Tag Archives: Christmas

December 20, 2012

A wee Christmas recipe: My Raspberry Cream Macaroon dessert

Christmas Recipe: Raspberry, cream and macaroon dessert via WeeBirdy.com

This, my dearest birdies, is my favourite Christmas dessert. It’s the perfect way to end a too-stuffed-to-eat-another-mouthful-Christmas-dinner, as it’s relatively light (well, depending on how much you eat) and the raspberries offer an edge to the sweetness of the macaroons and cream.

I don’t really use a “recipe” as such (apart from the coconut macaroon bit) because it’s dead simple – and the amounts used depend on how big your trifle bowl is.

If you want the cheat’s version, use shop-bought coconut macaroons. You’ll be laughing at how dead-simple it is to put together, not to mention the ‘big effort’, maximum-impact results.

Now I’m not talking about French macarons of the Laduree variety, I mean rough coconut macaroons that are crispy and toasty on the outside with a deliciously gooey meringue-y centre. I like to make my own, but be careful not to overcook them as you won’t get the gooey/sticky/toasty/crunchy texture that makes this recipe so lovely.

Ingredients

  • Freshly whipped cream (I use two cartons of whipping cream, but you may need more or less, depending on how big your bowl is).
  • Raspberries (I use a mixture of fresh and frozen. I use one whole box of frozen raspberries, together with four punnets of fresh raspberries. It’s really nice to decorate the top of the dessert with a layer of fresh raspberries.)
  • Crushed coconut macaroons – either shop-bought or make them yourself, recipe below. Just pop them in a plastic bag and whack them with a rolling pin/mallet/other handy whackable object. Don’t smash them to smithereens – you don’t want a crumb-like texture. More of a mixture of crumbs and little chunks.

Method

1. Place a layer of crushed coconut macaroons (around an inch high) in the bottom of your glass trifle dish.
2. Usually a spatula, place a layer of freshly whipped cream (around an inch high) on top of the macaroons.
3. Now place a layer of raspberries on top of the cream.
4. Repeat the layers until you get to the top of the trifle bowl.
5. Finish with a layer of whipped cream and decorate with fresh raspberries. Either throw your raspberries on free-form or go for a retro design of concentric circles.
6. Keep chilled until you’re ready to serve, then dust it with icing sugar (don’t do what I did last year in a fit of Christmas-induced madness and toss a heap of castor sugar on top. I misread the label. Not nice. Gritty. Oh dear.)
7. Wow your guests – they’ll love it!

Dead-Easy Raspberry Cream Macaroon dessert via WeeBirdy.com

Coconut Macaroon Recipe (the non-cheat’s version)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of shredded coconut
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup of caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

Method
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. Line three baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Spread the shredded coconut over two of the trays and cook in the oven, tossing occasionally for three to four minutes until lightly toasted. For the love of god keep an eye on it and don’t let it burn! Remove from the oven and transfer to a plate. Your kitchen will now smell divine!
2. Whisk the egg whites and salt together with electric beaters in a scrupulously clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Make sure you don’t have a speck of grease on your bowl or mixers or your meringue won’t work.
3. Once you have soft peaks, add sugar a spoonful at a time. Go slow and steady here! Look at the mixture carefully and make sure all the sugar has dissolved before adding the next spoonful of sugar.
Once all the sugar has been added, whisk for a further two minutes or until your mixture is thick and glossy.
4. Add the vanilla essence and whisk to combine.
5. Add the toasted coconut and use a large metal spoon to carefully fold it in until just combined. (Use a bit of TLC here. If you overdo this bit or stir too vigorously, your macaroons will be flat.)
6. Spoon tablespoonful of mixture onto lined trays. Leave around 2cm between each macaroon. Bake in the oven, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 12-15 minutes or until your macaroons are light golden and firm.
7. Leave them to cool for five minutes on the trays before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
8. Store in an airtight container for up to two days before you need them.

Photography by Lucas Boyd.

Do you think you’ll have a go at making my dessert this year? What’s your all-time favourite Christmas dessert?

You might also like Likkle Girl’s Rummy Balls.


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December 19, 2012

7 Beautiful DIY Christmas Decorations

Crafttuts+ Snow Globe Tutorial via WeeBirdy.com

It’s less than a week ’til Christmas, but there is still plenty of time to get hands-on and make some really special and unique decorations for your place. I’ve gathered together seven gorgeous Christmas projects from Crafttuts+, the awesome new craft tutorials website (which I also happen to edit – quick, pop over there now and check it out!).

These crafts are all rather special and unique and they’re made by some of the world’s best designer-makers and crafters, including Kitiya Palaskas, Laura Howard (of Lupin Handmade) and Helen Frances (from Frances and Francis). Here are my top seven:

1. Snowglobe Winter Wonderland in Jam Jar by Helen Frances of Frances and Francis (pictured above). Click here for the full Crafttuts+ tutorial.

Crafttuts+ Christmas Pinatas Tutorial via WeeBirdy.com

2. Mini Christmas Piñatas by Kitiya Palaskas (above). Click here for the full Crafttuts+ tutorial.

Crafttuts+ Space Invaders Christmas Decorations Tutorial via WeeBirdy.com

3. Space Invaders Christmas Ornaments by Cintia of My Poppet (pictured above). Click here for the full Crafttuts+ tutorial.

Crafttuts+ Felt Christmas Stocking Tutorial via WeeBirdy.com

4. Felt Christmas Stocking by Laura Howard of Lupin Handmade (pictured above). Click here for the full Crafttuts+ tutorial.

Crafttuts+ Christmas Wreath and Garland Tutorial via WeeBirdy.com

5. Fabric Christmas Wreath and Garland by Eleanna Kotsikou of zdrop (pictured above). Click here for the full Crafttuts+ tutorial.

Crafttuts+ Christmas Himmeli Decorations Tutorial via WeeBirdy.com

6. Geo Himmeli Christmas Ornaments by Eleanna Kotsikou of zdrop (pictured above). Click here for the full Crafttuts+ tutorial.

Crafttuts+ Christmas Paper Lantern Village Tutorial via WeeBirdy.com

7. Bethlehem Paper Lantern Decorations by Helen Frances of Frances and Francis (pictured above). Click here for the full Crafttuts+ tutorial.

And you can also craft your own unique Christmas wrapping, as well. Click here for 10 Quick and Colourful Gift Wrap Ideas by Kitiya Palaskas.

Craftutts+ DIY Christmas Wrap Tutorial via WeeBirdy.com

Craftutts+ DIY Christmas Wrap Tutorial via WeeBirdy.com

Craftutts+ DIY Christmas Wrap Tutorial via WeeBirdy.com

Click here more amazing projects and tutorials from Crafttuts+.

Need some lovely present inspiration? Click here for all my Christmas 2012 Gift Guides.

Prefer to buy all handmade? Click here for my Etsy 2012 Christmas Gift Guides.

And don’t miss my Top 20 Christmas Crackers and my Top 20 Christmas Stockings!


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November 24, 2012

What to order now for Christmas: Presents from Etsy, Part 2

Etsy Christmas presents via WeeBirdy.com

Here is part two of my Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for 2012.

1. Mr & Mrs hand-illustrated vintage teacups, US$48 from Yvonne Ellen.

2. Knitted collar in coral beige red pink cotton, EUR29.90 from The Knit Kid.

3. Hawthorn necklace £28 from Anna Wiscombe.

4. Modern ceramic Poligon Cup in green, EUR15.50 from Studio Lorier.

5. Embroidered geometric bib necklace in mint green purple black gray and pink, US$65 from An Astrid Endeavour.

6.Hand printed ‘hello’ cushion, AU$32 from Hello Milky.

Don’t miss a post! Click here for all of my Etsy picks for Christmas presents this year.

Spy something you like? Tell me about it in the comments below.


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November 10, 2012

What to order now for Christmas: Stockings

This week I’ll be bringing you my pick of the best gifts, cards and decorations that you need to order now to make sure your goodies arrive in time for Christmas. The vast majority of these things are handmade and many sellers on Etsy are so inundated with orders that they’re already calling last orders. In fact one Etsy seller, who makes the best hand-knitted and personalised fair isle stockings is already taking orders for Christmas 2013. Wowzers. So if you spot something you like, for goodness sake, don’t dilly-dally, snap it up!

Personalised Christmas stocking by RikRak via WeeBirdy.com

I love these simple and graphic Christmas stockings by Etsy seller RikRak, which uses ‘ecospun’ felt made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The stockings are available in 60 different colour combinations, from the minimalist cream stockings with green trees to retro jewel-tones embellished with rick-rack.

The personalised stockings are particularly lovely, and with prices starting at US$12 they’re also very good value. Rikrak is taking customised orders until November 19 or until her schedule is filled.


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December 8, 2011

Wee Christmas finds: Erzgebirge decorations

I do love my glittering vintage ornaments at Christmas, but there is no denying the naive charm and simplicity of these traditional hand-carved and hand-painted German decorations.

The miniature wooden decorations are made in the Erzgebirge region of Southern Germany, which is renowned for its traditional woodcarvings and woodwork.

Each set of decorations comes with its own wooden box for safe storage, and are priced from £17.50 from Theo.


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