• Food

    Home for Christmas

    by  • Thursday, December 29, 2011 • Christmas, Craft, Decorating and interiors, Food, Lovely websites, News, Stylish shopping • 6 Comments

    Christmas has been a bit too much fun for homeshoppingspy! I’m looking forward to returning to regular blogging next week. Meanwhile, here’s a few things I’ve enjoyed from a Christmas in South Devon:

    Blackpool sands, South Devon, coastal walk, coast, beach, Christmas, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

    1. A blustery walk along the coast to Blackpool Sands for pasties and chips on the beach!

    Winter bike Christmas card, Etsy, Christmas, stationary, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrtys

    2. I received this lovely Winter bike Christmas card, available from Etsy.

    Toast, Dee Puddy, Nigella Lawson, BBC Food, Christmas, Devon, ideal home, homeshoppingspy, alice humphrys

    (clockwise from left) 3. Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Cup cocktail as seen in Stylist. Cherry brandy, sparkling wine and ginger ale (tastes like liquid cherry drops – amazing and very festive!). 4. Chocolate mince pies. I made these for a Christmas party and they went down a storm, visit BBC Food for the recipe. 5. Pretty crackers from Toast to complete our table setting on Christmas day. 6. To add a little sparkle we used these charming nativity scene tea light decorations from Dee Puddy. I hope you all have a fun New Year’s Eve. I’ll see you on the other side. – Alice

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    Christmas pâté and sugar mice

    by  • Saturday, December 25, 2010 • Craft, Food, Lovely websites • 2 Comments

    Happy Christmas! The Cotswolds are blanketed with snow and – apart from pushing various cars on icy lanes and shovelling snow from under spinning tyres – I’m having a lovely rest. Nipped out this morning to deliver bowls of Christmas chicken liver pâté; it’s so easy to make and perfect for post-Christmas leftover lunches of cold meats, cheese etc – so here’s the recipe in case you feel creative between now and New Year…

    You will need: 220g/80z butter, 1 onion (chopped), 2 garlic cloves (crushed), 450g chicken livers (trimmed and halved), 1tbsp brandy, 1tsp mustard powder, salt, pepper, dried cranberries to garnish. Melt 110g/4oz of the butter in a pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not coloured. Add the garlic and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through. Add the brandy and mustard powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the liver mixture and 55g/2oz of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer the pâté into ramekins or small bowls (I used 4-inch pudding bowls, 99p each in my local hardware shop) and decorate with a handful of cranberries. Melt the remaining 55g/2oz of butter in a clean pan. Skim off the froth and pour the butter over the pâté. Transfer to the fridge to chill. Keep it covered with cling film once you’ve started to eat it, or it will dry out. You can buy chicken livers from good butchers or Waitrose. I’ve also been having fun making sugar mice for the Christmas tree using these wonderful silicone moulds from Lakeland

    There’s a Victorian recipe for sugar mice, here. Happy Christmas! – Ellie

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    The elderflower cordial saga

    by  • Monday, June 7, 2010 • Food, News, Stylish shopping • 16 Comments

    The elderflowers are out which means it’s cordial o’ clock. After my first disastrous attempt, I decided to try again. Being a bit OCD about pollution and the like (I’m sure I read something somewhere once about lead being absorbed by plants beside roads…?) I headed to rural Worcestershire this weekend to harvest the flowers. It all started so well – skipping merrily along the hedgerows, I filled my basket (well, a Tesco carrier bag, but let’s not spoil the image) with flowers and enjoyed the glorious sunshine. These pretty pics are from Laundry Etc – I wish my cordial-making looked this nice:

    But, suddenly, out of nowhere, thunder began to rumble and the dream ended. It POURED with rain. Soaked to the skin, running through open fields, surrounded by flashes of lightening that were WAY too close for comfort, my Primark flip-flops broke (£1.50,#whaddyaexpect) and I ended up abandoning them altogether and pegging it bare-foot through mud, wondering if my cordial was CURSED. Thankfully, I survived (although the car seats are covered with mud much to the boyfriend’s chagrin…) and the cordial is now steeping in huge cloth-covered bowls.

    There’s a fabulous recipe here if you fancy having a bash yourself. You’ll need: 900g granulated sugar, 50g citric acid, 2 sliced lemons and 25 elderflower heads. The method is here and you can find citric acid and all the glass bottles you’ll need at the Jam Jar Shop where the lovely Rosemary has arranged for HomeShoppingSpy readers to get a 10% discount on all orders – just enter the code JJSIDEAL at the checkout. Hurrah! If you haven’t got time to order online, you can re-use glass or plastic water bottles (sterilise them first!) and you’ll find citric acid at most independent pharmacy shops. – Ellie

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