people. Sitting on my bed on Christmas eve wrapping presents that might be silly but are thoughtful is a big part of Christmas for me.
This year I will be having an African Christmas and spending time with friends and family in South Africa. Hope my Mom will be ok with the Christmas tea party!
I love a good party. I love bringing people together over good food and drink (not necessarily alcoholic) for fun times. Spending time with friends and family is so very special. I also enjoy the idea of inviting random people who have come into my life, and made it better. Seeing people meet and make connections just makes a party pop!
Well, I have a reason for another party – I am having a housewarming for my new home. As I started to plan and prepare for the party it occurred to me that I do most of my planning online using social media and apps.
This is how I do it …
I start with a little Pinterest and YouTube browsing ideas for a theme. Sometimes it is a piece of music and an item of food that has me thinking.
I just love vintage music – so let us put a bit of Louis Armstrong on in the background on YouTube, and then hit Pinterest for some foody ideas. Time to unpack my gorgeous tea cups!
Tea parties are really my thing. A good cup of tea and a perfect cake cannot be beaten. I have recently connected with a fabulous tea company based in Galway. Solaris Tea have simply the most marvelous teas including one I call celebration tea. I am including a video clip because I am not sure I can describe it as well. A clear tea pot is a must and as the hot water is added the pot of tea becomes an exquisite flower.
I am very excited to say that I contacted.Solaris tea on twitter and will be having this fabulous range of tea at my party!! I met up with Catriona from Solaris at an ITWBN blogging event and she urged me to try the Chai Green tea. I am not a green tea lady, but to be polite I said I would try it. After drinking 3 cups I had to buy it. The tea is beautifully made and combines whole leaf tea with delicate citrus and spice.
I do love spending an hour (or two or three) in Pinterest, It is my first stop when planning a party menu. I was so inspired that I had to create board with tea party ideas, I am thinking tiny tea sandwiches and perhaps a pink and white dessert buffet?
A trip to Spotify sorts the music – some big band blues I think.
Now for the invites. Let’s head over to Facebook, where I can send off some invites and catch up with some friends who live to far away. Perhaps I might have to have a little party over in South Africa when I visit…
The party is next week, so best I had over to my lists. Lots of recipes and party posts coming soon.
I have a very sweet tooth, and since being diagnosed as diabetic it is a constant struggle to please my sweet tooth, but also my meet my health targets. I love playing with food, deconstructing it down to the individual elements and then rebuilding it in a healthier way. This is my take on berry crumble, with a tiny bit of naughtiness at the end.
Even though there is no cooking you want to prepare your berries a good hour or two ahead of time.
Start with your choice of berries, I had a punnet of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Tumble them into a big bowl and add a chopped peeled apple.
Depending on the quantity, add a good shake of cinnamon (approx 1 teaspoon) and the juice of a lemon. Mix gently so the berries don’t break up. Depending on how sweet your tooth is, add some Agave syrup. I am addicted to this cranberry version from Biona Organics.
Cover and leave to marinate. The acid in the lemon juice will ‘sort of”cook the berries and the apples give you a gorgeous fresh tasting berry compote.
To serve simply layer up in sundae glasses (an essential ingredient for my desserts) and top with a little fat free yogurt (or coconut yogurt). I added some sugarfree wheat free granola cereal to the top.
The final flourish if you are feeling naughty is a little grating of chocolate. It is amazing how little chocolate you use this way, and you can still feel like you have had a treat. Use raw chocolate for an even healthier treat.
Welcome to this, the first of my foodilicious posts. I enjoy making food, and especially making food to share. Nothing is complicated, taste is my objective.
My Son is my best critic, and says yum yum to this one and licked the bowl and the spoon – and he is 19! It is a fun dessert for sharing, and delivers classic cheesecake flavours in a flash.
I love the idea of delivering food that is a bit unexpected. Hence Paté for dessert.
A large tub of cream cheese (I tend to use the lightest version)
2 giant tablespoons of lemon curd (either home made or a really good quality shop bought alternative)
2 giant tablespoons of whipped cream or creme fraiche
Simple sweet biscuits or cookies (nothing with too strong a flavour). I used Nice biscuits, but Mariettas, digestives, vanilla wafers etc. would work just as well.
Extras if you like:
Ideally make ahead of time. Whip the cream crease with a wooden spoon. Add the lemon curd. Taste as you go and add enough lemon to create a tart, yet sweet flavour. Now add a couple of tablespoons of whipped cream or creme fraiche.
I tend to use cream for a kid friendly and richer version and creme fraiche when I want a slightly tarter version.
That is it! Now refrigerate for a good few hours, or overnight if you have time.
Top with zested lemon rind, or for a celebration, popping candy. Serve as you would a paté or dip, surrounded by crackers.
This dish was made for an Easter celebration so we added some little eggs and bunnies.
I would have thought that at the age of 50, I would have grown out of my freckles (as promised by my mother when I was a child). I thought that pimples and other spots would be a thing of the past – something for teenagers. Somehow this hasn’t happened.
I am still get spots – too regularly and in have other random blemishes including those black shopping bags under my eyes. For someone who has been trying to be sophisticated for years, these along with the dreaded freckles, are not helping my case.
Now, I have come to terms with my freckles but it has taken some time. As a small child I was obsessed with them and tried everything – and I mean everything to get rid of them. I even overheard an adult conversation where somebody mentioned urine (or was it uric acid) – and helped myself to my brothers diaper in desparation. I still shudder at the thought today.
(I was a funny child!)
Anyway thankfully time has moved on and so has cosmetology. For a while now I have been lusting after my friends blemish palette with the green concealer. When she does my make-up all these colours are applied with skill and my skin tone is evened out.
Well you can imagine my delight when I attended the Into the West Bloggers Network (ITWBN) event last Sunday and received a fabulous goody bag that contained not only one but tow fabulous skin repair palettes from IsaDora. The colour correcting concealer has anti-redness (the green one) a concealer, dark circle corrector and a highlighter. The other is a neutral palette and is going to go to my sister!
I have a good few blog posts that I will be sharing about this fabulous event! I came home super inspired!
Thanks to Sinead and Saidbh – and welcome to all my new readers – hopefully.
As a woman who has been battling with my weight since my early teens I have read a lot, been told a lot, and learnt a lot about food and nutrition. As I am still struggling, I have some opinions on what is right and what is wrong. I have probably lost my entire body weight about 3 times (conservative estimate) over the last 30 something years.
It is trial and error really. Right now I know that I like tasty food, and that I need a decent breakfast. My winter breakfast of choice is oatmeal porridge.
I have some sort of childhood nightmare memory of not wanting to eat my oats and having the bowl of congealed lumpy grey mash dished up to me for a later meal. Perhaps that didn’t happen, but it lives somewhere in my subconscious.
I had to overcome this. Everyone was telling me to eat porridge oats. Everything I read said eat oats. So I had to reinvent.
This post is about my Christmas porridge. I made it one Christmas morning, and added a naughty dollop of whipped cream – it was Christmas after all.
How I do it ….
I cook 1/3 cup of oats per serving and bring to the boil with 2/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of skim milk.
I add in a good shaking – about a half teaspoon of cinnamon, and a dash of ginger and any other spice that comes to hand. Cinnamon is great for blood sugar.
While the oats are cooking I take …
1/2 cup of frozen berries and bang them in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Because I like my food to be pretty, I empty the berries into the middle of the bowl and make some pretty patterns with a tiny bit of agave syrup.
All my breakfast essentials in a bowl and I can keep going till lunchtime (on a good day).
When I am feeling in need of a bit of a me day, fruit water is my answer. Ideally I make it up the night before, and then leave it steeping overnight and then start drinking in the morning.
This batch of fruit water was cucumber, lemon and celery, but I do vary it. My favourite fruit is pineapple, so sometimes I make that the hero. A bunch of mint is another great addition. All citrus is good too. In summer I might add some ice cubes, but I think a cleansing drink is better at room temperature.
Throughout the day, I add water and aim to drink at least 2 litres in total.
Plan a day when you are staying at home as you will be running …. And in my case that adds in exercise as my bathrooms are a flight of stairs away from my living room. It may be my imagination, but I think my skin glows and I have more energy the next day.