So I watched Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas Home this evening, if I’m being honest I was a little prejudiced as I found her ‘Homemade Home’ really disappointing as she never really made anything, she just had a quick try and tehn paid someone huge sums of money to do it well – which, I think, sort of defeats the point. But anyway, rant over this is what I thought about the Christmas episode:
The first quarter was just her going shopping in Covent Garden food market, to my amazement she bought mince pies, probably the easiest thing to make at Christmas.
One of my favourite quotes;
‘you learn much more about food when you shop at markets’
and then… oh my god she’s got a defender! ‘I really live in the country you know, I’ve got a landrover…’
The good 10 mins on how to decorate mince pies was wasted on me, I think they look yummy without any edible glitter (which looked awful and really unappetising) and I loved Kirstie staring in open-mouthed bemusement at ‘homemade’ mince meat – crazy! Apparently she has given mince pies a new lease of life – ha
Anyway it got much better after this, she goes to make candles, she picks a really beautiful mould and made cup cake candles in a silicon muffin tin which I thought was a really good idea and not just for Christmas either, I will definitely be making these for birthday presents.
She had an embroidery lesson which was good, they drew the basic pattern onto the fabric with pencil, it had never occurred to me to do that – the Embroiderers Guild were brilliant, really innovative and the pattern Kirstie sewed was simple but beautiful. I always think embroidery is too hard and time consuming but I could definitely have a go at this sort of project.
The truffles were really impressive and I do think I could make them at home, but to be honest they were overcomplicated, I think the ones you make with cake crumbs are just as nice if not as posh.
For me Kirstie (and her expert trainer) missed the whole point of making your own crackers – personalisation. She just shoved some chocolates in them whereas if you label them you can give people a gift they might actually want, like a nail varnish, cigar, little brooch etc. They were very pretty though and I have only ever made them from a kit but I might have a go next year from scratch, it looked pretty straightforward.
‘I don’t want to ruin Christmas by worrying about the food’ WTF?! You’ll ruin Christmas by NOT worrying about the food – it’s the most important bit!
I really liked the idea of stuffing bay leaves under the turkey skin, plus there were some good tips on what herbs to use and, put it in a hot oven for 45mins first to get golden crispy skin etc but I think pre-cooking veg is a bit over the top, to then microwave or oven cook the next day – surely that’s just doing the work twice?
Ooh golden pears for place settings – I LIKE! Using sugar syrup as glue and sheets of 25ct gold leaf the pears looked really beautiful but £38 for 25 sheets and one per pear needed – maybe one for some really special friends… There is a tutorial here (which is where I got the picture from).
There were some other really good tips thrown in almost by accident here and there; for example, brush fruit with egg white and roll in sugar, this is a really good centre piece and so easy, I’m definitely doing that. And the edible stars you can scatter into your drinks were really fun too.
In summary then, it just annoys me that she never makes anything completely herself, just has a go at one and then gets bored – and says things like ‘the joy of homemade’ and all her guests are cooing over the stuff she ‘made’ – it really undermines the crafting ethos for me, the beauty of homemade is the thought and time that goes into it, which you don’t get from buying it all, how is that any different from a normal ‘consumer’ Christmas?