Festive yummies

festive-treats
Hello lovely people. Hope your Christmas plans are coming along well and you’re in full happy festive mode. I’m halfway with wrapping presents and the Christmas dinner has been planned. Next on the list is figuring out which festive treats to make over the next couple of days to keep the carbolicious flow going! If you’re looking for sweet inspiration too, I’ve created a scrummy looking pinboard called “Christmas yummies” which you can find on my Pinterest. These images must have you chomping on the bit to click over so I shan’t keep you any longer.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!
Hope you have a wonderful holiday! 
xxx


DIY modern festive wreaths

There are 36 sleeps until Christmas. Have you started decorating? Or at least thinking about it? 🙂 Last year, I was inspired by alternative Christmas trees and posted a roundup of them here. This year, I’m finding myself drawn to chic, modern wreaths which actually give a great excuse to get decorating well before December, because the simplicity of these wreaths makes them a lovely addition to autumnal and winter decor. These wreaths are not just for Christmas, and they’ll look lovely hanging anywhere in your home or on your front door!

making-a-modern-wreath-by-athena-calderone
Isn’t this absolutely stunning? Made by cutting a wire wreath frame to form a crescent shape, tying bunches of olive branches to it, hanging with floral wire and finishing with a final flourish of an olive green ribbon bow, this is simple yet so very, very chic! Full instructions here: Wreath by Putnam & Putnam for The Line.
diy-hanging-bouquet-wreath-by-hellolidy
Made using an assortment of winter greens and floral wire, this simple wreath is a gorgeous way to add greenery to your walls! Instructions here: Hanging green bouquet by Hello Lidy
copper-and-twig-wreaths-by-erikarax
I love the mix of materials in this one: foraged twigs and greenery, copper and cotton! So pretty! Tutorial here: Copper and twig wreath by Erika Rax
a-modern-christmas-wreath-by-freckle-and-wulff
This simple wreath uses an assortment of greenery and flowers (eucalyptus, cotton flowers, baby’s breath and aspidistra leaves) to create a wreath with really pretty texture! Instructions here: Modern festive wreath by Freckle and Wulff
Hanging star wreath by Broste Copenhagen.jpg
An embellished hanging wire star decoration: so simple it doesn’t even need a tutorial. Photography by Line Klein Studio for Broste Copenhagen AW15. You can buy a similar hanging star at The Little House Shop.

Will you be crafting any festive decorations this year? For lots more creative Christmas decor ideas, CLICK HERE.


Apple chutney recipe [using eating apples]

apple-chutney-recipe-arty-home

Apples are my favourite autumn fruit, and we’re lucky to have a little apple tree that gives us a great harvest of delicious Cox apples, which means a flurry of apple-based cooking and baking at this time of year. Yum.

Making an apple chutney is a great way to use a fair chunk of the harvest, and making it in early November means it is beautifully matured by the time the cheese platters roll into our house in December. Jars of homemade apple chutney also make great gifts for the festive season.

I can’t take credit for the scrumminess of my chutney because I use the recipe from The Cottage Smallholder almost exactly. The only difference is that their original recipe uses cooking apples, while I use eating apples which are sweeter, so I have amended the recipe to use about half the sugar which I think works great. If you’re using cooking apples (e.g. Bramley apples), please click on the link to follow their recipe. If you want to use eating apples, here’s the recipe for you (a printable-friendly PDF version is attached at the end):

APPLE CHUTNEY

Preparation time: depends on whether you’re doing all the chopping by hand or have helpful machines/staff. If it is the former, it’ll also depend on how fast you can chop. So let’s say between 15 and 60 minutes. Don’t let that put you off though; once the chopping is done and everything is in the pan, it’ll be so worth it!

Cooking time: about 4 hours of occasional stirring and enjoying the gorgeous aroma filling your home


Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kg of eating apples (weighed before chopping)
  • 500g of onions (weighed before chopping)
  • 500g of sultanas
  • 400g demerara sugar
  • 500ml of white wine vinegar
  • Zest and juice of two lemons
  • 1 small chilli
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • ½ tsp of sea salt
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp of mustard seed


Method:

  1. Wash, peel, core and chop the apples finely.
  2. Peel, chop and mince the onions (if you don’t have a mincer, chop them very fine).
  3. Deseed and finely chop the chilli.
  4. Put all ingredients into a large heavy bottomed saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Then simmer very gently on very low heat, bubbles barely breaking the surface, until the chutney has thickened, stirring every now and then. Don’t cover the pan.
  6. It is ready when drawing a spoon across the surface leaves a definite track mark. This should take about four hours.
  7. Pot into warm sterilised jars with plastic lined lids. (How to sterilise jars and lids: See Tips and Tricks below)
  8. Label when cold and store in a cool, dry place.
  9. Leave to mature for a month. The longer that you leave it to mature the better it will be!

Tips and Tricks

How do I sterilise jars and lids? Why do I need to use plastic-lined jars? 

Here is a simple sterilising method: When the chutney is cooked, quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160°C (140°C fan assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature, turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while.

It is best to use plastic lined metal lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. Boil the lids for five minutes in water to sterilise them. If using Le Parfait jars, do the same with the rubber rings.

Don’t use cellophane lids as the vinegar will evaporate through these and your chutney will dry up.

This chutney, once sealed in sterilised jars, should last for about a year, so you can enjoy it for a long time. I love using this chutney with cheese and biscuits, in a ploughman’s sandwich, in a grilled cheese on toast, with roast dinner, with deli meats, and even just as a dip with crisps or pitta bread… it’s so versatile! How do you like your chutney? Do let me know if you make this one!

For your convenience, below is the link to a printable PDF version of this recipe. Enjoy!

Apple Chutney Recipe: click here for a printer-friendly PDF version of the recipe