Archive of ‘Christmas’ category

Last Minute Gift Guide

Christmas is just around the corner, waiting excitedly in all its sparkly glory on the other side of the weekend. It’s going to be a packed weekend of last minute Christmas shopping, catch-ups and travelling for most. With this taken into consideration, it seemed more appropriate to share some gift ideas, in this week’s edit, for those of you who are also doing the last minute thing or are stuck on what to buy for that last tricky person…
For the kookier nineties child in your life why not get them these attention grabbing Home Alone earrings from Kushtea. Merry Christmas you filthy animals… 

Kinfolk is a Montreal based magazine that emphasises the relationships that are strengthened through the process of eating together. Their new Kinfolk Table book tells the story of different creative across the globe through the sharing of food and recipes. Who doesn’t want to eat well and in good company.  

The crazy cat person in your life will definitely appreciate this trippier than Zappa sweatshirt. There are some absolute gems on this awesome site so have a peruse.
The Fujifilm 90 is a step up instax that’s fun but also takes pretty decent pics. Great for outfit checks, memory preserving at parties and the impatient amongst us.
Marc Jacobs gorgeous pooch has its own Instagram account. Now you or your gift recipient can wear the world’s most fashionable hound in the form of this super cute brooch.
Sufjan Stevens does Christmas music like no other and this is one of the best Christmas albums. Listening to Sister Winter makes the heart melt.

Finally it just wouldn’t be Christmas without watching this cinematic gem. It’s a Wonderful life is the quintessential Christmas movie so why not share it this Christmas. 
By Kerry Flint

Christmas Nibbles

Tis the season for entertaining, but time can be a little hard to come by at this time of year. If you’re expecting guests, or throwing a Christmas party we’ve got some simple but stylish recipes to really impress your guests. All of these nibbles can be made in under an hour from things you’ve got in the store cupboard so get baking and be prepared for your guests to be impressed!

Goat’s Cheese and Red Onion Palmiers 
These look really impressive but are so easy to make – we won’t tell if you don’t!
250g puff pastry 
100g goats cheese 
3-4tbsp red onion chutney
Makes 20 
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll your pastry out into a large rectangle about ½ cm thick. Sprinkle over the goats cheese and then the red onion chutney. Starting at one side, tightly roll into the middle, then brush the rolled edge with a little milk. Do the same with the opposite side, rolling into the middle then pressing the two sides together – the milk will help them stick. Cut into 20 even slices, place on a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the palmiers are fully risen and a lovely golden colour. Leave to cool on the tray, then serve. 
 Sausage and Stuffing Rolls 
Everyone’s favourite party food has been given a new twist for the festive season 
250g shortcrust pastry 
200g pork sausagemeat 
 1 box stuffing mix, made to the instructions – we went for sage and onion, but choose whichever flavour you prefer 
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll you pastry out into a large rectangle, about ½ cm thick. Place a line of sausagemeat down the middle of the pastry, then top with a layer of stuffing. Tightly roll the pastry around the sauagemeat and stuffing and brush the ends with beaten egg to secure. Cut into 10 equal slices and place fold down on a lined baking tray. Brush the top of each sausage roll with a little more beaten egg and cook for 20-15 minutes, until the pastry is golden and sauagemeat cooked through. Serve whilst still warm. 
 Baked Pitta Chips 
The latest snack craze is so easy to make at home – you’ll never want to buy them again! Perfect when loaded with a scoop of your favourite dip 
4 pitta breads 
1tbsp olive oil 
Salt and pepper, to season 
Preheat oven to 180°C. Cut each pitta bread into 8 pieces, then hold horizontally and carefully slice each piece in half again, until you’ve got a pile of thin pitta pieces. Mix together the olive oil and salt and pepper to flavour the chips – you really can go nuts here and use whatever flavours you fancy, paprika and cayenne pepper would be good to give the chips a kick, or try using some oregano and thyme for a herby flavour. Brush the pitta pieces with the oil and seasoning mixture and place on a baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the chips are light and crispy. Leave to cool and serve with a selection of hummus and dips.
By Millie Norton

Weekly Round Up

Unless you’ve been stranded on an oil rig in the Pacific with no form of communication or trapped in outer space for the last six months you can’t have helped but be made more than aware that it’s Christmas time. It’s happening folks and even the most Grinch like amongst us cannot escape it, so let’s embrace it. Here’s how to this weekend… 
GET FESTIVE at more of the many humble Christmas markets happening across London this weekend because you can never have too many mince pies. Visit the £3 Christmas Bazaar in Nunhead London this Saturday (14th December). It promises to be ‘part art, part Christmas fete and there’s even going to be a choir and white elephant stall – proper old school Christmassy! Peckham appears to be London’s pinnacle of Christmas with The Crafty Fox market be taking place at the Bussey building and Pexmas market on Sunday (15th December) at the Liberal Club both offering a range of stall and festive food and beverages to make merry with. 
PREPARE for next year’s first big cinematic release by watching the trailer for Spike Jonze’s latest film ‘Her’. It stars the magnificent Joaquin Phoenix who plays a heartbroken man called Theodore, who falls in love with a computer system called “Samantha”. Quirky, touching, visually stunning, provocative and heartfelt, Jonze is back on form with this latest offering, due out on January 10th. What a great start to 2014! 

INTRODUCE some graphics and colourful into your wardrobe combat those dark night winter blues. Tinned Bananas do a range of items from easy to wear t-shirts to bold jump suits in some super eye-catching patterns that are guaranteed to not just put a smile on your face but everybody else’s to boot.
LISTEN to French duo Velour Modular, whose latest track Sudden Motion is a nice old dose of spacey ethereal electronica reminiscent of The Knife and the video’s wonderfully barking. Influenced by the likes of Kuedo, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Mount Kimbie they’re bound to make waves in 2014 stay one step ahead and give this track a play (probably over and over). 

WATCH queen Bey, who’s blown everyone’s mind this morning by releasing an entire album over night. 17 bootylicious videos no less, and yes Beyoncé we’re definitely ready. 
BUY a watch, but not just any watch. With so much happening you’ll need to keep track of the time and HyperGrand’s made its debut with a range that have a NATO straps, designed by the military. Yes we’re talking top quality but these watches are far from utilitarian with a range of 12 interchangeable patterned straps (we love the Garden Skirmish) to choose from they’ll guarantee you’ll be fashionably on time.
DOWNLOAD the app we’ve all been waiting for. We can finally put an end to our eighteen years of jealousy over Cher’s virtual closet because the lovely folks at FaceCake have finally made it. It being an app where you can put together items from your wardrobe, share outfits and even do a little turn on the catwalk. Yep, mind is blown. 
By Kerry Flint

Apricot and Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls

The smell of baked cinnamon rolls wafting through the house is the ultimate in festive comfort at this time of year. Added cranberries and apricots give these a seasonal twist – the perfect thing to enjoy on a cold winters morning. 
For the rolls
450g strong white flour
75g dried cranberries
1tsp fast acting dried yeast
1tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp caster sugar
150ml hot milk and 150ml hot water mixed together – hot but not boiling!
For the filling
25g butter, melted
50g light brown sugar
2tbsp ground cinnamon
75g dried apricots, cut into small pieces
Makes 8 rolls

- Place the flour, cranberries, yeast, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl and stir together. Now add the hot milk and water and mix together using an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment for 5 minutes – if you don’t have an electric mixer that’s fine, you can just use your hands and mix and knead for about 10 minutes. Once the dough has been mixed and kneaded, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 ½ hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another 5 minutes. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1 cm thick, spread the surface with the melted butter and scatter over the sugar, cinnamon and apricot pieces in an even layer, making sure you reach the edges. Now roll the dough into a tight sausage shape, slice into 8 even pieces and place these, swirl side up on a lightly oiled baking tray.
- Leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, or if you want to make these for breakfast next day you can leave them in the fridge overnight (although if you do this, you will need to take the rolls out of the fridge and leave for 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before baking).
- When you are ready to bake the rolls, preheat the oven to 180°C and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the rolls are well risen and a lovely golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. You can eat the rolls as they are, but for an extra delicious twist make up some icing using 3tbsp icing sugar, 1tbsp water and 1tsp vanilla extract and drizzle over the top of the hot rolls. Tear off and eat warm – heavenly!
By Millie Norton

Weekly Round Up

Here are some suggestions for stuff to enjoy as we say goodbye to November and hello to December, the ultimate festive month of gluttony…
LISTEN to Blood Orange’s latest album Cupid Deluxe. It came out this week and Blood Orange aka Dev Hynes has certainly not disappointed with this lush offering that’s cooler and smoother than an ice rink. 

WATCH films at the London Feminist Film Festival. Set up in 2012 in response to the underrepresentation of women in the film industry, this festival will be showing some great films during its run from 24 and 30 November 2013. The program includes the international premier of Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights and a screening of the classic feminist film The Gold Diggers. 
PREPARE for the holiday season at a Christmas market. Yes it’s early, but why not embrace the opportunity to drink mulled wine before singing Mariah Carey badly at a Christmas tree. Go on, you know that you want to. There are lots of markets to choose from but a few of our personal favourites are Chester Victorian Christmas Market (beyond pretty) , Manchester Christmas Market (best mulled cider) and London Southbank Christmas Market (festive trip on the pretty Thames). If you’re really getting into the spirit you could even venture over to the Christmas-fest that’s Cologne Christmas Market and make everybody incredibly jealous. 
DRINK some fine ales and ciders at the Pig’s Ear Beer and Cider Festival, from December 3 – 7, at The Round Chapel in Clapton. Beers really taking centre stage at the moment with new breweries popping up all over London the festival will include Five Points, Crate and London Fields are among nine Hackney breweries in a huge line-up of beers and ciders to sample. 
EAT German style food at Wunderland East. Following its successful summer ‘Lucky Chip’ collaboration, this week Climpson’s Arch launches it’s three day bavarian themed bar with all the trimmings! 
READ Dorris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook. This wonderful author died this week so what better excuse (not that you really need one) to discover or re-discover her amazing writing. The Golden Notebook accounts women’s lives after the war. It is often regarded as a ‘feminist masterpiece’ but overall is a majestically crafted piece of writing by a brilliantly talented and outspoken author.
By Kerry Flint 

Bacon and Chestnut Bites

Delicious bacon, apricot and chestnut bites – a great way of using all your Christmas Day leftovers and incredibly moreish too!

7-8 rashers of bacon
1 medium onion
170g cooked chestnuts (chopped) or use tinned or puréed chestnuts
1 tsp sage (dry or fresh)
3 dried apricots (chopped)
60g oatmeal or fine breadcrumbs
1 egg (beaten)
Cranberry sauce

* Heat oven to 200C
* Melt butter in pan and fry onions and bacon until soft
* Transfer to bowl
* Mix in sage, oatmeal/breadcrumbs, seasoning, apricots and chestnuts
* Bind with beaten egg to give a fairly moist consistency
* Form mixture into desired shapes, brush with any leftover egg and crisp breadcrumbs (if you have any)
* Bake in the oven for approx. 15 mins or until crisp and golden brown
* Dip in cranberry sauce – yum!
By Melodie Walter

What we’re listening to…

Last year we had the very cool Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward grace us with their pretty Christmas album A Very She & Him Christmas and we’re again angling for the pick of the indie Christmas crop with Michigan born Sufjan Stevens’ Silver and Gold.  

An unusual fellow, Stevens dedicates time to making Christmas music like no other. Since producing Songs for Christmas in 2006 – a lengthy two-hour album – Stevens hasn’t produced anything for his beloved season for six years until the release of Silver and Gold last month.
Pangs of banjo, pings of drunken guitars and angelic peeps from the Oboe plus the multitude of instruments Stevens also plays, there is hope that your Christmas can be enjoyed without an overload of trashy Christmas cheer – of which we cannot escape from the radio, TV and shops playing (sometimes you just need a break!).
On this 58-track extravaganza, Stevens compiles songs of religious fantasy, life history and Christmas fantasy. Prepare to be introduced to a fairytale land of snow, psychedelic lights, Unicorns, Santa, the characters of the Bible narrative and Mr Frosty Man.
To hear Steven’s magical Christmas album and experience what it’s like to listen to music feeling as though you’re on a carousel at the fairground after having one too many mulled wines click here – apt for Christmas day!
We love this vintage-esque video for Sufjan Stevens’ Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. (Which includes a few snippets from some of our fave festive films!)
You can buy the Silver and Gold via Asthmatic Kitty Records, Amazon or iTunes. 
By Melodie Walter

Scandi treats

We ditch the traditional festive treats for something Scandinavian inspired mixed with Cellardoor’s creative handiwork: reds and whites, gingerbread with a touch of cinnamon (Swedish pepparkakor enthused) coconut ice and chocolate.
To make the gingerbread house, cherub and star
Gingerbread mixture
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
112g butter, softened
85g soft brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
112g icing sugar
1 tbsp water
Coloured icing tubes
-       Heat oven to 180C
-       Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a mixing bowl
-       In a saucepan heat the golden syrup, sugar and butter until it melts, then let the mixture cool and add to the mixing bowl
-       Stir and then knead the mixture into a ball
-       Dust the work surface with flour and roll the rough until about ½ cm thick
-       Cut a 7x7cm square (x2) 7x5cm rectangle (x2) and for the sides of the house use a template of a rectangle 9x7cm plus a triangle attached adding an extra 3cm to the whole length of the side: for the other shapes it will be easiest to use cookie cutters
-       Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until they are golden brown and leave them to cool
-       Assemble the house with the icing – make sure it is thick – leave to dry for 15 mins and then decorate
To make the snowman and the Christmas trees
Coconut Ice
½ pint water
450g sugar
Pinch cream of tartar
112g desiccated coconut
1 heaped tbsp thick cream
Fillings and toppings
½ packet of white cooking chocolate
½ packet of dark cooking chocolate
1 small bought chocolate cake
Handful of walnuts
-       Cut two healthy sized cubes of the chocolate cake (one for the head and the other for the body) and melt dark chocolate with some butter and then add the mixture to the cake
-       Roll into one larger ball and one smaller ball and fill the centre with chopped walnuts
-       Place in fridge to harden, then make the butter icing (you’ll just need some icing sugar and softened butter) and spread onto the balls and roll these in the desiccated coconut and then assemble to make the main body of your snowman (decorate as desired)
-       Now to make the Christmas trees! Heat sugar and water in a strong saucepan until sugar is dissolved and add the cream of tartar then boil steadily, then add the coconut and cream and beat together
-       Let the mixture cool slightly and then use kitchen gloves to form pyramid shapes for the trees, leave to harden
-       Melt the white chocolate and dip the base of the pyramids in, then leave to harden
Put together your creations on lined tray with silver paper and desiccated coconut and icing sugar and chop up flakes for logs. 

Why not make extra gingerbread cherubs and stars and hang them on the tree?

By Melodie Walter

Christmas Candy

We begin the festive month of December with indulgence and decorations. Here at Cellardoor HQ we aim to bring a touch of winter warmth that will touch the hearts of loved ones or add a touch of femininity to your festive home decorations. Try making our homemade marble marzipan and nutty chocolate coated butter fudge sweets – they can make the most charming gift wrapped up in a box and pretty paper and ribbons. Or even use for decoration on the Christmas tree!

Nutty chocolate coated butter fudge
450g granulated sugar
4 tbsp water
12 tbsp condensed milk
1 bar cooking chocolate
Handful of hazelnuts
-       Heat the sugar, water and butter in a pan on a low heat – stir until the sugar has dissolved
-       Add the condensed milk – stir occasionally until the mixture is thoroughly blended – boil steadily and mix only occasionally
-       Test to see if the mixture is ready to be taken off the heat by dropping some into a cold glass; if it forms a soft caramel ball/mound then remove the pan from the heat
-       Beat the mixture until it thickens then pour it into a greased tin and leave to cool
-       Melt chocolate and pour over the cold fudge and decorate with the hazelnuts
To make what we call the ‘fudgecomb’ (can be seen in the photo) just continue to boil the mixture until thickens and then crumbles. The pan must then be taken off the heat immediately.

 Tip: tastes great with melted chocolate drizzled on top with chopped nuts.
Marble marzipan swirls and hearts
110g ground almonds
55g castor sugar
55g icing sugar
Few drops almond essence
1 egg
Food colouring
Mini heart stencil
-       Bind the almonds, sugars, essence and egg together – roll into a ball
-       Split the mixture into smaller balls (as many as desired)
-       Add your desired food colour to each ball – a different colour to each
-       Roll together to make swirls or use a mini stencil like we did to make pretty heart shapes

By Melodie Walter

Meet… The Briar Rose

For the next instalment of our meet… the blogger series, we caught up with Megan from The Briar Rose. Inspired by her favourite Disney character, her blog is full of fairytale whimsy which we love! Read on to find out more about the girl behind the blog… 

Ok, first up who is The Briar Rose? 
 The ‘Briar Rose’ was a title inspired by my favourite Disney character, Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. ‘Briar Rose’ has always been one of my favourite names, and when I first started blogging I thought it would be a fitting alias. Nowadays I just see it as the name of my blog, I doubt I will ever be able to call myself anything but ‘Megan’ – it just feels unnatural! 
 How long have you been blogging, and what made you want start it in the first place?
 I started my blog in late August 2011, however I only started to post regularly in January 2012. As I was starting university, I decided I needed some kind of creative outlet that combined my love of writing with my interest in fashion and photography. I’d also seen a few people discuss how beneficial blogging could be for those trying to break into the fashion industry, and it began to feel like the natural direction for me to pursue. 
 What inspires your blog posts? 
 Oh, all sorts of things! It could be a passage in one of my set texts for university, old films and story books, or just day-to-day events. Since I study creative writing I’ve got into a habit of writing down interesting dreams, little unexpected things I notice, and words I’d love to use in my own work. That can really help when it comes to putting together my blog posts. I’m also hugely inspired by my blogging friends, we’re all on the same wavelength and I love reading their posts as well as writing my own. 
 How would you describe your style? 
 It’s quite eclectic and changes with the wind. I adore sugary colours and soft fabrics, and I’m generally quite playful with the way I pair things together. It’s Florence Welch meets Marie Antoinette meets Strawberry Shortcake.
What three items can you not live without? 
 My camera, I’m the kind of person who photographs everything. It’s become a running joke in my family. I get through copious amounts of lip balm – I generally carry at least two pots! Finally I’d say hair dye, if I were stuck with my natural hair colour I would be extremely frustrated! 
 What do you get up to when you’re not blogging? 
 I love cooking and baking and I’m forever dreaming up new recipes – my latest discovery was apple and blackberry cupcakes! My first love is writing so I spend a lot of my time reading and working on numerous novel manuscripts. Earlier this year I started modelling, so I’ve started doing photo shoots fairly regularly which is always fun, especially when I’m working with photographers and brands I’ve developed a personal relationship with through my blog. Naturally university is quite demanding, however since a large chunk of that is creative writing it isn’t too strenuous! 
 Tell us something no one else knows about you… 
 When I’m ill or feeling down I watch cheesy children’s films like Thumbelina and The Swan Princess on Youtube to take my mind off things. 
And lastly, what’s your favourite thing about Winter? 
 Christmas, it’s my absolute favourite time of the year. In particular I love the food and spending endless hours in a cosy kitchen baking mince pies, spiced biscuits, Cointreau cupcakes and caramel sweet potato tart! Indulgent winter food is my downfall.

1 2 3