Merry Christmas from Hong Kong!
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
As a child I loved the nativity scene at my parents house. It was like a little doll house. Now that I am a mother myself I also wanted to share this experience with my daughter. I bought this lovely simple nativity scene for this Christmas. You can check http://www.amazon.com/ for similar ones.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I fell in love with bird cages as home deco and especially as a Christmas decoration. I got mine from the bird market (Prince Edward MTR, at the end of the flower market). You just need to add some branches, flowers, fairy lights and Christmas baubles...
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
These are the last days at work before everyone goes on winter holidays. As a little surprise and Christmas greeting I bought these chocolate santas for my colleagues. Happy holidays!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
These candied almonds are yummy with a glass of mulled wine or just red wine or tea or beer...
100 g caster sugar
5 tablespoons water
150-200 g almonds
In a saucepan mix the sugar and the water and bring to boil. Boil until the mixture turns brown. Then add the almonds and mix well. Spread the almonds on a sheet of baking paper and let cool down. Store in an airtight jar.
Monday, December 19, 2011
My daughter is totally in love with coloring at the moment. So I had the idea to turn her little sketchbooks into stylish photobooks and give them away as Christmas presents for the grandparents.
I used sketchbooks in A4 size which have thicker paper and won't crease as easy as normal paper.
All you have to do is to let your kid design the pages and then stick photos into it. The grandparents will love it!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Browsing through my favourite winter decoration book (Dezembertage) I saw golden leather shoes for babies and was hooked at first sight. But I looked everywhere and I couldn't find any in the shops. So I finally decided to make my own. I found this super easy pattern Baby Shoe Pattern and golden leather was also not too difficult to get hold of. And then I only needed to find out whether my sewing machine was able to get through the leather. But to my astonishment it was not a problem at all. Easy! And since I used leather you don't have struggle with lining or anything. The shoes were ready in less than an hour!
Saturday, December 17, 2011
These little red trees were made of two tree shapes cut from cardboard. Lay them on top of each other and stitch a seam exactly on the middle line. Afterwards open them up and place them wherever you like as Christmas deco.
Friday, December 16, 2011
This year my gift wrapping is all natural. I used brown packing paper and decorated it with apple stamps (just cut an apple into halves and use it as a stamp). I also crincled some of the paper (which is a good way to recycle already used wrapping paper, looks best on unicolour paper). I decorated the parcels with sisal ribbon and dried lime slices and cinnamon sticks. The gift tags were made of white cardboard using winter pattern stamps.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
What to wear for the festive season this year? Here are eight festive looks out of my wardrobe...
2) Festive Reds
3) Cool Greys
4) Cozy Plum
5) Sparkling Black
6) Golden Hues
7) Powdery Pink
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
No Christmas without a "Christstollen"! This is a family tradition. Here is my favourite version:
750 g plain white flour
250 g butter
90 g caster sugar
10 g dried yeast
200 ml milk
500 g raisins
75 g chopped almonds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Melt the butter in the milk and let the mixture cool down to room temperature. Mix the flour with the yeast and add all the solid ingredients. Then stirr in the milk/butter mixture and knead well. If the dough is not smooth enough add lukewarm water. Let the dough rest for about an hour or until it has doubled in size. Then knead again and form two bread shape rolls out of it. Let the rolls rest for another 30 min and then bake at 180 degrees for 40-50 min.
Brush the warm stollen with butter flakes and then sprinkle icing sugar on top of it.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I am fascinated with French Macarons. But it's actually really quite tricky to get them right. This time I tried a new recipe by Donna Hay and 'voila' they all got nice feet. On the downside they turned out too big and some of them got broken. But after all it's the best recipe I have ever tested. It came in a little booklet 'Donna Hay: Christmas Special 2011' with the last 'Living ETC' UK magazine.
200g icing sugar, sifted
120 g finely ground almonds
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Mix the almonds with the icing sugar (I gradually added the icing sugar while grinding the almonds). Beat the eggwhites mixing in the caster sugar until soft peaks form. Now fold in the almond/icing sugar mixture with a spatula. Set aside for 10 min. Place 2 teaspoons of the mixture at a time (I think 1 teaspoon would be better) on baking trays lined with baking paper (I actually used silicon mats). Preheat the oven at 160 degrees (fan). Bake the macarons for 15-20 min. Let cool down.
I used ginger jam for the filling. In the original recipe they use balsamic strawberry jam. But Nutella is also very nice. Or you go for buttercream...
Monday, December 12, 2011
This year I made Christmas ornaments out of fabric leftovers. I went for stars and trees in patchwork style. To give them a festive touch I used upholstery fabric. But that turned out to be a bit tricky when it came to turning the inside out... So the shapes are a little bit mismatched. You should either go for bigger ornaments with upholstery fabric or use linen or less heavy fabrics for better results. Nevertheless I still like them and they decorate an arrangement of branches set in a vase in our living room now.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Here are some winter flower arrangements which always put me in a festive mood.
4) Yellow berries with moss
Roses and white lilies also add an extra festive touch to any Christmas arrangement. Or just put a single branch with red berries on a vase. Instead of a traditional Christmas tree why not go for a bunch of branches and decorate them with Christmas ornaments this year?
Saturday, December 10, 2011
I love Chai tea and especially during the Christmas time! I have experimented a little bit and this is my favourite recipe:
4 teaspoons of tea leaves (strong black like Assam etc.)
6 cardamom pods, crushed
6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
milk and sugar to taste
Boil 1 l of water in a sauce-pan and add the spices. Keep slightly boiling for about 10 min. Then add the tea leaves. You can either add the milk and the sugar now or you serve the tea with steamed milk and sugar separately. But remember to sieve the tea leaves and spices before serving.
For a quick fix try Chai tea bags (e.g I get mine from M&S).
Friday, December 9, 2011
A very nice and easy recipe for home made pralinees.
For the caramel:
100 g granulated sugar
50 ml water
100 g pistachios
50 g cranberries
200 g chocolate (milk, white or dark as to your taste)
Make the caramel by cooking the sugar/water solution until it turns brown. Then stirr in the peeled pistacchios (I used salted ones for a special taste) and let cool down. Spread the pistacchios on a baking sheet and sprinkle cranberries on top. Then melt the chocolate in a water batch and cover the pistachio/cranberry mixture with the chocolate. Let the mixture cool down at room temperature and afterwards put it in the fridge (covered with a layer of cling wrap). Break into pieces and fill into nice little bags if you want to give them away.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
This is a fantastic vinegar for green salads (aragula, mixed, spinach etc.). But you can also use it to spice up your meats.
100 ml balsamic vinegar
50 g dark chocolate
Put the vinegar in a sauce pan and gently heat it up. Melt the chocolate in the vinegar and mix well. Pour into a nice bottle or use immediately. Yummy!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
When I was a small kid in Germany we used to have a parade with lanterns for St Nicholas and at the end we were given little 'Stutenkerle' made of a kind of bread dough. So now I am a mum myself and I tried to continue with this tradition. So I made these little 'Stutenkerle' for my family (and half a forest too). I also made a paper lantern for the table. It's just a paper sandwich bag which I cut little holes and stars into. Then I placed a glass with a tealight inside.
Here is the recipe for the 'Stutenkerle':
For the dough (makes 4 big santa men or a dozen smaller ones):
500 g plain white flour
7 g dried yeast
75 g Granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg (medium size)
1 egg white
150 ml milk
100 g butter
For the decoration:
raisins and white (peeled) almonds
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg yolk
Mix the flour with the yeast then add all the other ingredients (room temperature). Mix thoroughly. Then let the dough rest in a warm environment until it has doubled in size.
Roll the dough with a rolling pin until it's 1 cm thick. Use a cookie cutter or cut the dough with a knife to achieve the desired shape. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and put the shapes on the tray. Use raisins or almonds for the eyes and buttons.
Mix the egg yolk with the milk and spread it evenly on the little men. Let the men rest for 20 more minutes and meanwhile start preheating the oven at 160 degrees. Bake for 20 min.
Monday, December 5, 2011
I love Cantuccini cookies and the day I found this recipe was a very happy one! They are actually really easy to make and the taste is even better than the shop version. You can enjoy them year round but I also like them for Christmas very much!
Here the link to the recipe: Cantuccini Cookies Recipe
Sunday, December 4, 2011
This Christmas deco uses pink roses and an etagere decorated with a tealight in an espresso cup and Ferrero Rocher chocolates combined with physalis fruits. I like the golden and orange shades. The white of the etagere just adds the necessary simplicity so it won't look overladen. The pine cone and the little deer add a little forest cheer.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
For all of you who love it pure white! This Christmas deco is made of antique style silver baubles hung with felt ribbon and white babushkas decorated with paper stars (of course also in white). The scented candle is from M&S.
Friday, December 2, 2011
I must admit I love IKEA for it's affordable western products. To be more precise some of the stuff cannot be found anywhere else in Hong Kong like the Gloegg which also comes in an alcohol-free version (very welcome when you are pregnant like me)! I think I will use the tin bucket for the Christmas tree. And you can also order real Christmas trees from IKEA, isn't that great!