{Christmas Party Planning} All That Glitters is Gold!

{Christmas Party Planning} The Ultimate Foodie Platter and a All That Glitters is Gold Champagne Cocktail

Sponsored by Woolworths

{Christmas Party Planning} The Ultimate Foodie Platter and a All That Glitters is Gold Champagne CocktailSomebody pass me a drink! Christmas and end of year celebrations are sweeping our little family off it’s feet. We’ve got back to back parties and catch ups and drinks and dinners. It’s fun and exciting and exhausting!

I’m taking lots of plates of food to these functions and with two littlies biting my ankles (one of them quite literally!) I am jumping at any opportunity to make catering as easy as possible. One of my favourite ways to please a crowd is to share a generous and delicious platter of amazing food. it only takes a few minutes to chop up bits and pieces but it looks great and is always appreciated by a crowd over a few drinks. For the most impressive platter I like to choose quality ingredients with unique flavours. Try these combinations for your next party.
{Christmas Party Planning} The Ultimate Foodie Platter and a All That Glitters is Gold Champagne Cocktail

The Perfect Christmas Foodie Platter

Thinly sliced, smoked Waygu beef
Truffled salami
Farmhouse cheddar
Brie
Fig and walnut paste
Sicilian green olives
Sesame and black pepper wafers
Edamame, wasabi and sour cream dip
Fresh cherries
{Christmas Party Planning} The Ultimate Foodie Platter and a All That Glitters is Gold Champagne CocktailOf course, some people are always looking for a little something sweet on the side…

Sweet Treats Foodie Platter

Salted Caramel Chocolates
Mince Pies with Single Malt Scotch Whisky
{Christmas Party Planning} The Ultimate Foodie Platter and a All That Glitters is Gold Champagne CocktailI know what you might be thinking. Who’s got time to run around to specialist food stores to buy all this stuff? When am I supposed to make mince pies? And doesn’t all this cost a fortune?

Um. No. That’s the best part! I picked up all these ingredients at my local Woolworths thanks to their new Woolworths Gold range. It’s all about affordable indulgence. Yes, please! And if you haven’t got time to get to the shops you can shop online to get it all home delivered – including a lovely tipple or two to go with it!

Speaking of drinks, don’t forget to have something to wash all those delicious treats down. I have been having fun making the prettiest, sparkliest cocktail for Christmas gathering. It looks super special but takes nothing at all to pull together.

All That Glitters is Gold Champagne Cocktail

Ingredients
Prosecco
Brandy
Edible gold glitter*

Method

  1. Pour a small amount of brandy into a medium sized ramekin, so that it is just deep enough to dip the rim of your champagne glasses in.
  2. Pour a little edible gold glitter into a separate ramekin.
  3. One by one, dip each champagne glass in the brandy, then into the glitter, to create a sparkly, gold rimmed effect.
  4. Drop one raspberry into each glass, followed by ¼ teaspoon edible gold glitter.
  5. Fill each glass with Prosecco.

*Edible gold glitter is available from speciality cooking shops.
{Christmas Party Planning} The Ultimate Foodie Platter and a All That Glitters is Gold Champagne Cocktail

All that glitters is gold Christmas Cocktail 7

{Christmas Party Planning} The Ultimate Foodie Platter and a All That Glitters is Gold Champagne Cocktail

{Christmas Party Planning} The Ultimate Foodie Platter and a All That Glitters is Gold Champagne Cocktail

{Christmas Party Planning} The Ultimate Foodie Platter and a All That Glitters is Gold Champagne Cocktail

{Christmas Party Planning} The Ultimate Foodie Platter and a All That Glitters is Gold Champagne CocktailThe bubbles create a gorgeous glittery display as the raspberry bobs and spins. Each sip gives a tiny hint of brandy, bringing a little extra Christmas cheer. These beautiful cocktails are very hard to resist.

Well, don’t I feel all fancy pants?! Now, somebody pass me another slice of Waygu beef…

What’s your favourite foodie indulgence? Read more about Woolworths Gold to find out what you’ve been missing.

Strawberry Milk

I’m very lucky to have a helping hand from some awesome blogging friends while Paul, Pebble and I settle in with little Rockster. Today JJ from 84th and 3rd is sharing a delicious and super health strawberry milk recipe.

______________________________

Hi everyone, lovely to be here! First up, a big congrats to Kylie for her new blue bundle of joy. I’m glad I can be here to pitch in while she is taking a bit of a break to settle-in the recent addition to the family.

I ‘met’ Kylie in the middle of last year when she won a copy of a cookbook I was giving away, as luck would have it I was halfway through a big glass of Strawberry Milk when I saw her tweet asking for a bit of guest-post help!

StrawberryMilk-84thand3rd

I knew immediately this treat would be perfect. It is something I refer to as an ‘Almost Recipe’ – simple ingredients, thrown together without many measurements into creations that are at times very obvious… it’s kind of like modern art, once you see it you can’t imagine why you didn’t think of it first.

Flavoured milk horrifies me a bit, it always has – even before we started eating unprocessed a few years ago. I have to admit that back then I was guilty of enjoying a powder-based chocolate milk from time to time but my husband used to drink both the freaky pink strawberry and lurid yellow banana versions and it always grossed me out.

StrawberryMilk-84thand3rd

The other day however I had a craving for strawberry milk – not a smoothie, not ice cream, not a milkshake – just cold frothy real strawberry milk.

We had stacks of summer berries hanging around and various different kinds of milk living in the fridge. If what’s in there today is any indication I probably used a mixture of goat, almond and rice.

StrawberryMilk-84thand3rd

A few minutes later pink milk was mine and it has made many an appearance since.

This is a fabulous treat for the whole family – takes only minutes to make – and can be enjoyed without any of the chemically-induced guilt of scary flavoured powder. I’m sure new-big-sis Pebble will love it!

StrawberryMilk-84thand3rd

Strawberry Milk

Put away the scary pink powder and the plastic bottles. This is where it’s at.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ripe strawberries – fresh, frozen or both
  • milk – from any animal, plant or nut of your choice
  • rice syrup – or maple syrup, or agave, or honey, or un-refined sugar – or nothing at all
  • vanilla paste or extract, if you want to make it fancy

METHOD:

Blend a handful or two of ripe strawberries with your milk.

Add vanilla and sweetener to taste if using.

Marvel at how it tastes like strawberries, immediately get rid of scary pink power and pre-mixed cartons. Make another glass.

COOK’S NOTES:

  • Using half fresh and half frozen berries makes the milk it really cold and frothy.

Options for: vegan // dairy free // soy free // nut free // refined sugar free

JJ-ProfilePicA Sydney-based Aussie by passport, born and raised in America-land, JJ firmly believes food should be fun, healthy should not mean boring, and if all else fails pie makes everything better. She shares her recipes and adventures at 84thand3rd.com.

JJ is a recipe developer, comms consultant, photographer, writer, designer, runner, yogi, itchy-feet traveler, NYC tragic, brunch addict, prolific tea drinker and mad-scientist.

You can also find her on Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest // Google+

 

 

Fruit Juice Slushie

Homemade Fruit Juice Slushie | Octavia and Vicky

This summer I have been a little bit obsessed by slushies (you might know them as Slurpees?). I have experimented with making my own Fruit Juice Slushie at home, and here is my favourite version.

Fruit Juice Slushie

Ingredients

(none of the products mentioned are sponsored, I just like them)

  • 3 fruit juice ice blocks (equal to about 70ml each – I use Berri Quelch but you could make your own)
  • 150 – 250ml tropical fruit juice
  • 1 scoop of fruit sorbet (I like Weiss Mango Sorbet)

Method

  1. Place the fruit juice ice blocks on the kitchen bench and, while still in their wrappers, smash them up a bit with a rolling pin. Cut the tops off and tip the contents into a blender, or a large jug (if using a stick blender).
  2. Add the juice and sorbet.
  3. Blitz with your blender until it turns into a slushie consistency.
  4. Pour into a glass, add a straw and slurp away!

Homemade Fruit Juice Slushie | Octavia and Vicky Homemade Fruit Juice Slushie | Octavia and VickyHomemade Fruit Juice Slushie | Octavia and Vicky
What’s your favourite drink to help keep your cool in summer?

Cocoa Mix {with printable labels}

Phew! It’s been a strange few days around here. I’m sure most people are feeling the same, ’tis the silly season, after all. On Friday I officially went onto Maternity Leave from my teaching position. I am now on leave until January 2014. Yes Twenty Fourteen! That’s a year and a bit to be full time mama to my big girl, Pebble, and our new baby. I’m excited, and a little bit… terrified!

Luckily I don’t have much time to dwell on how tricky TWO children might be full time (hats off to you all who have three, four… more). As usual I have left my Christmas planning and shopping until after school finishes, so now I’m diving head first into present hunting, shopping and planning what food I’m taking to which events. Lucky for me I’m not hosting anything at our house, so there is a huge load off.

One present I have given out to a few people is a cocoa mix. I call it a Home made Chocolate Blend, but you can call it what you like. Cocoa Mix, Hot Chocolate Mix, Big Jar of Chocolate Awesome. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious! Pebble and I made a few batches for some Kris Kringles and her lovely child care teachers.

It’s really lovely for making hot chocolate, and also makes a lush iced chocolate, or a treaty topping  for ice cream. I adapted this Country Living recipe to make my mix:

Cocoa Mix

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 170 grams (6 ounces) dark chocolate buttons
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup or 2 ounces) white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar, extra
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut into two or three large pieces

To make: Put all ingredients except vanilla bean into a food processor (I use a hand/stick blender with a bowl attachment), and process until just powdery. Store in an airtight container with the vanilla bean for up to six months.

I used a mason jar to gift the cocoa mix, layering it with the two tablespoons of extra sugar in the jar to make it look pretty. I attached some labels: one with the name of the mix, one with the ingredients and one with some ideas for how to use it. You can download the labels below. The word document allows you to edit blank the label and create your own version, and the PDF is ready to print out and use straight away.

{Printable Cocoa Mix Labels}

Cocoa Mix Printable Labels (pdf)

Cocoa Mix Printable Labels (doc)

Do you like making home made gifts for friends? What’s the best home made gift you’ve ever received?

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