Tonight is the twelfth night after Christmas, which means that if you follow tradition, tomorrow is the day for tenderly putting away all your lovely Christmas decorations and facing the dark month of January *sigh – sniffle – sniffle*.
He he he, not really, we are sad to put them away but we are super excited for all our January plans so its not too much of a hardship. Although I really am honestly sad to see our trooper of a Christmas tree this year go. He only dropped about 20 needles for the entire holidays, bless him!
So last night as a last little Christmas hoorah, we decided to make the most of our decorations while they were up, use our Christmas mugs for the last time till next December, and make ourselves some super naughty but really really delicious extra thick Spanish Hot Chocolate.
Also, while we were at it, we decided to use some of the extra Cinnamon sticks we had picked up before the holidays, and some of the mini-Christmas stockings yarn I had left, to make ourselves some cinnamon stick coasters, which will help to keep our home smelling seasonal even after we put away all our decorations. The neat thing about these coasters is the way they become really fragrant once a warm cup is placed on them, and even better, because we had the materials lying around they were totally free!
As ever, both the projects were super quick and simple, so we are excited to share our last bite of Christmas with you all. Here’s how we did it:
Spanish Hot Chocolate
Ingredients: (makes 2 mugs full)
2 cups of whole (full fat) milk (you could use semi-skimmed / 2% but it would taste a bit less creamy, and lets be honest it isn’t exactly a low fat recipe 😀 )1/4 cup of double cream (plus extra cream to dollop on top when you serve it if you want) 100 g of good quality chocolate (We used a bar of Green and Blacks Milk Chocolate, but you can use dark chocolate too if you prefer). 1/2 tablespoon cornflour Some mini marshmallows (go on spoil yourself :P) 1) Milky things – Mix together your cream and milk and gently heat in medium sized saucepan over a medium heat. You don’t want to boil your milk or it will scald and create a skin as it cools, which we don’t really want, so just heat until the milk starts to steam. 2) Chocolaty things – Break up your chocolate into tiny pieces (so that they melt more easily) and stir into the hot milk away from the heat. The milk should be hot enough to do all the melting for you. 3) Thickening – Measure out your cornflour into a small bowl and add about 1/4 cup of the hot chocolaty milk and mix into a slurry. Once the cornflour is totally dissolved pour this back into the pot and stir. This will make sure that we don’t get any cornstarch lumps. 4) Serve – Pour into your two favourite mugs and top with whipped cream and mini marshmallows …. mmmmmm. Cinnamon Stick Coasters
You will need: (per coaster)
Around 6 similar thickness cinnamon sticks, each about 2 or 3 inches long.
Around 20 inches of yarn, although any string or thread would work fine (you would just need to wrap a few more times to keep it strong if you are using thin thread).
And extra pair of hands
1) Line up – Lay your sticks out in a row, trying to keep them all facing with the open seam down. (Yep, I didn’t realise this either, but if you have a good look at them cinnamon sticks have an open side with a seam running down one length and a nice smooth closed side. I decided to use the smooth side as the ‘good’ side which people would see because it was a smooth surface to put your cup on to.
2) String together – This is the part where you will need to borrow an extra pair of hands for two minutes, because it can be little bit fiddly. One of you needs to hold the cinnamon sticks together in their row, while the other uses the yarn to weave over, under, over, under, over, under to lash the sticks together. To help with this we tied the yarn around the first stick to start so it was anchored and then wove it up and down. I wove twice along the whole coaster so as to make sure if was held firmly. Also, you will want to keep the yarn pretty taught so the sticks are held tightly together. No one wants a sloppy, loosey goosey coaster :P. When you have finished with your lashing, just tie the yarn in a knot on the underside of the coaster so no one will see it, and snip the ends.
Now do exactly the same thing to the opposite end of the coasters. You can probably dispense with your extra set of hands for this part as the first set of yarn will already be holding it together.
If you want to add another colour of decorative yarn, like we did, I would do this at the end once everything is already tied once, as it will make it quicker to do.
And here they are finished. Ta – dahhhh. Told you it was simple 😀
So there you have it. We really have been blessed this year and have had a very peaceful and simple holiday season, and we hope you all have too. We must admit to one decoration which we are not taking down though, the fairy lights! Edinburgh is very very (very) dark at this time of year, and our little sitting room is so warm and welcoming with them strung up, we didn’t have the heart to face the remaining dark months without them, so they will stay right where they are – just for now.