….Intense Coconut a friend told me about Lindt’s Coconut Intense bar and I scoured the shelves of every shop I visited until I came up trumps. It is a rather tasty little treat.
….Baking Macaroons keeping things coconutty I’ve been baking macaroons. Not to be confused with the dainty macaron the macaroon is robust sweet offering, not at all fiddly to make and utterly satisfying for the sweet-toothed.
….Receiving unexpected gifts thanks to Shana Wilkie for sending me this gorgeously packaged Wilkie’s Hot Chocolate – I can’t wait to give it a try. I reviewed Shana’s chocolate some time ago and she was delighted with the write-up. You can read about it here.
….Quick summer cooking there’s lots of bashing of chicken fillets going on in my kitchen this summer to produce blackened chicken which is a quick and tasty accompaniment for any salad.
…..Collecting beautiful things I just couldn’t resist this Meadows & Byrne jug especially as it was on sale and came in the quaintest of colours.
….Discovering new products I tried the ‘cheeky chilli’ on a puff pastry with melted cheese at a friend’s house and had to buy some myself. In business since 2012 ,The Natural Larder Company are selling these and other sauces, relishes, chutneys and rubs at Ballincollig and Cornmarket Street markets in Cork.
If you stick to tradition you’ll probably be choosing gold, silver and red to dress your Christmas table. Daring to be different you might splash out with fuchsia, turquoise, purple or minimalist winter white but whatever you pick, bring it all together with a centre piece that will underpin your colour scheme. This could be :
a tiered cake display filled with baubles and crackers
a wreath filled with candles
a magnificent candelabra
a giant vase of flowers
a large glass bowl filled with sparkling fairy lights and baubles
Whatever it is it needs to be exagerated for impact, think 3 giant flower vases instead of one.
Other elements that can embellish your table will be the placemats, napkins and rings and perhaps some personalised place cards. Tie a delicate ribbon around the base of the wine glasses and a bow around each chair. Lots of little tea lights in miniature lantern holders will add sparkle and don’t forget the fresh holly and ivy to bring a bit of nature to the table.
I like to use a length of Christmas wrapping paper to make a table runner and you could also update old table mats by wrapping them up and sticking on some ribbon. Tiny stars and snow flakes sprinkled on the table will reflect the light of the candles and up the glitter factor. It’s only once a year so why not make them go ‘WOW!’.
A big Happy Christmas and Thank You to www.meadowsandbyrne.com , Hampton Villa (Bandon Rd Roundabout, Bishopstown, Cork) & Boulevard Interiors, Oakleigh, Donnybrook Hill, Cork for allowing to me to photograph in their stores.
Til next time, Sheila. (p.s. simple gravy and alternative stuffing on Thursday)