BIRTHDAYS AND CHRISTMAS AND BAKING
I got a new toy...
I'm a woman with brand loyalties (my love of Apple Mac's is something my husband finds endlessly infuriating), and when it comes to kitchen appliances I'm a Kenwood girl. The Kitchen Aid ones do look pretty, but this is the one for me. Growing up my mum had a Kenwood chef that my dad had bought her for a birthday present, I think either in the late 70's or the early 80's in that special orangey-brown that like avocado bathroom suites (yes, my parents also had one of them) is a colour that doesn't really exist anymore. It is a ferocious machine that was so much fun to use as a kid as it was deafening when set to the fastest speed and made the whole kitchen shake. Ed won many brownie points the 2nd Christmas we were together when he soldered a broken piece back together.
My birthday is just before Christmas. My dad likes buying gadets, particularly kitchen ones. I didn't really intend him to get me such a hefty present, but we were talking how daft some of the black friday bargains were and I mentioned that I'd seen these were heavily reduced in John Lewis. I promise it wasn't supposed to be a hint, but Ed said he called my parents about half a hour after this conversation to discover from mum that dad was already on his bike off down town to get one for me. I feel super spoilt. It was not even a little bit hidden when I went to collect the kids last Thursday, and thus Happy Birthday a week early to me! Whilst it was unboxed and admired that very evening. I didn't get time to actually play with it until this weekend. Christmas biscuits it was!
I made some biscuits a couple of weeks ago - can I find the recipe again? Nope. But I think I found a similar one - and the one that I one I made up last time had a Christmas spice mix and I still had lots of spice left over. My Kenwood hand mixer does not like making biscuit dough. It's pretty good at cake mixes, but as soon as more than a couple of hundred grams of flour get involved or a stiff batter is the goal, you can feel the motor getting a bit hot. My new K-Mix on the other hand - easy peasy. Cold butter? Mwha ha ha, I'll beat the crap out of you. Flour into the mix? Oh, yes - a guard around the top and my kitchen counter retains the pristine spotlessness that is normal in a house with people that live in it. (Well, I do try - but - kids!!) I think this guard might also stop some of the cheeky thieving fingers that have to be constantly batted away when baking with the children. But that shall be an experiement for another day. The hidous rain has made the decision that I'm getting a bit too pregnant to ride a lot easier, so this was my me-time for the weekend.
It also did a fine job of mixing up the royal icing - my piping skills are the bit that really aren't up to Bake Off scratch. I'm trying though, and this is only the 2nd time I've tried icing biscuits, so practice and all that jazz. Tomorrow has been designated 'Mince Pie Monday' by the head of Maths who has issued a challenge for all to bring in festive baked goods, presumably so we can all go into lessons after break on an epic sugar high. That part will be fun enough - the sugar crash half way through teaching year 10? We'll see how that one pans out.
I also wanted to make up a little Christmas thank yous for the teachers in Sally's class. They ended up being wrapped up in the wrappers the cutters came in - anyone know why something made out of plastic and metal need to be individually wrapped in plastic bags? Do they go bad if they toutch in the box? Like a little geek I put the big ones in the drawer and have now resused a few of them!
Here's my little angel (any guess what she was in the Christmas concert?) with her presents for school tomorrow. I got her to write cards for them too - and asked her what they're best at so I could put something personal in. 'J' has taught her Christmas writing, 'D' fixes everything and apparently Sally really liked it that 'F' taught her breathing. 'What??' asks a bemused mother, 'Yoga breathing mummy' was the reply with an eye roll. Of course darling, so stupid of me not to have realised.
And little Pip - well he just loves playing with the icing nozzles. I am quite thankful that that the little box goes in the dish washer - he can play and roll them round the floor as much as he likes and then I can bung them in the box in the washer. Easy peasy.
We also got the tree up this weekend - Christmas is in full force in my house now. I have one very excited Sally and Pip just feeds off her being bonkers - if she is dancing around the living room to the Christmas tunes, well, he will too! I need to try and retake this picture in the day light at some point (and also get a brighter light in the living room) but despite the blur, I think the joy comes across just fine.
The recipe I roughly used was this one: http://www.charlotteskitchendiary.com/2014/12/24/christmas-spiced-biscuits/ except I used the special Christmas spice mix I can no longer find and an odd assortment of sugars as I never seem to have the exact variety of light/dark brown/demerara/muscovado or anything else, but a mix up seems to work ok!