Kara Chelsie

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Getting into the Xmas Spirit (Forcefully)

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Getting into the Xmas Spirit (Forcefully)



Two months since my last post. Shambles. Utter shambles. My bad excuses are that I’ve been on holiday for two weeks, I’ve graduated from university, been working in temp jobs but honestly my lack of creativity has reached an all time low. I was just getting into the swing of creating more content. My notebook was packed with ideas. But having the motivation to craft was at a zero.

However, apart from my amazing trip to Colombia (still drafting that blog post), I haven’t been up to much. All my hobbies came to a halt when I started working. Dreadful, isn’t it? I don’t want that 9-5 life (more like 9-6) to consume me. I will never be that kind of gal. 

So I’m back with a blog post. Related to the current festive season. Call me a Grinch, but this will be the only Christmas post I will do. There will be no posts on gift guides because frankly I’m a last-minute and unorganised shopper. I do love Christmas. But it takes up to Christmas Eve-Eve for me to get excited. The month long celebration is draining. 

On a more merry note, I have been up to things that are fairly festive and it’s slightly getting me into the jolly mood. 


Kiehl’s Gives Back

My lovely great friend Salman brought me along to the Kiehl’s Christmas event. It was buzzing with bloggers in a gorgeous venue. I think the interiors were giving me more tingles than the prosecco.

We were so fortunate to be gifted some products too. I’m a lover of Kiehl’s. It’s the only skincare brand I use at the moment. And now that they have a limited edition 'holiday collection' designed by Kate Moross, this is the perfect chance to hop onto the Kiehl’s train. Their products are simple and truly work. A little bit of product goes a long way. I’d advise you to go in and talk to their skin care advisors. They begin every converstation with “Tell me a bit about your skin” and you can ramble and rant all you want because they are like skin therapists. They’re there to help. 










Oxford Street and Covent Garden

It’s a must-go for every Londoner. You can’t miss out on seeing the West End Christmas lights. Every year it gets prettier and sparklier. Even for a Scrooge like me, when I look up, I get a fuzzy feeling and say “aw, it’s Christmas,” then all the troubles drift away whilst I sip a hot chocolate and treat myself to an early Christmas present. 

I won’t be doing my Christmas shopping here though. Nahhhh. The amount of shoppers is mental. Everyone is walking slowly. Or stopping promptly in front of you to take a picture of a store front. “Excuse me, you’re blocking the door, because I actually want to go in... and erm... shop!” The busiest makes my armpits sweaty and turns my skin green... Grinch Kara comes back. 

I’d suggest, what my mum and I do every year, is to come down here for dinner. Don’t do any shopping because that’ll give you anxiety. Head down here only to enjoy some comfort food.











Paxton & Whitfield 

On the talk of comfort food. What’s more homely and wintery than cheese and wine? I was so lucky to have been invited to Paxton & Whitfield on Jeremyn Street, Mayfair. I’ve always wanted to pay a visit, but I was hesitant to shop there as I’m nowhere near to call myself cheese conisseuer, “what cheese could I get that tastes like a good slice of cheddar but is more adventurous than cheddar?” I'd imagine the staff rolling their eyes and saying "who's next?!"


At the bloggers evening, I realised that it’s not that kind of place. The staff were so friendly and super helpful. If you have an idea of a taste that you fancy or a meal you’d like the cheese to accompany, they have a extensive list of delightful choices.


When I arrived I was greeted with a large glass of red wine (my glass was never empty) and two pots of fondue slowly melting in the corner of the store. I’ve tried fondue before, but it was definitely not as rich and smooth as this one. I’m super tempted to do this for Christmas this year. Maybe on Christmas Eve? Instead of waiting for Santa to come, I could dip chucks of crusty bread bits in a gorgeous creamy cheesy fondue. Is your stomach rumbling now? Mine is.

Below the photographs I have attached the ingredients and method to Paxton & Whitfield’s ideal fondue. I loved the texture of the first one, but was obsessed with the taste of the second.

After the fondue we had the chance of tasting 8 different types of cheese, a selection of a British and European artisan cheeses. I tasted flavours I never thought of such as a blue cheese with crushed cacao pieces. FYI cheese and chocolate, very weird but definitely worth a try! I had better versions of the cheeses I’m used to, the cheddar Montgomery was drier and more flavoursome than your normal supermarket cheddar. That had to be my favourite one!

It was such a fun evening and I thought trying out different types of cheeses would be a fun present to give for Christmas. Paxton & Whitfield have an array of sets with cheese, crackers and alcoholic treats.
 OK, I’m not doing a gift guide this year, but this is a pretty straightforward one. Scroll down to have a look at the gift sets they offer and head straight to the their online store! It’s one of those gifts you could give to your boyfriend/girlfriend’s family to show off that you're a classy and thoughtful one!

But if you’ve already given your loved one a cheese making kit last year, how about gifting them an opportunity to get a Level 1 in Cheese Training with The Academy of Cheese! This is a unique gift for someone who wants to try something new for 2018. Imagine writing on your CV you're in the process of becoming a cheese expert!


















I haven’t been up to much lately. The Christmas shopping will begin tomorrow! It’s pretty delayed because I wanted to spend more of my weekends with my family. It's my first time in 4 years spending the whole of December at home. Normally I'm up in Coventry, dealing with deadlines and the stress of uni work masks the festive feeling. So this year, I just want it to be as relaxed as possible.






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Classic Cheese Fondue Recipe




serves 4

Ingredients
600g                 Rindless Cheese – grated
                        (Gruyere Reserve, Comte Jeune and Allgau Emmental)
1                      Garlic Clove – cut in half
300ml                Dry White Wine
1 tbsp               Lemon Juice
1½ tbsp            Cornflour


Ground Pepper to taste

Method
  • Rub the inside of a saucepan with the garlic clove and discard.
  • Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
  • Place the cheese into a bowl and toss in the cornflour.
  • Add the cheese to the saucepan a handful at a time, stirring continuously until smooth. Continue adding the cheese until it is all melted.
  • A few bubbles are fine but never let it boil.
  • Pour the mixture into a fondue pot and keep warm with the burner.
  • Serve immediately.

Serving suggestions
  • Crusty bread, Raw vegetables, Sausage, Grilled chicken, Cured meats, Cornichons, Pickles.

Etiquette and Terminology
  • Allowing ones tongue to touch the dipping fork is thought of as rude.
  • Refrain from using any fork other than your own.
  • No “double dipping” - After a dipped morsel has been tasted, it should never be returned to the pot. In Swiss tradition, if a nugget of bread is lost in the cheese by a man, he buys a bottle of wine for the host, and if such a thing happens to befall a woman, she kisses the man on her left.
  • The fondue bowl is called a Caquelon.
  • The thin crust of cheese at the bottom of the Caquelon is called la religieuse and is shared by those who succeed in the etiquette. 


 




Modern British Fondue Recipe



serves 4

Ingredients
600g                 Rindless Cheese – grated
                        (Lincolnshire Poacher, Mayfield, Ogleshield)
1                      Garlic Clove – cut in half
300ml                Dry English Cider
1 tbsp               Lemon Juice
1½ tbsp            Cornflour


Ground Pepper to taste

Method
  • Rub the inside of a saucepan with the garlic clove and discard.
  • Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
  • Place the cheese into a bowl and toss in the cornflour.
  • Add the cheese to the saucepan a handful at a time, stirring continuously until smooth. Continue adding the cheese until it is all melted.
  • A few bubbles are fine but never let it boil.
  • Pour the mixture into a fondue pot and keep warm with the burner.
  • Serve immediately.

Serving suggestions
  • Crusty bread, Raw vegetables, Sausage, Grilled chicken, Cured meats, Cornichons, Pickles.

Etiquette and Terminology
  • Allowing ones tongue to touch the dipping fork is thought of as rude.
  • Refrain from using any fork other than your own.
  • No “double dipping” - After a dipped morsel has been tasted, it should never be returned to the pot. In Swiss tradition, if a nugget of bread is lost in the cheese by a man, he buys a bottle of wine for the host, and if such a thing happens to befall a woman, she kisses the man on her left.
  • The fondue bowl is called a Caquelon.
  • The thin crust of cheese at the bottom of the Caquelon is called la religieuse and is shared by those who succeed in the etiquette.  

Drinky Poos: Favourite London Bars

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Drinky Poos: Favourite London Bars



Hello everyone! It’s been a while, but I’m back with a mouth-watering blog post!

I’ve just started working full-time so finding inspiration and the energy to blog has been quite difficult. I also had a birthday! That was fun. Actually, probably one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. Just wish I could remember the last few hours of it…

Anyho! I’ve been around town lately and I thought I should mention some awesome and lesser-known drinking spots! I tried to incorporate places that aren’t just about drinks and more about a great spot for socialising.

Let’s begin!


CRAFT BEER CO.


This is the most bar/pub-like spot on the list. They specialise in brilliant craft beers. An array of tasty options. Just bang in the middle of Old Street and Shoreditch, this may be the most hipster joint in this blog post.

I really loved the size of Craft Beer Co. It was bright and airy. Not cold and dark like most pubs. The enthusiastic staff had a great knowledge of what beer could tickle our fancy. If you aren’t a beer lover I’d say start off with Indian Pale Ale, they are pretty refreshing and light.





CANOVA HALL

Noelle (check out her blog!) and I attended the launch event of Canova Hall in Brixton. You’d never believe this fancy art-deco bar was right in the centre of bustling Brixton. The interior is the most superior in this guide. I felt like I was somewhere in New York. Live jazz music serenaded us as we munched on gorgeous and creatively arranged canapés.

This is the bar where you’d go to catch up with an old school friend. Their gin and tonic will go perfectly with your deep conversations. Wood-oven pizzas will also make you forget about your weekday blues.

They also serve bottomless brunch! If you haven’t experienced (yes it is an experience) boozy brunches yet, I’d highly recommend starting off here… or even this one

Canova Hall is a spot for all your needs, they even provide 'hot desking'. Unlimited amounts of coffee and speedy wifi will make working from home seem so uncool.









BEER + BURGER

So when I found out this bad boy was around the corner from me, I had to check it out.

Beer + Burger is straightforward and brilliant for the indecisive foodies. Simply order your beer and burger, and let them work their magic. 

Well, they do have a gigantic list of beers and I spent 10 minutes choosing my one. As you walk in, you’re greeted by colourful cans of beer. It must take months to try out each one! At the bar, there were, even more, options of draught beers with funny names. You won’t see a Carling or Stella here, it’s a chance to try out local or obscure brews.

The burgers were gorgeous. Not fussy or fancy. Good meat and wicked toppings, alongside tasty sides. We had chicken wings (of course), cheesy and gravy fries as well as fried jalapenos.

I’m drooling as I type this.

I already want to go back.





  
BOUNCE

If you’re looking for casual date night or wanting to do something different from brunching, (but who could ever be bored of brunching?) I’d suggest Bounce.

There’s no better way to burn off the calories after an afternoon of drinking.

Leo and I took part in a few games of underground ping pong. Some may have a glass of water in between sets, we carried on knocking back our pints. This is an alternative drinky-poo than your usual bar. Instead of our usual chats, we were giggling our heads off trying to pat the ball underneath a raised leg.

Even a group of friends would enjoy this. Doesn’t have to be a couples thing. It would be a great place for a birthday party.







BRIXTON BEACH


Yet another venue surprisingly in Brixton. I didn’t spend long here, but it was a great visit.

I’d recommend going on a Friday night, getting a pitcher or two to share with friends. I didn’t get to photograph much of the rooftop bar, but it’s exactly how you’d imagine it. 

Brixton Beach holds beach huts serving street food, live band performing salsa, sand scattered over the place (trying to get into your trainers) and lots and lots of colours. Feels like you’re somewhere very exotic. And then you hear sirens, oh no... you’re in London.


I love this picture. I love the way how Freddie is carefully watching Caroline pour equal amounts of Pimm’s into our cups! Drinks are a good price, especially as it was free to get in and on a Friday night.