‘Tis the most wonderful time of the year!
No one is going to argue that Christmas time doesn’t have a certain charm. Sparkling lights, carols, reindeer knitted jerseys and mince pies all have their place but whether you choose to celebrate it or not, the team at Winerist want to ensure your festive season is more like the closing scene of a Christmas movie than a manic, last minute dash to the shops, wrestling your way to the last turkey.
We’ve got you covered with our top 5 cheats to ensure you plan ahead and keep your cool while hosting the family this time of year...
Cheats 1 and 2: Make your house smell like Christmas
Whether you’re cooking up a storm this year or are supporting the good people from your local supermarket and going ready-made, we certainly aren’t judging. The quickest way to convince your guests that you’ve tapped into the festive spirit is with this two-in-one cheat: make your house smell the part by making mulled wine!
Create Christmas in a glass and send those aromas all round the house with this gorgeous recipe for mulled wine by Jamie Oliver.
It’s a super simple way to create an instant Christmas vibe. You’ll need:
Mulled wine recipe: 2 clementines, 1 lemon, 1 lime, 200g caster sugar, 6 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 fresh bay leaves, 1 whole nutmeg, 2 star anise and a vanilla pod. You’ll also need 2 bottles of easy drinking, fruity red. An inexpensive Merlot or Shiraz will work well.
Peel large sections of peel from the clementine, lemon and lime.
Next, put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice.
-Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways and add to the pan, then stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.
Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine, then bring it to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and the rest of the wine. Gently heat for around 5 minutes. Then, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into heatproof glasses and serve.
2. Make it look like your own
If you’re buying your cake, we say you may as well convince others you made it yourself. The easiest Christmas life hack is to let other people to the hard work and claim the credit yourself. Here are some of our favourite ideas for decorating a cake to make it look like your own:
-Arrange crystallized fruits and pecan nuts over the top and gloss over with warm apricot jam for a real home-made look .
- Get the kids involved in some crafts by arranging some paper cut outs on top of the cake (stars, snowflakes etc.) and dust with icing sugar – simple, striking and all with so little effort .
- Turn it into a drip cake and pile candy canes, chocolate truffles and festive sweets on top.
Drink: A Moscato D’Asti is a frothy, sweet white wine that works with just about any cake, especially with tonnes of icing!
3. Chill-in style
We love the idea of using frozen grapes to chill your wine or champagne without watering it down. Visually, this creates a little something extra too.
4. DIY Time – The Eco Cork tree
If you’re anything like us, you’ll have a few dozen corks left lying around at home. Get the children involved by making mini cork trees. They’re great for table décor or mini place-settings (and are eco and easy). You can thank us later ;)