22.12

Breakfast-in-bed-Cider-with-Rosie-Taylors-tea

If you ask me, there’s no better way of punctuating a day (whether a working day or otherwise) than by the ritualistic making of cups of tea. Boiling. Pouring. Brewing. Drinking. An hour or two of work or relaxation, and then the whole process begins again. It’s comforting and therapeutic, and reminds us that there are more important things in life than staring at lit-up screens for hours on end.

Taylors of Harrogate sent over a care parcel last week, containing their new range of herbal and fruit teas. They’ve teamed up with plant experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, to create the finest and most beautifully tasting infusions. Before we talk tea though, can we take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the packaging? (Scroll right down to the bottom of the post to see it in all its glory!) When the parcel came through, Jason and I spent a good ten minutes just ooohing over all the lush fonts and colours and illustrations. I’m in love!

The tea blends themselves are just beautiful- delicate and fresh tasting, with a little something for every taste going. Below is my day in tea…one delicious cup-full at a time.

A . M ::

Cider-with-Rosie-Taylor's-rhubarb-tea
Rhubarb-tea-breakfast-tray

Sweet Rhubarb blend ::

The rhubarb blend is the most delicate of the range, and a perfect cup of tea to open the day with. The colour alone is enough to make me love it! I like to add a half-teaspoon of sugar to bring out the fruit flavours, and serve as part of the most feminine, pink-hued breakfast in bed I can put together. A weekend indulgence of course, but such a lovely indulgence to make.

P . M ::

Taylor's-Lemongrass-ginger-teaCider-with-Rosie-Taylors-tea

Lemongrass & ginger blend ::

I’ve found the lemongrass and ginger blend to be the very best way of beating the dreaded afternoon slump, during the past few days. It’s the most fragrant, invigorating hug-in-a-mug you could imagine, and tastes all the better out of a sweet tin mug. Make up a cup about an hour after lunchtime (right when your lunch  is settling heavy in your stomach and getting ready to make a nap seem like the most appealing thing in the world), and let the warming ginger and fresh lemongrass work their magic!

E V E ::

Spiced-apple-tea-Cider-with-RosieCider-with-Rosie-Taylors-spiced-apple-teaChristmas-tea

Spiced Apple blend ::

Are you already dreaming of how perfectly festive this blend is? It’s like mulled wine meets tea, and is all kinds of delicious! I’m planning on picking up a bumper pack of cinnamon sticks next time I’m out shopping, because can you even imagine how amazing this would be served with a stick of cinnamon, as well as a strip of orange peel and a drizzle of honey, in each cup?

Taylors-fruit-teas-Cider-with-Rosie

And now, fun stuff! Taylors are offering one Cider with Rosie reader a complete set of their range of fruit & herbal teas, as photographed above!

To enter the giveaway, just take the ‘Flavour Fairy’ quiz (I got ‘blackberry and elderflower fairy!), then head over to Twitter (and be sure you’re following along with Cider with Rosie!) then tweet using the hashtag #CwRgiveaway to let me know which ‘flavour fairy’ you are! I’ll pick a winner 2 weeks today (on the 5th of Jan) and the sweet folk at Taylors will send out a parcel of tea right away for you to start the New Year with!

Which flavour takes your fancy? I’m about to go for a cup of the blackberry & elderflower right now…

** Post created in partnership with Taylors of Harrogate.

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Posted in GIVEAWAY, HOME, INSPIRATION, REVIEW, Sponsored

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19.12

Cider-with-Rosie-Teddy

^^ Snap taken on Saturday, when Teddy was most definitely done with taking Instagram photos! ;) ^^

This week shall be known as the week in which I managed to buy all the food, but simultaneously none of the food. I spent approximately five million pounds at Waitrose earlier in the week, and yet apparently bought such dumb and impractical things (I mean, I bought an entire pheasant, even though Jason gets given them for free pretty regularly by a friend. Why?!) that I’ve been having to conjure up the strangest meals all week. Like leftover broccoli and Stilton with chips. And two of the largest jacket potatoes you’ve ever seen in your life, with a little bit of everything I could find in the fridge dolloped on top. It’s been weird. And also kind of great! Chips dipped in soup has been something of a revelation. Anyway, aside from odd dinners, and spontaneous pheasant-buying, here’s what’s made me most happy this week!

1. Having Ted carry rolls of wrapping paper for me from my car to the house, since my hands were full of shopping bags. Watching him try and work out how to fit through the front door was my especial favourite! ;)

2. Switching on the Christmas tree lights in the morning, when it’s still dark. I look forward to it every day.

3. Surprise flowers from my love {especially since the bouquet contains my favourite ornamental cabbages!}

4. A burrito bowl dinner!

5. Christmas gifts from the little ones in our lives! Ruby gave me my Christmas present on Wednesday- a little flashing reindeer badge with ‘Rosie’ on it! She picked it out herself, and I ADORE it! Ruby has one too, so now we’re twins ;) And our little niece Sienna made the sweetest Christmas card, wrote a note inside it, and sent it over to us all the way from Canada. We’re so very lucky to have such sweet friends and family.

6. Seeing Ted charge around the woods with his labrador friend on Tuesday morning. He hadn’t seen her in such a long time, but they recognised each other straight away and tore around in the mud and the puddles like loons until we had to part ways. The state of my car though…

7. A rather beautiful set of gold sparkly myrrh-scented tealights I picked up for a bargain in Waitrose on Tuesday. I had three burning within about thirty seconds of arriving home from the shops!

8. Wearing oversized jumpers, oversized scarves, oversized lumberjack shirts…basically I’m all about the comfort at the moment.

9. Afternoon hot chocolate breaks! If not in December, then when? ;)

10. Pregnancy announcements! There’ve been a couple in our family in the past week, and I couldn’t be happier!

Favourite posts of the past week? Jeska’s round up of the best Christmas wreaths || Keiko’s beautifully festive photos || + Freya’s recipe for wild mushroom risotto.

** PLEASE NOTE! I’m currently experiencing a frustrating server error that’s making commenting unavailable on Cider with Rosie- thanks x100 to everyone who let me know about the issue! :) It’s being looked into right now, and I’ll be migrating my commenting system over to Disqus within the next 48 hours if all goes well. Thanks for bearing with me until then! I’ll be on Twitter in the meantime (@ciderwithrosieb), if you fancy a chat! :) **

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Posted in 10 THINGS, HAPPINESS

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18.12

How-to-make-nut-toffees

Most of the time when I make recipes that result in a glut of sweet things (think PB + J cookies, coffee + walnut layer cake, peppermint creams, + pretzel peanut butter cup cookies), said sweet things get sent over to the Flourish studios (Jason’s design agency) the following day. As much as both Jason and I each do have a pretty serious sweet tooth, even we’re hard pushed to put away endless batches of cake/biscuits/cakes-stuffed-with-biscuits week after week. So I parcel them up, send them on their merry way, and have them serve as mid-morning sustenance for Jason and his team! I like to think of it as bribery for whenever I need troubleshooting stuff done for my blog, or tweaks made to the design ;) It’s a win-win situation!

But then these toasted almond salted caramels came along, and we decided to heck with generosity (’tis the season!;) we’re keeping the whole batch for ourselves! Okay okay. I did portion off a few for my Mum (as an all-out caramel obsessive I truly think she’d disown me if I didn’t…) but the rest are stashed in our fridge, ready for us to demolish whilst watching reruns of The Office (nope, still not bored) and the newest episodes of Homeland.

And when you make them (I’m going to make a leap and say ‘when’ not ‘if’, because salted caramel, right?) you’ll totally see the reason behind such heinous tightfistedness ;)

Soft-salted-caramel-toffees

I made a first batch of salted caramel sauce a couple of weeks back, from this recipe here. Jason and I were in charge of taking dessert round to a family dinner once Sunday, so we made up a batch of the most insanely decadent triple chocolate and salted caramel pimped-up brownies imaginable! I’d always been too scared to have a go at making caramel before (so many burnt sugar disasters on the GBBO put me off!) but the recipe made the process look so very simple that I decided to give it a go. It really and truly is 100% easier than you’d imagine, and doesn’t require anything special or fancy like a sugar thermometer to make.

This variation on the recipe makes the most insanely delicious salted caramel toffees you could imagine. Think Werthers Originals on crack. But better. We’re going to be toasting and smashing up a few almonds to add into the mix, both because they taste delicious and because hey! It’s Christmas time! The season for gratuitous inclusion of nuts in ALL the recipes! ;)

Make a batch to give to friends, another for family, one for your neighbours, and then just one last batch all for yourself. It’s Christmas. You deserve it.

Homemade-salted-caramelsCider-with-Rosie-almond-flavour-salted-caramel-recipe

Ingredients ::
200g golden caster sugar
90g unsalted butter
125ml double cream
1 tsp flaky salt
1 cup almonds

- Put the almonds into a dry frying pan, and heat until they begin to smell nutty and are lightly coloured. Place into a clean tea towel, and smash with a rolling pin until the nuts are broken into rubble. Line the base of a loaf tin with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the paper to make it easier to remove the caramels later on.

- Put the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and set over a medium heat. Allow the sugar to melt completely, swirling the pan as you go, until the sugar has turned into a dark amber liquid.

- Cut the butter into cubes (to allow it to be incorporated quickly into the sugar) and then add in to the sugar. Use a whisk to mix the butter with the sugar, being careful as the butter will bubble and may spit.

- Slowly whisk the cream into the mixture, pouring in a slow and steady stream. When the cream’s been completely incorporated, allow the mixture to bubble and froth for 1 minute without stirring. It’ll rise in the pan and look pretty volcanic, but never fear! Once the minute is up, remove from the heat, and immediately stir in the sea salt and crushed almonds. Then let it stand for a minute, before pouring into the prepared loaf tin.

- Fill the loaf tin with a layer of caramel about 2 centimetres thick (approximately two thirds of the caramel mixture) then reserve the remainder in a clean jam jar. Alternatively, you might like to double the quantities of the recipe, and set in a square cake tin.

- Let the caramel come to room temperature in its tin, and then put into the fridge for an hour or so to cool and set completely. Once it’s set firm, cut into rectangles (I got 16 generous toffees from this batch), and then wrap in little squares of parchment paper.

Homemade-salted-caramels-Cider-with-RosieAlmond-caramelsSalted-caramel-recipe

 

p.s. Best served cold from the fridge, because it makes the nuts extra crunchy and the caramel take just that bit longer to melt in your mouth.

p.p.s. 100% the ideal thing to add to a Christmas hamper…just make sure you never let on to friends and family quite how simple they are to make ;)

** PLEASE NOTE! I’m currently experiencing a frustrating server error that’s making commenting unavailable on Cider with Rosie- thanks x100 to everyone who let me know about the issue! :) It’s being looked into right now, and I’ll be migrating my commenting system over to Disqus within the next 48 hours if all goes well. Thanks for bearing with me until then! I’ll be on Twitter in the meantime (@ciderwithrosieb) if you want to talk salted caramel ;) **

Posted in CHRISTMAS, FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, RECIPE, SWEET
17.12

Christmas-Cider-with-Rosie-RosieReynolds

There are few things in the world I find more disappointing than the weather being overly balmy on the day we go to buy our Christmas tree. For me, Christmas tree shopping should be done wearing at minimum of four layers and two pairs of socks and the trees themselves should be coated in a fine layer of frost. In past years, it’s been so very warm and bright that I’ve peeled off coat, gloves, scarves and hat by the time we’ve even looked at one single tree!

This year however, tree day was everything I could’ve hoped for. Crisp, frosty air. Crisper, frostier trees. A bright but watery sun sat low in the sky. Robins landing on Christmas tree branches, and looking like they’d come straight from the front of a Christmas card. The sort of day where you’d like to conjure up a never-ending cup of mulled wine to drink from all day…and whilst we’re conjuring, maybe we could make one that never goes cold too?

We got up bright and early on Saturday morning to go and pick out our Christmas tree, after we’d heard rumours that the garden centre where I’ve bought Christmas trees for no less than 23 years had severely underestimated demand and were running low. Panic stations! We beat the weekend crowds and found a plentiful enough supply, and after much deliberation, came away with a tree that I’d say is at least 30% too large for our living room. I’d like to just say though that the ludicrous size definitely was *not* all my doing- Jason was totally behind the Giant Christmas Tree decision too! Oh, and it’s not the one I’m holding in these photos here…it’s a good 2 feet bigger!

Buying-a-Christmas-tree Buying-Christmas-tree-Cider-with-Rosie

What I wore :: Cashmere hat {c/o Brora} || Parka coat {c/o Boden- the warmest coat I’ve ever worn, & it’s on sale now too!} || Fairisle jumper || Tartan scarf || Jeans || Hunters

Cider-with-Rosie-Christmas-treeRobin-on-Christmas-tree Sunglare-Christmas-tree Winter-tea-Cider-with-Rosie

We came home, warmed up with tea and an early lunch of hot dogs, then got to tree decorating. Jason was in charge of lights, I was bauble-manager-in-chief, and Teddy pottered around us trying to eat stray branch cuttings and making surprise lick attacks on our faces whenever we crouched down to his level to tinker with the tree.

Info- we made a call and went ribbon-free this year. I know. It’s been a pretty major decision making process ;) The ribbon’s not been put to waste though- I used it to make a simple garland for the stairs, along with the baubles that were left over after decorating the tree.

And here she is!

Cider-with-Rosie-Christmas-tree-decorating

There’s nothing quite like the glow of Christmas tree lights, is there?

Merry-less-than-a-week-to-go everyone!

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Posted in CHRISTMAS, CHRISTMAS TREE, FAMILY, JASON, LOVE, WINTER

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