This year I visited quite a bit of hotels because of work..or sometimes I wonder if I should say thanks to work. On the one hand it meant I spent a bit too many nights away from home for my own taste (and I think my boyfriend’s), but on the other hand I discovered many very cute places where I would love to come back for a romantic week-end.
Here are a few pictures of the Lamb Inn in Cotswold, one of my favourites so far. It looks very cosy and Christmassy! And the pub is in a very cute little traditional village with a cute high street where you can buy local produce.
I also loved the attention given to small details, such as the little jar filled with dried lavender, and the rubber duck in the shower. Aren’t they the cutest?
Anyway, the other good thing about having spent many nights in hotels is that I collected many mini jam jars from the breakfasts. And seeing the tiny lavender jar in the Lamb Inn, I thought I could do something similar for my colleagues, instead of a Christmas card.
I happened to have “Homemade” stickers and some red ribbon with snowflakes, bought at the Cake and Bake Show this year. I used them to make my mini jars pretty (I knew I would use them eventually!).
I filled the jars with my homemade Nutella, which is now a staple as I make a full jar every week. You could fill this with anything you like really, such as jam, pesto, mustard… But I chose the Nutella because it would keep for a long time, and it only takes 5 minutes to make. I still wanted to sterilise it though..did not want to be accused of poisoning my colleagues! But I was afraid the Nutella would not look great after the jars spent 15 minutes in boiling water (I have no evidence of this, I was just afraid it would not work). So I decided to use another technique: I sterilised my Nutella jars with rhum (you could do it with any other alcohol you like).
The technique is quite easy, and faster than submerging the jars in boiling water for a while. Here is how it goes:
– Once your Nutella has set and cooled down, pour a tiny bit of rhum in the jar (I put about 1/2 teaspoon because the jars are so small). You want to obtain a layer of rhum on top of your Nutella, about 1/2 mm thick.
– Keep the lid close, you will need to act fast to put the lid back on the jar. This is especially true if you are using mini jars as I did, as the rhum will burn off quicker.
– Light a match, and set the rhum on fire. Close the jar before the rhum has finished burning. As it burns it will use up all the air remaining in the jar, making it effectively sterilised.
– To check if the jar is sterilised, hold it at eye level and look across the lid. The lid should be curved down slightly in the center. If center of the lid is flat or bulging, it may not be sealed.
I tried one jar for myself and it was really nice as you still have the taste of rhum. It works well with Nutella, and I would probably do it on purpose next time, and try sterilising jams with amaretto or brandy for example. If you have any ideas of good pairings, please leave a comment 🙂
And I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope you are enjoying the festive season with your family and friends!