Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelised Pecans

Hello lovely readers, today’s post is my last until the New Year and it’s another festive themed one to help you with the big day.  I think I might be in the minority in loving Brussels sprouts.  I believe the problem many might have when it comes to this vegetable is that they quite often end up overcooked, owing to the many layers.  And when they’re overcooked it results in that nasty drain-type smell.  I’ve played around with a few recipes and have found that there are a few different ways to cook Brussels which will make them super tasty.  Peeling all the leaves off and sautéing in some butter and a drop of water is divine.  Or the more common: Brussels with pancetta.  However, the one that really struck a chord with my taste buds was this one:  Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelised Pecans.  I’d be surprised if even the fussiest eaters didn’t love this version!

BrussellSprouts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300g Brussel sprouts
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 100g pecans
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
  2. Trim and quarter the Brussels sprouts.
  3. Put the Brussels in a roasting tin and toss in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and put in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  Stir once or twice during cooking.  When ready they’ll be a deep, golden brown – crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
  4. Whilst the Brussels are in the oven, put the pecans and sugar in a frying pan and let the sugar melt and coat the pecans.
  5. Once the pecans are all coated, tip them out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave to cool.  When cooled, break into smaller pieces and add to the Brussels sprouts when they’re ready.
  6. Serve immediately.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. The light brown sugar can be substituted for any sugar.
  2. Hazelnuts would work well instead of pecans.
  3. For a salty / sweet dish, add in either lardons of bacon or some pancetta.
  4. Bangaloreans, you can buy pecans in Nature’s Basket in Indiranagar.

Well, this is nearly it for another year!  I wanted to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and to thank you for all of your support for The Domestic Princess.  I am so looking forward to bringing you lots more posts in 2013.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Stocking fillers for teenage boys

Hello!
So, I’m onto the final stocking filler suggestions today, and that’s for teenage boys. Hopefully if you have a teenage boy to buy for, you’ll find something from my selection below.
Stocking presents - teenage boys

D-ring belt, £10 from Topman

FCUK body spray & wash, £8 from French Connection

Grey beanie hat, £8 from River Island

So Cal bracelet, £5 from Hollister

Chalk “Wake Me” sign, £9.99 from Strawberry Fool

My Cuppa Tea mug, £7.50 from John Lewis

Ted, the movie, £10 from Amazon

Gummy bears in a tin, £9.99 from Selfridges

Coldplay Live 2012, £8.99 from Amazon

Creative noise isolating headphones, £8.99 from Amazon
Look out for more festive posts!
With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo
PS only 1 more day left to enter the giveaway!

Stocking fillers for teenage girls

Hello readers!
Can you believe that two weeks today, Father Christmas will be back home enjoying a well-earned rest?!  Me neither.  Sorry there wasn’t a post yesterday, but I was travelling from India to the UK.  Today’s post is continuing with stocking fillers, and this time for teenage girls.  Please excuse the different layout, the software package I normally use to do these kind of posts is unfortunately only installed on our Mac Pro, which isn’t very portable!
Teenage girls stocking fillers

Black lace purse, £8 from Accessorize

Handcuff ditsy bracelet, £6 from ASOS

Touchscreen gloves, £7.95 from Prezzybox.com

Lipgloss set, £10 from Topshop

Crystal dot nail varnish strips, £8 from Harvey Nichols

Mushroom mug, £10 from Topshop

Daisy-dip candle, £8 from John Lewis

Toffee & fudge hot chocolate, £8 from Harvey Nichols

Chocolate smiles, £3.99 from Thorntons

Zebra glitter nail files, £3.75 from Accessorize

I’ll be back tomorrow with some stocking filler suggestions for teenage boys.

And if you haven’t entered the giveaway yet, you only have two more days to enter!
With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Stocking fillers: Young girls & boys

Earlier in the week I gave you stocking filler suggestions for the older generation & mums & dads, so today I’m focusing on the younger ones:  little girls and boys.  Once again, everything is less than £10.

Stocking Fillers for Young Girls

  1. Fairytales finger printing set, £7.99 from The Pea’s Knee’s
  2. Double strand Alice band, £3.00 from Accessorize
  3. Twinkle toes chocolates, £5.00 from Hotel Chocolat
  4. Star beanie hat, £7 from John Lewis
  5. Butterfly stretch bracelet, £2.50 from Accessorize
  6. Russian doll tissues, £1.60 from Heals
  7. Hello Kitty purse, £3.50 from Marks & Spencer
  8. Glittery owl stickers, £2.99 from Kidsen
  9. Glitterbabes Sparkle Bath Fizzer set, £4.00 from Boots
  10. Pippi Longstocking book, £5.59 from Amazon

 

Stocking Fillers for Young Boys

  1. The Nibblatrons chocolates, £5.00 from Hotel Chocolat
  2. The Lego Ideas Book, £8.50 from Amazon
  3. Dino hand transfers, £3.95 from The Pod Company
  4. Mini kite, £9.95 from Rigby & Mac
  5. Science Museum 3D drawing pad, £5.00 from The Science Museum
  6. Rearview spy glasses, £4.50 from Cotswold Trading
  7. Junior jokes, £4.80 from The White Company
  8. Monster finger printing set, £7.99 from The Pea’s Knee’s
  9. Whoopee cushion, £3.00 from John Lewis
  10. Soldier egg cup, £8.25 from Heals

And if you haven’t left a comment yet to be eligible to win the super goody bag, then get commenting!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Stocking fillers: Ladies & Gents

Yesterday was all about stocking filler ideas for the older generation.  Therefore, today’s post is for a slighter younger generation, although having said that, there were pressies I suggested yesterday that I would love and there are gifts on here today that I have no doubt the Grannies and Grandpas in our lives would love too.  Please let me know if anything you see grabs your fancy.

Stocking Fillers for Ladies

  1. Made in England tea towel, £9.95 from Go British
  2. Bliss Marvelous Mittens handcream set, £10 from Feel Unique
  3. Head massager, £3.99 from Strawberry Fool
  4. Prestat salted caramel truffles, £10 from John Lewis 
  5. Skinny adjustable headband, £8 from Sweaty Betty
  6. Gu chocolate cook book, £7 from Amazon
  7. Nicolas Feuillate Brut, £10 from John Lewis
  8. This Works Beauty Ball Sleep Balm, £10 from Ocado
  9. Burt’s Bees lip balm, £2.95 from Luxury Hair & Beauty
  10. Silicone tea bag, £3.99 from Lakeland

Stocking Fillers for Men

  1. Photocube, £4.50 from Cox and Cox
  2. I am the secret footabller, £8.96 from Amazon
  3. Multi-tool keyring, £8.50 from Cox and Cox
  4. Naturally European shower gel, £7.50 from Oliver Bonas
  5. Decision dice, £3.50 from Marks & Spencer
  6. Biscuit pocket mug, £6.99 from Amazon
  7. Why I really like you pad, £8.95 from Liberty
  8. Bobble water bottle, £7.99 from Amazon
  9. Single malt lollipos, £8.50 from Love Your Larder
  10. Espresso martini, £3.60 from Heals

Tomorrow, I’m moving onto the little people in our lives – I told you it was going to be a bonanza week!  Plus there will also be an extra special post tomorrow…!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Stocking Fillers: Glamorous Grannies & Gorgeous Grandpas

Happy Monday readers!  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  I can’t believe that three weeks today, we’ll all be excitedly awaiting the arrival of the big man – where has this year gone?  In light of that, today’s post is the start of my mammoth gift guide for Christmas 2012. I’m kicking it off with stocking fillers for the older generation and to have qualified as a stocking filler, it had to cost no more than £10.  Happy shopping!

Stocking Fillers for Gorgeous Grandpas

  1. IQ Challenge puzzle, £8 from John Lewis
  2. Key ring, £6 from The Pod Company
  3. Spiced cider kit, £6.40 from Heals
  4. Shaving cream, £9.60 from Marks & Spencer
  5. Silver Surfer mug, £9.99 from The Big Tomato Company
  6. Deep Sleep CD, £10 from Andrew Johnson
  7. Farrah’s butter fudge, £6 from John Lewis
  8. iPad for the Older and Wiser book, £5.85 from Amazon
  9. Scarf, £10 from Marks & Spencer
  10. Blackboard garden labels, £7 from Notonthehighstreet.com

Stocking Fillers - Grannies

  1. Personalised lavender hearts, £8 from Jonny’s sister
  2. Charbonnel & Walker chocolate ginger sticks, £9 from Heals
  3. Glamorous Granny mug, £9.99 from The Big Tomato Company
  4. Baking teacups, £6.95 from Dotcom Gift Shop 
  5. Eat Me cookie stamp, £8.99 from I Want One Of Those
  6. Room diffuser, £10 from John Lewis
  7. Limited edition elephant caddy with Early Grey tea, £8.95 from Williamson Tea
  8. Crabtree & Evelyn hand cream set, £6.40 from Marks & Spencer
  9. Seychelles soap, £6 from The White Company
  10. The Ten-Minute Gardener Collection book, £4 from Marks and Spencer

Check back tomorrow for more great ideas for stocking presents!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Spiced Apple Chutney

Whenever we go to somebody’s house for supper I always like to take a gift for the hosts to say thank you.  Sometimes a bottle of Champagne, sometimes wine, occasionally flowers (it’s tough to get decent flowers here), now and again chocolates, or a small gift that I think they would love.  Sometimes though, I like to take a homemade gift, as it somehow feels a bit more special.  Homemade gifts are especially good if you’re on a tight budget, which can so often be the case at this time of year.

I’m not particularly a chutney fan, although two of the most important people in my life, The Domestic Prince & King are, so I thought I would create a chutney that would be perfect with cold meats, cheeses and crackers or crusty bread, or could be popped into a stylish Kilner jar and given as a gift.

Spiced Apple Chutney

Makes approximately 1.2kg

Ingredients

  • 1kg apples (I used Jazz apples, but any eating apples would work), peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
  • 200g finely chopped shallots
  • 300g sultanas, raisins, chopped dates or figs
  • 200g demerara sugar
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 250ml white wine vinegar
  • 250ml apple cider vinegar
  • 5g smoked or regular paprika
  • 15g freshly grated ginger
  • 10g ground all spice
  • 5g ground cloves
  • 15g mixed spice
  • 2tsp of sea salt or 1tsp of table salt
  • A good grind of freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish (I used my 28cm Le Creuset) and slowly bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 2 to 2.5 hours, stirring every so often to make sure the chutney doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. As it simmers away, the liquid will reduce until it becomes very thick and has a glossy look.  You’ll know it’s ready when you can drag a wooden spoon through the chutney and it reveals the base of the pan that doesn’t immediately rush back together.
  4. Pour the hot chutney into sterilised jars (either put them through a full cycle in the dishwasher, or in a low oven at 110C for 10 to 15 minutes), seal and leave to cool.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. This is a piquant, sweet chutney that would be perfect with a baked brie or camembert and hunks of crusty french bread.
  2. If you wanted to give this a bit more fire, then add a finely chopped birds eye chilli.
  3. You can swap the shallots for regular onions, or red ones would work well too.
  4. If you don’t have any muscovado sugar in the house, any brown sugar will work, or all demerara.
  5. For a more mature chutney, store in a cool dark cupboard for a week or two before consuming.

As I said, I’m not a chutney fan, having confessed that, I must admit that I did enjoy this with some cheese for my lunch today.  I continually surprise myself!

Tomorrow’s post, will be all about sweet treats that make perfect gifts.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Let’s get this party started!

Hello lovely readers!

I’m back after my latest mini break, albeit a bit later than I’d hoped, owing to some technical difficulties (ggggrrr) and Bangalore Belly (double ggggrrrrr).  Anyway, as promised I am back with all things Christmassy and kicking of the festive posts with a fashion one.

The party season’s nearly upon us and that means an outfit (or two)!  Whether you go all out sparkly, or fancy something a little more tame that you can wear at other times during the year, my ten outfit picks are sure to help you find something that will fit the bill perfectly!

Tomorrow is all about helping the men find their ideal outfit.

Black lace bandage dress, £45 from Oasis

Stella cream trousers, £110 from French Connection

Beaded collar blouse, £125 from Karen Millen

Red pleated dress with jewelled collar, £69.99 from Zara

Michael by Michael Kors silver sparkly dress, £215 from Net-a-Porter 

Milo wrap shirt body, £125 from Reiss

Lyon black tuxedo trousers, £120 from Reiss

Mesh swing dress, £45 from ASOS

Gold sequin dress, £59.99 from Mango

Black playsuit, £119 from Ted Baker 

Flower print dress, £299 from Hobbs

 

Bastyan Claude cigarette trousers, £150 from John Lewis

Silk pintuck blouse, £79 from John Lewis 

I’m thinking my credit card is going to be taking a bit of bashing tomorrow!  Did you see anything that took your fancy?  Have you got your eye on a new party frock?

It’s good to be back!

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

The holidays are coming!

No, this is not a post about the Coca Cola holiday advert, but the first Christmas themed post on The Domestic Princess! I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that I ADORE Christmas. The Domestic King and Queen always used to make Christmas so magical for me, and in my adult life, I’ve continued to embrace the holiday season with as much gusto! I’m kicking off the Christmas themed posts with something super close to my heart: Christmas trees. Coming home and walking in to see a gorgeous Christmas tree adorned with twinkling lights, shimmering decorations, and the wonderful scent of pine, never fails in making me feel Christmassy. The Domestic King and Queen always had a real Christmas tree and when I had my own home, I carried on the tradition. We always used to go to our local Christmas tree farm to pick one on the Sunday before Christmas and would decorate it whilst munching on mince pies with brandy butter. The Domestic Queen was always very particular about the type of tree we chose, and unfortunately for The Domestic Prince, thanks to The Domestic Queen, I am as well. So today, I’m sharing with you my hints & tips on picking a Christmas tree.

Decide where the tree will go and what’s the maximum size tree will fit there.

Last thing you want to do have to do is try to hack the tree to make it fit, or drag it back to where you purchased it from.

Choose which type of tree is most suited to your requirements. Here’s a little summary on some of the more popular varieties that are available.

Nordmann fir – this is the best at needle retention and Britain’s most popular Christmas tree. It has a conical-shaped tree that has open branches and long, shiny dark green needles. The real clincher for most people is that it will stay fresh for a really long time, especially if you keep the water that it stands in topped up.

Fraser fir – choose this tree if you need it to fit in a small space. It’s a narrow, dense tree with short, flat dark green needles. Branches are strong and needle retention is pretty good and unlike some other trees, survives being planted in the garden after the festivities have finished.

Norway spruce – if decorating a tree is your downfall, then opt for a Norway as it’s perfect for decorating. It has short, sharp needles and is a lighter colour than the Nordmann. It does have the tendency to drop needles, so watering it regularly is an absolute must.

Noble fir – the Noble has stiff, short branches that at the bottom, snap off easily, making them ideal for making wreaths and garlands from. It also boasts, broad, thick needles with a silver underside.

Grand fir – if you want a tree that has a sublime scent, then this is the tree you should be clamouring to buy. The Grand has lustrous dark green needles that smell wonderfully citrussy. If you’ve got heavy ornaments, you might find that a Grand isn’t able to accommodate them, but the prettiness and fantastic smell will more than compensate.

Scots pine – if you have a biggish area to fill, a Scots pine would be perfect, owing to its bushy shape. However, a word of warning, hanging decorations on a Scot can be tricky as they have quite long, twisty needles. On the plus side, they have a lovely pine scent and generally good needle retention.

Lodgepole pine – the Lodgepole is probably a good all-round option, as it has a terrific pine scent and really good needle retention. It’s quite similar to the Scots pine, but has darker and straighter needles.

Blue sprucefor a beautiful coloured tree, look no further than the Blue spruce. With its blue tinged foliage, it’s a striking tree, although quite hard to find. It retains its needles quite well and has a mild pine smell.

Choosing which one to take home

  • A fresh Christmas tree should be able to last around 6 weeks inside, if cared for correctly.
  • To check if a tree is fresh, run your fingers along one of the branches and see how many needles come off in your hands. If it’s super fresh, there shouldn’t be many on your hands.
  • If a tree feels light when you pick it up, then it could be a sign that it’s dried out, therefore, not very fresh and unlikely to see Father Christmas drop those pressies off!
  • If a bent branch doesn’t bounce straight back, that’s another sign it might not be the freshest on the farm.
  • Don’t buy a tree that has been blocked in a block of wood. These trees have no way of drinking water and will dry out very quickly.
  • Once you’ve picked the perfect tree, ensure that they cut about 3 inches off the bottom befor eyou take it home.

Settling your Christmas tree in

  • Before taking it into the house, give it a good shake – if you did the branch test, there hopefully won’t be many falling out!
  • Take it through the door stump end down.
  • Plunge in water and leave outside in a cool shaded place, that’s not windy, for a couple of days.
  • Before you take it in, take off 1/2 inch off the bottom to open up the pores.
  • Place in a water holding stand.
  • Display your Christmas tree in a cool place out of a draft.
  • Water, water and water. Don’t ever let the water go below the base, as this will cause the base to seal and start to dry out.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Water the tree every day – a fresh Christmas tree can drink up to a gallon of water a day.
  2. Turn the Christmas tree lights off at night.
  3. Don’t place the Christmas tree in sand or soil, as this will block the pores in the tree’s bark preventing it from drinking up the water.
  4. If the only place the tree can go is next to a radiator, either turn the radiator off for the holidays, or if that’s not an option, place a vessel of water on top to help keep the air moist.
  5. If you don’t own a specialised Christmas tree holder, I’d highly recommend buying one, which can save hours trying to balance it in a bucket with stones and pebbles!
  6. Consider buying a container grown tree, which has been grown in the container you purchase it in. Whilst a more expensive option, they can last for a good few years, thus proving to be a saving in the longer-term.
  7. If real trees aren’t your thing, there are some amazing artificial ones available these days – we have a gorgeous one from John Lewis that we use whilst in India.

Is Christmas your favourite time of the year? Do you have a favourite type of Christmas tree, or are you an advocate of the artificial ones?

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

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