Tag : jamie-oliver

The Crafty Lass does… Christmas wreath!

I could have a wreath on my door all year round and with so many ideas and crafty ways to make your own whatever the reason or season, why not! However, certainly when it is Christmas, for me it is a must – and something I look forward to making every year. It provides a festive welcome at the front door, and if anything it certainly screams to the outside world – we are good to go for Christmas in this house!

“The modern Christmas custom of displaying a wreath on the front door of one’s house, is borrowed from ancient Rome’s New Year’s celebrations. Romans wished each other “good health” by exchanging branches of evergreens. They called these gifts strenae after Strenia, the goddess of health. It became the custom to bend these branches into a ring and display them on doorways.”

wp-1480875406464.jpgWhatever your style, whether natural and rustic, or full of glittery baubles, making a Christmas wreath is a lovely way to release your creativity and spend a few peaceful crafty hours making something special – and, I managed to do just that this morning. The little one had a well timed nap and instead of getting on with the chores that needed doing, I ignored the washing up and piles of laundry and decided to get the festive season crafting underway!

With ‘Jamie’s Cracking Christmas‘ for company and using a plain wire wreath as the base, I decided to go for traditional fir – with a modern twist! I added in small sections of real evergreen fir tree – simply attached with some thin wire and hessian twine to secure into place. I’ve kept the ‘direction’ of the fir going in the same way, to provide a flow of the evergreen and appear like one continuous circle. Then, to ‘jazz it up’ a bit – I have added in some glittery leaves, and some hot pink baubles to represent berries – perhaps not everyone’s taste – but I think it looks quite nice to have the combination and contrast of both modern and traditional! You can usually purchase evergreen fir from your local florist, or – if you are lucky (like me on this occasion!) your local Christmas tree seller may just have some spare – and (if you bat your eyelids!) give it to you for free! 🙂 The wreath bases can be bought from retailers online, or again perhaps your local florist may stock them – then, let your imagination go wild with what you want to add on! Cinnamon sticks, pine cones, dried orange slices, or perhaps some other bigger baubles, candy canes, ribbons and bows, glitter… Of course if you are hanging outside the only thing to remember whatever it is, might not fair well in the British winter weather – so don’t expect to get it back in perfect condition!

So, with the wreath done and proudly hanging outside on our front door, I need to crack on with the next very important tradition – the Christmas tree! We bought our (very beautiful) one yesterday (from same aforementioned seller with free fir!) – and it is patiently waiting in the hallway, ready to be adorned. The Husband has been dispatched on his annual mission into the loft to retrieve the well loved boxes of decorations, and we are just awaiting more lights to be bought before we get to make it look all charming and pretty… That is on the ‘to-do’ list for tomorrow. The tree is quite a bit bigger than previous years – basically, I want it to be the biggest and best for our little one’s first Christmas – and I simply hadn’t done the maths and factored in the need for additional lights to be purchased. You can’t have ever enough fairy lights (in my humble opinion!) but pretty sure that the (very!) short ’20’ bulb string we only have – is simply just not enough!! At least ‘200’ bulbs is a bigger and better number…

I would love to see what wreaths you have been making this year, so please send me your photos over on The Crafty Lass Facebook page – it would be great to see your wonderful creations!

Enjoy!

Categories: Christmas, General Craft, House & Home, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… Easter ‘Egg and Soldiers’!

Are you having friends and family over for dinner this Easter? And need an interesting dessert? Well, look no further than this scrummy delight of ‘Egg and Soldiers’!

I made this last year for a post-Sunday-roast-pud, and it went down a storm! Even serving it in empty egg cups/boxes, for extra presentation points! 😉

I was inspired originally by Raspberri Cupcakes – where she makes these, and with such beautiful photos and ideas – I couldn’t resist giving it a try for myself!

I used ‘Kinder’ eggs as the outer shell – perfect size, and actually, on the day I was hunting for hollow chocolate Easter eggs – after four separate supermarket visits – they were the only ones anywhere had!! This was Easter Saturday and everywhere was sold out! However, they worked just perfectly in the end… Our nephew especially loving it – as he got SIX Kinder surprises!

Gently taking off the top, without cracking the main part of the egg was the hardest part…

Top Tip! Leave the foil wrapper on, and put the eggs in the freezer for around 10-15 minutes to slightly harden the chocolate before gently carving off the top with a sharp, ideally serrated knife… Just be gentle! 🙂

For the ‘egg white’, I used a ‘Nigella community recipe’ – Quick Vanilla Cheesecake – (it really does do what it says on the tin and is quick and simple)…and then, just simply spooned into the eggs. Ideally, I would have piped it in – which of course you could do, if you have the time/a piping bag/nossle to hand! Then – simply pop into the fridge for around an hour or so, or until slightly set. Using an empty egg box to put them in is ideal at this stage – as it ensures the ‘eggs’ stay upright whilst setting!

 

The ‘yolk’ was made from a fresh and juicy mango and around a tablespoon of caster sugar. I cubed a whole mango into a saucepan, added in the sugar and heated gently until a slightly thicker, and gloriously yellow puree, before allowing to cool. For the six eggs I made – I had quite abit of coulis left over, which I had the following day with ice-cream (just like a Solero!) So, maybe adjust to however you see fit… I am sure it’ll still get eaten if any left! 😉

 

Whilst the cheesecakes were setting, and the mango cooling – I made the amazing shortbread. It is a Jamie Oliver recipe – and the clue is in the name… The Best Shortbread in the World from his book ‘Cooking with Jamie‘. I can’t find an ‘official’ link for it, but here it is on one of Jamie’s forums.  It takes a little longer than ‘normal’ shortbread, but it is thick, buttery, crumbly, sugar coated amazing-ness. It makes the kitchen smell truly fantastic!!

 

Once the cheesecake was set, I simply spooned out a small part in the centre (reserve, and eat later!), poured in the coulis – and ‘et voila’!

Then, served up in egg cups and/or boxes – with the ‘soldiers’ on the side.

Enjoy! Let me know if you give it a go!

Categories: Easter, Sweet Tooth Scrumptious Stuff!, The Crafty Lass does...

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