making | baking | creating

DIY Celebrations | Prosecco Bar

All the yays.  A Prosecco Bar that you'll want to have all year round, but will be a pretty sweet addition to any post-Christmas/New Year/any-excuse parties that you may be throwing before we all return to regular life.

Hello.  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas weekend, whatever you were doing.  I was hit with the lurgy just in time for a Christmas Eve in bed, so apologies it all went quiet here.  But today I am back with a quick DIY idea for seeing in the New Year, whether you are having a quiet night in or a party.

This is my base - an Ikea Vittsjo which will become my bar.

I created a menu sign using a DIY from the past: Chalkboard Frame and *attempting* some chalk calligraphy for added decoration:
To make some Prosecco Cocktails, I have some elderflower syrup, Chambord and for some additions - a little pick'n'mix section with blueberries, raspberries and cherry popballs from Lakeland.  They have shimmer in them too - making you the winner of Prosecco bars:
If you are feeling really fancy, these Hibiscis flowers look a.ma.zing.

A few Prosecco sweets: gummies [classic and fizzy] from Lakeland and humbugs from Hollys Lollies.
A few lights [the star is from Primark and the string lights from Asda] and my bar is complete.  This is where you will find me until January 2nd.

See you in 2017!

P.S - I cannot let this tub of prosecco flavour frosting go without notice either.  I mean, hoorah.

This isn't a sponsored post, but some of the links used above may be affiliate links [you can read more about this here].

DIY Christmas | Mince Pies & Crumble


At the end of last year, I resolved that although I was sure I didn't like mince  pies, I was missing out on a huge Christmas tradition and that I should change that for Christmas 2014.  I tried - even with a ratio of around 2 parts cream, 1 part mince pie - I'm still not keen........disguise it as a crumble? Let's give it a go.

| WHAT YOU NEED |
822g Jar of Mincemeat
1 cooking Apple
1 roll of shortcrust pastry
Icing / Caser Sugar (for decoration)
Double thick cream / icecream / custard (to serve)

| HOW YOU MAKE THEM |
I started by cheating and buying the mincemeat - a 822g jar was more than enough for both the crumble [8 pots] and mince pies [12].  The problem here for me is the texture - raisons, currents.... I hate them.  So I had much fun popping them in a blender and turning them in to a Christmas smelling gloop.


I chopped 1 cooking apple in to small pieces, around raison size when I think of it, and added to a pan to cook through, with a little water [1 tablespoon] to prevent them from burning.  Stir regularly for about 10 minutes and check they are cooked with a fork [it should go through easily].
Transfer your 'gloop' in to the pan and mix through:
Add your mixture in to a ramekin and fill to about 2/3:
Add two parts flour and 1 part butter to a bowl [I had about 2 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon] and mix with your fingers in a bowl until it resembles breadcrumbs - add more flour/butter to the mix to suit your taste:
Add to the remaining 1/3 of your ramekin:
Pop in a 190 degree oven for 15-20 minutes [or at least until the tops is brown.
To finish, I added a sprinkle of sugar to caramelise on top as they cooled down a little and added a little [ok, a lot] or cream to serve.
Warning: it's sweet - and that's coming from someone with a sweet tooth [and the terrible dental history to prove it]!

So here is a quick & easy traditional mince pie make.

Like all foodie projects around this point, make life easier for yourself and buy the pastry - just buy it.
Unroll and plan which Christmas movie you will now watch with the time you have saved.
Grease your pie tray with butter and using a ramekin or mug, cut out your bases.
Add to the tray and fill 2/3 with your mincemeat mixture.  Using a small star cutter, I then created tops [any cookie cutter shape that has points that meet the base will work]:
Pop in an oven at 190 degrees for around 10/15 minutes until the tops are brown [once removed I added a sprinkle of sugar to caramelise on top, as with the crumble]:

Remove from the tin once cooled [mine needed a little help where the mixture had boiled over]
Finish with a dusting of icing sugar for the perfect Christmas treat:



DIY Christmas | Pipecleaner Decorations

One week today!  This is my last DIY craft before the New Year and it's a nice a easy one.
Sometimes, the best DIYs are the simple, afternoon-in-front-of-a-movie crafts and today, you can add to your decorations with an easy and very cheap-but-chic pipecleaner make.  We're taking it back to pre-school crafting.

| WHAT YOU NEED |

£1 Pipecleaners [that's it!]

| HOW TO MAKE THEM |

I decided to throw caution to the wind and free-style my letters, but you could write or print off text to use as a guide.
Simply bend your pipecleaner into each letter, wrapping the pipecleaner if you need to add a bit of stability or to change direction:
...if you run out of pipecleaner, its easy to add, twisting the ends together and carrying on your word:
Trim the pipecleaner when finished and either use the loops in the letters as your hanging, or tie/fix in place with glue your ribbon.
...can you guess which word it is yet?
Words, letters, shapes, Christmas tree decorations, present tags or hanging to place around your home - add a bit of sparkle and make sure you share your makes with me if you do!

DIY Christmas | Iced Biscuit Christmas Tree & Mug Biscuits


Christmas food that isn't a Christmas Pudding?  I know!

| WHAT YOU NEED |
Wilton Cookie Tree Cutter Kit [Lakeland similar here] / Sainsburys Mug Cookie Cutters / Rolling Pin Bowl / Spoon / Scales / Baking Paper / Baking Tray / Icing Bag / Writing Nozzle| INGREDIENTS |
180g / 6oz Plain Flour
55g / 2oz Caster Sugar
125g / 4oz Unsalted Butter


| HOW YOU MAKE THEM |
| Dough |The dough for this DIY is enough to make both the Cookie Christmas Tree and the mug cookies [9 of them] on the side.
Combine your butter, flour and caster sugar in a bowl until a dough.
Roll your dough to the thickness of a £1 coin on top of baking paper, to make the process of cutting and transferring to your baking tray as easy as possible.
That's literally as hard as it gets.  Lets make!
| Royal Icing |
To create icing that doesn't run, sets so that it doesn't smudge and tastes good, you need royal icing.  Follow the instructions on the packet and then add a little more icing [about a tablespoon additional] to make a thick icing that will still be squeezed through the piping bag!


| Cookie Christmas Tree | 
Cut your dough with each of the cutters - to make sure I didn't run out, I started from the smallest star and worked my way out.  Once cut, set in the fridge for around 20 minutes and then transfer to your baking tray and a oven set at 190 degrees.  These should only take around 12 minutes - but keep an eye on the edges and check that they don't get too brown.
To create a crisp edge, I used my cutters to make a neat edge and tidy up any spread from the oven.  Leave the cookies to cool completely.
You are now ready to ice.  Transfer your icing in to a piping bag and snip the very tip to create a small flow for decorating [you can also add a writing nozzle if it helps!]
I decided to go simple and as only the edges would be on show, make a lace-style pattern at each point.  I started with the outline, to gain my icing confidence.....
...and then added the decoration.
Create your patterns around each star, and when you are ready to start assembling your tree, add some dots of icing to the middles and stack!
[as the stars became smaller, I changed the design to something less intricate]
Finish stacking your tree and then you can add any final decorations.
I added sugar balls to each point and a sprinkle of icing sugar for snow
...ready to display - until you give in and start to eat it.

| Mug Biscuits |I mean, who can have a drink without one of these now?

Bake your biscuits in an oven set at 190 degrees for 5-10 minutes [keep an eye on them as they will bake quickly!]

Due to the small size, the spread for these biscuits was much greater than the stars.  To remedy this, re-cut your biscuits as soon as they are taken out of the oven - this will prevent the biscuits from breaking and they will cool and harden in tact!
Leave to cool completely and ice with the same piping bag and be as creative as you want!  The biscuits balance perfectly on the side of your mug - you could even add a name for personalised biscuits!
Happy Friday!

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