December 2008


wintercookies21

These cookies were made using a mix of recipes from my cookbooks as inspiration and the measurements are very approximate as I did this on a hunch. They are quite thick and quite soft and they have a mild spicy ginger bready
hint to their flavour. You can leave some of the flavourings out, or experiment with swapping them for others.

Ingredients:

Cookies:

  • 200g margarine
  • 2dl (1cup) sugar
  • 60g marzipan, grated
  • 1 1/2 t bicarbonate of soda
  • a bit of cognac essence (but I’m sure the real thing works as well)
  • couple pinches ground all spice
  • 5dl (2cups) flour
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • the peel from 1 lemon

Melt the margarine until slightly browned. Stir in the sugar, extracts, spices and peel once the margarine has become a bit colder. Fold together the flour, bicarbonate and marzipan and stir this into the margarine mix. Work into a dough. Roll out so it’s 0.5cm/0.2″ thick onto a floured surface and use the cutter of you preferred shape to create your cookies. Shuffle them onto a baking parchment situated on top of a baking sheet and into the oven they go. I baked these on 175˚C/350˚F for 20 min, but it depends on the size of the shapes you’ve used so keep a lookout as you don’t want them to brown (or maybe you do). Leave to cool and harden for a bit.

Icing:

  • 2 1/2 dl (1cup+) confectionary sugar (ground normal sugar)
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • the tiniest bit of blue food colouring (to give the icing a hint of ice blue)
  • 40g margarine or shortening
  • blue coloured sugar, sugar mixed with blue food colouring

Mix all ingredients except the last one (blue coloured sugar) in a mixer/grinder until fully incorporated. Spread onto the cold cookies and sprinkle the blue coloured sugar on top. Leave to stiffen for quite a while.

wintercookies1

Bon Appetit!

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christmastree

Finally I got to dress the Christmas tree. It had been standing here so bare for days now; deliciously fragrant, just waiting to get decorated and I have been watching my baubles lingering in a bowl.

christmasbaubles

Still I’ve been determined to follow my traditions and decorate the tree, maximum, the night before christmas eve.

xmasnessie

The Baronesse has been enjoying the fragrance of  hyacinths filling each room.

xmasteddy

And the Duchesse was almost pleased having a christmas bow around her neck this year.

citrus

I hope you had a wonderfully zesty christmas and that you will get a very very joyful coming year!

When I went thrifting some time ago I bought a bag full of old wrapping papers. Some were absolutely lovely, like the ones in the photos below, but, apart from a set of labels and other mini curiosities, there were some little surprises neatly tucked in. And if you are a fellow thrifter you probably agree that it is these hidden treasures that would make your day!

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In the bag I found this immaculate unopened vintage packet of pretty christmas card holders…

ribbon

And the cutest Merry Christmas paper ribbon wrapped around this stylish “Regal” Santa card, complete with a “Make your gifts gay” slogan! Oh, how lovely it was to find something I hadn’t expected!

tomatogirl

Apart from my regular thrifting I have also had the time to do a little shop updating and the original drawing of this slightly startled looking Tomato-Girl-Tomato is now available in my Etsy shop here.

cardholders1

Now I’m looking forward to decorating my new cardholders which is great, since, in true Swedish tradition I am not to decorate my christmas tree until the evening before Christmas Eve and I have a lot of decorating itchiness in my hands. I will see you soon, I hope, until then; A Very Thrifty Christmas!

Let’s face it; this whole internet selling notion doesn’t seem to like me at all and it is going nothing but utterly and terribly poorly and although it is A BIT sad, because it would have been so neatly perfect if I could have sold some more work online, I am determined not to cave in to the no-one-likes-me-and-I-suck syndrome, because for some strange reason, after all, things feel pretty OK at the moment. One of the reasons for my current “high” (well everything is relative) could be the lovely book that I just read and which I want to share a peek into below. It is called To Each His Home and it is so …much like home.

powercut

Another reason for my unreasonable cheeriness might be today’s power cut. To blame ones optimism on a power cut might not be very common so I’d better explain myself. You see, as probably many of us tireless creatives out there I am not always one to let myself rest a lot and sometimes these sudden little natural occurrences of things not working, such as power cuts and snow storms and so on, can come almost as a blessing. Suddenly you have to stop in your trails take a step back and just slow down for a bit. So when my computer went caput, the radio stopped talking, the food stopped cooking and the workers out on the street told everybody they’d turned both gas and electricity off (that is AFTER we went out to ask!) I found a good reason to take the rest of my day off playing good, old fashioned board games with lots of lit candles to keep me toes warm and, more evidently, to see what I was doing. It becomes so apparent how dependant you are on everything you normally take for granted, such as light, heat and water, when you suddenly find yourself without it. And for a very short while once it’s come back, very short, it almost feels like luxury.

book0

And then it was the book. This lavish, awe inspiring, sugar coated piece of bonbon that is To Each His Home – Inspired Interiors as Unique as their Owners. It is so nice to see an interior book with soul. When reading an interior book I always despise when I find the same objects repositioned in several different photo shots so that you can see that it is just a play for the camera. Indeed sometimes you even find them in what is supposed to be different homes! because it is so much the pin that inflates the hot air balloon which I usually find myself in when starting a new book. But this is one of those rare interior books that is NOT like that. Here are some shots of the homes:

book7

book5

book21

book3

book6

book11

The author and photographer of the book, Bilyana Dimitrova, touches on something that reminded me of when I chose my name, Specific Flavour, when I first started off after finishing at Saint Martin’s in London and that is that the book celebrates YOUR taste over ”good taste” and mass appeal; and this was also why I chose my name; to kind of rid myself of any responsibilities of that because I was dealing with artsy or designy things I was supposed to deal with “good taste” because this was probably my biggest nightmare. To be forced to have “good taste”. Thank you for today and Amen to that. Tomorrow I am having another etsy update so I better get off this bloggy thing and prepare. I leave you with one last book picture. xo bella

book4

baublegirl

I have a big pile of little glittery Orphan Bauble Girls next to me, all looking for a friendly home to decorate. These are hand crafted out of copper leaf, paper, mini print, glitter flakes and a golden string for hanging. Each measures 2″ x 4″ and come in a pack of 10. I have enough for ten packs. I have decided to give these away for free to anyone who makes an order in the shop from now until stocks last! This offer has run out.

Last time I wrote a lot about the colour red and this is actually not intentional but, coinicidentally, yet very suitably, red also happens to be the colour of my new painting, Strawberry and Rain.

strawberrygirl

You can say hello to the strawberry girl in my etsy shop at some point tomorrow.

layering

It has been exeptionally cold here in London and I have been exploiting the occasion to exercise some serious layering. Knitted slippers, petticoats, scarves indoors, knee socks on top of tights, you name it, with me everything goes; don’t say I look like a hockey player!

duchesse

The ever industrious Duchesse has invented other ways of keeping warm, such as hiding under the sofa cover so we have had to adjust our routines to look for lumps before sitting down!

christmascards

Yesterday I went to the Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre that displayed food, drink and gifts galore! Not often do I have the privilege of becoming slightly dizzy with food options when dining out so it was almost a bit bewildering. I also got several christmas presents bought, in good time for once and I bought lots of sheese and these cutsie Christmas greeting cards.

Speaking of which, in the name of Christmas AND its colours I also received this Honolulian lovely in the post from etsy collegues muffinbiscuit so now I’m colour coordinated with the season.