Monday, 15 December 2014

Kids in the Kitchen - Christmas Pudding Chocolate Biscuits

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen where we encourage you to share what you have been cooking with your kids. The linky is now open until the end of the month and you can join in as many times as you like. I will share all links on Twitter and on my Pinterest page.

Follow Anne's board Kids In The Kitchen on Pinterest.

Last week we were joined by ET Speaks from home and their gloriously coloured cookies. I'll definitely choose colouring gel in the future when I want something bright and colourful.

This week the Little Man was in the kitchen helping me make some Christmas Pudding Biscuits.

Christmas Pudding Chocolate Biscuits.

Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
150g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

to decorate:
200g white icing
50g green icing
25g red icing

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180C gas 4
  • Cream together the butter and the sugar
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and soda
  • Add flour mixture to butter and sugar and mix until crumbly
  • gather the dough and knead until smooth ( I found that it needed a tbs of milk to help bind the mixture together)
  • Shape the dough into a long sausage
  • cut into 18 slices
  • place on baking trays and flatten with your fingers until they are around 5cm diameter
  • bake for 10-12 minutes then leave to cool
  • to decorate: dust work surface with icing sugar and roll out the white icing
  • use a cutter to make 9 circles
  • divide each circle in half with wavy lines
  • brush with a little water and stick have circles onto biscutis
  • cut out holly leaves from green icing and use to decorate biscuits
  • break off tiny pieces of red icing and roll into balls to make berries to decorate biscuits.

































So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
I'd also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)





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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Matcha Green Tea

I am huge fan of green tea, however, at home I am usually buying the tea bag variety. When at restaurants I go for Match green tea, and lately I've not been able to resist the Matcha green tea latte bubble tea you can buy from Meecha....if you've not tired bubble tea you don't know what you are missing!



I'm also a huge fan of the delicious, mouth watering Matcha Tiramisu from Mount Fuji, it's so much more refreshing than regular tiramisu. It's because of this that I've been dying for a long time to get my hands on a packet of Matcha powder.

matcha tiramisu from Mount Fuji


I was thrilled to be offer a packet of Organic Matcha by Kiss Me Organics. The powder is culinary grade and it said it was good for tea and cooking. The packet was resealable and easy to pack away after use. The matcha powder was bright green in colour just as I would expect it to be.

I couldn't wait to use it so I started with a green tea latte. I had no idea how to make one but a quick search Online showed me how easy it is.

Green Tea Latte with matcha


I put a teaspoon of matcha into a cup.
I added a small amount of boiling water and mixed the powder until dissolved.
I then topped up the cup with hot milk, if you have a frother it's even better.

I was really happy with the result, the matcha is very tasty.

To make a cold latte you need a cocktail shaker or similar. The matcha is added to milk and ice and shaken until mixed. This is how I like my bubble tea made, and then I like strawberry popping bubbles added, delicious!

I also decided to make a green tea cake. I looked around and there are many recipes available some complicated some simple. I decided to try and make a light and fluffy cake and this is what I came up with.

Matcha Green Tea Cake


Ingredients:

3 eggs
120g granulated sugar
100g self-raising flour
10g matcha powder
50ml milk
30g unsalted butter

Method:

put the milk and butter in a pan and warm until the butter is dissolved and mixed with the milk.
Leave to cool a little

Whisk the eggs in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Make sure the water is not touching the bowl, or that no water gets into the eggs. They need to be doubled in size and much lighter in colour.

Add the sugar to the eggs and fold in gently.

Sieve the flour and match powder together three times.

Add to the eggs and fold in really gently.

Finally, add the cooled milk and butter mixture, again very gently.

Pour into cake tin and bake in a preheated oven 170C for 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.






The cake is light and fluffy and very green. You can really taste the matcha flavour.


There will probably be more matcha recipes to come...I really have to try matcha mochi and matcha cheesecake, so if you are a green tea fan do keep watching.

Disclosure: I was sent a packet of matcha powder to review, all thoughts, opinions and recipes are my own.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Visiting Santa at Hatton Country Park

We visited Hatton Adventure World for the first time for Halloween. I can't believe we have not been before we are really not far away in Warwick, and it's such a lovely place to visit. We were thrilled to be invited to visit again for their Enchanted Christmas Kingdom which is open every Friday evening and weekend in December and 20th to 24th December 2014.

When we visited it was very cold and we even had spells of rain and hail, but there was still lots to see and do. There is entertainment in the form of Zoobee's Christmas show in the family theatre, The Wise Men's Falconry Shows and stories in Festive Scales and Tales.

We started our day with a trip to the Farmyard favourites area which is covered from the elements. The kids love meeting the animals and The Little Man was really taken by Bubbles the Donkey who is 54 years old and actually older than mummy! We saw Bubbles again later for the live nativity.































Then there was the Guinea Pig village which was made up very festive with lots of Christmas trees and snow.
































We then made our way over to watch the live nativity, but just has it was about to start the rain pelted down and we had to take shelter. We did go back and the children really enjoyed the nativity and singing along with the Christmas songs and carols.































Then it was time to visit Santas Workshop, but first we stopped to admire the reindeers.


























The Grotto was really lovely. We started off by writing our letters to Santa and posting them in the special postbox.





























Then we walked around the workshop seeing the elves hard at work making presents and cookies and wrapping them up ready for the Christmas deliveries.






































Then came the very special visit to see Santa. I had filled in a form so Santa knew a few details about my children before they went in to see him. He was a very impressive Santa with a kindly voice. The children were totally in awe of him and he had them grinning from ear to ear. Well, apart from the Little Man who was a little wary at times, especially when Santa asked if they had been good. Then Santa pulled out a special book and because they were on the Good List they were each given a key to the special Toyshop.

























































In the Toyshop the children were allowed to use their keys to purchase a toy of their choice. They thought it was brilliant.

Before we left we had a walk around Hatton Shopping Village which is an adorable selection of shops selling all sorts of pretty things. We particularly liked the sweet shop. Also, there was a craft market to browse with hot roasted chestnuts available. It certainly made it feel like Christmas.

Once again we had a lovely day at Hatton and I'm certain we will be visiting again.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
We were invited to visit Hatton Adventure world for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas Listing

I'm a list maker, I couldn't get by without them.
If we are going out for the day I make lists. If we have a birthday party coming up I make lists, going on holiday, even decorating the house...everything has lists.

So, of course I have Christmas lists. Not just one list, but several.

First up is my present list. I have a list of everything I've brought, everything I want to buy, and a list of what everyone wants. These lists are kept very secret, but I also keep them forever, and it's so strange sometimes looking back at the presents I bought for everyone from years ago. Even stranger when I see things on my eldest daughter's list from 15 years ago appearing on new lists for my youngest girl!

My Little Pony has been around for years.


I also have my to-do list. Everything I need to do before the big Day itself. For example, write cards, wrap presents, decorate tree, send party invites. This is the list which should be nearly completed by now but is lacking a little on the ticks because of the recent illnesses.

I have my food lists. what to buy, what to cook, I even have a timetable list for the big day so I don't forget to cook everything. Of course the Christmas cake is already made and I just have to remember to feed it some alcohol each week...oh yes, I have a drinks list too!

Then there are my shopping lists, prepared weeks in advance so I can spread the cost. I do try to not go over the top at Christmas, but we really love a good pig out and all those little luxuries that are saved for special occasions. I love to source some new cheese flavours, pickles and jams. We are not ones for going out much so staying in and enjoying treats is our alternative.

some delicious cheeses I discovered earlier this year

I love to make my home welcoming at Christmas time so on the top of my shopping lists are things that help me do this, like treats for guests...mince pies, gingerbread, Christmas cakes and drinks. The house is lit with fairy lights and candles, the heating is on to warm up my visitors and I like the house to smell nice using scented candles and air fresheners.

Febreze have a deliciously scented new Apple and Spice range out. 


The candle is pretty enough to give as a gift!

So are you a Christmas list maker or do you prefer to go with the flow?


Disclaimer: I was sent some Febreze products in return for mentioning them in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



Monday, 8 December 2014

Time to Make New Memories

Christmas is always a special time that etches memories for such a long time. I've had loads of wonderful Christmas' it is hard to pick one memory.

My earliest one would be the year my older brother woke me up with a red plastic telephone that was actually ringing. He got me to answer it and my other older brother was talking to me on the other phone just outside the bedroom door. The phones were connected by a 2 meter wire.....I'm thinking you could probably hear the other person speaking anyway  because they would be so close. Both my brothers had married and left home by the time I was six years old, so this is a really early memory, I must have been so thrilled to get those phones for Christmas.

photo used under creative commons licence from P. Whitehouse.


My childhood was filled with happy Christmas memories, it was my mum's favourite time of the year. I loved it when my nan lived with us and we visitors all day long for days. I would get to play with all my cousins and show off my presents, and play with their presents of course. Christmas dinner would be served after the Queens Speech and we would watch Top of The Pops on tv. Then mum and nan would get drunk on the sherry, while the kids tucked into the sherry trifle.



When I was 21 I spent Christmas heavily pregnant. It was horrible not being able to go out drinking with my mates, but it was so worth when my first child was born in January. Then his sister arrived a year later and Christmas' brought a new magical meaning as I became Father Christmas to my children and saw their delight on Christmas morning. I always thought that Christmas was magical as a child but it's even more magical when you have children yourself and you see the joy it brings. It's not just the gifts either, it's the anticipation, the excitement, a day that is different from every other.




Fast forward 16 years and I was treated to another really special Christmas. I'd been trying for a baby with my partner for over two years and it just wasn't happening. I thought that maybe I'd left it too late and that I was only ever meant to have two children. Then  I finally got my wish and had a positive pregnancy test. It was my best Christmas present ever and I spent the entire holiday with a grin on my face.

I found out I was pregnant on Christmas Day


I have some really special things planned for this Christmas, I want to make some happy memories for my little ones too. The past few years have been difficult and if it wasn't for the little ones I probably would not have celebrated Christmas at all. This year I feel different, I want to celebrate and enjoy the holiday again. 

Merry Christmas! This post is my entry into the Tots100/Little Tikes 12 Days of Christmas competition.


This post is dedicated to the memory of my Christmas loving Mother, Jean 2/01/1931 - 25/12/2008
Miss you every day mum x