It’s the last day of the year 2015! The Christmas presents have all been unwrapped and now it’s time to prepare for New Year’s Eve to welcome a new and bright 2016!
My December was packed with back-to-back dinner parties at home, all of which added to the already very busy holiday schedule around me. (Not to mention that I was able to squeeze in a week-long holiday trip to Myanmar in the midst of all these!) But the thing is… I have always loved hosting, even though the preps can sometimes stress me out! I love the entire process of planning and preparing, and then seeing my family and friends (both old and new) gathered around my table — eating, drinking, talking, laughing and really, just enjoying each other’s company.
So before we end this year, and welcome the new one, here is our monthly recap of my favorite things for the month of December…
A dream dollhouse
My little girl has been dreaming of a special dollhouse for her toys for a long time now. And she finally got it for Christmas! This dream doll house is from Handicrafts, Atbp., which sells and makes speciality products from wood, paper mache and styro products, which are hand-painted and carved, or printed. She said this was her favorite gift amongst all her presents!
“Grace’s Secret Garden” by Chef Miko Aspiras
I’m constantly in awe of the talent of Miko Aspiras, certainly one of our country’s best pastry chefs. This holiday season, I served a new creation of his in most of my dinner parties: the “Grace’s Secret Garden,” named after yours truly, because as he explained, it has all my favorite ingredients in one cake!
It’s a chocolate cake – no, more like a tart (to be more technical about it), made of Valrhona Manjari dark chocolate, topped with Fleur de Sel, dark chocolate glaze, golden chocolate shards, and edible florals (yes, real flowers you can eat!) The entire thing is surrounded by a delicious graham crumb crust.
Doesn’t it look enchanting, magical even? It was a sight to behold and was so delicious! Luxuriously rich and decadent, perfectly balanced by a bit of saltiness from that sprinkling of Fleur de Sel on top! Naming this as my best dessert of 2015!
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Dinners and gatherings at home
My kitchen and dining room saw a lot of guests and food come in and out this last few weeks. It’s not just the Christmas season in our household, but it’s also our family’s birthday season! I had my birthday, followed by my daughter’s, then my hubby’s – all within a span of 2 weeks! Plus of course all the holiday reunions and get togethers at this time! So you can just imagine the nonstop cleaning, preparing, setting up, cleaning again — and celebrating — we’ve had to do over here!
The truth is, I really like fussing over all these! Ironically, the “stress” brought about by all the preps is also what “de-stresses” me! This is my time to be creative as I am able to conceptualize different themes and put together varied table settings — all depending on my mood for the day! 🙂
Here are some of my favorite tablescapes from the recent dinners I’ve had:
The other thing that I spend oodles of time working on is the menu! I like my guests happy and well fed (or over fed, even!) 🙂
My last dinner actually was just last night and with that, I can say that the Christmas parties are now officially over!
How did your December look like? I’m hoping it was as festive and as merry!
Till next year, spoiled mummies…Thank you once again for a wonderful 2015!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!