Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Christmas preparations

My Christmas preparations have continued quite successfully over here. I have just baked another batch of gingerbread as well as a soft gingerbread cake with added banana (for the exotic touch) and kicked off the Christmas food shop earlier on with the help of my sister. Two days ago we wrapped up the final Christmas present purchases and tomorrow we will add the final touches of frosting to the cookies we are just baking.

Having been this good with all the preparations, tomorrow we are also heading down to the beach for almost three days of sunshine, surf and as much sleep as possible… 🙂 I think I have deserved that now. Especially after my big Christmas party debut yesterday. It was the second time I was out in months and months. I had popped by my department’s Christmas party last week, but that was nothing compared to this. Basically, last time I was in jeans, flat shoes and in and out of there in an hour and a half. This time was a proper dress, high heels and make up party and I must admit I was rather excited about it all. What I hadnt taken into account was how long it had been since I last wore heels. And how much half a glass of champagne can get to you…

Having floated around the party yesterday like the after dark social butterfly I used to be way back in my youth, today was a complete opposite to that. I woke up with a slight hangover from the half a glass of champagne and with knees, calves and throat aching from having stood around chit chatting with dozens of people for three hours. I was just not used to a) high heels, b) talking that much to people, c) staying up past 8pm

But I had a wonderful time. It was so nice to be out and about a bit instead of just at home with the little one. Although, I must say I was soooo looking forward to cuddling up in bed with little E and big J after these three hours out. Just like I am now. The last batch of gingerbread cookies are almost done and I have enjoyed the first slice of my soft gingerbread – banana cake, almost fully my own design 🙂 But now it is bedtime for this little lady. Hooray!

And we are one day closer to Christmas eve.

Advertisements

Gingerbread Cookie Workshop in the Sun

Gingerbread CookiesThis is somewhat absurd but here I am in our kitchen in shorts and a t-shirt, baking gingerbread cookies while looking out over the sunny, green central valley of San Jose. The Christmas tree is up, Christmas songs playing in the background, the sweet smell of Christmas in the air from the cookies that are already in the oven, and an even sweeter taste of Christmas on my lips from all the dough I have already eaten… But it still just doesnt feel exactly right. Its amazing what a difference it makes that its sunny and warm outside at Christmas time.

Today E and I have had a lovely morning once again. We got up around 7am, had breakfast, had another little snooze, had some tummy time and some general playtime, had a walk up our mountain and now we are on to the gingerbread baking mentioned above. Little E seems to be liking her bouncy chair more and more nowadays. She can actually sit in it for many minutes now without getting bored and screaming. Such a relief for me to at least be able to put her down a few minutes, and once those minutes have passed in the bouncy chair there is always the bed with the exciting mobile hanging above it that will give me a few more minutes of freedom.  I don’t know what I would do without mr. Elephant and ms. Giraffe (the bouncy chair toys) and mr. Octopus (the main character in the playing mobile).

In time for Christmas I have been glancing at lovely little toys for Emmie anywhere I see some, unfortunately she seems to still be quite limited with regards to what she will actually bother to play with. She doesnt pick things up yet, she just observes them if they are deemed worthy of observation (i.e. are they colourful enough, is there anything more interesting around). So unfortunately I think this Christmas she will still just have to settle for an extra helping of breastmilk and the excitement of looking at all the lovely colours Christmas brings with it.

I would love to show her a white Christmas, but I guess it is much easier this year to just be here in the warmth instead of in a colder country. At least here I dont have to worry about lots of clothes and if she is warm enough etc. And after all, she will appreciate the snow much more once she is a bit bigger and we can actually play in it. I cant wait to take her sledge riding! (Not sure who will be more excited then, mum or baby!) But for now I think a tropical Christmas is not too bad. After all, I can still have gingerbread cookies, a tree, fairy lights, presents, Christmas songs etc etc etc…

But best of all, a tropical Christmas means the new years day surf will not be freezing!

***

Oh, one more thing.. This is the fantastic recipe I used for the gingerbread cookies! Thank you mum for sending it over!! Its super easy and absolutely delicious…

Boil the following ingredients in a saucepan:

1,5 dl Sugar
1 dl Syrap
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground ginger
1/2 tsk Ground cloves
Add 125g butter chopped into smaller bits and keep stirring.
When the mix has cooled you whisk in one egg
Leave to sit while you mix 1 tsp of baking soda with 5dl of flour.
Mix it all together and leave to sit in the refrigerator over night.
Use a tiny bit of flour when baking the cookies so they dont stick to the table (surface).

Banana Muffins on a Rainy Saturday

Yesterday we did our weekly supermarket shop. Obviously I forgot a few essentials as I dont seem to be able to get my act together and make a list, but I got most of the stuff I wanted when it comes to supermarket stuff and today is our market day so today we are picking up the fruit and the vegetables for the week. I didnt really think I would be a fan of weekly shops, I like popping in now and then to pick up stuff, but I must say it is growing on me..

Anyhow, one of the things I forgot to top up was my flour reserve. We had some old bananas kicking about from last weeks fruit shop and I really wanted to use them to make some banana bread. Unfortunately, due to the lack of a shopping list I didnt have enough flour at home to make banana bread. I also realised I didnt have an oven form for loafs, so I had to come up with something else. Roaming around on the internet I found a lovely Swedish food blog with a delicious sounding recipe for banana muffins! And fortunately, the flour I had at home was enough for half a batch of delicious banana muffins!

I whipped it all up and had the first part of my small batch in the oven when J came home. It smelt lovely… Second batch was coming up as well, but I decided to do mini muffins instead of normal sized ones. Unfortunately thanks to my wonderfully short memory and attention span, I left them in a tiny bit too long and they gained a bit too much colour for my liking. 😦

But we ended up with 7 delicious, golden brown muffins to enjoy while the doggies could have the semi burned mini muffins I thought. I shared one between them and my gosh did they like them! I have since then been followed around by two little doggies, looking up at me with sad puppy eyes, begging for more of the deliciousness I had before.. Extraordinary. This reaction is right up there along with empanadas and chicken, possibly even higher!

In summary, take a look at this simple recipe for banana muffins, its perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon when you need some banana sunshine in cupcake form. Dog approved as well.

16 normal sized or 8 large ones

You need :
150 grams soft butter
2 dl sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
3 bananas (ripe, ripe, ripe)
4 dl flour (I used coarse wheat flour)

This is how you do it:
Use an electrical whisk and mix butter and sugar to an even paste. Mix in the vanilla sugar and the baking powder. Add the eggs, one at a time while whisking. Mash the bananas and mix them in with the wheat flour. Fill the cupcake shapes so they are 3/4 full. Place in the oven at 200 degrees C for approximately 15 min. If you make American sized cupcakes, again, fill the shapes to 3/4 only. They will rise a bit. Add 1o mins to the cooking time.

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

Home made Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

In addition to my lasagna I finally tried out this recipe for Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits for little Sofia. They were super easy to make, but I had to import the unsalted peanut butter all the way from England as I just couldn’t find any over here. I was also going to use puppy milk (“Lactol”) instead of normal milk but of course I forgot about that in the midst of my baking. Oh well! Next time!

Ingredients:
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup natural peanut butter (Imported from the Healan Centre in Crouch End, London, UK)
1 cup skim milk (I was going to use puppy milk but d**n it I obviously forgot to do that!)

How to make Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits:
Preheat oven to 220degrees. Combine flour and baking powder in one bowl, and in another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk. Add wet mixture to dry, and mix well.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness and cut out shapes. Place on a non-stick baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Once cool, store in an airtight container.

The original recipe by “Dog is my Sous Chef” says this should make about 100 dog biscuits, depending on size. I managed to squeeze out about 30 in total. Oh well, Sofia will have BIG BISCUITS! (Actually, they turned out to be about 2cm in diameter, so not that bad)