Posted in Blogmas, Lifestyle

Christmas Tag

We’re so close to the big day now I can practically smell the turkey roasting in the oven! On this lovely 15th day of Blogmas, I thought I would do a Christmas Tag! However, before we get into it, we have to tick today’s song off the Christmas Countdown!

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Posted in Blogmas, Lifestyle

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Hello everyone! Welcome to day 13 of blogmas here on Life With Ktkinnes. How are you all today? As we start today with our usual Christmas Song Countdown, Stay Another Day! Now, this isn’t my favourite song, and I’m kinda sad because I wanted a really good song to go with this post but anyway. The British public have spoken and so today’s song is Stay Another Day. Although, I suppose, I wish I could’ve stayed another day in London!

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Quotes for Christmas!

Well that’s been a fun couple of days in London and I’m now curled up in bed getting some more revision done for these exams. Considering I’m the only one in the flat with exams this semester. Well, Jason has tests to do but they don’t count for anything.

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Posted in Blogmas, Films, Lifestyle

Top 10 Christmas Films

Hide-y hi hi! Blogmas day 11 is here, and with it are the 10 films I simply have to watch every Christmas. It just wouldn’t feel right without them if that makes any sense. Today’s song is Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and I can safely say that this is one of my top 10 Christmas songs. You can’t decorate the Christmas tree without this song playing at least once. And if it doesn’t bring about memories of that iconic Christmas film then I don’t know what would.

 

So yes, my favourite Christmas films! These are in absolutely no particular order and I am more than willing to have suggestions listed down below so if I’ve missed any of your favourites please let me know and I’ll watch them before the big day! I’ve included links to where you can watch them online if they aren’t on Netflix when you get round to watching them.

 

Home Alone

Kevin McCallister, who is a 8-year-old boy, is forsaked at home while his family is on holiday in France. When Kevin realizes that he is forgotten, he knows that he must take care of himself. Meanwhile, 2 thieves – Harry and Marv are keeping eyes on Kevin’s house because of knowing this fact. Join Kevin as he approaches Christmas Day on his own, knowing his house is going to be targeted! Found here.

Happy Feet

The movie tells the story of a little penguin named Mumble who has a terrible singing voice and later discovers he has no Heartsong to attract his soul mate. Mumble then has to resort to some fancy footwork by tap dancing his way into the heart of the one he loves. Join him as he makes friends and learns to accept his differences. Found here.

Elf

Buddy is a regular-sized man who was raised as an elf by Santa Claus. When the news is finally broken to Buddy that he’s not a real elf, he decides to head back to his place of birth, New York City, in search of his biological family. Buddy struggles to adjust to life with humans, however he teaches them that the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear! Found here.

The Polar Express

Young hero boy on Christmas Eve embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express. During his adventure he learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas. I don’t think we ever learn his name, or if we do I can’t remember it. There are a few odd moments in this one but it is a must see for everyone! Found here

A Christmas Carol (1951)

An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. The perfect film for all the scrooges out there! Found here

It’s A Wonderful Life

A compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman decides to end his life, and an angel who has not earned his wings yet comes to convince that “It’s a Wonderful Life”. This one is best if you can watch it in black and white, in my opinion. There’s something about watching black and white films that just adds to the Christmas feeling. Found here.

Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas

Three short Christmas stories, starring Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Max, Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie. Found here.

The Santa Clause 

Divorcee Scott Calvin is disgusted to learn that his ex and her husband have tried – and failed – to break it easy to their 6-year-old son Charlie that Santa isn’t real. On Christmas Eve, Scott reads The Night Before Christmas… then receives an unexpected visitor on his roof. When he’s startled by Scott’s calling out and falls, the Santa impersonator disappears, leaving only an 8-reindeer sleigh and a suit with instructions to put it on if he’s involved in an accident. Scott does, and is transported around the town dropping gifts through chimneys until he’s taken to the North Pole and informed by a group who claim they’re elves that he is now Santa. Charlie is proud of his dad’s new job, though Scott’s convinced it’s a dream. Until his hair turns white, his beard refuses to stay shaved, he gains weight inexplicably, even for his sudden love of junk food… Now he’s accepted it, there’s just one problem: how to keep it secret from his disbelieving family?

Miracle on 34th Street

Six year old Susan has always doubt about the most enduring miracle of Santa Claus. When her mother tells her the “secret” of Santa Claus, she no longer expects special gifts from him. But after visiting a special store, she receives the most valuable present and maintain her faith. Found here.

Love Actually

With a slow rhythm, eight love stories turn intersect without disturbance. Besides, each affair which carries a different color: romantic, humorous and insightful … shows a sweet song about love. Found here

Santa Clause: The Movie

A peasant woodcutter becomes Santa Claus and later foils an evil toy manufacturer’s scheme to take over Christmas. Found here

Jack Frost

A worth watching movie tells a story of Jack Frost, an often-traveling blues musician, who spends too much time on working but his family. Then a car accident suddenly takes his life away, which makes he start to think about the dearest people in his life- his family. Jack comes to life one day under the shape of a snowman to fix his lost time. Found here.

Okay so I lied, there are 12 there. I couldn’t cut it down! Unfortunately there are some must-see Christmas films that I am still to watch, but I hope you enjoy these if you get a chance to watch them! All links were working at the time of writing this post, so hopefully they’ll be working for you to see them!

14 more sleeps…

Ktkinnes

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Posted in Blogmas, Lifestyle

My Favourite Things

Okay, I won’t pretend this is a post I’ve written today or last night as I am currently in London. Well, I’m actually not, this is scheduled. In fact it was written back in October… But for you reading this, I haven’t written it live due to London. That was more complicated than it needed to be.

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Posted in Blogmas, Lifestyle

Dear Santa

Hello my lovelies! Tonight I board the bus to London and I have never  been so excited for a road trip. In fact, the last time I did a road trip this long was back in 2009 when we drove from Belfast to some southern part of England for a family wedding. But we’re getting off topic. It’s yet another day closer to Christmas Day! And to celebrate, today’s song is 2000 Miles. Quite appropriate, is it not?

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Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

Looking back

Nostalgia is kicking in big time today! Welcome back to Life with Ktkinnes for yet another day of Blogmas. Can you really believe I’ve lasted a week? Yes, I have another exam tomorrow, but my mind keeps jumping to London and how excited I am to spend the weekend away, exploring a new city and spending time with the girls I’ve spent the last 108 days talking to. It’s crazy when you think we only started GRLPOWR 106 days ago!

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Posted in Blogmas, Lifestyle

Katie Tries Fashion

Well anyone who knows me even slightly will know that this post is more than slightly out of my comfort zone as I have awful fashion sense, and my idea of dressing up is a sparkly top with my slightly less see-through leggings and some heeled ankle boots that are in serious need of polishing. So you may be wondering why I decided to go with something like this. One answer – Christmas Jumpers!

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Posted in Blogmas, Food, Lifestyle

Food Glorious Food

As we start Day 6 of Blogmas (that word still looks funny), I decided to share my Christmas Dinner with you all and how I prepared for it, cooked it, and just the general fun I had on Sunday. It was a magical day, and it really set the mood for Christmas Day! All that would’ve made it better is snow…

 

And yes, I just had to put in a bit of Michael Bulbé. While cooking, I found it very helpful to have some Christmas music playing, and a large glass of wine to hand! So without further delay, here we go:

 

Being paranoid about forgetting something, I started my shopping list back around the 14th of November. To do this, I found it best to sit and make a meal plan. The actual planning can be the slowest part for me as I have to think everything through fully to make sure it’s all gluten free for Nuala, no tomatoes for Jason, and not too creamy for me. I think Mary might actually be the easiest to feet out of the 4 of us… that’s a strange thought… Anyway, I’m getting distracted! To plan my meal, I wrote it out as if we were are a restaurant. That way, I could go through and see exactly what I was cooking. The next step for me was to write out the individual shopping lists for each course, before finally combining the lists into the ultimate food shop, remembering to omit the things I already have in the flat. All this can be seen below.

 

Menu and shopping lists

Now, I like to use Tesco Delivery, but you’re free to go shopping or try a different supermarket, but if you were to use Tesco to buy all these items as I did, You could expect to spend about £72 to feed four people with plenty of left overs. This would work out at roughly £18 per person for a 4 course meal plus whatever’s left over.

 

Once again, I found myself at the planning stages. Yes, I had all my food on its way, I had fully planned the food, but the next step is to figure out timings. This is crucial when it comes to cooking a dinner of this style and size. I like to work backwards in this situation ie figure out out what time you would like to be sitting down to each course, and subtract times from then to figure out when each thing should be done. It also helps, especially when in a student flat, to figure out which dishes will be needed for each course, however I won’t bore you with that side of my planning. Just know that it took me a good three hours to figure it all out, especially tying to work out how on earth I managed to fit them all in the oven last year!

 

Now, as you can see from the schedule attached here – christmas-cooking-schedule, for a dinner on Sunday I started preparation on Friday. This may seem a little stupid to you but the terrine I decided to make as a starter was actually a 3 day thing. If you’d like to follow my schedule, feel free. However, below I have included the 4 courses, their required ingredients, and how to make them. Hope you enjoy!

Starter – Pork Terrine

Ingredients:

  • 200g skinless duck breast
  • 200g skinless chicken breast
  • 150g pork loin fillet
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 250g thin rindless streaky bacon
  • 1kg sausage meat*
  • 150ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp tarragon
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • butter
  • salt and pepper to season

Method:

  1. Mix the duck, chicken, pork, garlic, brandy, 2 tbsp thyme, oil and pepper in a large bowl. Cover this and leave it to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
  2. Drain the meats and cut them into small chunks before browning them on the stove. Season, and then leave to cool.
  3. Grease a loaf tin (roughly 1 litre in size), and arrange the bacon on the base and sides – double layering the base, and leaving enough over the sides to fold over the top.
  4. Soften your sausage meat with cream and the rest of the herbs before mixing in the now cold meat. Scoop this into the loaf tin, pressing down well, before covering with more bacon over the top.
  5. Heat your oven to 180C (for a fan oven) and double wrap the top of the terrine in foil. Place the loaf tin in a large deep-sided roasting pan and pour boiling water up to half way.
  6. Bake for one hour before removing from the oven and leaving to cool. Place this in the fridge overnight.
  7. Place the tin in a pan of just boiled water in order to soften the bacon. Once softened, you should find it easy to remove the tin from the terrine.
  8. Slice and serve with salad.

 

The next part is the fun part. Ever watched your parents stress on Christmas Day and wonder why? It’s because there are so many elements to the main course and half the time they aren’t even eaten! Here’s how I prepared the main course:

 

Turkey:-

Ingredients:

  • 1 turkey crown (most come with it written on the side how many it serves)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chicken stock

 

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Our oven is a little strange with temperatures so I always adjust the temperature to match the oven. Only you know your oven so go with your gut instinct!
  2. Mix, in a small bowl, your maple syrup, orange juice and thyme. This is your glaze.
  3. Put your turkey crown in a roasting tray – piece of advice, a disposable one is perfect for this and you’ll appreciate it when it’s time to do the dishes. Generously brush the skin with the glaze. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour chicken stock into the roasting tin around the turkey up to a depth of around 2cm (roughly 500ml). Again, depending on the people you’re cooking for, you might want to check your stock cubes to see if they contain gluten!
  5. Calculate your cooking time. Allow 20 minutes per kg plus an extra 70 minutes. Of course, a lot of the turkey crowns now come with this already calculated and written on the packaging so check there to save yourself any calculations!
  6. Place your turkey tin in the oven and remember to re-glaze every 20 minutes or so. As you can see, I’ll be setting timers for everything!
  7. When time is up, remove your turkey from the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. To check your turkey is cooked through, check the juices are running clear.

Roast Potatoes – Now this is one that you can easily cheat – buy a pack of ready made and shove them in the oven! However, as a family we always have homemade roasties on Christmas Day. And with Nuala being unable to eat the ready made ones, I get the fun of making my own!

Ingredients:

  • approx 650-700g potatoes. Maris Piper work best in my opinion
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp flour (gluten free in my case)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (notice that here’s your first problem – two different temperatures for things that need to be done at the same time!) and peel and half your potatoes. For larger potatoes, you may wish to quarter them.
  2. Put your empty (yes empty) roasting tray in the oven to preheat.
  3. Parboil your potatoes for 8-10 minutes on the hob in a large pot of boiling water.
  4. Drain your potatoes and dry them, before tossing them in the mix of flour, oregano, turmeric and salt and pepper.
  5. Pour your oil into the hot tray and stick it back in the oven for 5 minutes. Allow your potatoes to sit out in the open during this time as it helps crisp them slightly.
  6. Add your potatoes to the oil and toss them so they’re fully coated in the oil. Roast for approximately 40 minutes, remembering to turn them half way, and take them out when golden and crispy.

Mashed Potato – Again, this is something you can cheat by buying the ready made stuff. Alternatively, you can make your own in advance and then shove it in the microwave for 10 minutes before serving!

Ingredients:

  • 900g potatoes (can use the same ones as above!)
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

  1. Peel and cut your potatoes, same as in the roast potato section.
  2. Pop them in a pot and pour in enough water to cover them.
  3. Add a pinch of salt and bring the water to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat so it’s simmering until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes) and drain.
  4. Return the potatoes to the pot and add your milk and butter.
  5. Using either a masher or an electric beater, mash the mix until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Carrots and Parsnips – Now, at home we tend to have this mashed and so it’s cooked the exact same way as the mashed potato recipe above (without the milk and with extra butter) however as a flat, we prefer the roasted vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 250g carrots
  • 250g parsnips
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Method:

  1. Peel your vegetables and preheat your oven to 220°C. As with the roast potatoes, put an empty tray into the oven to heat.
  2. Slice your vegetables into halves or quarters, so they are all a similar size.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the oil, honey and mustard. Add your vegetables and toss thoroughly to evenly coat the pieces.
  4. Place them on the hot tray and roast for around 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Note: I tend to cheat for this and instead, I only mix the mustard and the honey, before adding the vegetables to the same tray as the potatoes! Saves on dishes, and means I save a little oil!

 

Brussel Sprouts – the bane of all Christmas dinners. Who actually enjoys these? And yet I couldn’t count it as a Christmas dinner without these! So here’s how I make them slightly more tolerable.

Ingredients:

  • 15 sprouts halved length-wise
  • 1 and a half tbsp butter
  • 1 and a half tbsp oil
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in the oil in a pan over a medium-high heat.This is where I miss my gas hob at home! Do this until the butter is ‘foamy’
  2. Reduce the heat a little before adding the garlic. Cook this until it is lightly browned and then take it out and bin it (yes really)
  3. Add sprouts cut-side down, cover and cook without stirring on a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Serve them up!

 

For the GravyPigs in blankets and Stuffing I would recommend just buying ready made or powers that you just add water to for the gravy and stuffing. It saves a lot of time and hassle! Follow the instructions on the packaging and keep quiet when people compliment your skills on these three things!

Dessert – Chocolate Mousse

The penultimate course! Our flat is filled with a strange mix. Nuala can’t eat anything glutenous, Jason tends to like most things but can be quite straight when telling you his opinion on something, Mary isn’t a fan of mixing sweet and savoury, none of the three of them like Christmas pudding, and I really am not a fan of cream. So we’re a bad bunch to make dessert for! This is why I settled on a nice mousse.

 

Ingredients:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp brandy (optional)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100ml whipping cream

Method:

  1. Grate 50g of the chocolate and set it to one side.
  2. Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl before stirring in your alcohol if you are using it.
  3. Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks.
  4. Spoon in half the sugar, whisk into stiff peaks again, add the rest of the sugar and whisk again.
  5. Whip your cream in a separate bowl.
  6. Fold your melted chocolate into the egg and sugar mix. Once fully folded in, fold in the cream and two thirds of the grated chocolate.
  7. Spoon the final mixture into individual cups and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
  8. Serve with the remaining grated chocolate sprinkled on top, and if you’re feeling fancy add a strawberry or some raspberries!

And finally – Citrus Crush.

This has become a traditional pudding that I make. Actually, while writing this post I’ve just realised that I need to find new dishes to serve the mousse in as I had planned on using the dishes I use for citrus crush! Whoops… Anyway, this is a recipe for what can only be described as something somewhere between a sorbet and a slushy but it is so so tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 2 grapefruits (halved)
  • 4 oranges (halved)
  • 2 limes (halved)

Method:

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the water in a pot on the hob. Remove the sugary water from the heat and leave to cool.
  2. Juice the fruit and sieve the juice into the now cooled sugar water.
  3. Pour this into a container, roughly pour in 2-3cm in depth but I find this doesn’t overly matter.
  4. Freeze this for 2 hours. Remove, and ‘fluff’ (I mash) it with a fork.
  5. Return it to the freezer and now fluff every half hour between now and serving. I tend to forget so I don’t think it overly matters but just as long as you give it a chance to fully freeze. Mash it before serving though!

 

And that brings us to the end of a very long Christmas Dinner Recipe! I hope you find it useful, and if you do decide to try making it let me know how it goes!

​Ktkinnes xx

 

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Posted in Blogmas, Lifestyle

A Girl Can Dream

So this wasn’t an original Blogmas post, and while writing it I had no clue what day to put it on. But I was listening to Christmas music, and having a moment of pure Christmas spirit, when I found myself daydreaming about my dream house at Christmas. I’m very aware I have never described my dream house to you, but trust me when I say that it would be incredible at Christmas.

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