Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Dinner

So, do you remember me telling you about the charity auction we went to, where we bid for a chef to come and cook for a dinner party of ours? Well, we had the dinner on Saturday night. It was just Heaven on Earth. As one of the guests pointed out, it was like flying First Class for the first time. The sad thing about having flown First Class is the depression of having to go back to economy. I feel that now I've had someone do all the cooking AND grocery shopping for my dinner - having to do it all myself next time is going to be just like going back to economy after the absolute luxury of First Class. Tricky!
So, I woke up on Saturday morning like a child on Christmas, I had a relaxed coffee in bed whilst I planned the evening ahead. I could finally do all the fun things that I normally want to do but always run out of steam or time. Things like, making up delicious cocktails, doing beautiful flowers and spending some time on the table decoration. All the fun things really. So I made my list, I love a list. First stop, the bottle store.
Even the bottle store was fun and festive. Who would have thought. The Grand Marnier was the reason I was there. More on that later.

Second stop, Adderley Street flower market. Just my best.

I tried to choose Christmasy flowers (well, my made up version of Christmas flowers) I did not want to be too predictable.

The brilliant Lindsy and Portia doing the prep. Are those little blinis I see!

The table.

The table is not quite done yet, but I had the sudden brain wave to cut branches off our conifer tree and lay them down the centre of the table scattered with Christmas balls and red glass votives. It made for a sort of horizontal Christmas tree.

I tied red satin ribbons around gold candle holders.

I had the mantra of Wallis Simpson (or it could have been Diana Vreeland, can't remember)) going around in my head.
"Decoration should be low, low, low, glasses cold, cold, cold and plates hot,hot,hot!"

Oops, the table cloth looks is in a bit of disarray. That's because I was standing on it hanging branches and balls from the overhead light. Clearly way too much time on my hands! It looked a bit amateur to be honest - so not entirely worth it. It did look better at night however, when all you saw where twinkling lights overhead.
The sideboard waiting to be laden with turkey and vegetables. Again, I just cut a few sprigs from another tree - outside the dining room window in fact. It has variegated leaves which I thought for whatever reason looked like Christmas. I layered the same type of branches along the top of our mantle piece along with pine cones and fairy light and red bows.

Then I started my flower arranging. Quite bizarre what came out really. I was seriously getting into full swing!

This is like "Messy Christmas"

Not bad.

I was quite smug about the berries.

Then finally I was pulling it together.

Am pleased.

Then I lost it again. I think staying in a resort in Mexico influenced me on this one. I'm obviously having with drawls. I had two green leaves left over so I picked some pink roses from the garden. This was arrangement was not part of my Christmas contingent, instead I put them in the guest loo.

Quite pretty.

Flowers on my desk.

The crazy arrangement with the drinks table, quite apt.

The tidy sitting room waiting for a party.

I like this this one here.
I also like my mini white tree with fairy lights.
Now for the cocktail!
I call it 'Christmas Breeze' ha ha a bit of tack.
You need:
Grand Marnier
Cranberry Juice
Fresh Lemon Juice
Simple Syrup
Fresh Rosemary Needles

In a tall mixing glass muddle 10-12 rosemary leaves lightly with simple syrup. (simple syrup we made from just mixing a bit of water with madeira cane sugar over the stove until syrupy)
Add remaining ingredients then add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into glass with ice. garnish with rosemary sprig.

You see above the table laid out for prep. The rosemary leaves and an antique marrow spoon that we got given as a wedding present. Which we love, but sadly are not quite Tudoresque enough to be digging around in bones in search of marrows as often as we would like to. However, we have found that it does make for an excellent cocktail stirrer!
The rosemary sprigs did let me down somewhat. They weren't as robust as I would have had them be. It should look like a mini Christmas tree in your glass, but never mind they were absolutely delicious and set the party off to a roaring start.
One last final look
And finally Darling in his dj pouring me a drink. Hooray!

Friday, December 3, 2010


                               Welcome to Christmas at DOMINICO HOUSE.
This year we have embraced the Christmas spirit and have got in so may beautiful smalls for presents.
These Gold place mats are just my favorite. I am obsessed with them. If you haven't noticed yet, gold is the hottest colour right now. We have got Gold balls, Gold angels and Gold bangles. Also, we love these beautifully packaged soaps from Portugal.  
A lovely present for her is a panama hat. Of course it helps if you have a fabulous located vacation on the cards. But now that we have our own St Tropez in the likes of The Grand Beach there is no longer reason to feel shy. One can happily bust out in outrageous glamorous get-ups without the hiccups, of course a glass of Chardonnay always helps.
For him, a beautiful wooden walking stick. I know Darling fancies one. Also, for the garden a charming bamboo umbrella.

For a girlfriend these Ocar de la Renta banana platters.
White porcelain artichokes that come in the most beautiful boxes. Tea pots,bamboo storm lanterns and unusual vases.
For the home, attractive scatter cushions and throws.
There's nothing like a large collection of  frames massed together. You can never have enough.  
I collect paper weights and just adore these anemone ones.
Coral, my love. Makes any table scape a show stopper.
For the pool. My mother is always convincing me to buy things to wear "round the pool" this is always her selling line to me. "Gorgeous for round the pool" she says. I now have more things for "round the pool" than anything else. This summer I will be wearing these stunning ikat sarongs. They also work so well tied around the neck with a white vest. Very Vogue.

For the gardener. I am wrapping these Liberty print hats up for anyone who gardens. Darling, won't have one though - as he insists on his panama. I think they are for ladies though, so that's fair. Auntie Ginny was thrilled with hers.
Cotton kimonos. Darling and I have matching ones, which is inconvenient. I suggest buying different ones, there are different colours and patterns to choose from. The thing I like is the soft cotton weight, not too hot!
My favorite, white cotton embroidered night dresses. It's like being in a grown up  Christening gown. I do feel like Royalty. Quite nice.
Colourful kurtas, very Boho, Ethno, Indie and all the in words right now.

Hand Embroidered bags, the Palace of Jaipur. These are so French even though the pattern is Jaipur. I of course have to have these for myself.

Hot colour clutches.
Fun stripped bags with gold arm bangles. Did you know I used to be Indian in my past life. I am obsessed.
Raffia satchels in tangerine and plum. I like the pockets.
Well, to those that have it all, who can resist a leopard print bag!!!!

More scatters and throws.
And finally, my piece de resistance. 'The Firecracker'.
One must wear it on New Year's Eve. It looks amazing on naked skin. You in fact, do not need to wear another thing!

For any prices and questions call DOMINICO HOUSE
021 424 9328