Gingerbread Men

Here is my easy gingerbread men recipe. I posted this a couple of years ago but thought I’d revisit it as these are so great for Christmas.

When we first made these my boy called they Gingermen,”Have a Gingerman Mummy” he would say. George loved his Gingerman and I remember when we went out into the garden to take some pictures for the blog he created his own photo set up; he sneaked off to the bottom of our garden, where an old church pew makes for our garden bench, and made his own scene with a handful of ‘stolen’ gingermen:

Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 390g plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (or more to your taste)
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 160 ml golden syrup

Method:

  1. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a food mixer.
  2. Add the egg and golden syrup and beat until well combined.
  3. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line 2 baking tray with baking paper and set aside while you roll out the dough.
  6. Lightly flour a clean work surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out the cookies.
  7. With a spatula gently lift the cookies onto the baking tray, placing the cookies about 2cm apart.
  8. Bake for approx 8 – 12 mins depending on the size of the cookies. Small ones need 8 minutes, larger cookies approx 12 minutes. They are done when they are firm, golden, but still slightly soft.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking tray for about a minute. When they are firm enough to move, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

Lemon Icing:

Ingredients:

  • 8oz/225g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp tsp lemon juice

Method:

  1. Add 1tsp lemon juice to sugar, mix until smooth, adding more lemon juice until the icing is thick and pourable, but not runny. Add extra sugar to thicken the mixture if it becomes too runny.
  2. Scrape into a piping bag with a fine tip and pipe onto cooled cookies.
  3. Allow to set for at least 30 minutes, until firm, before storing cookies in an airtight container.

 

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Super Healthy Pancakes

Healthy Pancakes

Most weekends I cook these super healthy pancakes. They are protein based and contain no wheat or gluten. A protein breakfast is the best way to start the day; protein keeps you fuller for longer and can stop a mid-morning energy slump. We can also reap the benefits that added protein brings such as healthier skin, nails and muscles.

This easy protein pancake fits the bill in the morning. They are made using three ingredients: egg, banana and ground almonds; I sometimes throw in a handful of ground flax seeds to add extra goodness. Unlike your average pancake they do not take ages to make and with a large sauce pan you can cook several at the same time – in a similar way to drop scones. They can also be made in advance then covered and kept in the fridge for a day before reheating in the microwave!

An important note when cooking these pancakes is that the first time you try the recipe it may not come together exactly as my photograph – it takes a little practise to get the size, cooking time and turning of the pancakes just right. If you try this recipe please leave a comment and let me know how you got on – also I’d love you to post a photo over on my facebook page so I can see you and your pancakes.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe fairly traded banana
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of ground almond

Method:

  1. Mash both bananas until smooth.
  2. Add eggs and beat mixture together until well combined.
  3. Shake in ground almonds and fold into the mixture.
  4. Grease a frying pan with oil (I like to use a spray oil).
  5. Place a large tablespoon full of mixture into the pan – I start by placing the spoonfuls around the edge of my pan. In my very large frying pan I can fit approximately 5, I expect in an average frying pan you could fit 3.
  6. Cook over a low heat until bubbles appear on the top of the pancakes.
  7. Take a fish slice and quickly flip of the pancakes – if they fall apart at all, push together and leave to cook.
  8. Serve when they are golden and piping hot.

NB: I’ve been thinking of filming this recipe and posting it  - is this something people would find helpful, please let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

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Some of the things I’ve been up to….

I thought I’d do a quick update of some of the things I’ve been up to since I last blogged:
First off it was my Gramps’ wedding. I got to make the wedding cake –  I love making sugar flowers and having a chance to do something creative. Here are some photos from the day:

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We spent a holiday in Nottingham visiting my eldest brother, we visited Sherwood Forest and toured round National Trust properties:

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Then as usual it was off to Southwold for our summer holiday:

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At the end of the summer my boy turned 6 and this year he requested a tiffin cake – I’ve been making a lot of tiffin recently and here are some of my creations:

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coffee shop

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Chocolate Orange Trifle

Chocolate Orange Trifle

Ingredients:

2 tins mandarin oranges in juice

2 chocolate swiss rolls (approx 250g)

100-200g chocolate dark is best*

400g pot/carton of vanilla custard

275ml crème fraiche

Cocoa powder for dusting

*With Easter coming up any leftover Easter egg chocolate could be melted and used in the custard.

Method:

  1. Separate mandarins from juice and spread them evenly across the bottom of trifle bowl, add a couple of teaspoons of the juice.
  2. Cut swiss roll into 1cm slices and layer over the mandarins, piecing the slices together to cover the mandarins as much as possible.
  3. Take the chocolate and melt on a low heat in the microwave, once melted stir into the custard until it becomes a rich dark brown.
  4. Pour the chocolate custard over the swiss roll and smooth to make an even layer.
  5. Add the crème fraiche and spread gently to cover the custard without mixing together.
  6. Dust the top of trifle with sieved cocoa powder  (If you like the star decoration invest in some coffee stencils).
  7. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving.

Top Tip: The stars were made using a coffee stencil. See amazon for the set I used:

 

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Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have started changing my family’s diet to eat more protein and less grain. This is loosely based on the Paleo diet; while reading around on the subject I have found this lovely recipe for cookies which I put into my son’s lunchbox.

 

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Abra Ca Debora Winner

The winner is revealed:

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Abra Ca Debora

Abra Ca Debora

Pancake day 4th March. How do you like to eat your pancakes? I have some lovely pancakes from Abra Ca Debora to give away along with everything in the hamper – yes lots of lovely fillings for your pancakes. Leave a comment sharing how you like to eat your pancakes and on pancake day I’ll choose a winner. Good luck!

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This Year’s Work in Pictures

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Chrismas Gifts – Cake Decorating Book

The Cake Decorating Bible Juliet SearSorry to not have blogged for a shamefully long time but well life has been busy! I’m baking for two local cafes now, working two and a half days as a secretary and also being a full time Mum!

Since I started sharing my cakes on my facebook page I sometimes get asked if I’ll ever give classes – this is something I can’t fit in to my schedule – so if you would like to learn more about cake decorating ask for this book for Christmas: The Cake Decorating Bible by Juliet Sear.

Juliet Sear’s shop ‘Fancy Nancy’ is in my home town Leigh-on-Sea and her cakes are sold in Harvey Nichols, as well as having a customer list which includes Holly Willoughby, Peaches Geldof and Sir Ian McKellen. Read my original review of it here.

This book taught me all the basics and improved my skills dramatically. Buy for someone who likes to bake or put on your own Christmas list!

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Guest Blogger – Sweet Chilli Salmon And Noodles

Elle from nutritionist-resource.org.uk shared this lovely recipe with me. I hope you like her guest post:

“One of my favourite quick, healthy and easy meals to make when I am in a rush is sweet chilli salmon, mangetout and noodles.

I told my colleagues that I had this when my partner was out and I had a really busy evening and they could not believe that I had gone to ‘so much trouble’ just to feed myself. Actually, I had only troubled myself for 20 minutes from start to finish! Here’s how I did it:

Elle’s Sweet Chilli Salmon And Noodles

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1. Turn the oven on. Put your noodles in a pan of water, turn the hob on to full power.

2. Coat your salmon fillet in a teaspoon of sweet chilli sauce, put it on a sheet of tin foil in a baking tray (less scrubbing when you wash up!) and set your timer for about 16 minutes.

3. When the noodles are softening, add your mangetout to the water – they will only need a couple of minutes.

4. Drain the noodles and mangetout, put back into the pan with a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce, warm through and then transfer on to your plate.

5. Take your salmon out of the oven, check it is cooked through and serve on top of your noodles.

6. Time to eat!*

*Glass of dry white wine to serve is optional

If my calculations are correct, that meal took me 20 minutes to make including preheating the oven. Oven chips take approximately 20- 25 minutes plus time to preheat the oven. Point made?

If salmon isn’t your cup of tea, you could always use a chicken breast cut into about eight or nine pieces and dry fried. Vegetarians can scrap the meat altogether and just put in whatever vegetables you have lurking in the fridge – mushrooms, sweetcorn, sugar snap peas – anything really!

What’s your favourite quick and healthy meal to prepare?

Elle blog signiture

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