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Festive Friday Food Post – Traditional Christmas Pudding with Thai Rum and Candied Yuzu Peel

Our Friday food post has gone festive this week with a traditional christmas pudding. We have a little twist of course! Eclectic East Christmas puddingYou might think Thai Rum (known as Sang Som) is better suited to being drunk from buckets on a beach in Koh Phangan in the glow of the full moon, and you might be right! But we challenge you to change your preconceptions about and give this a go – it might bring back some happy memories! Our second unusual ingredient is candied yuzu peel. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit with a milder zest than a lemon or lime – the candied version is quite mellow and adds a nice depth of flavour to this pudding.

Eclectic East Christmas pudding tahi rum and japanese yuzu

Eclectic East Christmas pudding ingredientsWe can’t take credit for this winning recipe. It comes courtesy of the failsafe Delia Smith – you can find it here. We can only take credit for adding the Yuzu and Thai Rum which certainly gives the pudding an Eclectic East kick. If you want to try the same, substitute the rum for Sang Som and sustitute the candied peel for yuzu candied peel.

Eclectic East Christmas pudding thai rum

Garnish your pudding with some yuzu peel (shown below) and serve with flames powered by Sang Som rum and some brandy (or Sang Som!) butter.

Eclectic East Christmas pudding2Ours is currently wrapped in brown paper and waiting for the big day. We can’t wait – Merry Christmas!

Eclectic East Christmas pudding wrapped

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Christmas Wreath – Eclectic East Style

A christmas wreath is a tradition, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be traditional. Follow our easy DIY wreath and give your guests a colourful surprise to look at whilst they stand on your doorstep.

eclectic east wreath11

eclectic east wreath9You will need….

  • 2 old wire coat hangers
  • Wire for securing everything in place
  • Wire cutters
  • A long strip of fake fern
  • A can of white spray paint
  • Colourful feathers
  • Newspaper to protect your home

Start with spray painting your fake fern. Do this outside and make sure that you fully cover the area with newspaper before you begin spraying.

eclectic east wreath1

eclectic east wreath2eclectic east wreath3When you have fully covered the fake fern in spray paint, allow to dry.

Now make 2 circles with your coat hangers, one smaller than the other and secure them together with the extra wire. Try to get a round shape but it really doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, nobody will see it because it will be covered up with all your wonderful decorations.

eclectic east wreath4Now start to attach the fake fern. Starting with small sections, build up from the outside in. You will need to use the wire to secure the fern. We added 3 rows, one on the outer circle, one on the inner circle and one between the two. If you place them in alternate directions you will get a nice bushy effect.

eclectic east wreath5eclectic east wreath6Once you are happy that your fern is nicely placed and secured with the wire, you can start adding the feathers. Add them in small sections building up as you go. Keep checking that it looks balanced. eclectic east wreath7Keep going until you are happy with the overall effect, then secure all the feathers in place with the wire.

eclectic east wreath8

Now proudly hang on your door and wait for your bell to ring! eclectic east wreath10

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Eclectic East Feather Baubles

feather finalAs promised yesterday, here is our DIY how-to for our super funky feather baubles.

You will need…..

  • Clear glass or plastic baubles
  • Colourful feathers
  • Colourful tape or string for hanging
  • A chopstick!

feather 1

 

How to…..feather 1a

Start by removing the hanging stand from your baubles and pull the feathers off the tape, selecting the colours that you want to use.

feather 2

feather 3Carefully insert the feathers into the baubles, pushing inside with a chopstick. You can use the chopstick to poke them about and make the arrangement look nice.

Once you have put in all the feathers that you want to, put back the hanger stand and add a colourful tape to hang the baubles.

feather final2Hang on your tree with the other baubles that you made from yesterday’s post and enjoy your Eclectic East christmas!

feather final on tree

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Christmas Baubles – The Eclectic East Way

We are super excited about our first Christmas at Eclectic East. Today we have been giving an Eclectic East makeover to last year’s baubles in preparation for decorating our tree. So we decided to do a little DIY “how-to” and help you bring a bit of Eclectic East merriment into your home this year. Today we will show you how to make the beaded, sequin and fabric baubles. Look out for tomorrow’s post on the easy peasy feather baubles. ballsWe had a ball getting messy and creative, be prepared to get sticky and glittery!

Balls making2You will need……

  • A selection of baubles, we are using large silver balls, but feel free to use any baubles you have – it’s all about recycling!
  • Beads, sequins and glitter for covering the balls.
  • Fabric to make the fabric baubles
  • PVA glue
  • colourful tape or string to make ties (We sourced some neon leather tape)
  • A glue spreader and lots of newspaper to protect your table

Multicolour beaded balls

Multicolour balls on tree

We’ve been yearning for these neon beads since we saw them when we were making our post Behind The Scenes Of Your Wardrobe, it seemed that Christmas was a perfect time to bring some neon into our lives!

Multicolour balls1Start by filling a small bowl with your beads.

multicolour balls2Now cover your bauble in PVA glue

multicolour balls3 Multicolour balls4Dip the bauble into the beads and twist to make sure it is covered in beads all over.

Leave to dry on a flat surface (otherwise the beads will fall off!) and thread some colourful tape or string to create a hanger.

We also did the same process with sequins and glitter. Tip – try to get as even a coverage as you can but don’t worry if they affect is a little random at times, this is part of the beauty because you will see the silver colour coming through.

pink ball1

pink ball2

black sequin ball3

mini world on tree

Our Mini World baubles were made by first covering the baubles in blue glitter and then adding random patches of glue and re-dipping them in the neon beads to create your very own planets!

Fabric Baubles 

We have also been trying to find a use for these stunning neon fabrics that we bought in India. These easy fabric baubles are colourful and really effective at adding style to your tree.

balls square

fabric ball1

Start with cutting a piece of square fabric a bit bigger than your bauble. Remove the hanger stand from the bauble.

fabric ball2Cover in glue and wrap place the ball  in the centre and pull the fabric up to the top.

fabric ball3fabric ball4Once dry, trim the edges and replace the hanger stand. Add colourful tape or string and hang on your tree!

fabric ball5

all ballsWe hope you enjoyed this post and feel inspired – embrace your creative side and prepare to get messy!

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Friday Food Post – Seriously Garlicky Kale Salad

Kale and Garlic saladThis week, our Friday Food post is brought to you from Weihai. I am unable to cook this week but I have done a lot of eating of delicious local cuisine. This particular dish is right up my street; fresh, flavoursome and bursting with nutrients. Kale is having a bit to a hipster moment in the west right now, but in China it has always been eaten when in season. This salad is an age old dish which is typically served with other cold appetisers at the beginning of a meal. Tradition aside, the hipster hype is not without substance – kale is extremely high in iron, antioxidants, and vitamins A and K. It is also low in calories and tastes delicious – what’s not to love!?

I must warn you, the high content of raw garlic makes it quite antisocial! So make sure you serve it to all your friends and don’t plan any dates after eating this one. The recipe comes courtesy of Chef William Yang of the Huancuiyuan restaurant in Weihai. It is super easy, no cooking required. I ate it with vegetarian dumplings and clear vegetable soup but I think it could go really well with grilled fish or meat, or even as an accompaniment to pasta since the fresh acidity will offset any rich sauces.

Ingredients – Makes a large bowl of salad for sharing

  • One large bunch of kale – approx 400gm.
  • 4 – 6 cloves of garlic (depending on how much garlic you can take!)
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • a pinch of salt

Method

1. Wash and dry your kale and roughly rip it into biteable pieces using your hands. Place in a large salad bowl.

2. Now crush and finely chop your garlic – in the photos below you can see the garlic on the kale leaves, this is about the size you are going for.

Kale and Garlic salad3

3. Put the garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix well until completely combined.

4. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss together to thoroughly coat the kale in the dressing.

Serve as an accompaniment to your selected dish – I’m going to try it with grilled salmon when I get back to the kitchen. Or try your hand at making fresh vegetable and tofu dumplings like I did in Weihai – a good recipe is here.

Vegetable dumplings

Kale and Garlic salad2

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Fu Zhongwang Public Art in Weihai

This week I am in Weihai, mostly meeting with clients at factories but also taking some time to see this wonderful piece of public art that proudly adorns the Weihai sea front.

Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang6

This giant sculpture is titled Haisong Square Picture in Picture and is by and artist called Fu Zhongwang. Fu Zhongwang is a renowned Chinese sculptor and is the current president of the Hubei Museum of Art. The giant copper sculpture is about linking the sea and the land and represents Weihai’s past, present and future.

Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang2

Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang14 Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang13 Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang12 Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang10 Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang9

I have been coming to Weihai for the past 6 years as part of my job as a textile designer. It’s a really friendly city in the far North East of Shandong province.  It is a seaport with a colonial history – it was leased by the British from 1898 – 1930 when it was called Port Edward and the area was called Weihaiwei. Now it is a bustling industrial city, and a seaside holiday destination. I’m not sure if I would be taking my holidays here J but I’m happy to be here every so often and soak up the public art on beautiful sunny days like today!

Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang7 Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang5 Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang4 Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang3Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang1

Big thanks go to my lovely colleague Emma for taking me here today.

Weihai art frame Fu Zhongwang11

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Friday Food Post – Ginger and Citrus Meringue Mess with Coconut Cream.

Ginger, coconut and berry mess final1

We are super excited by this “knock your socks off” pudding. It has it’s roots in a classic pavlova (thank you Delia Smith) but it’s got a little Eclectic East twist! Adding the ginger and the lemon to the meringue gives it a bit of zest and zing which is complimented by the coolness of the coconut cream. I have used blackberries and raspberries because they are my favourite berries, but you can use any that you love. Experiment the Eclectic East way!

Ginger, coconut and berry mess fruit

Ingredients – Makes enough for 6

For the Meringues 

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 100grams caster sugar
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of finely grated ginger.

For the topping 

  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup single cream
  • One punnet of raspberries
  • One punnet of blackberries
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • Fresh Mint leaves

Method

1. You need to start by making your meringues well in advance because they need to cool before you assemble the pudding. I advise at least an hour cooling time.

2. Pre heat your oven to 150 degrees C.

3. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

4. Start by whisking the egg whites until you have stiff peaks

Ginger, coconut and berry mess whisking-01

5. Once you have stiff peaks, slowly add the sugar little by little. Then add the lemon zest and grated ginger.

Ginger, coconut and berry mess step 4

Ginger, coconut and berry mess step 56. Keep whisking until you have a smooth and stiff mixture, it should stick to the back of a spoon. Now place tablespoon fulls of the mixture in equal spacing on the baking tray.

Ginger, coconut and berry mess step 67. Place into the oven and turn down immediately to 140 degrees C. Cook for 30 mins. After this, turn off the oven and leave them to cool there for as long as you can. If you can leave them to totally cool in the oven then that is best, but if you want to hurry things along, remove each meringue from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack.

Ginger, coconut and berry mess step 7Now on with the fun part! 

8. Blend your coconut cream and single cream together and whisk. Note that it will not whisk into thick, fully whipped, cream because of the coconut cream – you are just aiming to get some air into it.

Ginger, coconut and berry mess blending-02

Ginger, coconut and berry mess step 109. When your meringues are fully cooled, crumble them into random clusters.

10. In a clean glass or bowl start to layer up your ingredients, starting with the crumbled meringue, then adding some cream mixture, then some berries and a squeeze of lime and lime zest. Keep layering up like this until you get to the top.

Ginger, coconut and berry mess step 11Ginger, coconut and berry mess step 13

Ginger, coconut and berry mess layers11. Finish the glass with a bit of mint and some more lime zest to give it a beautiful colour.

Ginger, coconut and berry mess final1

Enjoy! Oh, and relish the fact that meringues are fat free!