Friday, 18 April 2014

Easter biscuits

We made these, taken from Mary Berry's recipe:

For the traditional currant biscuits
For the iced biscuits
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • about 2 tbsp cold water
  • different coloured food colouring


    1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease two baking trays lined with baking parchment.
    2. Measure the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Sieve in the flour and spices and add enough milk to give a fairly soft dough. Bring together, using your hands, to make a soft dough.
    3. Halve the mixture and set half to one side.
    4. For the traditional currant biscuits, add the currants to the remaining half of the mixture and knead it lightly on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a thickness of about 5mm. Cut into rounds using a circular cutter. Place on the prepared baking trays. Sprinkle with caster sugar.
    5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Keep a careful eye on the biscuits - it doesn’t matter if you open the oven door to check. Sprinkle with caster sugar and lift onto a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.
    6. For the iced biscuits, knead the remaining half of the biscuit dough mixture lightly on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a thickness of 5mm. Cut out Easter biscuits using shaped cutters.We used a rabbit and a chick.
    7. Lightly grease two baking trays lined with baking parchment.
    8. Place the biscuit shapes on the prepared baking trays and bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift on to a wire rack to cool.
    9. To make the icing, pass one teaspoon of lemon juice through a fine sieve, to remove any pips or bits. Mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice, and then add about two tablespoons of water, adding it little by little until you have a relatively stiff but smooth icing. Add a splash more sieved lemon juice if necessary.
    10. Divide the icing into separate bowls and mix in food colourings of your choice into the separate bowls of icing, until you achieve the desired shade.
    11. Spoon a little icing into a piping bag and pipe your decorations onto the biscuits. For a smooth finish, you can pipe the outline of your design in the firmer icing, then slacken it down a bit by mixing in a little more water, giving the icing more of a runny consistency, and use this to fill in the designs.








Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Icecream at the orchard

Today the sun was shinning so we cycled through Newnham via Grantchester meadows to the Orchard. The girls had ice-cream and I had a cool drink before, pushing our bikes, we walked back along the river.




Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Chocolate Easter nests

Today P and I made chocolate Easter Nests.

You need:

  • 200g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 85g shredded wheat, crushed
  • 100g bag mini chocolate eggs
  • cupcake cases

  1. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in a microwave. 
  2. Crush up the shredded wheat (we used fingers and an end of the rolling pin)  and  add to the chocolate. Stir well to combine.
  3. Spoon the chocolate wheat into 12 cupcake cases and press the back of a teaspoon in the centre to create a nest shape. Place 3 mini chocolate eggs on top of each nest. Chill the nests in the fridge for 2 hrs until set.


Monday, 14 April 2014

Edinburgh

We have just come back from a fab week in Edinburgh. We did so much; from Camera Obscura which offers fab views over the city and World of Illusions which the girls loved the mirror maze; to Greyfriars Bobby and the National musuem of Scotland which is very child friendly with interactive lots of things to do; to Edinburgh Zoo where we got to see the pandas; the museums of edinburgh (which has a great crafting bit), childhood and the People's story (which was the best of the three); Edinburgh castle; Dynamic Earth (which was OK - lots of videos and you have to follow the tour); and a walk up Arthur's Seat.







There was so much to do and it was so easy to walk everywhere. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Cambridge literature festival

This weekend we went to the Cambridge literature festival held at the Cambridge Union chamber. There were a number of events for adults and for children. We  heard tales about animals and then met them, heard Clementine Beauvaistalk talk about her detective books set in Cambridge as well as how to write a detective book, heard Michael Foreman talk about his books and had a lesson about drawing Claude from Alex T Smith. The girls enjoyed it and the festival was very popular with some children's events selling out! Tickets were reasonably priced and authors available after events for signing books.






Sunday, 2 February 2014

molasses cookies

G made these for her snack.  You will need: 

170g unsalted butter, melted
170g light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
170g molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
280g plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarb of soda
1 tablespoon mixed spice
80g caster sugar, for rolling cookies before baking



1. Mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and egg until smooth. Then add the molasses and vanilla extract.
2. In another bowl, sift together the flour, bicarb of soda and spice. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined. Cover and chill dough for about 2 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 180oC and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using your hands make round balls. Roll  the balls into sugar and place them onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire wrack to cool completely.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Slime




We made two different kinds of slime as you can see. To make them you will need:

Simple Slime (the runner slime in the third photo)
Ingredients
Cornflour
Water
Food colouring (optional)
Mixing bowl/roasting tin, or whatever takes your fancy/needs
spoons (optional)

Put approx ½ cup cornflour in the mixing bowl then add ¼ cup water. Mix, add a few drops of colouring. When blended ( or even before) get your hands in there and experience the odd properties of your slime. How can it be squeezed into a solid then turn back into liquid when you open your hands? Did you know you have created a Non-Newtonian Fluid (This liquid is a runny goo until you apply stress to it, and then it suddenly acts like a solid). 
Super slime (the firmer one in the top 2 photos)

Ingredients
Cornflour
White pva (use the children’s washable stuff.)
Food colour
Mixing bowl
Wooden spoon

Put approx ½ cup of the PVA into the bowl. Stir the glue and gradually add the cornflour, a little at a time, put in a few drops of food colouring and mix until it feels right. Too much cornflour makes a really dry mix so go easy when you’re pouring it in! Get your hands into the mix – if you haven’t already and watch it flow between your fingers, roll it and stretch it

 G loved it and was happily experimenting with the quantity of water and corn flour, as well as how to make it become solid and liquid. P was not so sure and kept asking me to wash her hands.
I have been reading how important messy play is for writing development as it helps children become aware of sensations in their hands. Plus it is really good fun, interesting and I love the feel of corn flour!