Tag Archives: candlelit

Grill of My Dreams

This weekend I finally got to rev up one of our wedding presents, which is, quite simply, the greatest thing ever – a raclette grill.

For the most part, the Swiss are quite happy being Swiss, enjoying their lives in Switzerland. They don’t really get involved, except to offer the world some first-rate luxury exports from time to time – namely, chocolate, watches, and Roger Federer. I like that their national motto is the same as The Three Musketeers’, “One for all, all for one” and their foreign policy is sensibly isolationist.

One thing the Swiss aren’t neutral about, though, is cheese. They rock at it. They take cheese to another level. And they invented the cheese-melting machine of my dreams, the raclette grill.

Raclette Opening Box

This addition to our household was such an occasion, I had to blog about it!

You can get raclette cheese in pre-sliced packages. The little squares fit perfectly into the trays, called coupelles.

Raclette Cheese Package

Raclette Cheese Slices

Another major component is the meat, which gets seared on the top griddle. We got the butcher to cut some thin slices of filet mignon. You can marinade it in advance, but we chose to simply salt and pepper it as we go.

Raclette Parson's Nose Steak Raw Slices Filet

Raclette Filet Steak

The accompaniments are also important: a charcuterie of cured meats, boiled potatoes, and cornichon are the main ones.

Raclette Table

Raclette Cured Meats

raclette Sauces

The Hubster even whipped up a pair of condiments – a creamy curry sauce, and an herby yogurt sauce with dill, basil and cilantro.

Nothing left to do but switch on the raclette grill!

Raclette Machine Turning it on

It’s so perfectly compact, and ideal for the tabletop. Bop a piece of steak on the hot grill to sear, while the tray of cheese melts on the grill below.

Raclette Steak on the Grill

Raclette Cheese and Steak

Raclette Steak Sizzling

Raclette Tray Melted

When you hear the cheese start bubbling, just remove the tray from the heat, and pour onto your plate! Preferably over potatoes, or whatever else happens to be in the way.

Raclette Cheese Cheesy

Raclette Melty Cheese

Raclette Melty Stringy

Raclette Stringy Cheese

Raclette Cheesy Plate

Well, there you have it: the most amazing invention a true cheese lover could ever hope for.

And a gift that will keep the sizzle in our marriage for many years to come!

Petersham Nurseries Candlelit Carols

Petersham Nurseries is one of the gems of suburban London. It’s not your typical garden center – it’s possibly the chicest, bohemian greenhouse wonderland I’ve ever encountered.

The vast grounds near Richmond were saved from developers by an Italian businessman and his Aussie wife, and they’ve since redesigned the gardens, opened a Michelin star restaurant, a rustic teahouse, and a vast garden shop full of salvaged homewares, antique furniture and vintage garden décor.

And it happens to be the premier place in town to rekindle that old-fashioned Christmas spirit!

Petersham Nurseries Teahouse

The event was a candlelit evening of Christmas carols and shopping!

Petersham Nurseries Shop

As we entered the packed dirt-floored nursery, we were handed a ticket for a free cup of mulled wine. Crumbly mince pies were also on hand to nibble as a group of singers from Barnes Choir filled the café with the beautiful harmony of Christmas carols.

Petersham Nurseries Mulled Wine Ticket

Petersham Nurseries Carols Mulled Wine Mince Pie

Petersham Nurseries Carols Sip

Petersham Nurseries Carols Santa

Petersham Nurseries Carollers

Petersham Nurseries Carols Tree

Petersham Nurseries Carols

The space was heaving with fir trees and berries, shiny red baubles, and twinkling fairy lights – it was a magical Christmas dreamland!

Petersham Nurseries Shop Plants

Still humming “Jingle Bells”, we wandered around perusing the shop! My eyes didn’t know which way to look first – left or right, up or down. Every inch of the place was covered in vintage prints, gilded mirrors, antique chandeliers, homemade wreaths, scented candles and soaps, and heaps of Christmas ornaments.

Petersham Nurseries Shop Walls

Petersham Nurseries Shopping

Petersham Nurseries Shop Putti

Petersham Nurseries Shop Baubles

Petersham Nurseries Shop Crocuses

Petersham Nurseries Shop Mirror Reflection

Petersham Nurseries Shop Hobnail Pitcher

Petersham Nurseries Shop Baubles Tree

This shop is one of my top recommendations for finding unique Christmas gifts!

And I couldn’t pick a place with more charming Christmas cheer.