Red Riding Hood

March 12, 2013

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It was ‘World Book Day’ last week. Martha has been planning her costume since last year, and all the characters she has wanted to ‘be’ have all been a bit tricky. I suggested Red Riding Hood, as really there is only one important piece of costume (the red hooded cape). I used a pattern from ‘Oliver + S Little Things to Sew’ book by Liesl Gibson. (I used her pattern for the tutus I made the girls for their birthday outfits) Its a beautiful and very clever book, this was the first time I have used the patterns provided in the back of the book which you have to trace onto paper to cut the fabric. The red fabric is (of course) a single flat sheet from ASDA, Liesl’s pattern uses a very cute print as a lining but I lined this one in the same red sheet fabric. It came together really easily. Martha picked the button from a small selection of vintage buttons as the local charity shop.

She wore a pretty blue floral pattern dress underneath (eBay) with cream tights and blue ballet flat shoes (Tesco). Her props were a bunch of flowers for Grandma (Poundland) and a basket with pink gingham cloth (left over from the patchwork quilts) with a box of gingerbread men for all her classmates. We bought the gingerbread men from tesco but mixed up some water icing and decorated them with leftover cake decorations.

Alice went to Nursery in her Max from ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ outfit I made her for Halloween but I added the oversize cream buttons to the front of it. In the illustations of the book Max seems to have 5 buttons but the haberdashers only had 3 left of these.

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Gingerbread Family

November 29, 2010

This week we made gingerbread. We have quite a collection of cutters these days, some came in baking kits, some were hand-me-downs and I think I bought the classic ‘man’ shape, anyways we now have enough that Martha can choose what she wants to make and this week she decided to make ‘daddys’, ‘mummys’, ‘little girls’ and ‘babies’, just like her family. I use a tweaked Delia Smith reciepe for the dough, as it is very tasty, easy to make and work with and fluffs up enough in the oven to hide all the little finger dents.

Put 75g Dark Brown Sugar, 3 tbsp golden syrup, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 or 2tsp ground ginger into a saucepan. (I like them quite spicy so I use 2tsp ginger.) Bring all this to boiling point stirring all the time so that all the sugar has melted and its a smooth ‘sauce’. Add 95g butter cut up into cubes, this should melt easily into the hot sugar mix. Then add half a tsp of bicarbonate of soda and 225g plain flour. Mix it all up until in comes together as a dough, this is easy enough to do by hand as its all hot and sticky. Spread out a piece of clingfilm on a surface and tip the very soft dough mix onto it and wrap it up, then put this in the freezer forĀ  15 mins. Chilling it down stiffens up the sugar and syrup again making a manageable dough. I have also made up large quantities of this dough and frozen it at this stage taking out lumps of it as required.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Roll out the dough to about 5mm thick, adding more flour if its still a bit soft making sure you have plenty of flour on the surface and the rolling pin. Then cut them out and place them on a lined baking sheet, I use ‘bake o glide’ re-useable non-stick sheets. We decorated our gingerbread family with some raisins and cut up glace cherries, but you can use whatever you want/have in the cupboard dried fruits, smarties etc, or decorate them with icing when they are cooked. Bake them for 10-15 mins or until they start to colour slightly at the edges, you don’t want them to brown too much as they are best when still slightly soft in the middle. Let them cool on the trays and stiffen up to proper biscuits before taking them off to cool completely. Make a cup of tea/cup of milk and enjoy!