A few days back (before the madness of Christmas descended upon us), Freya, Tania and I were happily united as a trio for the first time in an entire year! The last time we were together was right around Christmas 2013, when we (and Lizzie, Tania’s sister, too!) went out for cocktails (lethal ones, if I remember right!) and burgers on the South Bank. Since then, Miss Tania’s lived in Australia for 10 odd months, visited Bali, India, and now made her way back to us in good old England! And in amongst all those many months of being apart, Freya went off to Bermuda and got herself married to the darling Adam, I gained my very own soon-to-be husband, and so really, we had one hell of a lot to catch up on!

Our reunion itself (right outside Notting Hill Gate tube station, amongst the crowds of Londoners heading across town with armfuls of presents) was as full of joyful squealing and hugging and crying as you’d imagine! But then, in an instant, it felt as though we’d never been apart! The four of us (Tania, Lizzie, Freya and I) moseyed over to Westbourne Grove in search of some brunch, and found ourselves a little table at Tom’s right opposite Wild at Heart.

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We met late so ate one of those funny brunch/lunch meals, where eggs and hot chocolates get combined with heartier platefuls. Like that polenta/fried chicken combo in the photo below. It was as tasty as it looked, let me tell you! Lizzie promised that she’d make me a batch of her famous cheese and bacon polenta to make up for the fact that I can’t cook it at home (Jason hates corn in all forms!), and Lizzie? I’m going to hold you to that! ;)

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Brunch/lunch was spent discussing Tania’s adventures over the past year, Freya’s wedding in Bermuda (during a hurricane, no less!), Lizzie’s upcoming trip to Dublin, and my progress through the wonderful world of wedding planning. Honeymoon ideas and road trip plans and stories from the year floated around the table between us all like clouds, and the hours slipped away quicker than we’d have liked.

I can’t even tell you how happy it made me, to be all together again. There’s nothing making my heart so glad right now than knowing all of my closest friends are in the same time zone, and to have the luxury of impromptu trips to London for brunch and laughter and photo-taking any time we like. So three cheers for adventures! And one extra cheer for adventures that deliver your friends right back home to you safe and sound once they’re over, after you’ve spent a whole year worrying that those far off lands might prove so tempting that they won’t ever come back! ;)

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Very Merry Christmas, from Jason, Teddy and I!

We hope you have a wonderful few days celebrating with the most special people in your life! And that you manage to eat as much chocolate and roast potatoes and turkey and blue cheese as is humanly possible…

A kiss to each and every one of you, and I’ll catch you in a few days time!

Happy Christmas!

x x x

p.s. I’m still chuckling at Teddy in last year’s Christmas card! Also, our (accidentally!) matching jackets are from here and here :)


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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 ;)


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-caramels Cider-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-Rosie Almond-caramels Salted-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 ;) **



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!

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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

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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!


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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