This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Circa Home.
Like most people, Dave and I spend Christmas Day going from one family event to another (it's totally the way when you get married and suddenly have two families!!). To take things to the extreme, this year we're having brunch with my family in Victoria and then flying to Brisbane that night for a week of Christmas/holiday fun with our beautiful nephews. And so, with our crazy travel plans in mind, I've already started planning our Christmas brunch... because my entire life seems to revolve around thinking about food - especially yummy Christmas food!
This year I've teamed up with Circa Home to create a fast, fresh and fabulous brunch menu inspired by their Christmas fragrances. Dream job?? Umm... YEP!!! I know that lots of you are already familiar with the Circa Home brand. But if you're not, here's the low-down. They're a kick-ass Aussie company who make delicious smelling soy wax candles and melts, diffusers and hand wash. Anyone who knows me, also knows that whenever I'm at home, I always have a candle burning... ALWAYS! And I can tell you that these ones are ah-maaaa-zing!
So anyway, I was given the task of using the yummo-licious scents of Red Spiced Pear, Elderflower and Amber, and Vanilla Bean Allspice to plan my Chrissy brunch. I could totally do that, right? Well the problem wasn't so much thinking of recipes, it was trying to cut down my mega long list. Yes, the term 'indecisiveness' sums me up perfectly. But after many, many, hours of serious foodie thinking, I finally settled on the following Christmas brunch menu (and just quietly... I was pretty chuffed with myself!):
See! Totally chuffed! I really am a little bit head over heels in love with this menu. It's yummy, fresh and simple. And best of all, it's full of flavour, but still light enough to fit in Christmas dinner with the in-laws AND a few slices of cheesecake. Because cheesecake on Christmas Day is a must... at least in my world it is!
I love the idea of having elderflower cocktails waiting for everyone when they arrive. It's the perfect way to set the scene - and really, who on earth doesn't love a little sip of champas on Chrissy morning? The fresh raspberries and mint go perfectly with the St Germain (elderflower liqueur) and champagne. Fancy looking? Yes. Simple? Absolutely! Now is that the way to kick off a fab Christmas brunch or what!!?
Elderflower Champagne Cocktail - Inspired by Circa Home's Elderflower & Amber Fragrance
- 24 drops bitters
- 1 bottle champagne or dry sparkling wine chilled
- ½ cup St. Germain - if you can't find any St Germain elderflower liqueur, you can use Elderflower cordial instead
- 12 fresh raspberries
- 6 fresh mint leaves
- Place two drops of bitters into each glass.
- Divide the raspberries and mint leaves between the glasses.
- Pour the St. Germain equally between the glasses.
- Top with champagne.
- Serve immediately.
- Note: for a non-alcoholic version, omit the champagne and St Germain and replace with Elderflower cordial (available from supermarkets) and soda water.
And now to kick off the foodie side of things! My pear, prosciutto and goats cheese tart is inspired by Circa Home's Red Spiced Pear fragrance. It has a layer of caramelised onions on the puff pastry base and a sprinkle of walnuts and parmesan cheese to finish. Seriously, it's so incredibly full of flavour... and yet it will be ready in less than 20 minutes. That's my kinda food!
Pear, Prosciutto and Goats Cheese Tart - Inspired by Circa Home's Red Spiced Pear fragrance
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry thawed
- ½ cup caramelised onions store-bought in a jar
- 4 pears thinly sliced
- 1 cup goats cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 50 g prosciutto thinly sliced
- ½ cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 30 g parmesan cheese finely grated
- lemon wedges to serve
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius (slightly lower if using fan-forced).
- Trim the sides of the puff pastry sheets so that they resemble long rectangles.
- Use a knife to carefully score a line approximately 2cm from each of the outside edges (but don't cut all the way through).
- Prick the pastry sheets with a fork and place into a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Thinly slice the pears.
- Remove the puff pastry sheets from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Spread the caramelised onion over the middle of each pastry sheet (up to the scored lines).
- Place the pear slices onto the caramelised onion (allowing them to overlap slightly).
- Cook in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes or until the pear is just starting to soften.
- Remove from the oven and crumble over the goats cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper (optional).
- Sprinkle over small pieces of prosciutto (simply tear the slices by hand).
- Finely grate the parmesan cheese over the top and sprinkle over the walnuts.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
For something a little sweet, my vanilla bean yoghurt parfaits with fresh berries and allspice make a perfectly light start to the day (and yes, I definitely have cheesecake in mind when I say that). You can make the granola well ahead of time (up to 4 weeks!!), and then on the day, everything can be whipped together in less than 5 minutes. Easy peasy... and again, looking fancy doesn't need to mean time consuming! (PS. you can totally cheat and use store-bought granola if you prefer - I pinky promise I won't tell).
Mini Vanilla Bean Yoghurt Parfaits with Fresh Berries and Allspice Infused Granola - Inspired by Circa Home's Vanilla Bean & Allspice fragrance
- For the granola:
- 4 cups (360g) rolled oats
- ⅓ cup (70g) melted coconut oil
- ¼ cup (85g) honey
- ⅓ cup (65g) packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 X 600g container of good-quality thick vanilla bean yoghurt
- 250 g fresh strawberries chopped
- 125 g fresh blueberries
- 125 g fresh raspberries
- 50 g pistachios crushed
- honey to drizzle
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius.
- Grease and line a 30X20cm slice tray with baking paper.
- Place the rolled oats into a bowl and set aside.
- Place the coconut oil and honey into a microwavable safe bowl.
- Heat for 30 seconds.
- Add the brown sugar and stir to combine.
- Heat for a further 30 seconds.
- Add the cinnamon, allspice, salt and vanilla and stir.
- Pour the liquid over the rolled oats and stir to combine.
- Place the granola mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- During the cooking time, remove the mixture every 10 minutes and stir well.
- With 5 minutes cooking time remaining, add the dried cranberries and stir to combine.
- Remove the granola from the oven and set aside to cool completely. As it sets, it will harden up.
- Break the granola into clusters.
- The granola can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
- To assemble the parfaits, place a 100g of vanilla bean yoghurt into the bottom of each serving glass and top ½ cup of granola. Sprinkle over chopped fresh berries and crushed pistachios. Drizzle with a little honey.
Finally, (and can I just say that this is my FAVE recipe) are the cutest little snickerdoodle cookies with mini vanilla milkshakes. I absolutely adore snickerdoodles and the flavour combination of spice and vanilla is just too good. I served mine over the top of Circa Home jars and I just love how sweet they look.
Snickerdoodle Cookies - Inspired by Circa Home's Vanilla Bean & Allspice fragrance
- 115 g butter room temperature
- 180 g caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 165 g plain flour
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- ½ tsp bi-carb soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbs ground cinnamon
- Extra 30g caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
- Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
- Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract with beaters or a stand mixer until pale, light and fluffy.
- With the beaters still on, add the egg and continue to beat until completely combined.
- Sift the plain flour, cream of tartar, bi-carb soda and salt into the bowl.
- Beat until well combined.
- At this stage the mixture will be quite sticky - place it into a bowl and then into the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Mix the extra sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
- Place the cinnamon sugar into a bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
- Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Remove the cookie dough from the fridge.
- Roll the dough into teaspoon-sized balls and then coat in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Allow a 5cm gap between each snickerdoodle on the baking trays as they will spread.
- Bake in the oven for 8-10mins or until the cookies appear slightly puffed, lightly golden and set in the middle.
- Leave the snickerdoodles to cool on baking tray for 10 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Mini Vanilla Milkshakes - Inspired by Circa Home's Vanilla Bean & Allspice fragrance
- 3 cups vanilla ice-cream
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 cups milk
- Place all ingredients into a blender or Thermomix.
- Mix on high speed until all ingredients are combined.
- Pour into serving glasses.
But it's not just all about the food... it's also about where you put it! I have to say that when it comes to decorating my Christmas table, I'm a big fan of keeping things simple and letting the food be the highlight. This year I'm really loving the whole natural, cream and gold look (I think it's because I'm in nursery preparation mode - so it's all about neutral colours at our house right now!!). Anyway, the Circa Home candles were the perfect way to offset my brunch dishes and classic table decorations. You might have also noticed that I used the Circa Home candle jars for my vanilla milkshakes. Yep, you can actually reuse them! How cool is that?! If you love to get crafty and do a bit of DIY, check out #ReuseCircaHome on social media - there are some very clever peeps decorating their Christmas tables with the reused products. Trust me, they're way cleverer than me!