I have to apologise in advance: This is a recipe with brussel sprouts. Yes I know! “BRUSSEL SPROUTS!?” Don’t worry, I’m totally with you. There’s nothing more terrifying than being handed a bowl of these on Christmas day. Sure, you can cook them with bacon or cover them in goose fat, but that’s just the point. They’re so bitter they need all manner of tastier items to disguise them.
Needless to say, working out how to get them into our Christmas menu is keeping me busy. Well, that and trying to work out what Anna wants for Christmas……but that’s a different story altogether. Technically, they’re just little underachieving cabbages, so why not treat them like a cabbage and make a slaw. So that’s what I did, but with with a bit of Christmas spirit.
Brussel Sprout Slaw with Red Onion, Preserved Lemon and Parmigiano-Reggaino.
320g Brussel sprouts
1 small onion
1 preserved lemon (juice and zest)
pinch of salt
Tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
Tablespoon finely grated Parmigiano-Reggaino
Finely slice the red onion and soak in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes. In an old jam jar add the olive oil, preserved lemon zest, lemon juice, honey and salt. Shake up until combined. Set aside.
Trim off the hard outer layers off the sprouts. With a sharp knife slice the sprouts and discard the hard root edge. Then with your fingers gently break apart, but throw away the hard middle root. It’s the bitter bit and you just want the soft leaves.
Drain the sliced red onion and add to a large bowl with the shaved brussel sprouts. Pour in the the dressing and cheese. Gently mix together and serve.
Now for a different kind of Pom Pom, not as soft and fluffy as the Pom Pom’s in last week’s post, but certainly just as pretty and effective. In fact I had so much fun and got so much satisfaction from making these, that I got carried away and made loads.
When I say these are easy to make, I mean they are so easy to make, you could fill your house in a day. And what is even better is that they are so cost-effective, it wouldn’t even cost you a lot to fill!
I bought a pack of 5 sheets of tissue paper (75cm x 50cm) and cut them in half, therefore having 10 sheets in total. After laying them on top of each other, I folded them back and forth in a concertina fold, at a measurement of about 3cm.
After folding, I used some fine floral wire to secure the middle of the folded paper, leaving enough wire to make a loop (to use as means of hanging the Pom Pom). Once the middle is secured, fan out the sides and on one side separate one of the top layers of tissue paper. Gently manoeuvre the tissue paper up to the centre of the fan. repeat this on both sides, raising at least 4 sheets of tissue paper on both sides.
Once that is done, turn the Pom Pom over, being careful not to crush the sheets you have already pulled into place. If you want, use the wire loop as something to hold onto. Repeat the process on the underside, pulling up to 4 sheets either side. You should then be left with the final middle sheets. Pull these apart and fan them out, being careful not pull them apart too much. This way you are forming more of a circle with your Pom Pom.
All that is left to do is a bit of fluffing, to make sure all the sheets are evenly spread out. Then attach a lovely piece of metallic thread or fishing line to hang from wherever you please.
For the first time ever, Chris and I are hosting the family for Christmas. Excited is not the word…I am ecstatic . Apart from obviously spending what is one of the most special times of the year with family, it also means that after years of reigning it in due to the fact that a minimal amount of people were going to see our efforts, I am finally going to be able to go full force on the decorating front!
So I thought I would start early this year and in order to get as much Christmas cheer (I’d like to think) into the house as possible, I have already made a few decorations in preparation for the fastly approaching 1st December 2014. Yippppeeeee.
The theme for this week’s post is all about Pom Pom’s and as you probably saw in my last post ‘Shake Your Pom Pom’ I am still obsessed with my new-found Pom Pom makers and all the lovely sizes of fluffy wonders I can make.
With a love of all things colourful I wanted to make a Christmas Wreath with a slight difference this year. After picking up the essentials from Hobby Craft – a Polystyrene Wreath and Glue Gun, I started the nightly duty of making many, many Pom Pom’s (you will need quite a few, I needed about 40 on a 200mm sized wreath – using varying sizes of Pom Pom’s). Some of you may think that is quite a lot of Pom Pom’s to make for one decoration, but fear not… it’s surprising how many you can churn out sitting in front of I’m A Celebrity each night. Just persevere.
Once you have all the Pom Pom’s made, you are onto the easy and fun bit…getting sticky with the glue gun. Enjoy the process, make a pattern, colour co-ordinate or stick at random. All I would say is that you should try to cover all of the Polystyrene itself on the front and sides. Pin a ribbon onto the reverse of the wreath and you have a great alternative to your traditional Christmas decoration.
I’m patting myself on the back right now, not for finally posting a non-food story, but because I think I’ve replicated something we saw on Grand Designs. Now I’m not saying it’s a house made out of a water tower, but more along the lines of some bespoke shaker peg hooks we saw in one of the bedrooms.
Not just any hanging hooks, but a place where Anna’s coveted collection of finds can now be displayed where they can bask in all their glory. We followed just a couple of simple rules by ensuring the backdrop was plain and nuetral (white) and the hooks had strong standout in a sold matt grey. To make it we took long panels of pine and placed shaker hooks at equal distance. They’re very easy to install. You just need a marked drill bit to get the depth and bit of glue to hold them in.
So now Anna has a place to display all her beautiful items that might otherwise have been tucked away in a box somewhere. Here’s how you can make some yourself….