We have been rushed off our feet here this last couple of months, so it was been lovely to down tools and spend a whole day immersed in all things festive for a project with Teri of The Lovely Drawer. Along with eleven other brilliant bloggers and the lovely peeps at West Elm, I created some seasonal sparkle. We all styled a different table, for Teri’s ‘twelve styled days of Christmas’ idea and you can follow all twelve days on Teri’s blog and West Elm’s Front + Main blog too. Go get over there and be inspired, there is lots of twinkly joy to be seen. Have a go at my cocktail and canape recipes below, and then get making – with a couple of fun table decoration tutorials.When I found this vintage style cocktail shaker at West Elm, I knew a boozy element had to be added to my table – cue the best and most beautiful bottle of gin! My idea is all about seasonal herbs and flavours, foods that are easy to make and drinks that are easy to shake! Then, more time can be spent socialising with your guests and not trapped in the kitchen.
The cocktail recipe I chose includes infused herbs that are cut from our garden and the place cards are dyed with locally grown beetroots. I am a big fan of sparkle – so this time of year gives me free reign to go wild for all that glitters and glows. Candles are ablaze all year round in our home, but in December I love to light as many as possible. I also have quite a collection of fairy lights that I like to drape all over the house – so this glowing scene is all about sharing a simple supper with a few favourite friends. I have now had this glistening star garland in every room in the house so far, maybe I should just start wearing it as a seasonal scarf? It’s going to be adorning the walls all year round, that for sure! We usually celebrate with friends on Christmas eve, time to chat excitedly about the year and make plans for the festive season over a few celebratory drinks, but only a couple, we like to be clear of mind on Christmas day when we go off to visit our families. After the chaos that has been running our store over the festive months – Dean and I are off to spend a few relaxing days with family and my little nephew who has just started walking. Feet up, cake on plate and wine in hand and then a couple of days hiking to walk off some of that delicious home cooked food!Beetroot Dipped Place Cards.
1 sheet of watercolour paper with raw edge
Washed Beetroot peelings and stalks (left over from accompanying recipes)
1 cup warm water
1 cup cold water
Blender or juicer
Kitchen towel or cloth
Before you do anything grab an apron! In a blender whizz the beetroot skins, stalks and warm water. You should end up with a frothy dark pink sludge. If you have a juicer you can juice everything instead and leave out the water. Pour dye out into a shallow dish. Cut your paper into desired size for cards with raw edge at the bottom and dip in cold water, shake of excess and then slowly dip into beet mixture gently laying the cards down to rest on the outside of the dish to keep the tops white. Repeat with all the cards and leave submerged for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove each card and using a cloth gently wipe away the excess dye and any foam, then leave to dry. Once dry write on names or initials with a calligraphy pen. Then punch a hole in the top edge and loop with string.Gold table top tree
Wooden tree decoration – West Elm
2 paint brushes – 1 old one for gold size and a rougher one to brush away gold.
Paper or mat to protect table
Paint one side of each part or the tree in gold size and allow to dry until tacky, wash out brush straight away. After about 10 minutes gently scrunch your gold leaf to make it look a little distressed then lay over the trees and smooth down. With a brush gently smooth over the gold brushing away any loose flakes, (keep these loose flakes to fill any gaps later). Repeat on the other sides and then slot tree together. For even more sparkle dust with glue and glitter!Gin and Beet fizz – adapted from A Diary Of Us
Ingredients: Serves 4
1 Cup of Fresh Beet Juice – available in a carton if you don’t have a juicer.
1/2 Cup of Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
8 Tbsp. Rosemary Simple Syrup*
6 Oz. Gin
Ginger beer to finish – I used Fever Tree – for a less sweet version use soda water
Gently shake the beet juice, grapefruit juice, rosemary syrup, and gin together (this is a party dress destroyer so be careful or wear black!) and pour over two glasses filled with ice. Top with ginger beer (or soda water) and garnish with a rosemary sprig.
*Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil along with 3 rosemary sprigs and then turn off heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain, cool and store in a jar or bottle.Thyme, beetroot and cheese spirals
Ingredients makes 8 – 10
2 large red onions
2 tbsp honey
1 sheet puff pastry
4 large cooked and chopped beetroot*
150g crumbled goat’s cheese or feta
1 egg beaten
Preheat the oven to 190C
*(peel and chop into eighths, drizzle with balsamic glaze, 4 sprigs of fresh thyme and olive oil, mix and then roast for 45 minutes – I cooked mine in a lidded pot. Remove from oven and chop when cooled.
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan. Thinly slice the red onions and add to the oil, sauté until they begin to soften, then add the honey, and continue to cook until the onion starts to caramelise. Let cool then chop finely (the sticky fingers are worth it I promise)!
Roll out the ready-made puff pastry, scatter the pastry sheet evenly with the caramelised onions, ensuring all but one inch at one shorter edge of the pastry case has been covered. Repeat another layer with the cooked, diced beetroot.Happy December! What will be on your festive table? :) x