Monday, 14 February 2011

Monday Makery - I Give You My Heart

Love for breakfast. 
Love for tea. 
Love for you, 
Love from me!

Breakfast in our house is mostly the rushed bowl of cereal and a slice of marmite toast in hand rushing out the door for the school run. Whilst weekend breakfasts are a leisurely and might I add messy feast of pancakes. As valentines falls on our most hurried of hurried days we brought ours a day earlier and started the day with an epic feast of croissants, strawberries, blueberry pancakes, those forbidden chocolate cereals, boiled eggs and toasted soldiers and a table scattered with hearts, flowers and a few little surprises!

The heart table decorations are made using paper napkins and it's as simple as a few folds a few snips and voila! Follow the directions here. They also made fantastic crowns. 

Underneath their plates were hidden little valentines cards. I couldn't find any cards that I felt had the right sentiment, a card with a message of love that was suitable for children and I found this great idea here. I love these clever little envelopes that open up revealing their secret messages inside. For Oona who is too young to read I placed a picture of us together as a family, a sweet one of us lying on the grass together. Rather than just an 'I love you' message, which being said so much between us would not mark the day as extraordinary, I placed an invitation to an evening together. I wanted the day to be filled with things we love to do with the people we love. I wanted a day to remember. So, inside were tickets to Cirque de Soleil!

I love the idea of giving people seeds as a gift. Something to plant that can be nurtured, that will grow, blossom and just like love grow bigger every day. The girls were both given their own little pot with a personalised packet of seeds for them to plant. 

Hopefully their 'love in the mist' will grow strong in their pots ready to be planted in the garden of our new home.

What would a Sunday be without the all important aroma of something wonderful baking in the oven. Another of the girls things they love to do. We made gingerbread people and gingerbread hearts. The recipe is an easy one to follow, easy to make and easy for children to decorate.

What you'll need:
  • greaseproof paper
  • cookie cutters
  • 130g butter at room temperature
  • 110g soft brown sugar
  • 375g plain flour
  • 3-4 tsp ground ginger depending on your own taste
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg yolk (save the egg white for the icing)
  • 280g golden syrup - almost 2/3 of a standard 474g tin 
for the icing you'll need:
  • 240g icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • food colouring

How to:
  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (fan assisted)
  2. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper
  3. Mix together the butter, sugar and egg yolk in a bowl. (you may find it easier to use an electric mixer as it is quite a heavy mix by hand)
  4. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cloves and cinnamon.
  5. Start adding the flour and syrup bit by bit to make sure the ingredients are equally mixed together.
  6. Knead the dough until it feels smooth. You can do this in the bowl if its large enough or on the table with a little sprinkled flour to prevent it from sticking.
  7. Cut 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and sprinkle one with a little flour placing half the dough on top.
  8. Placing the other sheet of greaseproof paper on top roll out the dough until it's a lovely flat sheet about 1/2 thick.
  9. Using your cookie cutter start cutting your shapes and place them onto your pre-lined baking trays.
  10. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes and leave to cool on their trays.
For the Icing:
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl adding enough juice to make it spreadable. If you'd like to use different colours to decorate your gingerbread men divide the mixture into separate bowls and add your food colouring accordingly.
Decorating the gingerbread men:
  1. Spoon the icing mixture into a freezer bag or a strong sandwich bag.
  2. Cut the tip of one corner and gently squeeze the icing onto the cooled ginger bread shapes.
Yum Yum!

These 'sweet' hearts are a beautiful idea for hanging treats on the bedroom door. I love how one is not complete without its matching partner. You can fill them with anything you like. The girls and I filled them up with home-popped popcorn. We hung them from the mantle ready to pick up on our way to the theatre, our little treat for the interval.

Now I've discovered how to make them I shall be doing them again; hanging them up ready for an evening snuggling up together with a favourite film. I think they would make beautiful party bags too and what a wonderful way to carry confetti ready to throw at the bride and groom at a wedding (though do make sure you're a guest, I would not recommend throwing confetti at a random couple newly married!). You can see how to make them here

With Love

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