Holiday gift guide for entertainers

Holiday gift guide for entertainers

Looking for a gift for the hostess with the mostest?  Or that perfect stocking stuffer for a wine buff? Or perhaps you're just looking to add a festive touch to your holiday table. 

Whatever your reason, our round up of seasonal entertaining ware will please anyone who loves to entertain.

 gift guide for entertainers

1. Wine charms

Don't keep your guests guessing which glass is theirs - with our wine charms it's so easy (and fun!) to keep track.

2. Cheese knife set - plaid

Our plaid cheese knife sets are a great way to add some festive flair to a holiday grazing board.

3. Cocktail shaker - rose gold

Lovers of glamour will adore our luxe rose gold cocktail shakers, topped with a unique and stylish resin stopper.

4. Bar set - stag

All the essentials for a home bar cart in one beautifully gift boxed set - so fun yet so practical.

5. Bottle stopper - monogram snowglobe

Our snowglobe bottle stoppers are perfect for that oh-la-la factor - surprise friends and family with one in their initial for a thoughtful, personalised gift.

6. Cheese spreader set - timber and gold

These gold spreaders are perfect for soft cheeses and dips - the gold plating lends a festive feel while the timber handles keep them understated and elegant.

7. Serving board

This handy serving board is a must for anyone who loves to entertain - perfect for serving up a range of nuts, chocolates or snacks; also great for food prep in the kitchen - a home cooks dream!

Still haven't found what you're looking for?  CLICK HERE to browse our full range of seasonal items.

Alexandra Liddy
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Our favorite cocktails made (even more!) festive

Our favorite cocktails made (even more!) festive

While classic cocktails will never go out of style, we've been on the hunt for ways to make some of our top tipples a little more festive.   After a bit of trial and error (tough gig!) we've created two holiday cocktails that your guests will adore.

gingerbread espresso martini recipe

Gingerbread Espresso Martini

Espresso martinis are a long-standing team favorite here at Ciroa, and while we don't see that changing anytime soon we thought it might be nice to up the ante on this simple recipe for holiday entertaining.

While browsing Tieghan Gerard's cocktail collection over at Half Baked Harvest, we found the answer - gingerbread! What's more Christmassy than that?

We fell in love with Tieghan's Gingerbread White Russian, but wanted something a little lighter and less creamy...so our Gingerbread Espresso Martini was born.

Before you begin, make the gingerbread syrup. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons molasses (substitute with maple or golden syrup if you can't find molasses)
  • 1 inch / 2.5cm fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD

In a medium pot, combine 1 1/3 cups water, the honey, molasses, ginger and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 3-5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool.

This syrup will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks, so feel free to make it in advance. 

Now it's time to assemble your martini.  

INGREDIENTS

2 ounces (60ml) Vodka

1.5 ounces (40ml) Espresso

1 ounce (25ml) Gingerbread Syrup

METHOD:

Add your ingredients to a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice, and shake for half a minute or so.  Strain into a martini glass and serve.

If desired, garnish with a few coffee beans or a cinnamon stick. 

gingerbread espresso martini

Pour over quality vanilla ice cream and serve with gingerbread men as a cute alternative to dessert!

christmas cosmopolitan recipe

Christmas Cosmo

Another favorite of ours is the classic cosmopolitan, but we've given it a festive twist with the addition of pomegranate (hello, antioxidants!).  And with the scent of rosemary in the garnish it's really Christmas in a glass.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ parts vodka
  • ½ part Cointreau liqueur
  • 1 part cranberry and pomegranate juice (if you cant find this ready mixed, use half of each) 
  • ¼ part fresh lime juice

METHOD

Add the ingredients to your cocktail shaker, along with plenty of ice.  Shake for half a minute or so then strain into your glass (if you like, you can pre-chill your glasses by filling them with ice, prior to pouring).

To garnish, remove the lowest leaves from a stem of rosemary, and skewer through berries of your choice (we've used raspberries but any berry will work)...and enjoy!

 

We hope you enjoy making (and tasting) our favorite holiday cocktails - may the merriment begin!

CLICK HERE TO SHOP OUR SEASONAL BARWARE

ciroa barware

 

Alexandra Liddy
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Holiday gift guide for bakers

Holiday gift guide for bakers

'Tis the gifting season, and to make it a little easier to pick out some gifts they're sure to love, we've put together some handy gift guides.

First up is a selection of gifts for the bakers in your life - whether you're buying for a colleague or a much loved family member, anyone who loves to bake will adore these!

gift guide for bakers

1. Plaid Oven Mitt and Utensil Set

Who could resist?  This set is not only cute, it's also super useful. Love the set but not sold on plaid? You can see our other sets here.

2. Cookie Press - Set of 3

These adorable stamps are perfect for anyone who loves to bake cookies - simply press into prepared dough to stamp the design, when baked the details become even more pronounced.  You can see the full range here.

3. Spatula and Cookie Cutter Set

These cute sets make a lovely hostess gift or stocking filler - we have a wide range of designs, from traditional to cute - so there's really one for everyone. 

4. Honeycomb Mini Pie Dishes - Set of 4

These beautiful dishes are perfect for baking individual pies and desserts, and are embossed with our unique honeycomb design.  

5. Embossed Rolling Pin

Our embossed rolling pins are just the ticket for anyone who loves baking cookies - roll over prepared cookie dough to imprint the design, turning simple cookies into works of art! You can view our full range of rolling pins here

6. Nested set of holiday bakers

Ideal for anyone who loves to entertain a crowd, these holiday bakers are wonderful for baking and look amazing on the table when it comes time to serve up.

We hope this list gives you some great gift ideas for anyone who loves to bake! Stay tuned for our round up of gifts for entertainers.

Alexandra Liddy
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Top tips for perfect holiday cookies

Top tips for perfect holiday cookies

If you've been scarred by previous attempts at baking cookies (sticky dough? unrecognizable shapes?) we’ve compiled our top tips to take out the stress of holiday baking and make baking cookies fun and easy.  Let's go!

Stop the spread

To prevent your cookies from spreading (and losing their shape), chill your cookie dough after pressing.  This also helps to concentrate the flavour in your cookies.

Always use a cool baking sheet – if you place your cookies on a warm baking sheet the fat in the dough will melt too quickly, causing your cookies to spread out and lose all the details you spent so long cutting out!

So if you’re making multiple batches, make sure your cookie sheet has time to cool down before adding your next batch to the tray.

Stay close to home

If you can, homemade dough made from scratch is best (we have our go-to recipe below).  However - while we think the flavor and quality of homemade dough far surpasses store bought, if you're short on time (or culinary skills), feel free to use ready-made dough...but refer back to tip 1!

Sticky business

Having trouble with sticky dough?  Chill your dough for an hour or so before rolling (you can also try chilling it for 10-20 minutes in between the rolling and cutting stage).

Another way to prevent sticking is to roll out your dough between two pieces of floured parchment paper, which should make it easier to pick up after cutting.  Or, simply transfer the bottom sheet of parchment with your cut-out cookies on it directly to your cookie tray.

Rest up

Resist the temptation to take your cookies off the tray as soon as they’re done in the oven – let them rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to firm up before transferring to a cooling rack.

Inspired to get busy baking?  Read on for our tried and true simple sugar cookie recipe.

Simple cookie recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 7oz / 200g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 ¼ cups superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¾ cups plain flour

METHOD

Preheat oven to 175C / 350F.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process for a minute or until well combined. Add the vanilla, eggs and flour and continue processing until mixture is fully combined and comes together in the processor.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface, knead lightly then form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough between sheets of baking paper until about 1/4 inch / 5mm thick. Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Gather left over dough, knead gently then roll out again and cut out more cookies.

Chill for approximately 10 minutes prior to baking to preserve details of the cut out shapes. 

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden. Cool and decorate (if desired).

CLICK HERE to shop our seasonal range of cookie cutters

ciroa cookie cutters

Alexandra Liddy
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A cake sure to satisfy any chocolate lover

A cake sure to satisfy any chocolate lover

We are big believers that nothing says lovin' like somethin' from the oven - and when that something includes chocolate, we're head over heels!

Our rich chocolate cake might look simple to make (and it is!) but it packs a big punch in the form of a velvety ganache topping that will have any chocolate lover swooning.

Make this for someone who adores chocolate and they'll be sure to love you forever!

Rich chocolate cake with chocolate ganache

Preparation time : 20 minutes

Cooking time : 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS

200g / 7oz unsalted butter, chopped

1 ¼ cups caster sugar

175g / 6oz dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup milk

2 cups self raising flour

2 eggs

Ganache:

100g  / 3.5oz dark chocolate, chopped

½ cup thickened cream

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 170C / 340f. Lightly grease a 20cm / 8 inch silicone square cake pan.
  2. Place butter, sugar, chocolate and milk in a saucepan over low heat and stir until fully melted and combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile sift flour into a large bowl. Stir eggs through cooled chocolate mixture then pour into bowl with flour. Stir with a large spoon or spatula until just combined. Spoon mixture into cake pan.
  4. Bake for 55-60 minutes until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes in pan then transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely then decorate.
  5. Meanwhile make the chocolate ganache. Place chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until fully melted and combined. Refrigerate until cooled and thickened. Spread over cake to serve.

Decoration:  For a special occasion, we love this cake decorated with freeze dried, edible flowers.  Alternatively, fruit and chocolate shavings make for a sumptuous treat!

CLICK HERE to shop our range of silicone bakeware

silicone bakeware

Alexandra Liddy
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Mad about muffins? You'll love this recipe!

Mad about muffins? You'll love this recipe!

Forever on the hunt for the PERFECT muffin recipe?  Well you can call off the search, because here it is! 

These muffins are not only easy to make, but the addition of buttermilk ensures they are light, fluffy and moist.  If you're not a fan of blueberries you can substitute these with other berries (raspberries work beautifully) or even choc chips.

Best of all?  Bake them in a silicone pan for an easy clean solution - no need to grease, just pop them out when they're ready!

Blueberry buttermilk pancakes

Preparation time : 15 minutes

Cooking time : 25 minutes

Makes 12

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups self rising flour

¾ cup superfine sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup buttermilk

¼ cup milk

¼ cup canola oil

1 cup blueberries

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 175C / 350F. Lightly grease a 12 cup silicone muffin pan.
  2. Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl. Place eggs, buttermilk, milk and oil in another bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined, then fold through blueberries. Spoon mixture into muffin pan. Note: the muffin mixture should still be lumpy. If it is stirred until smooth your muffins will be tough.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes in pan then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Note : Thawed frozen berries may be used if fresh are unavailable. 

CLICK HERE to shop our range of marbled silicone bakeware

marbled silicone bakeware

Alexandra Liddy
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The ONLY cake recipe you need this fall!

The ONLY cake recipe you need this fall!

Celebrate the change of seasons with our cinnamon spice cake - incredibly moist, the cinnamon kick is perfect for fall, while the maple glazed apples transform this simple cake into a mouthwatering delight. 

Trust us – this is going to be your new favorite recipe for Autumn!

cinnamon spice cake recipe with maple glazed carrots

Cinnamon spice cake with maple glazed apples

 

Preparation time : 20 minutes

Cooking time : 45 minutes

Serves 8-10

 

INGREDIENTS:

125g  / 4.4oz / 1 stick unsalted butter, softened, chopped

¾ cup superfine sugar

2 eggs

2 cups self-rising flour, sifted

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ cup milk

½ cup maple syrup

1 Pink Lady (or similar) apple, thinly sliced

 

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C / 360F.
  2. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. With the mixer running, add eggs one at a time until fully combined.
  3. Remove bowl from mixer and using a large spoon or spatula fold through combined flour and cinnamon, alternating with milk. Spoon mixture into a 9" round non-stick silicone cake pan.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and cooked through when tested with a skewer. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes in pan then transfer to a wire rack.
  5. Meanwhile make maple glazed apples. Place maple syrup in a non-stick pan with ¼ cup water over medium heat. When simmering, add apple slices. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes or until apple slices are soft and caramelized.
  6. Serve cake warm decorated with maple glazed apples and any remaining syrup...and enjoy!

cinnamon spice cake recipe with maple glazed carrots

 CLICK HERE to shop our range of marbled, non-stick silicone bakeware silicone bakeware by ciroa

 

 

Alexandra Liddy
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Our irresistible baked mac n cheese recipe (with a secret ingredient)

Our irresistible baked mac n cheese recipe (with a secret ingredient)

When you’re in need of some comfort food a classic mac n cheese is hard to beat - there’s something about the soft, gooey cheesy goodness that’s almost as warming as a big old hug.

The addition of panko crumbs at the end gives our version a delightful crunch, a wonderful contrast to the smooth, velvety ooze of the cheese and pasta.

And our secret ingredient?  Dijon mustard!  Adding mustard to this super rich dish provides just the right amount of acidity to provide a more well-rounded flavour experience. 

 honeycomb mini loaf pans

Baked mac n cheese

Preparation time : 10 minutes

Cooking time : 25 minutes

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ cups elbow macaroni

25g / 2 tablespoons butter

1 ½ tablespoons plain flour

1 ½ cups milk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ chicken bouillon cube

¾ cup grated cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons grated parmesan

salt and cracked black pepper

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese, extra

METHOD 

  1. Lightly grease four mini rectangular bakers or ramekins.
  2. Cook the pasta in a medium pan according to packet instructions then drain well and set aside.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and melt the butter over medium heat. When melted add the flour and stir until combined. Allow the mix to bubble for a minute (this takes away the ‘raw’ flavor of the flour) but take care not to brown.
  4. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in milk, mustard and chicken bouillon cube. Return to low heat and stir for 3-4 minutes until thickened. If lumps start to form at any time, whisk the mixture until smooth. It should be the consistency of thin custard.
  5. Stir the grated cheeses into the sauce, cooking until cheese is fully melted.
  6. Stir the mustard into the sauce until combined.
  7. Fold the pasta through the sauce, coating well, then season with salt and pepper.
  8. Transfer mixture to mini bakers / ramekins and sprinkle over breadcrumbs and extra cheese. Place under grill and bake for 2-3 minutes or until golden on top. Serve immediately.

 

NOTES

  • Where possible use freshly grated cheese rather than pre-shredded. Pre-shredded cheese often contains anti-caking agents that can make the sauce grainy
  • You can make this recipe a day or two in advance, all the way up to the addition of breadcrumbs. When you’re ready, add the breadcrumbs, pop in the oven and bake!
  • Looking to pimp out your mac n cheese? Add crispy bacon or shredded chicken for extra texture and protein or add sautéed onion and bell peppers to up your veggie intake.

CLICK HERE to shop our mini ceramic bakers

ciroa mini bakeware

Alexandra Liddy
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A beautiful brunch recipe - bacon and cheese pots

A beautiful brunch recipe - bacon and cheese pots

Sick of cereal? Tired of toast?  Our bacon and cheese pots are the perfect antidote to breakfast blahs. 

These little pots of goodness are halfway between a muffin and a frittata so are light yet satisfying. 

Bake in pretty ramekins to impress your friends and family over brunch, or serve with a salad for a light and tasty lunch. 

You could also cook up a batch on the weekend for a healthy and delicious start to your working week – they’ll keep refrigerated for up to two days.  

Bacon and cheese pots

Preparation time : 15 minutes

Cooking time : 30 minutes

Makes 4

 INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 rasher bacon, chopped
  • ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 170C / 340F. Lightly grease four ramekins.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Place the oil in another bowl with eggs and milk and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the flour and when just smooth fold through the bacon, cheese and herbs. Spoon into the ramekins and place cherry tomatoes on top.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm. Remove from oven and serve warm or at room temperature.

CLICK HERE to view our range of ceramic bakeware

ciroa ceramic bakeware

Alexandra Liddy
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Give thanks...with cookies!

Give thanks...with cookies!

Say hello to the harvest season and give thanks with our simple yet oh so pretty embossed sugar cookies.

Placed in a clear gift bag, nestled in a box or simply tied with string, these cookies make a wonderful gift for friends and neighbours over Thanksgiving.  These cookies are simple enough to bake with your children and make a great 'thank you' for teachers.

harvest cookie recipe

Easy harvest cookie recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 2/3 cups plain flour

4oz / 125g chilled butter, chopped

1/4 cup superfine sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla essence (1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

HARVEST COOKIE RECIPE

METHOD

Place the flour and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar, egg and vanilla and pulse until combined. If the dough seems a little dry add a teaspoon or two of cold water whilst the motor is running.

The dough should come together in a ball. Remove from the food processor and knead on a lightly floured board. When smooth roll into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for 20 minutes. 

Roll out the dough to approximately 4-5mm thick, then roll over firmly with the embossed rolling pin. Cut out cookies and place on a lined tray. Bake at 180C / 350F for 15 minutes or until light golden. Cool.

harvest cookies

CLICK HERE to shop our Harvest collection

ciroa harvest rolling pins

Alexandra Liddy
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Fall entertaining - delicious dips to serve on game day

Fall entertaining - delicious dips to serve on game day

Planning a game day gathering? We have two delicious (and easy) dip recipes that will surely become fan favorites. 

These heartier dips are perfect for when the weather starts to cool down and you're looking for a more substantial appetizer. 

caramelized onion and bacon dip recipe

Caramelized onion, bacon and chive dip

Finely slice a rasher of bacon.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of oil. Cook the bacon until crisp and golden then drain on paper towel until cooled.

Place 200g sour cream in a bowl. Stir through 2 tablespoons good quality caramelized onion relish/jam.

Season with salt and cracked black pepper. Stir half the bacon through the sour cream mixture and spoon into a ramekin.

Pile the remaining bacon on top and served sprinkled with some chopped chives.

warmed spinach and parmesan dip recipe

Warmed spinach and parmesan dip

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of oil.

Add ½ cup thawed frozen chopped spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes until liquid is fully evaporated. 

Add a clove of garlic and cook for another minute then remove from the heat.

While still warm, fold the spinach through 7oz / 200g sour cream along with 1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan.  Season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Spoon into a ramekin and serve topped with toasted pinenuts.

 

CLICK HERE to shop our range of ramekins

ramekins

Alexandra Liddy
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Two dip recipes to get your party started

Two dip recipes to get your party started

One of the easiest ways to get a party started is to serve up some delicious dips and wait for everyone to gravitate to the bowl!

Here we have two of our favorites than can be whipped in in a few minutes (but will be remembered by your guests long after the party has ended).

One is a corn-based version which is dairy and gluten free - this is a great option when entertaining vegan friends or those with specific dietary requirements (or anyone who adores a fresh and healthy dip!)

The second option incorporates chorizo, sour cream and chipotle and will appeal to those looking for a heartier, creamy dip. 

vegan dip recipe

Tomato, charred corn and coriander salsa

Cut the kernels off a cob of corn. Place in a small skillet over medium high heat and cook until corn is lightly charred. Remove and allow to cool.

Quarter a punnet of cherry tomatoes and place in a bowl with a tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro.

Add cooled corn kernels, a dash of olive oil and a good squeeze of lime juice.

Season with salt and cracked black pepper. Spoon into a ramekin and serve with corn chips, or as a topping for nachos.

 chorizo dip in ramekin

Smokey chipotle and chorizo dip

Finely dice a chorizo sausage. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the chorizo. Cook until golden brown and crisp then drain on paper towel until cooled. 

Place 200g sour cream in a bowl. Add ½ teaspoon smoky paprika and 1 tablespoon smoky chipotle sauce (if unavailable use extra smoky barbecue sauce).

Stir until fully combined, season with salt and cracked black pepper then spoon into a ramekin. 

Pile the chorizo on top and serve sprinkle with a little chopped parsley.

Notes:

Add extra chipotle or smoky barbecue sauce to the sour cream if you prefer the dip spicier.

We recommend using Spanish chorizo but if unavailable, you can substitute with Mexican chorizo.

 

CLICK HERE to shop the ramekins used in these recipes

ciroa ramekins

Alexandra Liddy
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