Today I am sharing a Campari and gin cocktail with the rather intriguing name of Winter Aviation. It includes gin which I know so many of my readers have as a tipple combined with Campari which my brother-in-law adores and lovely cassis.

Campari and gin cocktail

 

Campari And Gin Cocktail

 

Serves one.

Ingredients

 

  • 40ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • Juice of 1 clementine
  • 10ml British Cassis
  • 5ml Campari
  • Cherry to garnish

Method

Shake the ingredients well over ice. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Do you have an unusual recipe for a Campari and gin cocktail?

 

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

Now the first thing to say is that for most of us the next line in that famous festive song “Just like the ones we used to know” does not make any sense.

Was every Christmas of our childhood a white one or is that a myth?

You now enter the tricky world of how different people define a White  Christmas differently some saying one snowflake is enough, some saying the Met Office is relevant and some wanting a proper covering on the ground.

I remember a lovely White Christmas in London with my brother walking in the parks on a crisp and sunny Christmas Day. Apparently, snow is far more common in January and February than December.

Do we like a White Christmas because we think Santa Claus comes from a snowy place such as Lapland?

Just like many aspects of Christmas, it is wise not to look for perfection or expect too much. Great Christmases can be had whatever the weather.

If you really want to guarantee a White Christmas, it may be a question of how deep your pockets are as the better-off can pay for a White Christmas by paying to go on holidays to Lapland or perhaps skiing.

I don’t like the cold so have not done either yet but as with many things in life, perhaps I should try something new to add some sparkle to middle-age.

I might be convinced by a friend who told me today that she is not particularly sporty but enjoys skiing holidays all the same largely for the après-ski, the great views and mulled win in plentiful supply.

I think I might be like her when I take skiing lessons and not entirely a natural. However, the idea of being surrounded by eager and attractive instructors keen to move me on from beginner status just might appeal after all.

So what are our chances of snow this year and are you dreaming of a White Christmas?

 

Christmas is almost here and a magical time where we relax a bit and find time for family and friends. Very soon, we will have the start of a brand New Year and most of us will have high hopes for 2018 fuelled by positive resolutions. The  question is where to go for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Where to go for New Year’s Eve

With that in mind, it’s time to plan your New Year’s countdown to make it as wonderful as possible. We’ve teamed up with Stagecoach, who offer unbeatable bus prices, to find out what displays you should be heading to, to celebrate the countdown to 2018.

London

Why not head to the capital of the UK to spend the countdown, join the thousands on the Thames this New Year? The capital is one of the most iconic locations for New Year’s Eve celebrations in the country. I remember a magical year where I went to London to hear Big Ben mark the start of a New Year.

Big Ben’s iconic ‘bongs’ will count us into the first day of the year before the display begins. The fireworks usually last around 12 minutes and are always mesmerising! The fireworks will be accompanied by exhilarating music that will get the crowds dancing for sure!

Tickets are priced at £10 per person and can be bought in groups of four. A second batch of tickets will be released soon, so keep an eye out on the official website.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival is one that caters to all, which is especially helpful for those families with smaller children, whether you’re ringing in the new year with the family or with your other half. This NYE festival is unlike no other, with many different activities taking place on the day. I have a dream of attending the Edinburgh  display one year and really regret turning down an opportunity to do so when I was younger.

Don’t want your little one to miss out on the celebrations but midnight is way past their bedtime? Don’t worry – midday is the new midnight! At 1:00pm on the 31st December 2017, the festival has its own Baby Love Disco, which allows your little ones to let loose on the dance floor whilst day-clubbing to some of their favourite songs!

If your little one can party a little bit longer, attend ‘Bairns Afore’ which is an entirely new event to the festival itself. The stage will be based at the bottom of Edinburgh castle, which will host family-friendly entertainment and even fireworks before it’s time to put your children to bed.

For those who are plan on staying up a little bit later, there is an outdoor concert where Rag’n’Bone Man will be headlining. Other performers include Ceclan McKenna and Nina Nesbitt!

More about what’s happening at the Edinburgh Hogmanay festival can be found on their official website. Tickets vary in price — grab them before they sell out!

If you’re looking for something a little less crowded, take a look at some of top picks across different parts of the UK:

 

Newcastle

If you like your upmarket locations, then why not attend the most exclusive New Year’s Eve event at the prestigious Vermont Hotel in Newcastle. Dress to impress and enjoy a Gatsby-inspired gala in the sparkling ballroom with jazz music and plenty of dancing – and don’t forget the vintage alcoholic beverages. With a view of the Newcastle/Gateshead Quayside, it’ll be a night to remember. I love Newcastle as it such  a friendly visit and the night-life there is legendary. I quite fancy the event at the Vermont!

Tickets for the first-class event are priced at £159 per person. Book today on the official website to avoid disappointment.

Manchester

Manchester also offers another upmarket event, the Malmaison in Manchester is one of the best places to celebrate the New Year this year. With an evening of music planned, dress in your finest tuxedo or ballgown and get ready to strut your stuff. . Start the night with a glass of bubbly and prepare yourself for the grand buffet, featuring cooked roasts and local seafood. You see, now I fancy Manchester for all those foodie treats and a chance to wear a gown again. It has been way too long!

Tickets range from £59 to £100 per person. Visit their official website to book tickets today.

Leeds

As a Yorkshire lass, should I head home?  In Leeds you can go to a rooftop party where you can dance away under the stars. Head to Angelica’s rooftop party for a night to remember. Starting at 21:00pm and ending at 02:30am, you’ll be entering 2018 in the best place possible with an electrifying atmosphere. Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment!

So do you have an idea of where to go for New Year’s Eve celebrations? Will you be going to a popular outdoor event or a more exclusive party with your friends and family?

 

Sources:

https://www.edinburghshogmanay.com/whats-on/concert-in-the-gardens

http://www.vermont-hotel.com/whatson/event/new-years-eve-gala

https://www.malmaison.com/christmas-2017/new-years-eve/

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/extravaganza-new-years-eve-party-tickets-39477253528?aff=es2

https://www.london.gov.uk/events/2017-12-31/london-new-years-eve-fireworks-2017

https://www.designmynight.com/leeds/whats-on/clubbing/neverland

 

Scotch cakes with hot-smoked salmon, crispy sprouts, avocado and egg makes an amazing festive indulgence.

Scotch  Cakes

Cooking shredded brussels until they’re crispy will convert even the wariest of sprout-eaters

Scotch cakes

•Preparation time:10 minutes
•Cooking time:15 minutes
•Total time:25 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

100g self-raising flour
25g caster sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
40ml whole milk
6 eggs, 2 beaten
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
200g Brussels sprouts, outer leaves discarded and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 avocado, halved and sliced
160g hot-smoked salmon, flaked
4 tbsp Greek yogurt
Small handful flat leaf parsley leaves

Method

1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the milk and 2 beaten eggs to make a smooth batter; set aside. Place a large non-stick pan over a high heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil. Once hot, add the sliced sprouts and stir-fry for 4 minutes, until golden and crispy. Add the garlic and fry for a further 30 seconds, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat, transfer to on a warm plate, season and set aside.

2. Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and add 1 tsp butter. When it sizzles, add 1 heaped tbsp batter for each scotch cake, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface and the base is golden, then flip over and fry for another minute until cooked through. Remove and keep warm in a low oven while you cook the rest of the scotch cakes in the remaining butter. You should end up with about 16.

3 Wipe out the pan again, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil and fry the eggs to your liking. Divide the scotch cakes between 4 warmed plates, top with the eggs, sprouts, avocado, salmon and a spoonful of yogurt. Scatter over the parsley leaves and drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately with a dash of chilli sauce, if liked.

Scotch Cakes With Hot Smoked Salmon

Mulled cider might be a new concept to you but I have a recipe that I really would urge you to try this Christmas.

Mulled Cider

Mulled pear cider

Serves 12.

 

  • 2L Waitrose pear cider
  • Juice of 6 clementines
  • 500ml pomegranate juice
  • 400ml dark rum
  • 100ml sugar syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • Fresh mint to serve

 

Bring all the ingredients to the boil in a saucepan. Turn down the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Ladle into glasses, garnish with fresh mint leaves and slices of caramelised clementine.

Check out more festive drinks ideas and add a little sparkle to Christmas.

Mulled Cider Recipe