Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mice invasion

Young sir has a rather wonderful litte cookery book that he often reads at bedtime, dreaming of all the lovely sweet things he would have if his parents were less vigilant about his intake of sugary treats. We had a dedication at church on Sunday which always means a feast afterwards. It was a perfect reason to try couple of the recipes. Young sir opted for sweethearts (only we had sweetflowers as we didn't have heart shaped cutters of the right size) and coconut mice.

Young sir made the sweethearts with his own fair hands, he'll be a good catch one day with his culinary skills ;) The mice we made 'together' - after the first few my little helper realised how time consuming it was to but eyes and tails on and disappeared to play with lego. He occasionally appeared back in the kitchen to perform quality control on the ears and tails, just to make sure they tasted like the other ones obviously. 

I remember decorating biscuits together with my mum and she made a comment about how children like to choose from lots of different ones. On that occasion I'd just been slapping icing on and making them all look the same (fast, efficient and completely devoid of imagination) whereas hers were all different and amazing. The comment has stayed with me and I think she is so right - there is something fun about having lots of different lovely things and being able to choose the one that you like the most. 

So following my mother's wisdom, all the mice were different. Different sizes. Different coloured ears. Different coloured eyes. Different lenght tails. All different and all very cute.

They were a doddle to make if a bit time consuming.

Here's the recipe:

250gr icing sugar
200gr condensed milk
175 gr desiccated coconut
food colouring (any colour you fancy)

sweets for ears
small cake decorating balls for eyes
liquorice laces for tails

 Mix the sugar, coconut, colouring and condensed milk together. Shape mouse like shapes with spoon, dipping it in water before putting it in the mixture helps to stop it from sticking. Put on eyes, ears and tails. A coctail stick was handy for making holes for the tails to go into. Leave to harden before putting in a tin.

The mixture makes quite a few mice and I got tired of making them so I spread the left over mixture on a baking paper, melted some white chocolate on top and sprinkled with pink and white sprinkles...mmmmm.....delicious!

 I got a lovely new cake stand for Christmas so it was good excuse to try it :)

The sweethearts that we shaped like flowers were simple to make. You'll need:
50gr icing sugar
50gr caster sugar
100gr ground almonds
100gr condensed milk
food colouring

Mix everything together and dye half of the mixture different colour. Leave to rest in fridge for 30 minutes, roll out as thick or thin as you like and cut shapes. Use a smaller cutter to middles and swap the middles with the cut otus of the different coloured mixture. Leave to dry/harden overnight.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Dreamming of summer

My sister posted some pictures on facebook couple of days ago. One of them was of me and young sir marching together along the Hadrian's wall. In the sunshine. I looked at the photo and wanted it to be summer. NOW.

Usually, I like all the seasons. Each one of them has their own appeal. Some people call themselves summer people and feel that they are only really alive in the summer when the sun shines and all is rosy. I love sunshine and summer but I also love crisp autumn mornings, rainy winter days (or snow but that doesn't happen too often), emerging spring flowers.

When I first moved to England I was adamant that there were only three seasons here. Since then I have learnt not to define winter purely by the depth of the snow cover - even though my ideal winter would still be snowy...

When I saw this photo I really, really wished it was summer. There was something so inviting about the fluffy clouds and sunshine. For couple of minutes I was a summer person...and then it was back to reality. It is January. I have sinusitis and am drinking gallons of hot black currant squash in the hope that it will alleviate the suffering slightly.  Hey ho...time to boil the kettle again :)