Nov 28th 2017

New York Festive Guide

48 hours – New York Festive Guide

New York is the greatest city on earth for inspiring that warm, feeling festive. As my daughter now lives in Manhattan, I’m open to any excuse for a visit, so a pre-Christmas shopping trip is just the ticket. Here are a few of my favourite yuletide sights along the way.  My 48 hours – New York Festive Guide:

Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree

The festive season officially starts in New York once the lights are on the famous Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree. Lit-up the week after Thanksgiving, thousands line the surrounding sidewalks for the big switch-on and millions more watch the event broadcast live. This year the huge Norway Spruce will sparkle with 30,000 LED lights. It’s topped with a Swarovski crystal star. And it’s estimated that more than half a million people will pass the tree every day between 29 November 2017 and 7 January 2018.

New York Festive Guide

Rockettes Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The Rockettes are to New York what pantomime is to Britain. The extravagant musical show, held annually at the Radio City Music Hall. It has been an essential part of New York’s Christmas tradition since 1933. Boarding a full-size double-decker bus, the Rockettes take the audience on a whirlwind tour of a magical Manhattan. It offers beautifully choreographed tap-dancing, signature eye-high kicks, ice-skating, jumping Santas, and domino soldiers wearing three-feet tall hats. Shows run from 10 November 2017 to 1 January 2018, with up to four shows a day on weekends.

New York Festive Guide

Ice skating in Central Park

Few things feel more festive or romantic than ice-skating in Central Park.  Gliding along peacefully while looking out to the bustling city background. If you don’t have skates you can rent some in the park. There are two rinks to choose from.  The Wollman Rink on the east side, close to Central Park Zoo.  Or, the Lasker Rink, in the middle of the park which transforms from a swimming pool in summer to an ice rink during winter months. Both rinks are family friendly, suitable for all ages and abilities. And for the proficient skater private figure skating or ice dancing lessons are available.

New York Festive Guide

Related Content: World’s Most Spectacular Christmas Trees

Bloomingdale’s window

At Christmas, New York’s shopping streets become a magical festive show.  You can spend hours watching without it costing a dime. All the big department stores have themed window displays attracting thousands every year. This year my favourite is Bloomingdale’s on 1000 Third Avenue, 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. This year’s theme is The Greatest Showman, a circus treat of fire-jugglers, aerialists and fortune-tellers taking us on a journey through the life of P.T Barnum and linked to the new Hugh Jackson movie of the same name, out on 20 December 2017.

Video of the festive window unveiling!

Patsy’s Italian Restaurant

Exploring New York City is invigorating, but if you don’t take time out to recharge it can also be exhausting. After pounding the pavements, dining in Patsy’s Italian Restaurant feels like a comforting home from home. Famous for being Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurant in Manhattan, the family-owned venue is still popular celebrity haunt with guests including George Clooney, Madonna, Michael Buble, and Tom Hanks. And if you want a starry tale to return home with, Chef Sal Scognamillo is always happy to share stories of the restaurant’s legendary guests and serve-up some of Old Blue Eye’s favoruite dishes.

Hope you enjoyed my New York Festive Guide….I am off to book my flight to The Big Apple….

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 Nov 13th 2017

Six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas

The days are getting colder, and shorter.  It’s time to turn attentions from the autumn traditions of Bonfire Night and Halloween, to planning your dinner parties, office parties and family celebrations at Christmas.  And we love it!  If you are looking to change things up this year, make a statement, or simply create something a little special – the easiest way to WOW your guests is with a great selection of festive cocktails.  That’s why we have created our collection of ‘six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas’.  With something to suit the most discerning of guest, you cant go wrong!

Christmas strudel

All strudel is best served hot with cream and this cocktail is no different. Served with a deep lip of double cream, it’s a warming, fruit mix of Pimm’s Blackberry and Elderflower,  and apple juice, with nutmeg and cloves to give a spicy kick. See House and Garden magazine for the full recipe.

Six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas

White Christmas mojito

If you’re planning on a White Christmas themed party look no further than this snowy white, masterpiece of a cocktail. The winter look of this rum-based tipple, hides tropical flavours of coconut, lime, pomegranate and mint. Taking a speedy 5 minutes to prepare, it is also a favourite for welcoming surprise festive guests. Full recipe at halfbakedharvest.com

Six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas

Mulled cider

There is nothing like the aroma of mulled spices to warm the heart with festive cheer, and it is a must for our list of six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas. For a twist on the usual mulled wine, serve guests a steaming mug of mulled cider. Depending on where you live, you may be able to add a special touch by sourcing the base ingredient from a local cider brewer. Add to the pan a splash of brandy, apples, oranges, allspice berries and cloves. Stir over a low heat for 10-15 minutes for a beverage that appeals to so many senses, no-one can resist. Read Delicious Magazine for the recipe.

RELATED TOPIC: Gorgeous Gin Cocktails

Christmas pudding vodka

To whoever thought of combining the comfort of Christmas pudding with a cheeky splash of vodka – we salute you. At TLC we love this rich combination of clear spirit, fruits and rich spice. Although simple to make, you need to factor in 3-4 days infusion time, to allow the warming flavours to emerge. However, once made you can bottle up and store for up to a year – if you can resist it for that long. See Jamie Magazine for the full recipe.

Bourbon Eggnog

At TLC we like to think of eggnog as traditional rather than old fashioned. There are good reasons why this drink has been served for 400 years. And, as with all traditions, there are plenty of ways to bring this festive favourite bang up to date.

The basic ingredients – eggs, sugar, milk and cream stay the same. Although usually made with a rum or brandy, this version uses a good spicy bourbon and Cognac, along with a range of spices to add a modern eggnog flavour. While there are plenty of shop-ready versions, nothing beats the flavour of a home-made eggnog. And since it takes only 30 minutes in the kitchen to create, there really is no excuse.

Visit thespruce.com for this and other variations on this 17th century favourite.

Rose water, apple and rhubarb mocktail

When choosing what festive drinks to include on our list of ‘six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas’, we didn’t forget to include something special on the menu for those not drinking alcohol. We love Georgina Fuggle’s rose water, apple and rhubarb mocktail. Even the name is mouth-watering and tells guests you have put thought and care into serving something delicious. Indeed, the preparation of this delicate drink takes attention, with the rose petals needing to be painted with egg white, sprinkled with sugar and left overnight. The emerging floral fragrance mixed with the sweetness of the apple and the slightly sour taste of the rhubarb, combine for a subtle mix of flavours in a gentle pink hue, adding elegance to any party.

Six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas

The recipe for this delightful drink is available on greatbritishchefs.com

Hope you have enjoyed our list of six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas – just time to sit back and enjoy them!

 

 

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