Thursday, 20 January 2011

Winter sun and choc and marzipan cookies

This past week we have had nothing but wonderful blue skies.
We decided to go and have a wonder up the field to scope out a home for the chickens.

and say hello to the horses, of course :)

The boys were wondering what was planted in the field

off to see the goats
We have actually been contemplating getting our own goats. Yes I know, first see how we go with the chickens but I can't help myself dreaming lol the reality is probably a lot messier :D

on their bikes (and scooter) and on our way to the garden centre

flowers are pretty scarce at this time of year but we did find lots of cacti

and home again

Baking time! We had some marzipan left over from Christmas so when I found this recipe I had to make it. The strong chocolate flavour from the cocoa powder offsets the sweetness of the marzipan beautifully. Boo even asked if she could have these on her next birthday :)

Chocolate Marzipan Cookies
200g unsalted butter softened
200g light muscovado sugar (although I just used demerera)
1 egg
300g plain flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
200g marzipan
Preheat oven 190 oC (375 oF)
Grease two baking sheets.
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, then add egg and mix well.
Sift flour and cocoa powder until combined.
Roll out half of your mixture and cut out shapes (we made 38)

Roll little marzipan balls and press onto cutout shapes.
Roll the other half of dough and put the lids onto and press sides together
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Cool for 2-3 minutes before placing on a cooling rack. And remember that even though they smell amazing and you will want to try them straight away, wait a about 10 minutes as the marzipan stays hot for a while. Oh and you can drizzle them with melted white chocolate to make them prettier if you like.
Even Hubby, who "doesn't like marzipan" enjoyed these :D

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

cooking with Gran - chinese

Yesterday my Mom came round to do some Chinese cooking with the kids.
Not only did she come laden with bags of ingredients, but she also bought the kids an acorn bird feeder and a bird table!
Today they were working with an electric wok and cooking in stock rather than oil.
In went the stock from the Chinese shop.
Everyone got chopping

And there were lots of new smells and flavours to try. Here Kiki is tasting some bamboo

They got to use their bowls that they picked out in Chinatown too.It got very steamy.
They got to eat with the chopsticks too. See, the chopsticks don't just get used for cake testing or as sticks for the toffee apples :P

After they ate their Chinese feast for lunch, off they went to the garden centre to get an apple tree.

Before Gran left, Champ wanted to put together the bird table.

And soon everyone was joining in.
almost done
yay! I think that we might have to move it from this position as it is quite exposed but at least it is up! Lets hope we get some birds on it and not just squirrels.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


Last week I had to go into Manchester to meet a friend, so my Mom decided to take the kids to Chinatown to give me some chatting time :)
We had to take the train which, despite Kiki's face (not enough sleep!!!), is always enjoyed by all.
Going over a very high bridge
In Chinatown
which of course was all about the food.

The kids showed up with a huge bag of Chinese food to try, some savoury but most were sweet :)
the tried some out at a coffee shop
Sesame and nutty balls
These purple goodies were tiny prunes wrapped in three layers.
and these sort of had the texture of Turkish delight but not as sweet with a nutty something in the middle.

The food that was left was brought home ready for their cooking session with gran. And to eat as treats of course :)