Evening primrose!

My evening primrose is in flower and she is beautiful! I grow the common variety. I only have a couple so there’s no cold pressing going on out the back to extract the beautiful oil, but I do buy the oil. Just thought I’d share the beauty!!

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Evening primrose!

Gingerbread houses!

Gingerbread houses, Christmas music, the thought of Michael Buble popping by to jazz up my day and the kids decorating our little treats with smiles and love enhance Christmas into it’s fullness of life for me! So every year we make gingerbread houses, and the scene unfolds….. except for Michael arriving! This recipe makes 2 medium houses, 1 large house and 1 small house (or as we have done this year, a dog house)! So if you only want one large, half the quantities. Or it makes 5 medium houses (so each child can have their own individual one if you like)! Enjoy this magical time of year! Celebrate the birth of the Lord by filling your home and heart with Christmas memories, and this is a memory making recipe!!

Ingredients

250 g butter

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup treacle

2 egg yolks – and keep the whites for the icing

5 cups plain flour

3 tbs ground ginger

2 tsp bi carb soda

2 egg whites – from above for icing 3 cups icing sugar for icing

Lots of lollies!!

Method Cream the butter, sugar, treacle and yolk. Then add sifted flour little by little. Add the ginger and bi-carb too. Divide the mixture and knead well. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Set aside and cut patterns for the gingerbread house.

Roll dough out onto bake paper until about 5-7mm thick. Lay your patterns on top and use a knife to cut the edges off. You need 2 of each pattern! Bake the parts for around 20 minutes on 170 degrees celcius, but check after 15 minutes – it all depends on the thickness of your dough! Leftover dough can be used to make gingerbread men, shapes, christmas trees for the front yard of your house, whatever you desire! Bake small shapes like that at 170 degrees for about 10 minutes and cool on wire racks.

Royal icing Mix egg whites with an electric mixer, gradually adding the icing sugar. Mix on high until the icing is at a consistency of being able to have some on a spoon and it not slip off.

Assembly You need a large plate or a foil board. Use icing to ‘glue’ the house together with some on each end that touches another end. I also cut a couple of inches off a paper towel roll cardboard thingy and place it inside to help the roofs.

Before applying the roof wait fifteen minutes to let the sides and ends settle. To get the icicle affect run some of the royal icing over the end of each outer edge and then put the knife side-on back on the underneath side of the icing and pull down, pulling the icing gently with you. Repeat everywhere you want the icicles!

To fasten sweets onto the house use the royal icing as glue! We use a range of treats each year but the kids seem to always choose smarties and freckles! Some years they’ve used all sorts of things; freckles, small balls, milk bottles, liquorice! I always dust with icing sugar at the end to make it look like snow! Enjoy your creation, and have fun with the smash up and eating!!

 

Gingerbread houses!

Mini Christmas puddings!

Christmas cooking that the kids can do all by themselves always creates great moments in our home! I play old Christmas CDs in the background, plonk ingredients on the bench and instruct an eldest what to do. Then I sit back with a wine and look on with excitement watching the kids accomplish something together. This is a great recipe, simple and easy enough that a couple of kids can make it happen! I hope your kids have fun with this and you enjoy the fruits of their labour!!

Ingredients

250 g block milk chocolate

1 tbs butter

500 g Christmas pudding

50 g white chocolate

20 cranberries or glace cherries, chopped up a bit

Method

Melt the milk chocolate and butter. Crumble the pudding into the melted mixture. Roll tablespoon size portions into balls, setting aside on bake paper. Place the balls into a fridge. Once done and everyone has finally got permission to lick their fingers and go wash up, melt the white chocolate. After ten minutes the chocolate will be a consistency that is easy to spread but not running away, it is now that you dollop small blobs of white choc on the tops of the little puds. Garnish with a little bit of red, here I’ve used dried cranberries, but some years I use glace cherries. Back in the fridge for at least half an hour just to set things off. This is fun because the kids can pretty much do everything and you can sit back with a vino!! I hope you enjoy these sweet little morsels!!

 

Mini Christmas puddings!