Bright and sunny

The new year started with snow – flakes of it coming down after then end of the fireworks.  Perfect timing, I thought.  The morning came with clear skies, and sunshine! We took Deuce to the park where we bumped into Stuart and his patterdale terrier puppy Vincent.

The week’s been really enjoyable – DH had the whole week off so we’ve been pottering about in the house, hanging out. Yesterday we watched Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.  Such a classic.  Zuzu’s petals! Lol.  Christmas tradition, though a little belated this year.  We haven’t played much with the wii – i got us a Heyes puzzle for Christmas and we’ve been obsessed with finishing it. Lots of great little details, quirky and funny.  We finished it last night – very pleased with it!

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E & A and their little one came over for dinner on Wednesday – I made Taiwan-style beef noodle soup (niuroumian!) and stir fried some morning glory (kongxingcai).  The noodle soup was very good, if I do say it myself!  Must do it again, now i’ve got the ingredients.   Also found some douhua (it’s a tofu, but a dessert style) so made some pearls (big tapioca balls, aka bubbles/boba), a ginger coconut syrup to go with it. Really lovely.  Wish I had some taro root my mom uses in her version of the dessert. I got some more morning glory and so will make kangkong belachan tonight. mmmmm

Thanks for all the great comments about the gingerbread houses! They are made with a swedish style ginger thin -pepparkakor – that actually has no ginger in it!  They are crunchy and really lovely with coffee.  This makes loads of cookies – about 200.

250g butter
400ml sugar
200ml light golden syrup
200ml water
2tbsp ground cinnamon
1tbsp ground cardemom
1tbsp baking soda
1.3 litres flour
flour for work surface and rolling pin

1.Cut the butter into thin slices and place in a large mixing bowl with all the spices.
2.Mix sugar, syrup and water in a pot.  Heat until it is bubbling nice and quickly. Remove from heat.
3.Pour hot sugar mixture over the butter and spices. Stir occasionally until all the butter has melted. Let it cool to room temperature.
4.Mix  flour and baking soda, then stir it into the butter sugar mixture until all mixed in.  It will be quite wet. Using another bowl, or tupperware, line with cling film, and pour mixture into new bowl.  The lining will make it easier to take the dough out and work with later. Cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 200 degees centigrade. Use cookie sheets lined with baking parchment.

5. Break off a handful of dough to work with – keep the rest in the fridge. Work quickly, the dough is easiest to manage when still cold. Roll out on a floured surface, using a floured rolling pin. Keep the dough moving around as it sticks very easily. I found rolling it out onto baking parchment, using a cookie cutter for shapes and then removing the excess dough from the shapes and placing parchment with cookies onto cookie sheet easier than cutting shapes and moving them to baking parchment on a cookie sheet.

Roll out the dough to about 2mm thick.  Using cookie cutters cut out your shapes. I found some ‘Already Been Chewed’ cookie cutters at the Conran shop – gingerbread men with bitten off arms heads ands legs.  Yes I know I have a warped sense of humour.  😉  Cook each batch for 4-6 minutes. they should darken nicely to a warm gingerbread brown. Keep an eye on them though – they burn mighty easily.  If they are too light they won’t be crispy. If they are too dark they’ve burned (you can tell when the edges turn dark brown… like burned toast!).

Enjoy!

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