I was cooking my Christmas Eve fish pie over the weekend whilst simultaneously faffing with Christmas bits on the table and got to thinking of quick ways you can make Christmas extra special this year. If like me Christmas creeps up on you and grand plans made in October to hand make gifts, bake a Christmas cake etc etc fall by the wayside here are my quick ways to still make festivities sparkle.
Add a large vase of flowers to the table - I picked my cabbages and roses up in Aldi and thistles from a local flower stall. I put everything in a low and large storage jar for maximum impact. Either use all the same colours or go mix your shades and textures like I've done here. You can pick jars like this up really easily in places like TK Maxx or home sections of supermarkets, just buy as big a you can (I like this one). It literally takes seconds to put together and looks so good.
Glass cake stands and supermarket sweets - I did this last year and have done a few times since. I buy treats in the supermarket and present them on glass dishes, I keep sweets like these Turkish delights and rose candies on the same dish and more chocolatey treats on another. It saves making pudding and looks really pretty. I've found my dishes in charity shops but again supermarkets and even places like Homebase sell glass cake stands, if you need to buy before Christmas.
Apple cake instead of Christmas cake - I've made this apple cake three times in December and it's a huge hit. I took it to a friends for a pre Christmas dinner and it's perfect with a dash of spiked vanilla cream (supermarket bought). The sugar and cinnamon make the house smell amazing and its so easy to whizz up and bung in the oven. I've put the recipe* I use below.
125g butter - room temperature
125 g white sugar
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk
3-4 apples (I use granny smiths)
2 tbsp sugar plus 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees. Grease a round baking pan and coat it with ground bread crumbs.
Whisk butter and sugar until fluffy, using an electric whisk
Add eggs one at a time and whisk together with the butter mixture
Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt, and stir
Add the milk and stir into a smooth paste, pour into the pan.
Peel, core and slice the apples into sections. Turn them in the sugar and cinnamon and place them in the pan with the mixture.
Bake for about 30 mins. Test with a skewer or toothpick to see if the consistency is right. if its dry when you pull it the cake is ready.
*Recipe taken from The Swedish Kitchen .