Friday, 21 December 2012

What we're listening to...


Last year we had the very cool Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward grace us with their pretty Christmas album A Very She & Him Christmas and we’re again angling for the pick of the indie Christmas crop with Michigan born Sufjan Stevens’ Silver and Gold.  



An unusual fellow, Stevens dedicates time to making Christmas music like no other. Since producing Songs for Christmas in 2006 - a lengthy two-hour album – Stevens hasn’t produced anything for his beloved season for six years until the release of Silver and Gold last month.

Pangs of banjo, pings of drunken guitars and angelic peeps from the Oboe plus the multitude of instruments Stevens also plays, there is hope that your Christmas can be enjoyed without an overload of trashy Christmas cheer – of which we cannot escape from the radio, TV and shops playing (sometimes you just need a break!).

On this 58-track extravaganza, Stevens compiles songs of religious fantasy, life history and Christmas fantasy. Prepare to be introduced to a fairytale land of snow, psychedelic lights, Unicorns, Santa, the characters of the Bible narrative and Mr Frosty Man.

To hear Steven’s magical Christmas album and experience what it’s like to listen to music feeling as though you’re on a carousel at the fairground after having one too many mulled wines click here – apt for Christmas day!

We love this vintage-esque video for Sufjan Stevens’ Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. (Which includes a few snippets from some of our fave festive films!)



You can buy the Silver and Gold via Asthmatic Kitty Records, Amazon or iTunes. 

By Melodie Walter

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Scandi treats


We ditch the traditional festive treats for something Scandinavian inspired mixed with Cellardoor’s creative handiwork: reds and whites, gingerbread with a touch of cinnamon (Swedish pepparkakor enthused) coconut ice and chocolate.



Ingredients
To make the gingerbread house, cherub and star

Gingerbread mixture
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
112g butter, softened
85g soft brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup

Icing
112g icing sugar
1 tbsp water
Coloured icing tubes

Method
-       Heat oven to 180C
-       Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a mixing bowl
-       In a saucepan heat the golden syrup, sugar and butter until it melts, then let the mixture cool and add to the mixing bowl
-       Stir and then knead the mixture into a ball
-       Dust the work surface with flour and roll the rough until about ½ cm thick
-       Cut a 7x7cm square (x2) 7x5cm rectangle (x2) and for the sides of the house use a template of a rectangle 9x7cm plus a triangle attached adding an extra 3cm to the whole length of the side: for the other shapes it will be easiest to use cookie cutters
-       Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until they are golden brown and leave them to cool
-       Assemble the house with the icing – make sure it is thick – leave to dry for 15 mins and then decorate

To make the snowman and the Christmas trees

Coconut Ice
½ pint water
450g sugar
Pinch cream of tartar
112g desiccated coconut
1 heaped tbsp thick cream

Fillings and toppings
½ packet of white cooking chocolate
½ packet of dark cooking chocolate
1 small bought chocolate cake
Handful of walnuts

Method
-       Cut two healthy sized cubes of the chocolate cake (one for the head and the other for the body) and melt dark chocolate with some butter and then add the mixture to the cake
-       Roll into one larger ball and one smaller ball and fill the centre with chopped walnuts
-       Place in fridge to harden, then make the butter icing (you’ll just need some icing sugar and softened butter) and spread onto the balls and roll these in the desiccated coconut and then assemble to make the main body of your snowman (decorate as desired)
-       Now to make the Christmas trees! Heat sugar and water in a strong saucepan until sugar is dissolved and add the cream of tartar then boil steadily, then add the coconut and cream and beat together
-       Let the mixture cool slightly and then use kitchen gloves to form pyramid shapes for the trees, leave to harden
-       Melt the white chocolate and dip the base of the pyramids in, then leave to harden

Put together your creations on lined tray with silver paper and desiccated coconut and icing sugar and chop up flakes for logs. 

Why not make extra gingerbread cherubs and stars and hang them on the tree?

By Melodie Walter

Monday, 17 December 2012

Pin To Win

Fancy winning yourself an early Christmas pressie courtesy of Askherfriends.com? Well then get yourself over to their site and start pinning your perfect present wishlist and you could win a £50 voucher to spend!

See below on how to enter.... 



Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Once Upon A Time

Cellardoor recently popped to the opening of ‘The Enchanted Forest’ exhibition at Foyles bookshop on Charring Cross Road. This collection of illustrated works comes courtesy of rising stars Emmeline Pidgen, Emma Block and Laura Barrett to name but a few.  


The exhibit celebrates 200 years of Grimms Fairy Tales, with works inspired by childhood classics like Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.  Each illustrator has interpreted the much loved stories in their own way, with damsels in distress, majestic castles and noble steeds featuring strongly in typical fairytale fashion. 



On display was a variety of illustration styles from bold monochrome block prints to whimsical watercolour representations and clever collage techniques. The perfect escape from the December chill, this exhibition had Cellardoor dreaming of a happy ever after.


Sadly the exhibition is now over, but find out more from the talented girls here

By Cheryl Maguire

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

What we're listening to...


Forget about your woolly hats and scarves for a moment and launch yourselves into Best Coast’s world of sun, beach, babes and lazy bums.



Within seconds of hearing their patent surfer drones and electric guitars there is no doubt in our minds that Los Angeles based Bethany Cosentino (vocals, guitar) formerly of Pocahaunted and Bobb Bruno (lead guitar) are groundbreaking geniuses for reviving the surf pop genre.

Described as indie rock, lo-fi, surf pop music (a genre that became very popular in the 1960s in California).  We can definitely hear similarities in style akin to the renowned Sufaris Wipe Out and Beach Boys pinnacle Surfin’ USA.   

Surf pop bands of the 60s sang about surfing, cars and girls. Comparable, Best Coast claim that their music is “inspired by love, life and everything else”: though their lyrics centre on sun, babes, beaches and the laziness of life.

Here’s their latest video release from their second album The Only Place (2012) featuring the song Do You Love Me Like You Used To.



Keep free from stress with this carefree indie surfer band playing on your pre-Christmas day playlist.
                                               
Best Coast albums can be purchased on Amazon (makes a great and inexpensive Christmas present too!).

By Melodie Walter

Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas Candy


We begin the festive month of December with indulgence and decorations. Here at Cellardoor HQ we aim to bring a touch of winter warmth that will touch the hearts of loved ones or add a touch of femininity to your festive home decorations. Try making our homemade marble marzipan and nutty chocolate coated butter fudge sweets – they can make the most charming gift wrapped up in a box and pretty paper and ribbons. Or even use for decoration on the Christmas tree!



Ingredients 
Nutty chocolate coated butter fudge
450g granulated sugar
4 tbsp water
12 tbsp condensed milk
1 bar cooking chocolate
Handful of hazelnuts

Method
-       Heat the sugar, water and butter in a pan on a low heat – stir until the sugar has dissolved
-       Add the condensed milk – stir occasionally until the mixture is thoroughly blended – boil steadily and mix only occasionally
-       Test to see if the mixture is ready to be taken off the heat by dropping some into a cold glass; if it forms a soft caramel ball/mound then remove the pan from the heat
-       Beat the mixture until it thickens then pour it into a greased tin and leave to cool
-       Melt chocolate and pour over the cold fudge and decorate with the hazelnuts

To make what we call the ‘fudgecomb’ (can be seen in the photo) just continue to boil the mixture until thickens and then crumbles. The pan must then be taken off the heat immediately.

 Tip: tastes great with melted chocolate drizzled on top with chopped nuts.

Marble marzipan swirls and hearts
110g ground almonds
55g castor sugar
55g icing sugar
Few drops almond essence
1 egg
Food colouring
Mini heart stencil

Method
-       Bind the almonds, sugars, essence and egg together – roll into a ball
-       Split the mixture into smaller balls (as many as desired)
-       Add your desired food colour to each ball – a different colour to each
-       Roll together to make swirls or use a mini stencil like we did to make pretty heart shapes

By Melodie Walter