This weekend, we kicked off the post-Thanksgiving period by watching “The Holiday.” There is so much that I love about this film — and am happy to see that I’m in good company with one of Buzzfeed’s staff writers, who hits on all the high points of what makes this movie one of my favorites this time of year.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!
Wow. It’s not even December yet, but John Lewis has unveiled its 2013 Christmas advert – this time, an animated tale about a hare and a bear.
I’ve blogged before about how much I adore their annual holiday adverts and I do like the heart of it and Lily Allen’s cover of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know.” (We bought it on iTunes last week and it’s been on perpetual repeat ever since!)
What do you think? Yay or nay? I’m finding it hard for any Christmas advert to live up to the sheer Christmas magic and Britishness of this one.
I feel like we need to tack an additional 14 days to December to revel in the fun of the season – more time to watch “Home Alone” and “Elf” and “The Holiday,” for Bailey’s Irish Cream nightcaps and for filling the house with the smell of baked goods.
I’ve failed on the last item this month – I’ve wanted to make these gingerbread houses, not to mention this and these. But one thing I did manage was a batch of sticky gingerbread from Nigella Christmas.
I’ve never made gingerbread before but after Starbucks abruptly ended their run on gingerbread loaf pre-Christmas, I had to get my fix elsewhere. Nigella’s recipe is absolutely fantastic – easy to do and actually gets better by the day! Here’s my adapted recipe. Enjoy the remains of the season and will see you back here on Thursday! Have a happy Christmas with you and yours.
Makes 20 squares
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3/4 cup molasses
2/3 cup packed soft dark brown sugar
3 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 2 teaspoons warm water
1 cup whole milk
2 eggs, beaten to mix
2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a roasting pan or ovenproof dish (approx. 12 x 8 x 2-inches) with aluminum foil or parchment paper (if using foil, grease it too).
In a saucepan, melt the butter over a lowish heat along with the sugar, syrup, molasses, fresh and ground gingers, cinnamon and cloves.
Take off the heat, and add the milk, eggs and dissolved baking soda in its water.
Measure the flour into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed. It will be a very liquid batter, so don’t worry. This is part of what makes it sticky later.
Pour it into the prepared pan and bake for 45-60 minutes until risen and firm on top. Try not to overcook, as it is nicer a little stickier, and anyway will carry on cooking as it cools.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the gingerbread cool in the pan before cutting into 20 squares, or however you wish to slice it.
Make ahead tip:
Make the gingerbread up to 2 weeks ahead, wrap loosely in parchment paper and store in an airtight container. Cut into squares as required.
Freeze ahead tip:
Make the gingerbread, wrap in parchment paper and a layer of aluminum foil then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 3-4 hours and cut into squares.
There are few words to explain the allure of the Radio Times Christmas issue, which is on newsstands in Britain now. It’s just one of those traditional symbols of the season for Brits. Think TV Guide but bigger, better and packed with all of the juicy details about the Christmas programs that will be airing on British TV during the holidays.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact Brits only have five main TV channels (if you don’t have a Digibox) or the fact that British TV shows typically are limited runs (compared to American TV shows that continue on for years … I’m talking to you, Simpsons!), but there is genuine magic when Christmas rolls around and many of these shows that had ended (ie. “The Office” or “Only Fools and Horses”) have a Christmas episode (a reunion with our old friends on the telly!). This Christmas, there will be Christmas episodes for “Downton Abbey,” “The Royle Family,” and “Doctor Who,” as well as a new sequel to “The Snowman.”
There’s always the usual parade of Christmas movies and children’s programming and even the glorious cooking shows (Delia, Nigella, Jamie Oliver, etc.) serve as a tasty reminder of the season. The Radio Times details them all so you don’t miss a bit. It’s an enduring British tradition that I love this time of year.
I’m sorry. I’m borderline obsessed with British adverts during the holidays. They just feel so festive. Case in point: this year’s ASDA advert:
Thanks to Sarah from Newbie Science for this!
I just had an epiphany last night … that today is Epiphany! The 12 days of Christmas are finally done (yes, so many Americans believe the 12 days of Christmas comes in the run up to Christmas Day but in fact, the countdown begins after Christmas is over).
What’s it all about? What’s it all mean?
Read the rest of this entry
Have you seen Prince Charles and Camilla’s Christmas card this year?
The front of the card features the Prince of Wales’ crest and Camilla’s cypher. But inside is this photo jewel of Charles, Camilla and the Camilla’s 3-year-old granddaughter Eliza Lopes on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The message simply reads: “Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and New Year.”
Personally I was hoping for a Christmas letter.
And on that note, I wish you and yours a very Happy Christmas and New Year!
It’s nearly Christmas Day and in the frenzied rush up to Christmas, I’ve still not had one mince pie.
I was quite vocal about my dislike for the dried-fruit disaster better known as Christmas pudding, but mince pies takes some of the same elements, pairs them with pie dough and becomes magic.
I’m partial to the “exceedingly good” Mr. Kipling mince pies, available at Cost Plus, heated and eaten a la mode (but that’s an American thing. I don’t believe any self-respecting Brit would put ice cream on pie. Dessert is always served with cream).
Better yet, screw the warm pie crust top off (like a little hat), put a dollop of cream on it and then put the pie hat back on, before biting into the sheer bliss of Christmas. You’re welcome, America.
This weekend, I will be boosting the American economy by finishing the rest of my Christmas shopping. Okay, I’m being optomistic, but we can all hope for a little Christmas miracle.
In that spirit, I proudly present the first-ever Britrish.com Pressie Guide. Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.
Monocle Magazine’s Five Issue Gift Subscription, £45. Ships to the US or anywhere else on the globe. A discerning read for a discerning recipient.
Jonathan Adler’s British flag coaster set, made from 100% wool needlepoint. $45. The perfect partner to an IPA or creamy stout.
Adagio Teas 16-Ounce Ingenuitea Teapot, $17.45. The most convenient teapot you will find anywhere.
London map handkerchief, $12.95. Because runny noses like London, too.
London in a box. $17.95. Recreate your favorite London memories with this wooden collection, which includes Big Ben and the London Eye.
Kate Spade hedgehog coin purse, $95. Stylish little hedgehog purse puts boring coin purses to shame.
Masterpiece Theatre: Downton Abbey, $13.99. An already small-screen classic.
Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi, $21.63. Vibrant veggie recipes for carnivores and herbivores, alike.
Trunki, $39.99. The perfect pack, ride and pull along suitcase for trips to the UK and invented by a Brit.
Gruffalo, $6.99. This British Book Award winner is a sweet read for kids and grownups alike.