A Feast

Christmas greetings! I hope you all had a lovely couple of days with your friends and family. My cousin hosted an early and casual Christmas lunch last Sunday, and family members were each asked to 'bring a dish'. I opted for the classic 2kg of prawns with pink sauce - but some of the guests went to a lot more effort...

Bonnie the Baker came to the party with an Eton Mess - quite possibly the best dessert I've ever eaten - this photo takes me back to the brilliance of candied walnuts. So good!

My mum made an old favourite - Bresaola with peas (see below for the easy recipe).

My sister Essie ramped things up a notch with delicious meat balls - I previously shared the recipe for her popular vietnamese versions here.

The DIY Kris Kringle challenge I mentioned last week worked brilliantly - everything from photos, home made tea bags to crochet baskets were gifted. 

My little nephew Finn is growing up - and grinning after a 'whole can!!!' of Sprite. It's the simple things when you are little.

Another day - another family gathering. My mum's personalised home made Bonbons on Christmas Eve were rather impressive. I don't know how she will top them next year!

Santa's been!! Our little baby Sunday - the morning of her first Christmas. The girl makes my heart sing.

Bresaola with peas and marjoram
Bresaola is an air-dried beef that is usually made from silverside. The raw meat is cured in a mixture of red wine, herbs (such as rosemary and bay) and spices (such as pepper and cloves). You can buy bresaola from Italian delicatessens; you should always make sure that it is being sliced when you order. This will not only ensure that it is soft and full of flavour, but also that it is being sliced as thinly as possible. Bresaola works really well with the sweetness of the peas and marjoram in this dish, but you can use prosciutto if you prefer.
300g fresh green peas, podded
a few sprigs of marjoram
salt and freshly ground black pepper
125ml extra virgin olive oil
about 16 thin slices of bresaola
a small piece of parmesan cheese, grated
Take the peas and blanch them in salted water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and immerse in iced water to stop the cooking process. Drain again. Place the peas in a large mortar, add marjoram leaves, then with some salt, pepper and about half of the olive oil, roughly crush everything together; you don't want a puree.
Arrange the bresaola on a plate, then drizzle with the remaining olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Place a mound of the peas on the beef, then finish with the freshly grated parmesan.
Enjoy! See you back here soon x


DIY Kris Kringle

Always keen for a craft project, I was very pleased to hear we had a 'DIY' rule for Kris Kringle gifts with my extended family this year. After seeing a few lovely versions on Pinterest I decided to tackle my own paper mache bowl to add to the 'lucky dip' at our pre-Christmas day lunch this weekend (any lunch guests reading this blog post, please turn away). 

Outlined below are steps to creating the bowl:

1. To make your bowl shape, start with a balloon.  
2. Cut up your newspaper (or butchers paper as I used) into small strips.  Stick the paper to your balloon using Selleys Wall Paper paste.  The more layers, the thicker the bowl - I ended up with about three layers.
3. Place your balloons upside down inside a paper cup and let it dry overnight.
4. Once dry, pop your balloon and discard it.  What you will have left is a bowl mould with imperfect edges.  Just use scissors to trim it down to the shape you want.  I made mine an
irregular shape on purpose.

5. Paint the bowl white (or any colour) inside and out. I ended up spraying the bowl with a final coat of enamel spray paint for a better finish (not pictured).

6. On to the tricky part...I purchased the gold leaf sheets and the Tannin Sealer (gold leaf size) from my local art shop and simply followed the directions on the bottle. As enjoyable as it was, the gold leafing took a little longer than I anticipated. It could probably be left to an expert - or just someone with more patience and a steadier hand than mine!

7. I sealed the bowl with a standard Jo Sonja's sealer (not pictured) - which actually made the gold become a little tarnished, but I ended up liking this effect.

Fingers crossed the recipient is pleased with his/her gift! I'll check back in with some of the DIY presents from my family that join the mix - with a few artists in the family, some are sure to be beautiful - and some are sure to be....entertaining!


Sunday's Gift Guide

I'm just a little bit excited about Sunday's first Christmas. As I'm sure you'll agree, kids make the season - and shopping for Sunday and my nieces and nephews this year has been heaps of fun. Above is Sunday's Santa sack made by my Mum (filled with presents for the photo), but of course hidden until the big day. I plan to repeat the Christmas morning traditions that I grew up with - Santa sack loaded up on the couch, bad Christmas jingles, fashion parades in new clothes, glazed ham and cranberry on toast - finished with a large rainbow lollipop for breakfast (I'm not sure how that tradition started, but it's a fond memory). I know she will find the tags on things far more interesting, but at least I can appreciate the fun and pretty things for now...below is what she will find on Christmas morning.

Felt mushrooms - buy them here
This Moose Belongs To Me by Oliver Jeffers - buy it here
Timber house blocks - buy them here
Denim shorts - buy them here
Lunch Box Set - buy it here

Melamine Plates - buy them here
Cooler Lunch Bag - buy it here
Wooden Stacking Rings - buy them here
Rattle Ball - buy it here
Touch & Feel Farm by Dwell Studio  - buy it here

Pink Bath Sheet - buy it here
Bath Tug Boat Toy - buy it here
Now I Am Big - buy it here
Sophie The Giraffe* - buy it here
Pink Shorts (made by my mum) buy the fabric - and so much more here

A gift arrived for me this week! Thanks to Freedom, I'm the very proud owner of a cool Mister Moss geranium. To look after it, all it needs is a dunk in water once a week. Check out the website, such an original gift idea.

I can't help myself...I'm such a stage mum. I just have to show you our little Christmas baby. Photographed by Maya at The School. I hope you had a great weekend. See you back here soon!

*This will be Sunday's second Sophie...her first Sophie was thrown out the pram, her new trick.


Confetti & Luggage Tags

Hello everyone! It's been waaaaay too long between posts. Summer and the lead up to Christmas has me feeling rejuvenated and inspired...and ready to get back in to the blog. So, here I am. My Christmas wrapping last year proved a bit of a hit, so I thought I'd share with you the theme for 2012. 

A budget friendly and simple combination of old-school confetti, butchers paper, clear cellophane, twine, washi tape and plastic luggage tags.

 4 gifts down, only about 44 to go. I shouldn't complain, I do love it.

 $1.00 plastic luggage tags were purchased from my local newsagency - filled with gold spot decorated graph paper (and my handwriting). 

I'll be taking a gift to The School tomorrow - for the Lu Lu Lucky paper chandelier giving tree. They are taking gifts and tinned food to The Salvation Army. Drop your labelled gift with age/gender in to the gallery area of The Studio/The School before 20th December.  

I'll see you back here soon with baby Sunday's gift guide - basically things that the big guy in the red suit has loaded and ready for her first ever (Nanny made) Santa sack.


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