Secrets to a country Christmas

I have always loved the idea of Christmas, the decorating, cooking wonderful foods with my Mum and younger brother, covering my dogs in tinsel and getting glitter all over the house. For today’s blog you can find cosy recipes below for Christmas treats and a few ideas of crafting and things you can do over the holidays!

I10428414_740455142709438_5120091410953324010_n (1) am really excited about Christmas this year as it is my first ‘adult’ Christmas in my own house with Jon and Walter and we have already started making our own decorations, sorting out presents and just getting everything ready.

This year I have found myself even more in the spirit of things, most likely from having Scandinavian friends visit a few weeks ago as we talked about snow, cosy jumpers and snuggled under blankets and watched movies. It’s probably fair to say that all families have their own Christmas traditions and ideas of what makes the perfect holiday.

Because life can be stressful and full of hustle and bustle on a daily basis, it’s really nice that we all find a few days a year where we can have lots of fun and relax together, Christmas being one of them. I usually tend to plan Christmas gifts throughout the year and get things when I see them, but this year I’ve been so preoccupied with other things I haven’t managed to do this.

For Christmas this year I will be going back to the country and spending it with my family and Jon’s family which is always a real delight.

Christmas foods

Christmas CakeMini-Christmas-cakes

This is something I personally don’t like the taste of, but always try to make. When I lived back in the countryside I made mini ones and decorated them with icing flowers, wrapped them in cellophane and gave them away as gifts.

Coconut ice

coconut-ice-round-2-024Making this is so much fun and I’ve grown to really enjoy the taste of it over the years! It’s also super easy and a great way to add a treat to the Christmas nibbles throughout the day! It is also quite a festive thing for me, as my mum taught me to make this at Christmas as a child and it’s become an unwritten tradition for us.

Peppermint creams 0048d1a20d1df4e02dc5e09a0e0c6eec

I could sit eating these little sugary things all day, but they are made with icing sugar and peppermint oil (and not much else!) They’re simply divine, and perfect to give out with coffee after a large Christmas roast dinner.

Stained glass cookiesdaeaa02ddfc930f697b06e4a077286e9

These are really fun for kids to make and really yummy too! I’ve got a crown, butterfly and Christmas tree I like to decorate with these every year. They’re incredibly elegant and are something you can also create to hang on the Christmas tree. If you make a little hole in the dough before popping it in the oven you can tie a ribbon through it and watch it glisten on the tree as the colours dance about the room. Beware though, dogs and Lucys are fond of these and they wont last long!

Christmas Crafts

Felting 

oYou don’t have to be an expert to felt. A few years ago my Mum and a family friend and her daughter decided that we wanted to have a go at it! I had bought my Mum some felting kits from a trip I took away, she bought the special needles and the others provided refreshments and glittery things to add-on to our creations. We made some Christmas angels and I think they looked quite spectacular.

Decorations 

Newpinecone-b19-c5You can make Christmas decorations out of almost anything really. You can make them out of leaves, holly, pinecones and branches. A great way to glitz them up is to sprinkle them with glitter and spray them with silver or gold spray. I also like to make dough or clay decorations to hang on the tree or give away as gifts. These are very cheap and easy to make and I find make Christmas that little bit more unique.

 

Knitting 

basket-of-yarn-wilma-birdwellI have to confess, this isn’t something I am very patient with. I always give it a go at Christmas and almost always give up. My Mum and friend Kaja however are very good at this and often knit me beautiful things! I have the cutest head warmer from Kaja and some wonderful jumpers from my Mum. If it is something you are good at, I would suggest knitting some socks for friends and wrapping them with a ribbon. You can knit pretty much anything. Just don’t knit underwear or a swimsuit for someone they won’t appreciate that.

If you would like any recipes please just ask, I am always happy to share! Keep an eye out for some more cosy blogs from me and have a lovely weekend X

 

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Homely hygge

Home is a very important word. It can mean a variation of things to different people at different times. It can be used to describe objects, places and people alike.

For me home is where I feel myself, relaxed and happy. Often somewhere I kick back in my pyjamas and drink tea!

I use it to describe where I grew up, where I had my bedroom, my parents and where my family live. But I also use it to describe my own flat with Jon our little home together.

With that in mind, I have found I bake a lot at home. I enjoy those little home comforts especially around winter, as I’m sure you do too!

The last few weeks I’ve baked: blueberry muffins, cookies, biscuits, cinnamon bread, bread and butter pudding along with roast dinners and soup!

I wanted to share my most recent bake with you to try at home. It’s very easy and a great way to use up the sandwich bread after a week of work.

Cinnamon bread and butter pudding

Ingredients and utensils you will need to make this along with the method:

Utensils:

  1. Deep stoneware (rectangular dish)
  2. Bowl
  3. Fork
  4. Knife
  5. Measuring jug
  6. Tbsp / tsp measures
  7. Oven / dragon

Ingredients:

  1. Butter / vegan spread (for the bread)
  2. 10 slices of bread preferably white
  3. 2 free range eggs or ‘no egg’
  4. 1tsp Cinnamon
  5. Half a tsp of Nutmeg
  6. 1 and a half cups of Milk / soy milk
  7. 3 tbsp of Golden caster sugar

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6 / 180degrees.

The first thing I always do is butter up the bread. I like to make sure it’s buttered up to the sides and thinly spread as this is a very calorific dish, so I do my best not to add to it!

When that is done, cut the bread into triangles or leave it how it is and start to layer up the stoneware dish however you like!

After the first layer has been placed, (butter-side up) sprinkle a tsp of caster sugar and 1/4 cinnamon on it. Repeat this until complete (You can always add a sprinkle of raisins or fruit in here, but I like it plain)!

Next you need to mix the eggs and milk together. I tend to do this with a fork in a bowl. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg to the mix! When that is done pour it evenly across the bread making sure it is all soaked in. Don’t worry if you have some left over. You’ll notice once the bread absorbs it. You’ll have space to pour the rest on.

Finally sprinkle the remaining sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg on the top making it look all pretty and sparkle! Leave it to rest for 10 minutes.

Bake for 15/20 minutes or until golden. It will probably puff up. Don’t worry this is normal.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool before serving.

Home comforts

Cosy home comforts for most of us are more or less the same.

  • Hot drinks in pretty mugs
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Warm fires
  • Cookies
  • Warm muffins
  • Wine
  • Pet snuggles
  • Friends and family …

The list goes on and on! So for this cold weekend in November, be you in England at home, Norway sledding or Canada reading a book here’s my favourite blueberry muffin recipe for everyone to try!

You will need need the following ingredients and utensils…

Utensils:

  1. Mixer OR strong arm and wooden spoon
  2. 1 mixing bowl
  3. 2 other spare bowls (can’t have enough)
  4. 1 sieve
  5. Muffin cases
  6. Muffin baking tray
  7. Scales
  8. Wire rack
  9. Spoon or three (I like soup spoons for this)
  10. Apron
  11. Oven / dragon

Ingredients:

  1. 110g butter / vegan butter
  2. 250g plain flour
  3. 250g golden caster sugar
  4. 2 eggs / vegan ‘no-egg’
  5. Splash of milk / vegan alternative
  6. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. Half a vanilla pod
  8. A pinch of teaspoon salt
  9. 200g + fresh blueberries (more the yummier)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180ish degrees / gas mark 4. Set out the muffin cases in the muffin tray and put on the side.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the golden caster sugar, a dash of salt and mix it all together.

Eat a blueberry (vital)

Then mix together the butter / milk and vanilla pod extract until smooth.

Eat another blueberry

Pour both bowls into one and add in the remaining blueberries!

Mix all up together gently so as not to mush the blueberries.

Get yourself two spoons and scoop up a big dollop of mixture and then use the other to push it into the muffin case. I’d suggest filling them around half full and make sure there are an even number of blueberries distributed throughout.

After you’ve done this and licked any remaining ingredients off the spoon, give the bowl to a child or dog to lick of you feel generous, or like Jon and I, sit down and lick the bowl whilst the muffins cook.

Bake them for around 15/20 minutes or so. Set a timer to check them after 15 minutes as some ovens vary. My mums for example is a big range and can take minutes, it’s literally a dragon!

When they’re done you’ll know as they’ll start to crack on the tops and go a beautiful golden brown.

Leave them to cool on a wire rack, or like me an upside down pizza tray, as I left my wire rack at my friends house!

It’s vital you leave them to cool, you may end up with blueberry burns if not and trust me, that’s not something you want to be explaining to your friends at lunch the next day…

So whilst waiting for them to cool, tidy up, pop on the kettle and get ready to cosy up under a blanket and eat some scrumptious muffins!