Gingerbread houses!

Every year the kids and I make different gingerbread houses! We design them on paper with brainstorm, then I measure out the patterns on baking paper, cut them out and use them. This year I forgot the roof needs eaves – so no sparkly hanging icicles this time. Nevertheless, still a lovely little church representing our Parish of St Francis Xavier, and a nice little house, representing our family home. Remember to dust with lots of icing powder for ‘snow’! Have fun!

The kids go nuts with their decorating!!

St Francis Xavier (in a gingerbread house)!!

NB my daughter stuck love heart cookies on the front – how gorgeous! And to get the side cookies to have a “stained glass window” effect, I simply used heart shaped cookie cutters and cut out a small heart from a big heart and added raspberry jam. Because you ‘glue’ the cookie on the side of the wall with royal icing, it stays fine!

 

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

 

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!!

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Gingerbread houses!

Brisbane Buildings

Brisbane is a true mixture of both old and new architecture. I love it! My son took these pics, he is 13 years old and was doing an assignment for year 7. Aren’t they fabulous!

Queen Street mall modern butterflies!

The Treasury Casino, old school.

 Old greatness!

 Modern spirits rising.

The Mansions.

 The Treasury Casino, front on from the park.

Old Government House.

Queensland University of Technology, P Block

 The New Government Building being built!

How diverse and fabulous is Brisbane! I just love the old buildings, and like the uniqueness of the modern high rises.

 

 

Brisbane Buildings

Queenslander!!

Sometimes you just know that where you live is God’s country! The air is fresh. The water tastes good. And the fruit is scrumptious! I had a look at our fruit bowls today and immediately thought how Queensland it is; full of tropical fruits like banana, custard apple, limes, lemons, star fruits, dragon fruit and passionfruit! I hope you are somewhere in the world with beautiful fruits! Have a fabulous day!

Queenslander!!

George Street Markets!

There are a few places in the world that make you feel like you could be anywhere but where you actually are. The George Street Markets, Brisbane is one of those. Gliding through rows of fresh fruit and vegetables we could be in a small town market in Italy. Eating the buttery almond croissants we could be in France. Devouring a kransky with real sauerkraut we could be in Germany. The smells of paella, smoked salmon, fresh juices and brewed kefir fill the air! The markets are held on a Wednesday next to the casino in George Street, Brisbane. If you ever get the chance, immerse yourself into the rows of magic that transport you around the globe!

Fresh fruit stalls are numerous!!

Flowers make everyone happy!

 Paella…oh paella!!

 Bees are our friends!!

 Hot smoked salmon….ah!

 Lamingtons the size of my head, and yes, I bought one!! It had an internal chocolate wall to keep it up!!

 The true treasure of life, apple pie!!

So if you are ever in Australia, Brisbane, on a Wednesday, check out these fabulous markets!!

George Street Markets!

Western theme party!

Every month our parish has a little cuppa after mass. This Father’s Day we did a western themed sausage sizzle! It was so easy – parents and carers – if you are looking for a no baking, no fuss party – do this!! In a nutshell;

Sheriff badges are corn chips!

 

Cigars are chocolate wafers!

 

Bullets are chocolate coated bullets!

 

Haybales are cornflake LCM bars!

 

Gold is honeycomb!

 

Wagon wheels are anzac biscuits!

 

And we can’t forget the bbq!

I went to a dollar shop and bought stick on moustaches for the kids! Combined that with old cowboy hats we already had and the kids had some great fun taking pics with their dads! Empty beer cans and a tennis ball became a game of ‘knock ‘em down’ and the kids had a load of fun pretending all things western! It was a really fun afternoon and everyone there really enjoyed themselves! Joy radiated from every heart! So for a no fuss, easy going, crackin’ time, I recommend a western theme! Yee hah! Have a ball!

Western theme party!