Sunday, 29 November 2009

Mince Pies


It's a wet miserable evening here so I'm making a batch of mince pies ready for the Christmas Fete. I only cook mine for 10 mins, let them cool then freeze them. You can re-heat from frozen or defrost for a couple of hours and they are ready to eat! We eat them with vanilla ice cream for a dessert or just with a cup of tea.

Nigella Lawson makes a similar mince pie but a different pastry. When you serve them you can sprinkle some icing sugar.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Ginger & lemon star biscuits


I was given a tub of stem ginger this week, a huge tub 12.5kg! I plan to make some ginger jam on Monday and thought I would also try this recipe I found this morning. I made some round ones too as they were easier to dip in the chocolate. I also made a batch of mince pies and some jam tarts.

Makes: 24
Ingredients
150g plain flour
1½ tsp ground ginger
65g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
65g caster sugar
1 small egg, lightly beaten
50g preserved stem ginger,finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 small lemon

To finish: I decided to dip one side in Belgian chocolate from Sainsbury's!

Method
1.Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Liberally butter 2 baking sheets.
2.Sift the flour and ground ginger into a bowl. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Add the chopped ginger, flour and lemon zest and stir the mixture until it forms a stiff dough. If it is very soft, wrap in foil and chill in the fridge until firm.
3.Roll out the dough as thinly as you can. Dip a star-shaped pastry cutter in flour and firmly stamp out the biscuits. Use a floured palette knife to transfer to the baking trays.
4.Once all the biscuits are cut, brush lightly with egg white (you won't use it all), liberally sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake for 10-12 minutes until pale gold and just crisp. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Tooth ache ......

The weather is miserable, my wisdom teeth hurt and I don't have enough hours in the day to do the things I want to do! I'm feeling miserable this week, as you may have guessed. At my age you would think I'd be wise, but oh no my teeth decide to hurt and I mean really hurt and now I have to have a full head x-ray to check what's going on. So to cheer myself up tonight I started to write out my Christmas cards sitting in front of the tv. Made me feel quite festive looking at last years cards and writing and stamping cheerful little pictures onto each envelope. I took a break from knitting tonight, almost finished a cute tea-cosy for a lady in Holland. My knitted items are going around the globe! Just need to decide what to make to put on the top as I'm fed up with pom poms now, so 70s and so time consuming! Anyway I hope to be in a better mood when I check back in a few days and maybe I will have finished the tea-cosy. Thank you to The Sunroom for mentioning my blog, what a lovely surprise. Enjoy the rest of your week whatever you are doing. And Happy Thanksgiving to anyone visiting from the USA. Amanda x

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Christmas crafts


I recentently purchased hand-made Christmas cards from the WI stall at the farmers market, so I thought I'd have a go. Well, only with tags for presents. Luckily my sister has a Sizzix die cutter machine and I borrowed it for a few days. It's great fun and reminds me of being at school! Some glue managed to make it onto the tags and they actually look quite cute. I bought the wrapping paper weeks ago so I'm making the tags to match. I then went around the house and in the loft to find last years cards and ribbon. The gardening club are having a craft evening in a few weeks so I've made some templates to take along.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

felted hearts


I like to try something new most weeks, so this morning I searched the internet for a heart knitting pattern. After a lot of research and trying one pattern unsuccessfully I found one I could follow! I used a ball of Patons Lolly Orange that I bought from eBay recently. It was meant to be for my scarf, but sadly the colour wasn't a good match. But it's turned into the perfect colour for my felted hearts. I might even make some cards using one side felted. I'm off to knit the second side now! Have a great weekend. Amanda x

Thursday, 5 November 2009

What to do with all those leaves


It's my third year collecting leaves from the tree in my front garden (well actually my neighbours!) I also collect them from my back garden. I leave them at the back of the garden and they are ready to use as leaf mulch the following year. It improves the soil and the worms do the rest. This year I decided to buy some Nutscene leaf bags as they are easier to use than plastic bags. I managed to fill one last Sunday and hoping to fill another one this weekend, weather permitting. It's free and makes use of all those fallen autumn leaves.