Winter smoothie

Today is the darkest day of the year and it feels only natural to start the day with a vitamin filled smoothie. I try to pack in the fruit and vegetable through liquid form to ensure I get enough nutrients throughout the day, now that my time is limited with a little baby. Thus, smoothies are great additives to a diet that are quick and easy to make. Since we will be enjoying a delicious but heavy Christmas meal in just three days, a refreshing smoothie is the best way to start the day. My husband and I both love this combination of ingredients and the rich purple colour is appropriate for this festive season.

Winter smoothie

  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 orange
  • about 5-7 walnuts
  • pinch of cardamum

Blend everything together and drink immidiatly 

 

Pre Christmas Honey Pear Cocktail

 

 

 

‘December 23rd– Time to wind down with a festive pear cocktail made from roasted honey pears’

Many of you are getting ready to roast the pig overnight while others may be wrapping gifts has households wind down. It is officially one day before Christmas Eve and I think a well-deserved cocktail is in order. The past two days have gone in a whirlwind of cooking, baking, running last minute errands, finalizing gifts and cleaning. It is late evening already and there are still a few remaining things to do, but slowly the winding down process has begun. This festive honey pear cocktail is the perfect way to begin the Christmas celebrations. I have my Christmas playlist in the background, candles on and I’m testing out tomorrows outfit. I’m planning on wearing a long glitter dress that has an open back or a champagne-colored silk gown that is simple but elegant. There is a lot of uncertainly in the air at the moment around the world- many people are facing lockdown and can’t spend it with family and others are terribly lonely over the holidays. Take the time to make those distant phone calls this year and give a helping hand to those who need it. My parents are spending Christmas just the two of them at the countryside to be on the safe side and us kids are spending the eve tomorrow together. It’s sad, but the responsible thing to do. I hope everyone stays safe this year and thinks twice about the people they choose to see. Thankfully we are all in this together and this year has shown what uncertainly can look like. Whether you have decided to skip Christmas totally this year or are spending it with your loved ones, let’s try to be grateful for the small things in life. Currently, I’m grateful for the cosines in our house, the flickering of our stunning tree and the fact that most of the Christmas cooking is done. Despite the fact that Siena has a puppy flue and I spilled coffee all over our linen curtains, I’m ready to sip on this honey roasted pear cocktail that I scouted from Pinterest. I made some dried clementine slices last night, as they slowly cook in the oven for 4 hours.

For this recipe you need honey roasted pears that you will turn into a purée. In terms of alcohol, you can use sparkling wine as a base or something stronger like whiskey or vodka. For a mocktail version, use grapefruit juice. The recipe calls for all kinds of winter spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar rims and rosemary for garnishing.

Ingredients

  • 5 pears sliced in half
  • 3-5 tablespoons Honey
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg & ground clove
  • 2 tbsp apple juice or water
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • Sparkling wine

Garnish: dried clementine slices & rosemary, Brown sugar to coat the glass rims

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with a greased sheet. Add the halved pears (remove stems) on the tray. In a small bow whisk together 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Brush this over the pears and place into the oven for about 25 minutes until browned and soft. Remove from oven and once cooled, remove the seeds with a spoon. Next, place into a blender with the vanilla paste and apple juice or water and blitz into a puree. Scoop into a maison jar and refrigerate until served.

Once ready to serve:  in a pitcher, add some of the pear puree, a pinch of ground clove, 3 tablespoons of runny honey, and your alcohol of choice. Mix together.

Meanwhile coat the cocktail glasses rims with brown sugar. (Do this by adding lemon to the sides and placing the rims into some brown sugar). Pour some cocktail into them and garnish with a twig of rosemary and a dried clementine slice.

 

 

Green Baubles & Pear Cocktails

‘December 23rd, the night before Christmas’

Today has been all about finalizing foods, gifts and preparations for tomorrow’s festivities. We went for a family dinner at a restaurant yesterday and we made some pear pre cocktails at home with my hubby. We also decorated the tree with more green toned baubles made from all kinds of textures. The tones range anywhere from olive greens to icy matte mint hues. I love how the greens look incorporated with the gold and silver that exists on the tree already. I can’t believe it’s Christmas eve tomorrow, now it’s finally time to sit down and enjoy the moment over some Christmas movies.

To assemble the cocktail

  • Gin
  • Pear nectar
  • Sage and ginger syrup
  • Ice
  • Rim: brown sugar & butter
  • Garnish: fresh sage leaves and star anise

Sage ginger syrup

  • ¾ cup tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 5 sage leaves
  • 1 chuck ginger, peeled and diced

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the ginger and fresh sage leaves and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the ginger and sage to steep for 20minutes before discarding. Set aside.

Rim the cocktail glasses with brown sugar: press a bit of butter in between your fingers and spread it on the rim of the glass. Dip the edges in some brown sugar to create a coating around the sides.

To assemble a cocktail, fill the shaker with ice 1 egg white, 1 ounce of the sage ginger syrup, 2 ounces of gin and 5 ounces of pear nectar. Shake vigorously for15 seconds. Strain out the ice and dry shake for 30 seconds. Add the liquid onto a glass with ice cubes in it and garnish with fresh sage leaves and a star anise. Repeat the process for another cocktail.

Christmas Masala Chai & Tiny Wreath

December 14th,

As it gets so dark early these days, I thought I would cozy up under the blanket with a holiday masala chai made from black tea, fresh ginger, cardamom pods and cinnamon. This warm drink is the perfect after dinner date as it’s soothing and sweet allowing you to feel relaxed and comforted right after the first sip. Before inserting myself under the blanket to watch a christmas movie, I nibbled on some macarons and made a little wreath to bring some green to the table! Oh and Ps. my hyacinths are finally beginning to smell gorgeous!

I love the way the wreath looks around a traditional candle holder during the holidays or they can be hung from door nobs or made into small napkin holders for a dinner party. These are fairy simple to make (see more here), you can use some wire or blueberry twigs as a base that you shape into a circle. Around this circle you attach twigs of lingonberry branches put together with the help of a wire. Lingonberry is great to use as it lasts a long time, but pine and juniper is pretty as well!

With these images, I wanted to capture the dark and moody feeling of the pitch black evenings here in Scandinavia that can be extremely cozy if you put your mind to it.

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Masala Chai

  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger grated
  • 5 tablespoons loose leaf black tea (or 5 bags and remove tea from inside)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom pods
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups oat milk (+ extra for frothing)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

In a saucepan add the grated ginger, crunched cinnamon stick, water and let it boil for 5 minutes. Then add the loose leaf black tea, cardamom pods, oat milk and let it gently simmer for 5-10 minutes. Sieve the liquid into cups. For a little extra, froth some milk in a frother for garnishing and sprinkle some gingerbread spice on top. Enjoy with macarons! 

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‘Fairytale Christmas’

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December 8th,

For many, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. This season usually involves great food, a reason to decorate and bake more that is enjoyed with family and friends, hot chocolate, laughter, and cozy blankets. Candles are flickering all day as it’s much darker and the feeling of christmas is built up from more than just fancy decorations. Everyone can make the season special through memorable experiences, warm drinks, festive music, and wintery scents. Christmas spirit comes from whatever inspires you, to help create that little extra magic!

The kitchen smells of delicious apple clementine glögi (traditional Christmas drink) with Celine Dion’s holiday songs playing in the background. As it’s only a few weeks until Christmas, today has been all about decorating the tree! I absolutely love tree decorating and my style/ colour preference for the ornaments tend to change every now and then. Most often I prefer a markedly neutral colour scale to holiday decorating and table laying as I feel it gives a peaceful setting. I’ve never been a basic red person and warm colour spectrums are way too loud for my liking! I usually get an armful of greens (usually involving eucalyptus, thistle) that speak to me from my local florist or pick them from the forest (juniper/pine trimmings/ lingonberry twigs/ acorns/moss) and make wreaths and imperfect bouquets.

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Often I prefer a more subtle nordic decoration and a very minimal tree but this year I wanted something for decadent and luxurious. The colour scheme I have gone for is very winter wonderland / fairytale feeling with hints of muted pink, crystal, glass and dusty white. I just instantly fell in love with the faint unsaturated pink that almost has a mixture of silver in it, so the tone becomes really refined and luxurious. I wanted mixtures of teardrop shapes and spheres with very delicate soft lighting. I absolutely love these feathered spheres with the detailed sequins on top and colourful features over the chrome. For those who want to keep up with the trend, a peacock petrol green or coppery gold is also hot this year if you want to go for something more unique! The two turtle doves on our tree are a symbol of togetherness that my hubby and I “copied” from home alone II the movie. Not only do we love the movie but the meaning behind the two doves being together!  If you’re wanting an extra dose of that magical Christmas feeling in your home hang up a few extra strands of twinkling lights, bake a batch of gingerbread cookies, add a Christmas tree or make delicious warm cups of christmas drinks as you watch your favourite seasonal movies! Whatever your December look like, I hope they give you joyous memories!

Lastly, here is the recipe for a traditional Christmas drink that is a great substitute for tea in the evening and gives you that holiday feeling instantly. You can spice it up with alcohol if you wish for a more festive version!

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Homemade Apple Glögi (serves 4)

1 litre apple juice
You need good quality apple juice that you gently simmer in a saucepan.
1-2 Cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, about 5 cloves and cardamom seeds, 2 clementines, a chunk of fresh ginger, sugar (optional)
To this, add a cinnamon sticks, ginger and a couple of cloves, cardamom seeds and star anise. Then add the juice of 1 clementine, and the slices of another (remember to wash them well) and their leaves into the juice. I didn’t add any sugar, but you can add some at this point. Place a lid onto the saucepan and let it gently simmer and intensify in flavour from a half an hour to an hour.
Ready to serve: garnish with raisins, almonds and clementine slices/ spices from the glögi
Re-heat the glögi when served. You can add some apple cider/vodka/white wine/rum to the juice if you want a more festive drink for the evening!

 

 

 

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