A round up of some of the most festive recipes that have featured on the site over the years. Happy Holidays one and all!
We’ve all hated Brussels sprouts at some point in our lives, and I probably still would if it wasn’t for Hu Kitchen in New York. When I was living in the city a couple of winters ago, I spent a lot of time there in between castings or on my way home from shoots. I didn’t have a kitchen in my apartment so I stocked up on their pre-cooked ingredients most nights, and became addicted to their roasted Brussels sprouts – soft and caramelised on the inside, crispy on the outside. Roasted grapes add a rich, juicy flavour to this dish and bind the other ingredients together in a subtly sweet sauce.
250g Brussels sprouts
250g red grapes
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1⁄2 broccoli head, chopped into florets
60g chard or kale, chopped
1 quantity Basic Tahini Dressing (page 135)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For a creamy version
1 tin coconut milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4.
Arrange the Brussels sprouts, grapes and chestnuts in a large baking tray, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with salt. Use a sharp knife to pierce the grapes slightly and then place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
Add the broccoli to the baking tray and roast for a further 15–20 minutes. When the broccoli is tender, the grapes are soft and caramelised and the Brussels are beginning to crisp, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the chard or kale for 10 minutes, until wilted. Stir the chard or kale into the tray, coating them in the juices of the roasted vegetables. Divide the vegetables among individual bowls or transfer to a larger dish if serving as a side. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and enjoy.
+ To make a creamy version, transfer the roasted Brussels, grapes, chestnuts and broccoli into a medium saucepan. Over a low-medium heat, stir in the coconut milk and heat until combined. Alternatively, you could do this in the oven, pouring the coconut milk over the roasted Brussels, grapes, chestnuts and broccoli and returning to the oven to heat through and combine for a further 10-20 minutes, at the same heat.
Enjoy as a warm salad, as a side for Christmas dinner or roasts, or serve with grains or psuedograins.
‘Tis the season for, well, a lot of things. Partying, getting together with loved ones, cooking, eating, gifting, receiving and, most importantly, keeping cosy and hibernating inside. Whilst I am no advocate of buying more and more, and always buying new, I like to curate interesting and unique mood boards to share a selection of items I think you will all love. Obviously I have to say, try the charity shops first; you’ll usually find more unique and special items than shopping brand new. But if all else fails, here is a breakdown of items (some natural / ethical, but others not so much) to see you through each phase of the holidays. From going out and staying in, to drinking and cooking, enjoy getting into the spirit of things with these delights.
Keep it cosy
On the town
For the face
* To enjoy 30% off my favourite products from Showcase Beauty, use code danielle30. Offer runs from Dec 20th until the end of January. You’re welcome! Showcase Beauty have a range of the newest and most unique indie beauty brands, many of which are natural, organic or ethical in some way (but be careful when selecting as not all of them are).
Around the home
In the kitchen
Defence / after the party
If you're anything like me, you'll have a tendency to gravitate outside at the first sight or sense of sunshine. I am a sun baby through and through; I could basque in it - literally soak it into every pore of my body - until it goes down. When it's not sunny, I feel low, but as it rises day in day out, I always tend to rise with it (regarding my sleeping patterns are as they should be and not disrupted by stress or other factors).
It fascinates me why we are all (mostly) drawn to and addicted to the Sun. It enlivens the senses; it governs many natural bodily functions, such as sweating, hydration, metabolism and mental wellbeing; and it permits more time outside, meaning more fresh air, more nature and more freedom out of the constant confines of an office and / or home. Our modern lifestyles are predominantly based inside, exposed to artificial lights and screens, and it's thought that these conditions may encourage and even worsen Seasonal Affective Disorder. So, seriously, make a conscious effort to get outside a few times a day (that doesn't include your commute).
The sun triggers the production of endorphins, which just make us feel good.
Vitamin D. You all know about that.
The Sun is energising. Its rays and the frequency of its energy is absorbed into our cells and fuels our internal systems. In other words, it boosts the metabolism and feeds our internal processes.
A surge in metabolic power can have domino effects on nearly everything else going on within. From how we break down energy from food and how strong our immune systems are to the behaviour of brain chemicals and other substances that contribute to mood, weight, energy and more.
It increases positivity and elevate low moods. As well as endorphins, we produce higher levels of serotonin when exposed to more sunlight, a chemical / neurotransmitter believed to help regulate mood, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. It is known to reduce anxiety, stress and depression. Think of it as Sunlight Therapy.
It brings people together more. When the Sun is out - especially in the UK as it's so rare - there is a stronger sense of community and connection. People gather more frequently to and generally spend longer together, as the days are longer and lighter.
Sunlight can also help regulate sleeping patterns. With more exposure to light, the sleep hormone melatonin is more efficient and we tend to produce more of it, meaning we sleep better and at more natural times, which may mean we're able to wake more easily too.
Over exposure to the Sun has been linked with accelerated aging.
Over exposure to the Sun has also been linked with risk of developing skin cancer.
In warm, humid climates, dehydration is a common side effect of too much time spent in the Sun. This includes dry skin as well as internal thirst. Drink more than you usually would and moisturise like you mean it.
Overuse of sun protection can lead to greasy, oily skin and clogged pores (choose a natural one, for this reason if nothing else).
Below are a few summertime beauty products I've tried and loved or have been recommended recently; most are natural, organic, free of parabens and other nasty chemicals and / or ethical in some way, but some are a little guiltier. I use a combination, depending on where I am, what my skin is doing and what kind of skincare support I need in each present moment.
A Few Skincare Brands You Should Know About
+ Directly after exposure to the sun and / or if you have light burns or any sensitivity, try to avoid heavy creams or oily products and opt for lighter, more cooling treatments.
Cucumber slices or natural cucumber water
Pure Organic / Raw / Manuka Honey face mask