There is a parachutist in my dishwasher

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One gets used to slightly surreal happenings when you live with a lively and imaginative almost 5 year old, usually they perk up the day such as discovering Eeyore, Pooh and Piglet models lined up on your computer or an Arabian warrior by the bedside light as a small persons attempt to look after Mummy when he’s not there. Sometimes they can be slightly worrying like finding a gun in your purse just before you donate to charity (Plastic and about 1cm long from playmobil) or the time I moved the duvet and found a horses head in the middle of my bed…

Most of the time Spider and I get on. This last month however we have perhaps spent slightly too much time with each other and we are both showing our irritation – I’m also suffering from major league grumpiness from too many early morning visits from Spider –  my attempt at an early night last night was shattered when he came down with the runs at about 11pm and needed to be stripped and showered…

Fortunately, although we do have some problems with playing together (he insists on telling me what I should do and how I should play) we are now getting the hang of cooking…and when it comes to dough he’s getting better than me…cooking with Spider however has a very Spider type angle to it…when I was small I made gingerbread men…Spider refuses to be quite so dull, and fortunately for him has relatives who will indulge him with more his sort of cookie cutter…

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Gingerbread

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Yesterday was spent experimenting and recipe testing. At least that is what I was doing, Spider was enjoying making biscuits and playing with “dough”.

I have a copy of Gingerbread:Joanne Farrow from the library at the moment. It’s a book I’ve had before, by accident as when I’m choosing books Spider has a habit of grabbing things from the shelves and insisting that they are included in out borrowed items – Anyway I digress – I am still trying to plan christmas, food to buy and make, presents to make etc – I am not getting very far admittedly.

Anyway since this particular family is not very interested in the traditional christmas cake I thought I’d try out a few things before christmas and see what works…last weeks chocolate gingercake worked quite well, so that’s the route I’m thinking about at the moment…although since I want Spider to help with the cake I suspect we will be doing a christmas log.

We made part of the gingerbread street, because we wanted to play around with stained glass windows which are made by crushing up boiled sweets, placing in cut outs in the part cooked dough and then cooking for another 5 minutes. The recipe is meant to make 6-8 sets of houses but ours only made 3 as Spider wanted to make a gingerbread man and play with the cutters…

november 2009 012That was last night. It is currently 10am and there is none left, not even a crumb so I guess we can safely say that the basic golden gingerbread recipe from this book is a hit in this family (yes I know eating biscuits for breakfast shouldn’t be encouraged, but I don’t make a habit of it…) – as usually I played around with the recipe as I’m incapable of following something to the letter. This time though I simply replaced the caster sugar with brown sugar, as we have no caster sugar at the moment and lots and lots of different brown sugars – anyway, I think gingerbread tastes better with brown sugar, but that’s just a personal opinion.

Right off to the shops to buy ginger and golden syrup in bulk…I may be sometime

ps you are supposed to pipe chocolate around the doors and windows and add strips of chocolate but the temptation to consume was too strong and we didn’t get that far…

Nigel last year, Nigella this…

Last year I cooked a “traditional” Christmas dinner, turkey, gravy, small sausages, roast potatoes, hell I even did sprouts and chestnuts.  We had a home made christmas pudding (as did several of my friends as I made slightly too many) and a home made iced and marzipan’d Christmas cake (both from The Kitchen Diaries: Nigel Slater)

One of Mummy and Spider's joint ventures

One of Mummy and Spider's joint ventures

Now you might be wondering why is this even worth mentioning ? Well perhaps because this isn’t how my family normally has its christmas’. About the time I was 13 we had a family discussion and decided that Christmas would be about food that we wanted to eat because it was good and tasty not simply because it was traditional.

Anyway, last year we wanted to introduce Spider to tradition and besides both Husband and Dad like turkey (and sprouts) and I adore christmas pudding. I also splashed out on a gingerbread train kit from the American shop  in Milton Keynes… of the bakes stuff, the pudding was lovely but I wish I’d left the figs out as I don’t like little hard seeds, the cake was nice but as a family we are not keen on the icing and marzipan…the gingerbread kit was horrible and besides Spider lost interest half way through…and more icing went on Spider than on the cake when we tackled that.

So this year we will be doing one of Nigella’s many alternative Christmas cakes – although not until the weekend as I have yet another cold and I don’t cook for other people when I’m ill, it just doesn’t seem hygienic!

As for last year, well Nigel’s pudding recipe is here as is the cake recipe just slightly further down the page