Friday, November 29, 2013

Avalon Beach Pad

It was certainly no surprise, when I learned this classic 1950's beach pad was owned by an interior designer.

It is beautifully functional and has some stunning styling elements.  Located in the golden triangle of Avalon, it is truly a gorgeous home, which had a warm and inviting feel to it when I visited.

Styled with beachy elements, vintage art work and mementos from life experiences, this home is really well put together.  If you would like more of her details, you can see those here.

Cute isn't she?

Have a great weekend Beach Dwellers and if you are looking in person, or on the web from afar.  Happy house hunting, in whatever form it takes.

And if you have not entered yet, I have a fabulous $100 gift voucher giveaway from Coast and Country Homewares for Australian residents here.

And if you need some Christmas entertaining inspiration, you may find some help  here, here or here.

If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every ten days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Easy Christmas Ice Cream Wreath with Mixed Berries and Chocolate

Easy Christmas Ice Cream Wreath with Mixed Berries and Chocolate

With Christmas in Australia being a rather warm affair, ice cream is the perfect addition to a Christmas dessert table.

 Recently, I saw a pavlova wreath over on Pinterest and I thought this lovely idea would be easily transferable to an ice cream wreath.

To say I am delighted with the results, would be an understatement.  I think she came up beautifully. 
This was so easy, it's almost criminal.  The beauty is, you make it the day before or even the week before.  All you need to do on the big day is, dress it with fruit and some greenery and dust with icing sugar, just before serving.

I really love creating new recipes at Christmas time.  For me it is almost the best bit of the season.

So here 's what I did. The recipe is below, but here are a few tips I learned along the way.  I used a  22cm spring form tin with the largest Vegemite jar wrapped in baking paper, to make the hole in the centre of the wreath. Make sure you line the base of the tin with baking paper. Next time, I would probably remove the Vegemite label and not bother wrapping the jar in baking paper, as it would make a more perfect centre for the wreath.  Oh well, next time.

It needs to be a jar, so you can pour some warm water into it, when it comes out of the freezer.  This allows the jar to be easily removed,  from the centre of the wreath.  Make sure the water you pour in is not too hot, as it will crack the jar.

I used grated chocolate and some stewed strawberries in the ice cream, but you could use choc chips, nuts, dried fruit, crushed honey comb, crushed meringue, or whatever you like.

I just used a good quality low fat ice cream, which I softened, so I could mix the strawberries and chocolate through easily.

I also swirled the strawberries through with a chopstick to create a pretty pattern.

Easy Christmas Ice Cream Wreath with Mixed Berries and Chocolate

Serves 10-12

500g or 2 punnets of strawberries
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup water
2 litres of good quality vanilla ice cream
100 g or 1/2 block of cooking chocolate grated or roughly chopped
1 packet of frozen berries or fresh berries to dress
Icing sugar to dust
Mint to garnish
Good quality Chocolate sauce to serve

Prepare your spring form pan as described above.
Allow ice cream to soften for about 20 minutes
Meanwhile hull the strawberries and place in a small pot over a medium heat on the stove, with the sugar and water.  Just before they boil, turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Once the ice cream has softened  sufficiently, stir through the grated chocolate.   Mix well.  Then dollop the strawberry mixture in with a spoon and swirl with a chop stick through the ice cream.
Pour or spoon the mixture into your prepared spring form tin.
Ensure the top is smoothed over.
Freeze over night.

To decant the wreath from the tin, put some warm water into the sink and immerse the tin into the water, so the water comes up the sides, being careful not to let the water come up too high and touch the ice cream.  Carefully pour some warm water into the jar in the centre.  Remove the tin from the sink after about 1 minute and open the spring.  The tin's ring should easily be removed  Remove the centre jar.

Return the wreath to the freezer to refreeze the edges for about 45 minutes.  You can do all this the day before your event.

Just before serving, dress with fresh or frozen fruit, dust with icing sugar and garnish with mint.
Drizzle each serve with chocolate sauce if desired. 

Serve immediately

Note:  One thing I noticed when I sliced the wreath, was the strawberries and chocolate had sunk to the bottom and formed 2 distinct layers, which was quite pretty.  You can kind of see it in the shots below.  My ice cream was quite soft, so I think that's why they layered up like that.

I went a little crazy with the chocolate sauce.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might like some of my other Christmas baking and craft ideas, which you can check out here.

I am also giving away a Coast and Country Homewares $100 gift voucher to spend in that gorgeous on line store here.

If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every ten days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.

Today I am linked up here
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Weekend Wrap Up
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Inspire Me Tuesday
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Monday, November 25, 2013

Coast and Country Homewares $100 Gift Voucher Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Coast and Country Homewares

I love a pretty table at the Beach House when I entertain
This fabulous Coast and Country Homewares $100 Gift Voucher Giveaway, may help you out in several ways this Christmas season.  You could use it to buy a Christmas present for a friend or even for yourself.

A Gorgeous Blue and White Tablecloth from Coast and Country Homewares
The best presents are always the ones you buy for yourself, don't you think?  Mr Beach House sailed a regatta on Saturday and I  have a little policy surrounding that situation.  That is, to spend the equivalent of what he spends on the regatta entry fee, on taking myself and the Beach House Brats out to lunch and on a little gift for myself.  I mean, if I am left at home with children and he is out whooping it up on the high seas, I think it's only fair don't you?  It certainly keeps the resentment bugs at bay.

He sails, I treat myself and the marriage remains intact, so everyone is a winner and we all get our happy ending.

If you are like me and enjoy buying gifts for yourself, Coast and Country Homewares online store is a place you need to know about.

The range includes stunning tableware.  Much of it in blue and white, which is my favourite.

There are also has some fabulous styles for your Christmas table, such as this lovely nautical red stripe.

Or floral tablecloths in pinks, reds and greens.

Or how about this lovely taupe hand crochet lace trim tablecloth?  She is simply stunning for an elegant table setting.

I also love the Coast and Country Homewares cushion range

My absolute favourite is this Chinoiserie blue and white cushion, which has 2 different fabrics on either side and at only $19.95, a quick room makeover was never so affordable.

The Front
The Back
Coast and Country Homewares online store also stocks some lovely plates, mugs and bowls in blue and white to make any Summer party table look beautiful.

There is even a beautiful baby range of quilts, matching pillows, bibs and nappy bags.

Here's how I used this quilt in my little girl's room makeover.

I love red, white and blue for a boy.

Coast and Country Homewares also has free shipping within Australia, for orders of over $100

Today Desire Empire has one $100 Coast and Country Homewares gift voucher to giveaway. It will surely help you with your Christmas shopping, if you are the lucky winner.

To validate your entry, you will need to do 2 things:

1.  Like Coast and Country Homewares on Facebook.  Have a good look around whilst you are there, as it is a beautiful page. Let me know you have liked the page in your comment.

2. Head over to the Coast and Country Homewares website and come back here to leave me a comment below, letting me know how you would spend a $100 gift voucher, if you are the lucky winner.

Leave a separate comment for each share on your social media and it will contitute another entry.

Avalon Cushion 50cm x 50cm 
This giveaway has now finished.  Congratulations Cassie Fearn you have won the  gift voucher.  Please contact me within 7 days to claim your prize.

Giveaway Terms and Conditionns
This is a game of skill.  
You MUST enter the giveaway on this BLOG by leaving a comment here. You do not need to have a Blogger account.  Just sign in as anonymous and leave an email address.  
This competition is open to Australian Residents only.  
The prize is ONE $100 Coast and Country Homewares gift Voucher to spend in the Coast and Country online store.  
This prize is not redeemable in cash.
This competition is open from now until 10 December 2013 12pm Australian EST.
The winner will be announced on this blog,  Desire Empire Face Book and Desire Empire Twitter accounts and I will contact you, as long as you have left a valid means.  The winner will have 7 days to respond, otherwise the prize will be redrawn.

If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every ten days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Coastal Decor in White

So it's about this time of the week that I turn my mind to Beach Houses for sale and those I shall be viewing this weekend.
This one caught my eye with her sandstone fireplace, white floor boards and indoor/outdoor living spaces.

She is beautifully styled and with views framed by the Australian bush, this home is one I shall be acquainting myself with tomorrow.

If you are a serious player, who is in the market for a Beach House in paradise, you are but one click away from the dream.

Have a great weekend Beach Dwellers

If you need some inspiration for Christmas go here,

or sign up for my newsletter here, if you want to stay in touch with what is up next.
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