Sunday, January 12, 2020

FSH inspiration!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and fabulous 2020, filled with beautiful moments and many lovely surprises!

Today's post is inspired by the Hermes' Paris winter windows and also contains a couple of teasers of the BNP (big new project). The BNP is on track to be unveiled next month and if you'd like to be notified as soon as it is going live, you can register here

Spoiler alert: the BNP also contains ten new scarf knots đŸ˜±

Hope you enjoy the windows and that you might find inspiration in the color combinations, too.

Starting off with the cool corner window: Giddy-up, Space Cowboy!



Black and white capsule pieces sparkled-up with a long gemstone necklace in Chocolat Noir/Agate/Carnelian (available here)





Olive sweater with black jeans and a Damier CSGM in a Cowboy knot, ends secured with the NEW Anneau Infinity scarf ring in Rose Gold (available here). 
Hermes Clic H bracelet in marron glacé and Torana printed enamel bracelet. Biba sparkling crystal bracelet (here)


Anneau Infinity in Rose Gold NEW (available here)



Aux Pays des Epices in one of the ten new BNP knots, more to come in the next blog! Bracelets: Hermes Clic H bracelet in marron glacé and Torana printed enamel bracelet. Biba sparkling crystal bracelet (here)




Another BNP knot! It was a great surprise to find that it works with CSGMs too, here with L'Instruction du Roy and a Grande Classique scarf ring in gold (here). Kelly Double Tour bracelet in Ebene.




Same capsule pieces as in the first picture, this time with a Hermes Brazil Maxi Twilly, a Caleche narrow printed enamel bracelet in black and gold, MaiTai Collection Gemstone Pendant necklace in Gold/Pyrite (here) and sparkling Biba crystal bracelet (available here).



Capsule pieces:  jeans and linen T-shirt. Hermes Damier CSGM and Clic H bracelet in marron glacĂ©. MaiTai Collection Gemstone Pendant necklace in Gold/Pyrite (here) and sparkling Biba bracelet (here) as above.


Chocolat Noir/Agate/Carnelian long gemstone necklaces (here)



Tours de Clés 70 Vintage Silk in a looped Criss-Cross Bow knot with a reversible Petite Classique scarf ring in Pale Pink/Gris/Silver (here)


One has got to hand it to HermĂšs, they have excellent taste in mannequin dogs!


I'm so happy with my Index Palmarum scarf from last autumn, here wearing it in an Asymmetrical Wrap (with a long bib part and short ends). Ends tied in the basic slide with Petite Classique scarf ring in black horn. Long gemstone necklace as above (Chocolat Noir/Agate/Carnelian, available here)



Coaching 70 Vintage Silk tied in a Cascade knot with the new Anneau Infinity in Rose Gold (here)


Rose gold Anneau Infinity




Mytiques Phoenix tied in a Cross-Slide with a rose gold Anneau Infinity scarf ring (here)





Bolduc au Carré Twilly tied in a Vertical Basic Slide with a Classique Petite scarf ring in black horn (available here). Hermes Kelly Double Tour bracelet in Sakura and Biba sparkling crystal bracelet (here)





If Hermes's windows feature little black dachshunds, my Roley definitely belongs in this post, too! Here with my Bolduc au Carré Twilly, tied in a Looped Basic Slide with a Classique Petite scarf ring in black horn (available here)




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Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christmas cookies and preparations!

As the year comes to an end, a big project I've been working on for the last six months is coming to its final stages, too. It took center stage in my life and didn't leave time for much else, which explains the absence of travelogues and social media activity in recent months, as well as the shocking failure to send out Christmas cards, just to name a few. I hope to unveil the project in February and resume my normal life then!

Previously at this time of year, I'd be blogging about holiday outfits, but I only just started Christmas preparations and haven't spent much thought on outfits yet. I thought I'd share my family's Christmas cookie recipes, along with my childhood memories, with you instead. Also posting a few pictures of this year's decorations, inspired by the colors nature puts out for the season.

When I was a little girl, Christmas used to begin at tea-time on December 24th. The morning felt like the longest day of the year, as my brother and I weren't allowed to enter the downstairs living area. Behind closed doors, my parents set up the room and decked the tree. Around 5 pm, when dusk set in, a faint little bell would ring and at the sound, we rushed downstairs. The living room doors opened and we were greeted by sheer magic, the entire space was lit by just candlelight and a festive Christmas tree had taken center stage. We'd glance excitedly at the gifts under the tree and then settle with our parents at the coffee table, which was laid out with beautiful porcelain and the Christmas cookies my mother made. We'd listen to Christmas carols, enjoy the cookies and watch the candles on the Christmas tree slowly burning down. These were such peaceful, contemplative and happy times, mixed with a tingling of excitement at the prospect of unwrapping the Christmas gifts later in the evening. 



In my adult life, the main celebrations have moved to the 25th, but Christmas still begins on the evening of the 24th when the family gathers by the candlelit tree to listen to carols with cookies and a glass of champagne.  The cookie recipes have a long tradition, they were handed down from previous generations on both my parent's sides, my mother's Finnish and my father's German. When my father was a little boy (picture further down), "Christmas tasted the same" as it does for my family now, and his mother's cookies have become an evocative taste of Christmas for my husband's family over the years, too. Traditions evolve and change with each generation and new sets of memories are created, but the recipes below have always been at the heart of Christmas for my family. I hope they bring new Christmas joys to your home and perhaps become part of your traditions, too.





Recipe #1 - Else's Christmas cookies

Recipe #2 - Spitzbuben (German for rascal or scamp), a German Christmas classic

Recipe #3 Snowballs - small round cookies with chopped almonds and chocolate, dusted in icing sugar

Recipe #4 - Piparkakut - a Finnish Christmas classic and a fragrant version of the gingerbread man


Else’s Christmas Cookies - Recipe #1

My father with his sister and their beloved mother Else. 
 

(I checked the original recipe in Else's cookbook, and it turns out that it was given to her by her aunt Anna on December 29, 1912. She probably visited Anna after Christmas that year and must have asked her for the recipe!)



Makes around 35-40
(depending on how much of the dough you 'sample'. I usually double or triple the ingredients, depending on how many we are on Christmas.)

125 gr soft butter (0.55 US cups or 4.4 oz)
125 gr caster sugar (0.63 US cups or 4.4 oz)
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
125 gr chopped almonds (4.4 oz)
165 gr all-purpose flour (1.14 US cups or 5.8 oz)
Redcurrant jelly
Icing sugar/lemon/decoration for the frosting

Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs (one by one) while continuing to beat. Reduce the mixing speed and add the cinnamon, then the chopped almonds. Reduce mixing speed to the lowest level and add the flour in batches. The dough needs to remain moist but also manageable. If still too wet, add a little extra flour.

Place the dough into a bowl covered in clingfilm and leave overnight in a fridge.

Roll out the dough the next day (2-3mm thick) and use a round cookie cutter (or a shot glass with sharp rims) to cut out the cookies.



Place on a tray covered with baking parchment.



Place in a pre-heated oven (180˚Celsius/350˚Fahrenheit) and bake until the rims are getting golden:



Remove the parchment from the hot baking tray and put it on a cool surface. Place a dollop of redcurrant jelly into the center of every other cookie.



Place the remaining cookies on top.



The original recipe uses Rose Hip Jelly, which I replace for simplicity with redcurrant jelly (my favorite is by Bonne Maman)



Let the cookies completely cool out. Prepare the decorations (Pine kernels, almond slices, pistachios, candied cherries cut in half, sugar pearls, etc.), cover the cookies with icing (I add a dash of fresh lemon juice to the icing) and decorate to your heart’s content!



Spitzbuben - Recipe #2 

Makes around 35

125 gr soft butter (0.55 US cups or 4.4 oz)
60 gr caster sugar (0.3 US cups or 2.1 oz)
30 gr vanilla sugar (2.5 tablespoons or 1 oz)
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
65 gr powdered almonds (2.3 oz)
150 gr all-purpose flour (1.03 US cups or 5.3 oz)
redcurrant jelly
icing sugar for dusting

Same process as above, except that you dust the cookies with icing sugar instead of frosting them.


Snowballs - Recipe #3

makes 80

125 gr soft butter (0.55 US cups or 4.4 oz)
70 gr caster sugar (0.35 US cups or 2.5 oz)
30 gr vanilla sugar (0.15 US cups or 1 oz)
pinch of salt
1 egg
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
125 gr chopped almonds (4.4 oz)
125 gr chopped dark chocolate (4.4 oz)
200 gr all-purpose flour (1.38 US cups or 7 oz)
Icing sugar for dusting

Make the dough in the same way as above and leave in the fridge overnight. Form little balls with your hands, place them on a baking tray covered in parchment and bake in a pre-heated oven (180˚ celsius/350˚FH) for around 8 minutes. Once cooled off, dust with icing sugar.


Piparkakut - Recipe #4 

 

Makes around 50, depending on the size of your cookie cutters

125 gr butter (0.66 US cups or 4.4 oz)
100 gr caster sugar (0.5 US cups or 3.5 oz)
1 egg
100 gr molasses or black treacle. If not available, you can use golden syrup (0.3 US cups or 3.5 oz)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
200 gr all-purpose flour (1.38 US cups or 7 oz)

Place the molasses, spices, salt, sugar and butter into a saucepan, stir to make a smooth mixture and bring it slowly to the boiling point. Remove from heat as soon as the boiling point is reached and let it cool. Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat until the mixture has become a little bit lighter and fluffier. Beat in the egg. Combine the flour with the baking soda. Reduce mixing speed and add the flour in batches.  The dough needs to remain moist but also manageable. If still too wet, add a little extra flour.

Place the dough into a bowl covered in clingfilm and leave overnight in a fridge.

Roll out the dough thinly the next day and use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. Place in a pre-heated oven (200˚Celsius/390˚Fahrenheit) and bake for about 5 minutes.

Let them cool off completely and decorate with icing to your liking.

Tips:

The doughs get difficult to handle once they've reached room temperatures. Therefore I leave them in the fridge and work through them in small batches.

Instead of covering a kitchen surface with flour when rolling out the dough, I cut a large freezer bag open and place the dough inside. This way the dough doesn't get to floury and also won't stick to the rolling pin or kitchen surface. Before cutting out the cookies, open both freezer bag's sides to make sure the dough doesn't stick on either.

Make sure that the cookies are hot out of the oven when you stick them together with the redcurrant jelly. 

 

I am still a little bit behind on preparations this year, but I made the Christmas pudding, put up a few wreaths and decorations, started baking and wrapped most presents. Writing this post installed a festive mood in me and I look forward to celebrating Christmas cheer with my family next week.



Two more days...


You can probably guess why this is one of my favorite ornaments!


The Christmas pudding, already made in November (recipe here)






And another favorite, unsurprisingly!



Wrapping paper by the Italian printer Tassotti (they have beautiful non-holiday papers too, all of which can be ordered here)


In keeping with the traditional theme, I'll be decorating the table in a similar way to this setting from the previous year:



Last year's tree



Wishing you all happy holidays, a merry Christmas and a fabulous, healthy and happy New Year 2020 ahead!

xxx