Jess Cantoni

Recipes, reviews & lifestyle

Sunday, 10 December 2017

My Christmas Playlist | BLOGMAS DAY 9


Time for something a bit different on my blog: the Christmas tunes I have been loving so far this festive season. I'm definitely one of those people who will start playing Christmas music in the middle of November, although I know there are people who start A LOT earlier! 
This year I discovered Christmas FM, an Irish radio station, as well as Heart Extra Xmas, so I've been playing Christmas music non-stop! Highly recommend it! 

In no particular order, here are some old classics and newer tunes that I've been playing on repeat so far:

1. Lindsey Stirling's Warmer in the Winter (FULL ALBUM) 
Give this a listen if you love a bit of violin crossed with dub-step. A variety of tunes, slow and fast, so you might getaway with playing this when you're parents are around! It counts as Classical music, right??

2. Michael Buble's Christmas (FULL ALBUM)
I like to play this one in November to ease myself into Christmas listening, instead of playing the classics straight away.

3. Fairytale of New York by The Pogues
How can anyone NOT love this tune?? 

4. I wish it could be Christmas everyday by Wizzard
Absolute classic.

5. It's the most wonderful time of the year by Andy Williams
I totally agree with the title of this song. Also i'm sure this song is featured in nearly every Christmas movie?!

6. Carol of the Bells 
Reminds me of when Fabio and I spent Christmas in New York and the Saks department store holiday lights display was playing this tune every so often. You could hear it half way down fifth avenue. I think we saw it numerous times, and it was magical every time.

7. Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano
I can never resist singing this one when it comes on!

I think these are those I've been loving the most. Of course, I love all the Christmas tunes (maybe not Mariah Carey though - sorry!) I don't want to just list them all though as it will defeat the point of the post!

Which tunes have you been playing on repeat this Christmas?

And if you're interested...

Vlogmas day 9


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Saturday, 9 December 2017

Vin Brûlée (Mulled Wine) | BLOGMAS DAY 8


It's quickly beginning to turn more wintery here in the Cotswolds. This morning there was a hard frost here in Cheltenham and on our trip to Stow-on-the-Wold there was snow covering large parts of the ground! It would be magical if we could have a white Christmas this year! On cold, snowy evenings, the perfect comfort drink is a glass of fruit-infused mulled wine. It's also a clear sign that Christmas will soon be upon us and more mulled wine is expected.

In Italy, especially in the Piemonte region, mulled wine is called 'vin brûlée' - quite literally, 'burnt wine'. Of course, we don't burn our wine, and nor do we boil it. 

It is traditional in my husband's Mum's village in the Piemonte region to serve mulled wine after midnight mass. The wine is served out of a massive vat and is usually made by volunteers from the village. The locals gather to chat about their Christmas so far, with their mulled wine in hand, along with a slice of panettone. It's such a festive and joyous time; everyone is so happy and merry - I'm sure the mulled wine helps!

The following recipe is from the Eataly website. Eataly is an Italian marketplace in New York with delis, restaurants and cooking courses. On the top of the Flatiron building there was a pop-up, alpine-insired restaurant called Baita, and this is the mulled wine they served. I halved the recipe, which serves around 4 half-full wine glasses.

Ingredients

375ml Barbera red wine (or something not high in tannins)
Half an orange
Half a lemon
1 star anise
1 stick of cinnamon
1 clove
1 cardamon pod
1/2 cup of sugar (125g)
3 ounces of brandy (use Vecchia Romagna brandy for true authenticity)

Method

1. Cut the peel off half an orange and lemon so it's down to the white, inner peel.


2. In a large pot combine all the ingredients apart from the brandy. Heat on a medium heat and before it reaches boiling point, take off the heat. Leave aside with the lid on to infuse for 20 minutes.



My wine of choice, bought in Morrisons


3. Once the wine has infused, stir in the brandy, strain and serve! Salute! 


And if you're interested...

Vlogmas day 8



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Friday, 8 December 2017

Panforte | BLOGMAS DAY 7


It has been a long day out with the family, and I sorta forgot about this Blogmas post. However all was not lost! Christmas is all about spending time with family, and in the end, this blog post allowed me to enjoy making this panforte with my Mum when we got back (we haven't made anything together for years!) It created some hilarious moments that we'll never forget.
So here I am, having given up the time I would usually spend writing this (no, I'm not organised enough to pre-write posts), sitting in bed at 11pm, writing this post. It's an easy choice to put family first - we had fun watching Christmas with the Kranks - but I WILL NOT LET BLOGMAS DEFEAT ME! 
Anyways, you're probably wondering about the recipe. Panforte is a citrusy traditional Italian 'cake' served at Christmas. It's SO easy to make and it looks pretty impressive too. Full of festive spices, it looks more difficult that it is. I chose the recipe from the Italian food website, Giallo Zafferano. I have translated it myself into English for you guys, to ensure it's as authentic a recipe as possible. 

Ingredients

260g almonds
300g caster sugar
4g nutmeg
2g cinnamon
320g candied peel
150g honey
4g ground cloves
icing sugar for dusting
160g flour 00
4g ground coriander
1 sheet of rice paper

- 20cm cake tin with a loose bottom

Method

1. Pour the sugar and honey into a pan and heat on a low heat until all dissolved. 




2. Once dissolved, weigh the peel into a bowl and pour in the honey mix. You must be quick at this stage, as the honey will begin to harden again. 



3. Add the almonds and mix together. It will seem hard but this is normal.



4. Now add the flour and mix together. Again, it will seem hard but it's normal. You'll need to give it some elbow at this stage! I certainly did! Once combined, add the spices and mix in. It will look lumpy too.




5. Grease the bottom of your tin. Cut out a circle from your rice paper and layer on the bottom of the tin.



Got my Mum to be a hand Model! Haha.


6. Grease the sides as well and line with baking parchment. 



7. Next, pour the mixture into the pan. Grab yourself a glass of water and a metal spoon. Wet the spoon, and using the back, press the cake down in order to level it out. Wet as many times as needed.



8. Next, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. Generously sieve icing sugar over the cake, covering it all over. Once the oven has pre-heated, bake for 10 minutes.



9. Once baked, cool on a wire rack for a few mins and then remove from the pan. You'll want to do this quick as you don't want the cake to cool because then you won't be able to peel off the parchment. Carefully peel off the parchment and then leave to cool further. Dust with more icing sugar to cover any areas that caramelised whilst cooking. 






BUON APPETITO E BUON NATALE!

And if you're interested...

Vlogmas day 7



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Thursday, 7 December 2017

My Fave Vlogma's to Watch 2017 | BLOGMAS DAY 6


Being a vlogger myself, naturally I like to watch a lot of other vloggers in my spare time. 
I want this post to be truthful, so I'm not going to search out random vlogmas'/daily vlogs just to fill space on this post. In fact, I probably watch a lot of the same Youtubers as you do! However there are a few smallers ones that I have found recently, who I do enjoy. So without further explanation, let's crack on!

In no paticular order, here are the Vlogmas'/Daily vloggers I'm watching this year, without fail. 

1. Zoella



The Queen of Vlogmas herself. She needs no explanation. You probably all watch her too (if even secretly!)

2. Thatcher Joe



He makes claims that he's not a daily vlogger, when in fact, he is. Joe IS doing Vlogmas this year, even if he won't admit it. Also needs no explanation. 

3. Katie Snooks


A reasonably small youtuber when compared to Zoella (94K subs), but we know numbers do not matter. She's quite well-known for having worked at Gleam Futures (the management of Zoella etc) and is now signed by them herself. I love watching Katie as she's so likeable and down-to-earth. Her chats with her mum are also hilarious. She has this amazing quirkiness and charm too; you should go check out her channel. 

Katie's Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/snooksy

4. Pointless Blog



Pointless Blog, A.K.A. Alfie Deyes, boyfriend of Zoella. A daily vlogger for yeaaaaars, he's automatically doing Vlogmas, but still worth a watch for any moments that Zoe doesn't manage to capture! I also tend to watch his throughout the year, so it's habit for me anyway.

5. Seth James DeMoor

A small youtuber like myself, Seth lives in Denver, Colorado. I've only been watching him for a few days and I'm already slightly hooked. I'm assuming he's a daily vlogger as I've seen him upload everyday so far. I think for me, the intrigue is American life. I love the USA and love watching how differently, or even similarly, life is lived over there. I also like his style of filming. Great for getting ideas for my own vlogs!

Seth's Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeSHo5kTvzoik4STh7MuMCA

6. The Youngs

A young family from Scotland, the Youngs are great to watch. A smallish channel (37K subs), they vlog mostly about being parents, looking after their two children, River and Cove. I just love how down-to-earth and 'normal' they are. I think when I start a family, I'll be watching their vlogs all over again!

The Young's Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/iamdanielyoung

7. Rhiannon Ashlee



Next to Zoella, I would say Rhiannon is my all-time favourite Youtuber to watch right now. I LOVE her non-intrusive style of filming; the documents her life with her boyfriend Doug and their sweet little daughter, Delilah. Her vlogs are super cosy and always cheer me up. She's always aware of what she's sharing to her viewers and is always conscious about 'boasting' about buying things, which makes her even more likeable (she shouldn't be anyway!) Again, when I start a family, I'll be watching her vlogs again. 

Rhiannon's Vlog Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RhiannonAshleeExtra

8. Fleur De Force



I often watch Fleur's channel on and off, but always tune in to her Christmas Gift Guide videos (especially the 'him' one she does with her Husband, Mike - I find him rather funny!)I've started to realise though that I prefer Fleur's vlogs. Despite her big channel, she's so normal and not boast-y. Fleur and Mike have a few dogs and cats, who are all super cute (another reason I love watching). I also think I find Mike to be quite similar to Fabio, so I always end up laughing and showing Fabio parts of it. Recommend her vlogs if you're not already a viewer!

9. Sean Elliot


Despite being channel that has grown rather quickly due to being Alfie Deye's sister's boyfriend (what a mouthful!), his videos are good to watch! He's got such a good sense of humour and is rather quirky. He's big on his trainers, so these are often the focus of the vlogs! You'll often catch him and Poppy on outings with Zoe an Alfie, so another chance to watch things from different angles! Poppy and Sean also have such a cute (but also funny!) relationship, which I love watching. 

And here are some other non-daily channels who I'm also watching a lot recently.

Mark Ferris
Sprinkle of Glitter
Casey Neistat
The Infographics show
The Oxleys Daily
My Names Chai
Niomi Smart
Conan Gray

Who do you watch a lot of? Let me know in the comments!

And if you're interested...

Vlogmas day 6





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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Edible Coal | BLOGMAS DAY 5


So we've got to blogmas day 5 and i'm already feeling tired, and what have we resorted to - lumps of coal?? It's all downhill from here on...
These bitter balls of joy are so simple. Perhaps you could make them with the kids...says someone with no children... However, they look 'great' left on a table in a bowl as a display... and also work as a good pick-me-up... you can tell it's really hard to promote these! If you're curious like I was, then that's a good enough reason to make them, and then leave them in the bottom of someone's stocking...

Ingredients

30g butter
70g marshmallows
60g Rice Krispies
180g dark chocolate
a medium bowlful of cocoa powder (and enough leftover to dust your hands)

Method

1. Melt the butter in a pan.


2. Add the marshmallows and stir until melted.

3. Once melted, add the Rice Krispies and stir in so they are all coated in the marshmallow.


4. Leave to cool slightly and then shaped into uneven balls. You will need to coat your hands in some cocoa powder in order to stop the balls from sticking to you. This part does get very messy!


5. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30-second intervals.



6. Dip the coal into the chocolate and place on a tray lined with baking parchment. Leave to them to set a little bit - watch they don't set completely!



7. Once ready, roll them in the cocoa powder in a bowl and serve in whatever container you would like!


And if you're interested...

Vlogmas day 5



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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Christmas Wish-List | BLOGMAS DAY 4


This year I decided to make an actual Dear Santa-style Christmas wish-list. I opened up the Pages app on the iPad and typed down all the things I've been loving and wanting this year. So, without needing much more of an introduction, here's exactly that.. exactly what I'm asking for this Christmas!

PS - Sorry about the massive gaps between the photos. I'm not sure how to rectify this.

Nintendo Switch





















Image credit - Nintendo.co.uk

I've always been a Nintendo fan. In the past I've owned the very first Nintendo grey brick-like Gameboy, a Nintendo Advance and a DS XL. Oh and also the Wii. What I really like about this console is the flexibility and portablility of the device. Of course, the Gameboy is portable, however it's cool that you can play this one at home on your TV and then carry on the same game whilst in the car! 
I probably won't get this gift as it's a bit pricy, but it's on the list anyway!

£279.99 | Available from http://bit.ly/2AsJjY7

Boden Knitted Slipper Mules




















Image credit - boden.co.uk

I have a couple of pairs of slippers but they're both getting really tatty and I never wear them anymore. One of them are slip-ons and bought from M&S, and I didn't really like them in the first place. The second are big rabbit ones that were gifted to me in a secret santa last year. I do like those ones but they are a tad big! I saw these ones and thought they were super cute. The faux-fur lining looks very cosy!

£24.50 | Available from http://bit.ly/2AqoP21

Burberry Festive Beauty Box

























Image credit - net-a-porter.com

I saw this cute little set on Fleur de Force's Christmas Gift Guide and instantly loved it! I'm not usually someone who buys Burberry products but I thought this was great for the price. It's the perfect gift because everything inside are mini versions; great if you travel a lot. Inside you'll find: Cat Lashes Mascara in jet black; Lip Velvet in Oxblood No.437; Wet and Dry Silk Eyeshadow in Gold Pearl No. 001 and Fresh Glow Fluid in Nude Radiance 01 (a highlighter or primer).

£30 | Available from http://bit.ly/2By2OM3

GHD Platinum Styler













Image credit - ghdhair.com

I've had my current pair of GHDs since 2007. They're my first and only pair actually! I probably should invest in some new ones as I'm not sure if mine will be damaging my hair? Let me know if you think they are! As I'm brand loyal to GHD, I'd probably get these. They're  a bit expensive but as you can see, they last for ages! 

£165 | Available from http://bit.ly/2As7gyp

Liz Earle Supercharge your Glow

























Image credit - Boots.co.uk

I already use Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser,which I highly recommend. It's exfoliating from using the cloth and really good for getting make-up off. I'm due for a top-up, and I saw this gift set and thought I'd never tried the tonic or serum before, and so it went on my list! 

£25 | Available from http://bit.ly/2A7muKx


The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser




















Image credit - amazon.co.uk

You might know that I'm already a fan of Amanda Hesser, ever since I was gifted her book, Cooking for Mr Latte, on Christmas 2015. Amanda has been a columnist for The New York Times for years, and in this book she compiles years of loved recipes from the paper, as well as recipes from well-known American chefs, in order to capture American cooking throughout the years.

£25.59 | Available from http://amzn.to/2AUbaRg

So there we have it! All the things I'm wanting this Christmas. Let me know in the comments what's on your list this year, and if there's anything on there the same as me!

And if you're interested...

Vlogmas day 4




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Monday, 4 December 2017

Fried Panettone | BLOGMAS DAY 3


Most people are left with an abundance of leftover panettone over the Christmas period (unless my Dad is in the house!) This recipe which I found in Nigel Slater's Real Fast Puddings book, is perfect for those times you're left pondering what to do with that last slice of dry panettone. This buttery, moisture-inducing sandwich will liven things up again!
When I tested the recipe, I wasn't particularly hungry, and since it's quite a heavy pudding, please ensure everyone has empty stomachs before making it! You won't want to eat for hours after!

Ingredients
1 slice of panettone (see my recipe if you want to make your own)
2 tbsp of mincemeat
30g salted butter

Method

1. Slice your panettone like you would a slice of bread. Cut in half.

2. Spread one half with the mincemeat and top with the other half of panettone.



3. Melt the butter in a griddle pan (or a normal frying pan will do).

4. Once bubbling, add the sandwich and fry on both sides until golden brown. Cut in half and serve. Enjoy with a nice cuppa or a pot of coffee. 




Happy frying!!

And if you're interested....


Vlogmas day 3





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