Kara Chelsie: December 2017

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.