I had a wonderfully quiet Christmas with just a few family around me. Mr D went with his father for a couple of nights so I had a much needed, relaxing break. Just enough to recharge before the madness began again with my good friend Rita arriving from chilly Ireland on the Wednesday after Christmas.
After 10 daze of pure indulgence and uncharacteristic partying, I am finally beginning to return to a normal schedule. I am still struggling with inspiration. I’m sure it will return soon.
This is one of my favourite Gingerbread recipes and it’s dead easy! I found this recipe a while ago and I’ve played with it a little to make it my own. It’s perfect for letting little ones help in the kitchen. Mr D loves to roll out the dough and push the biscuit cutters into it to make shapes. We usually make a few men and some other shapes as well. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars” are always a favourite here! Trying to stop Mr D from eating the mixture before it’s cooked can be a challenge sometimes! 😉
Use an electric beater on a high speed to cream the butter and sugar until pale – this takes approximately 5 mins depending how soft your butter is.
Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until well combined.
Add the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarb soda on the lowest speed.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
Press dough into a disc and cover with plastic wrap.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 4mm thick.
Use a gingerbread man cutter (or any shaped biscuit cutter you fancy) to cut out shapes.
Place on trays about 3cm apart. Repeat with any excess dough.
Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown.
Place to a rack to cool.
Decorate as desired.
* I grind my own mixed spice using the following fresh spices:
1 to 2 cloves
6 pimento allspice
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2cm cinnamon stick
Place the spices into a mortar and pestle to grind by hand, or a coffee grinder if you have one. You’ll end up with a wonderfully pungent mixed spice. This makes approximately 2 tablespoons. Store in a screw top jar.
I’ve investigated the 1960’s oven and it’s way too difficult to incorporate into the hen house. As cool as it would be, I just don’t have the time and tools to make it happen. So, it’s plan B for the chicken house – eBay! I love eBay!
I’ve had a good look around on the site. There are lots of different sizes and shapes available. I’ve settled on one design which will fit into the space that I have designated for the hen house and in the orientation that works (the nesting box and entry door need to be facing a certain direction to allow access). Now all I need to do is bid. Thankfully this particular hen house is available from an eBay store so there are houses for auction regularly.
Next step – email the chicken breeder again to make sure he has some lovely Plymouth Rock hens available for Christmas. I have chosen Plymouth Rock Hens for something a bit different as well as being a good “all-rounder”. They are docile and friendly which is good for a toddler/pre-schooler, good layers and if you’re into that sort of thing they are pretty good eating too.
Aren’t the pretty? I can’t wait to have these beautiful girls sharing our lives!