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festive marzipan with cranberries and pistachio

Growing up very close to my German granny meant all kinds of great things at Christmas time. Not only did I get to open some of my presents on Christmas Eve, but we also had the best food…  Stollen (with thick butter), lebkuchen by the bucketload, rumtopf (was rarely allowed to try this due to overproof alcohol content!), and of course tons of marzipan. I have very vivid memories of making marzipankugeln – rolling marzipan into balls, covering it in cocoa powder and giving them out as gifts. A pretty gourmet effort for a five-year-old. 26 years later, I felt like it was time to up my marzipan game. I’ve coated these in dark chocolate and topped them with cranberries and pistachios for a grown-up version of my childhood favourite. So easy to make, so easy to eat. Scroll down for the how to. You will need: – a block of marzipan – dark chocolate, 85% cocoa – Chopped pistachios and dried cranberries Cut your marzipan block into equal sections, then roll each one into a …

three ways to use herbs to decorate a cake

I like my rainbow-funfetti-unicorn-sparkle cakes as much of the next person. I really do. But sometimes it’s nice to just keep things au naturel. Herbs can be so pretty and are much more flavoursome that candy cake decorations, so I wanted to explore some ways they could be used as edible decor, not just an ingredient. Conveniently, I had a rather naked looking honey and pear cake that needed some jazzing up, but these techniques would work with any cake. Scroll down to see how I used herbs to make it pretty (and not a rainbow sprinkle in sight). Substitute sprinkles for finely chopped herbs This one is kind of easy peasy. You can either finely chop the herb of your choice, or use tiny thyme leaves like I did. Be sure to pick a flavour that complements your cake. Once your cake is iced, just sprinkle ‘em on top. Jobs a winner. Rosemary infused drizzle Put a few sprigs of rosemary into a small saucepan, and add just enough milk to almost cover them. Heat …

how to make natural yoghurt

We eat a lot of yoghurt in our house and I’ve been making my own for about 18 months now. It’s such a satisfying process and kind of science-y. I love that it gives me more control over the type of milk my yoghurt comes from (local, organic, whatever floats your boat) as well as working out so much cheaper. There are two methods you can try to make your own yoghurt. Both methods involve heating then cooling your milk, adding culture and leaving it to incubate before fully setting in the fridge. The first is a basic, no equipment needed, but fiddly method that works well if you just want to give yoghurt-making a try, or make it occasionally. The second method is the one I use, and better suited if you plan to make loads of yoghurt and want it to be totally foolproof. Basic (but fiddly) method for making yoghurt. You will need: a litre of fresh milk and a tablespoon of natural yoghurt, plus a sterilised glass jar or tub for …

five things I learnt from the konmari method.

As someone who ‘struggles’ to keep on top of my clutter and tends to leave my junk all over the house, I was pretty keen to read Marie Kondo’s cult book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to try and kick myself into shape. When I finally read it it on our honeymoon I was just blown away by it’s simplicity, and immediately made David read it after me. He is very tidy and organised by nature so was also keen to give the method a whirl. The basic idea is to go through everything in your entire house in a certain order, discarding anything that doesn’t spark joy. Everything that you keep is stored properly and neatly in a designated spot, and when you open a drawer or cupboard you should be able to see everything inside without having to shift things and rummage around (she has some great methods for achieving this!). Now, I am not going to rehash the full details of the KonMari method as you can find out about it …

diy: how to weave a basket from paper

I’m going to put it out there, this is one of my favourite ever diy projects. I know I know, that’s a big call but I’m going with it. Why do I love this project so much? Because those baskets are just made from paper, plain, regular paper — how awesome is that?! There is something so satisfying about taking a simple material and turning it into a functional item using just your hands (and a wee bit of glue). So, if you need a quick and easy easter display or just somewhere to store your bits and bobs, whip out a pad of paper and get weaving! Scroll down for the how to. You will need: – thin sheets of A3 paper cut in half long ways – a vessel with straight sides such as a jam jar – a stick of paper glue – a kebab skewer – spray paint (optional) Starting in one corner, roll a piece of paper around the kebab skewer all the way to the diagonally opposite corner. Add …

diy: simple ways to use rosewater on valentine’s day

Staying in is the new going out, in my house at least, and that is especially true on Valentine’s Day. This year it falls on a Saturday, which means restaurants will be extra busy – you could save your dinner money for a less crowded night and get all romancey at home instead. I’ve put together a few ways to incorporate rosewater into your stay-at-home evening, firstly because it is delicious and fragrant and secondly because everyone knows that roses = love. And for all the single-ready-to-mingles, these ideas are certainly not just for couples, Galentine’s night would be even sweeter with a little rosewater thrown in. 1. Rosewater Sugar Scrub Start your evening with a little pamper session. Just mix 1/2 a cup of brown sugar with 1/4 cup of coconut oil, add two table spoons of rosewater and mix well. Hop in the shower and get scrubbing – you’ll come out smooth as Cupid’s bum and will smell amazing. 2. Rosewater Gin and Tonic You can’t really go wrong with a little pre-dinner gin and …

diy: festive hanging paper votives

It’s Chriiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaaaaaas! Ok, well it’s not really (but it almost is). And that means it’s time to get the decorations out. My Scroogey rule is ‘no decorations/Mariah Carey before 1st December’, but I’ve made a little exception for these. We already have a load of tree decorations inherited from family, but it’s always nice to make a couple of extra bits to go around the house. Last year I made these paper votives, so I decided to reuse the LED tealights and make a new, hanging version this year. Instructions are below. You will need: – a few sheets of paper – clear sticky tape – ink and a stamp – copper wire – scissors Cut a piece of plain paper to roughly 20cm by 10cm. You can tear one of the long edges for a less precise finish. Fold the two sides inwards so they overlap by a centimetre or so, and tape in place. Fold the top layer (taped side) upwards, creating a triangle on either side (see pic for clarity). Fold the …

look! it’s all different!

Things have been given a bit of razzle dazzle around here, and the blog has a brand new look. It hadn’t been updated for two years, so it seemed about time. A few things have changed: – Firstly, it will just be me, Claire, posting on on here from now on. Don’t worry – there are no dramas, David has his own design blog that he posts on more regularly and this space had just evolved to be more my thing. Unless I grow a third arm any time soon he’ll still be here in spirit, helping me to photograph some of the tutorials. – Secondly, there are re-jazzed category pages for easy browsing of my photography, diy, travel and food posts. Fancy. – Thirdly, I wrote ‘South by North’ in nice ink and David kindly made it into a logo of sorts (see, I told you he wasn’t going far). So booya, I have a logo-type-thing. Hope you like the new look, any feedback will be received with open ears.

guest series: floral study with tana gandhi

Like many of my favourite internet people, I first came across Tana’s wonderful talent via her instagram feed. Her photos are light, fresh and she has one of the most beautifully consistent and imaginative styles I’ve seen. She has recently quit her day job and taken the plunge into full-time photography – I’m positive she will go far! I’m extremely honoured that Tana has put together this guest post for South by North, here she is sharing some gorgeous florals. Be sure to check out her fantastic photography on her blog and instagram. ______________________________________________________________________ Hello there! This is Tana and I’m so thrilled to guest post for Claire. Today I wanted to talk about florals. It’s no secret that I definitely have a thing for flowers. Whether it’s one single stem or a mixed arrangement, they brighten my space and provide a whole lot of cheer. This you see here is a white dahlia paired with dainty phloxes. I had no idea what phloxes were before I picked these lovelies up. They were delicate little blooms that, …