Friday, December 17, 2010


Well, the countdown is on.  Not long to go now before the big day.  Do you have all your Christmas shopping done?  Presents wrapped?  Christmas menus all sorted?....please say no, as we do take comfort in the fact that there are a lot of people out there who are as completely disorganised as us!

This week we have some fun with Christmas trees.  Got friends and family coming over for Christmas Day, and the house is completely barren of decorations and seasonal embellishments?  Well, dont panic, as we have a quick and easy fix that will look super stylish.  Its the Claytons Christmas know...the tree you have when you dont actually have a tree?  Intrigued??..then read on....
We love the idea of a Christmas Tree, but sometimes there just isnt time to put it up and decorate, or you may have limited space.  Perhaps you just feel like a change from the traditional tree?  The answer can be as close by as your backyard!  We love these very non-traditional looks.
These silver twigs (sold separately at Charcoal Interiors) can be used either en masse to create a great display in an urn or pot, or you can mount them individually to create a quirky, modern Christmas look.
Grab some branches from a tree at home.  Strip the leaves from the branch if necessary.  Branches with interesting angles work well and provide lots of vantage points for your decorations. 
This looks is easily achieved.  Grab a fancy urn or pot from home and create your own masterpiece with branches and some favourite decorations....the key is to not add too many.  You can also paint the branches white, black or silver.  Voila!  A Christmas Tree in minutes.  Easy, unique and fun.

This year we are having Christmas Dinner at my place.  We are a family business here, so our Tuesday meeting this week consisted of menu planning and suggestions on how to decorate the ever important Christmas Table.  We have decided on white tablecloths with a silver theme and will incorporate some beautiful greenery.  Along with our gorgeous candelabras for dramatic effect it should look great!  We are going to take heaps of photos for you, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, heres a selection of ideas that we really loved.  We have decided to take something from each setting.  I especially love the pine sprigs in the glasses...adding a really festive touch, yet crisp and modern.
A stunning blend of decorations, fresh flowers and candles on a neutral tablecloth, with the drama of a gorgeous chandelier, makes such a glamorous Christmas setting.
Add a touch of greenery to your traditional table setting this Christmas by creating mini collars for your serviettes out of greenery from the garden. In this instance hydrangeas have been used, which is quite widely available in the Southern States of Australia, or you could use anything from mock orange sprigs intertwined, to banana leaves in the Northern States.

We love the rustic urn filled with Christmas gifts!

Got some special glasses that you have had hidden away because you are too scared to use them?  Well its time to dust them off and create a unique table display.  Just add water and a sprig of pine from the tree, or similar from the garden.  Too easy!

We would LOVE to see your Festive Table Settings!  Please contact us when you have some pics to share and we will post them on the blog.

Last weekend, Pete the Greek and I went down to Adelaide to finalise arrangements for our upcoming nuptials in February.  We are getting married in my brothers vineyard, so theres a lot to organise as we are doing all the catering.

  As always, when we visit my brother, his beautiful family and his farm (he also runs sheep and produces his own olive oil as well as premium grapes for high end wine makers) we end up indulging in the wonderful array of fresh produce that is so abundantly available in the Adelaide Hills.  Gone are the days when Adelaide was a little backward town where not much happens.  These days its full of quality restaurants and bars, farmers markets, wineries and more.  We love the place. 

So whilst on our little sojourn, the Greek and I were treated to a BBQ dinner on the farm.  We sipped red on the front verandah overlooking the Lake Alexandrina in the distance and chomped on the most amazing lamb skewers.  My brother, after much arm twisting coughed up the recipe and here it is to share with you.  It makes a great appetiser on Christmas day before the big guns are brought out!  Enjoy!


Chris used lamb for this recipe, but you can try chicken or beef too.


                                  Makes 24                                  


  • 2 brown onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh coriander leaves and stems
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs ground coriander
  • 1 tbs garam masala
  • 1 tbs chilli flakes
  • 1 tbs ground turmeric


  1. Place onions, garlic, fresh coriander, lemon juice, oil, ground coriander, garam masala, chilli flakes and turmeric in a blender. Blend, scraping side of bowl occasionally, until coarsely chopped and well combined. Thread lamb, beef or chicken evenly onto skewers. Transfer to shallow glass or ceramic dish. Pour marinade over and turn until well coated. Cover and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours to marinate. (To freeze, see note.)
  2. Preheat barbecue grill on high. Reduce heat to medium. Cook skewers, turning occasionally and brushing with marinade left in dish, for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through.


    How fabulous that someone would think to make a cocktail especially designed around Christmas!  This week we bring to you the Candy Cane Cocktail.  Its so much fun and looks terrific...tastes great too and really we invented this one to get you all in the mood



Makes one cocktail
  • 1 candy cane, crushed, for garnish
  • 2 ounces strawberry vodka
  • 4 dashes white creme de menthe
  • 2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
  • Ice cubes


  1. Place crushed candy canes on a small plate or saucer. Wet the outside rim of a chilled martini glass with water. Holding the glass by the stem, rotate the rim to coat with candy.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, creme de menthe, cranberry juice, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into prepared glass; serve immediately.

And so we wish everyone a wonderful til you drop..then put your feet up, take a deep breath and remember that its only a few more days until Christmas.  Then it will all be over and we can start thinking about New Years!....'til next week!  

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