The festive celebration at work is always a do-it-yourself affair from a sausage sizzle in the park to fancy dress to creating themed festive rooms in our basement car park. They are generally fun (apart from the fancy dress) with varying numbers of us involved and in the party spirit.
The 2015 theme was a Masterchef type competition to provide dessert. Having just delivered a major project we were feeling relaxed and creative enough to enter a team, called Mousse on the Move. This was a play on our mousse dessert and the name of the organisation's transformation (restructure) project. We were obviously feeling very creative because our dessert name was Take a Shot.
The week before the party we stopped being relaxed and got competitive. We had to have a team identity and fabulous table decorations. I was given the role of creative director so of course sewing had to be involved somewhere.
Plain cheap red aprons were purchased for the five of us and I embroidered them with our logo (the reindeer from the Embroidery Online machine embroidery collection called Elegance Entwined), our names, team name and date. This was a relatively easy sew because the machine embroidery unit takes over once I have designed the layout in the embroidery software and I limited the design to two colours for speed. The embroidery was also carefully sized so that it fit into my Bernina 830 jumbo hoop (400 x 260 mm). I didn't hoop the apron but used sticky back stabiliser which was hooped then the apron was carefully laid on top so that the centre of the design was positioned where I had marked the design centre on the apron (above the pocket). It was still relatively stressful because I had to get all five embroideries finished on Sunday before I flew back to work on Monday.
The aprons were a big hit and we looked like the winning team!! Here we are at the awards ceremony with our box of Roses chocolates (we got one each!). Heads chopped off to protect the innocent.
Now about those table decorations we decided they had to be edible (we did have some glass berries scattered amongst the goodies but we had to remove them as people kept trying to eat them).
The mousse (our official dessert) carefully portioned in a disposable shot cup was delicious and easy to make using the Annabel Langbein Three-ingredient Chocolate Mousse recipe. The hardest part was chopping the marshmallows which stick to the knife. Melting the chocolate and folding in the cream was child's play. The mousse was made the night before so all we had to do on the day was add a dob of cream on the top with a raspberry.
Then we had the Strawberry Santas, made on the day, we didn't use the icing sugar just the whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate chips.
Chocolate dipped candy cane Reindeer (obviously Rudolf with the red nose), made the night before, involved more Whittakers Dark Ghana chocolate, white Jelly Beans and Jaffas. A black icing pen provided the pupils for all of our reindeer eyes and melted chocolate was used as the glue.
The chocolate reindeer biscuits, also made the night before, used chocolate Florentines as the base with white Jelly Bean eyes, a Jaffa nose and pretzels for the antler. You could use Mallowpuffs or Choco-ade biscuits for the base or try this recipe (a bit more involved than ours). I couldn't find the actual recipe we used which involved mini Reese peanut butter cups for the nose with a Jaffa on top. The peanut butter cups ran out before the Florentines so we just stuck the Jaffa directly onto the remaining biscuits.
Everything we made was pretty easy and would suit cooking with kids. There was no real cooking as we used the catering kitchen at work which is geared more towards serving and tidying up than preparing an actual meal.
Once we started looking for simple to do festive treats it was amazing just how many ideas there were from a quick internet search.
If you think the quality of these photographs is higher than the normal blog standard that is because most of them are the official photographs used for our intranet. It was quite difficult to get photographs because the masses were eating our desserts before the starting gun had fired.