Kirstie Allsopp’s Christmas Hints and Tips
Christmas has to be one of the most special family times in the year – when else does the whole family get together, exchange gifts and indulge in yummy homemade feasts? Queen of homemade, Kirstie Allsopp, tells us about what she’ll be doing this Christmas and also what her favourite Christmas treats are.
Kirstie's`christmas decoration tip
1.What is your tip for getting the kids involved in the Christmas preparations?
Christmas cards are always a great way to involve the kids – children love drawing and using glitter, coloured tissue paper and metallic pens to create their own designs. Spend an afternoon together preparing festive cards for loved ones – it adds a personal touch too which family and friends adore.
Another great way to get kids involved is decorations – popping baubles on the Christmas tree is a great family moment – just make sure no one steals the chocolate decorations before Christmas Day!
2. What is your favourite homemade stocking filler?
An edible gift always goes down a treat as a stocking filler – a really easy and impressive gift is chocolate fudge – you can use any type of chocolate – white, plain, milk or even orange or mint flavoured. This recipe is super easy, thanks to the Nestlé Carnation Condensed Milk - simply melt and combine with three other ingredients – icing sugar, butter and Nestlé Carnation Condensed Milk. The Condensed Milk gives the fudge a silky smooth texture and the result is just delicious, a rich chocolate taste that no-one will believe is home made – see my full recipe below.
To really impress your friends and family, you can decorate the fudge with dried fruit, nuts, chocolate sprinkles or even edible glitter – then simply pop into cellophane bags or gift boxes – they’ll look gorgeous!
3. What is your top tip for a stress free Christmas?
My top tip for any family gathering is the same – prepare everything in advance. It’s important for example to think about the ideal menu and shop for the items you’ll need with days to spare. Other aspects to consider are chopping the veg the night before, making up the stockings and wrapping your presents in advance of the big day - you’ll be surprised at how much stress will be relieved.
4. What is your favourite Christmas food and why?
I have a few:
Little sausages wrapped in bacon and a good old fashioned Christmas pudding – it’s the only time of year when people get to eat them.
Another one of my favourites’ are my Christmas Florentines which are made using a mixture of dried fruit and nuts alongside your baking staples of butter, brown sugar and flour. The all-important ingredient in this recipe is Nestlé Carnation Condensed Milk, which not only binds the ingredients but also gives a creamy toffee texture and taste. These delicious crunchy and chewy jewelled biscuits are the ideal after dinner treat.
Nothing says how much you care than a homemade present - and these florentines are so quick and easy. Make them look really professional with a celophane bag and some ribbon.
Makes 12 biscuits
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
25g (1oz) butter
25g (1oz) light brown soft sugar
100g (3½oz) Carnation Condensed Milk
2tsp plain flour
150g (5½oz) mixed dried fruit and nuts such as apricots, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, toasted flaked almonds, desiccated coconut etc.
85g (3oz) dark chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 180C, (160C for fan ovens) or Gas Mark 4.
2. Melt the butter and sugar in a non-stick saucepan stirring until combined.
3. Add the condensed milk and heat until just bubbling.
4. Stir in the plain flour and mix until smooth.
5. Stir in the dried fruit and nuts.
6. Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake for about 12 minutes until turning golden brown at the edges.
7. Leave to cool on the tray.
8. When cool, melt the chocolate and spread a small amount on the flat side of the florentine then drag a fork through the chocolate to make wavy lines.