Christmas Canapés with John Lewis

Festive ambience at the Waitrose Cookery School

Its December (how?!), therefore it is fully acceptable to eat, talk and drink ‘Christmas’. I managed to catch the switching on of the festive lights with my little one and I am rather enjoying all the Christmas adverts! Do you have one that you love? Buster The Boxer is a huge hit with my 2 year old that I have even had a sneaky peek at their merchandise.

Christmas Lights Switch On

I am one who does not need any help to get into the spirit of the festive season but I went into Christmas ‘overdrive’ if that’s such a word when I had the chance to attend a Christmas Cookery Event hosted by John Lewis at the Waitrose Cookery School on Finchley Road. I was so excited and rather nervous to experience my first ‘Masterchef’ moment. I was rather intrigued as I have never been to a cookery class before and in the brief, I had the understanding that we will be making 5 different festive canapés in a few hours. Ps. nervous was an understatement when I walked up to their GORGEOUS kitchen. The kitchen here is wonderful, it has everything that I have ever wanted in a kitchen including a magic washing up trolley where there’s no need to actually do the washing up. Guess what, I had every right to be nervous as their expert chef Gerard kindly suggested that yours truly should go on a knife skills course. A basic one at that🙂 Ps. my Kitchen Wishlist has grown by leaps and bounds ever since I had a feel of this shiny impressive kitchen. I could do with some new knives (hint hint husband)!

Look! (I spy with my little eye, the magic washing up trolley on the top left)

Waitrose Cookery School

Dressed crab, shaved fennel all on top of a homemade crab cracker! This was lush and it was prepared beforehand all ready for us when we arrived.

Dressed Crab with Fennel on Cracker

Armed with quite a few of these delicious crab canapés tucked in my belly, it was time to get cooking! Chefs Gerard and Shauna showed us the ropes by demonstrating step by step how to cook each recipe where we all try to listen intently whilst trying to get lots of pictures. I was most definitely in a room full of bloggers, a variety of technology whipped out trying to capture the best angles. This was a great way to learn especially since I had very adept cooking buddies.

John Lewis Christmas COOK Event

I thought I would share my favourites from the evening and you can recreate them at home for your family and guests.

Confit Duck Samosa, served with a Spiced Pear Puree

(makes 12 samosa)

Confit Duck Samosa

For the Confit Duck Filling

75g Confit Duck Leg

80ml Pedro Ximinez Sherry

30g Cape Raisins

1.5tb Hoisin Sauce

For the Samosas

2 sheets of Filo Pastry, cut in half and then again lengthwise into 3, leaving you with 6 pieces of Filo

50ml unsalted butter, melted

For the Spiced Pear Puree

2 ripe Pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

1/4 tsp Bart All Spice

1/2 Lemon, juiced

1tsp Reserved Sherry Liquor

1. For the confit duck filling – In a small pan combine the raisins and the sherry.

Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and leave to soak for 1 hour. Once

soaked strain the raisins, reserving the sherry.

In a small bowl mix together the soaked raisins, shredded confit duck leg,

hoisin sauce and ½ of the reserved sherry. Mix well, cover and chill.

2. For the samosa – Preheat an oven to 160C. Lay a strip of the filo lengthways

on your work surface and brush all over the the melted butter.

Place a tsp of the filling at the top of the sheet of filo. Fold the top right hand

corner over to make a triangular shape. Follow the triangular pattern all the

way down the filo strip. Brush again with the melted butter and place on a

baking tray with the seam underneath. Repeat with the remaining filo and

filling.

Place in the oven and bake for 6-7 minutes until golden, turn the samosa

and bake for a further 6-7 minutes until golden brown all over. Remove,

place on a cooling rack and let cool.

3. For the spiced pear puree – Place the chopped pear pieces into a mini

blender. Add the allspice, lemon juice and sherry liquor. Blitz to a smooth

puree, remove and pour into a small container.

4. To serve – Spoon a tsp of the spiced pear puree onto each samosa and

serve.

Prepping The Confit Duck Filling

Confit Duck Samosa

Confit Duck Samosa

Confit Duck Samosa

We also whizzed up a lovely spiced pear puree to go with the crispy samosa and the pairing of this was delicious. How cute is the little Kenwood mixer too, I had a good browse on HERE when I got home!

Spiced Pear Puree

Confit Duck Samosa

I took my time writing this post as I actually tried recreating them at home! Made an inspired version of these more-ish samosas but instead of duck confit, I used minced beef fried with onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, tomatoes. Mixed in some orange rind for good measure. Replaced butter with melted dairy free spread in order for our little one to join in the eating fun.

img_5999

img_6001

img_6009

img_6011

img_6015

img_6017

It was a hit even with the toddler! She couldn’t wait to sink her teeth in my samosas, haha.

img_6020

Back to the John Lewis Cook Event, we made Parmesan Risotto Balls (Arancini)! Risotto has always been one of my favourites in a restaurant but I have never made it at home. What more, deep fry it. Its not too difficult but definitely labour intensive as there’s lots of stirring involved. It was mouth watering and I must make a mental note to make this for my husband soon.

Parmesan Risotto Balls

(makes 40 balls)

img_5941

For the Risotto

1 Shallot, peeled and finely diced

1 clove Garlic, peeled and finely crushed

1 sprig Thyme

20g unsalted Butter

1/2 tbsp Sunflower Oil

1 tbsp White Wine

100g Arborio Rice

450ml Vegetable Stock, warmed

80g Parmesan, finely grated

For the Panne

2 – 3 tbsp Plain White Flour

1 Egg, cracked and beaten

100g Dried Breadcrumbs

1. To cook the risotto – Place a medium sized pan onto a low heat. Add the oil and butter. Add the shallot, garlic and thyme and cook for 1-2 minutes until the shallot is soft. Pour in the white wine, bring to the boil and let bubble until it is almost fully reduced.

2. Tip in the arborio rice and coat in the shallot and wine mix. Begin to add the warmed stock, a ladle at a time and stir until absorbed by the rice. Continue to do so with all of the stock ensuring that the stock is fully absorbed otherwise your risotto balls will be too wet.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan. Season with  pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Spread out onto  flat tray and place in the fridge to cool.

4. To shape and panne – Once cool, remove from the fridge and scoop using a measuring spoon into 10-15g balls.

5. Dust each one with the flour, then coat with the beaten egg and finally roll each one in the breadcrumbs. Roll each ball gently in the palm of your hand to form a nice round shape, place on a clean tray and return to the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up.

6. To cook the balls – Meanwhile heat a fryer to 180C. Remove the balls from the fridge. Place in the fryer and cook until golden in colour. Remove and place on kitchen paper to drain any excess oil.

7. To serve – Season with sea salt, and place a cocktail stick into each. Serve with some lemon mayonnaise.

img_5927

img_5930

img_5922

img_5931

img_5933

img_5935

img_5936

img_5937

img_5940

Hope you enjoyed my two favourite recipes from the cooking class. Leaving you on a ‘sweet note’. Chocolate mousse domes with raspberry! If you would like the recipe, do give me a shout and I will be happy to share🙂

IMG_5939.JPG

Thank you very much for inviting me John Lewis, I enjoyed myself and would recommend the Waitrose Cookery School classes to all. Time to have another good browse on John Lewis but I think I found a winner –> This Digital Crock Pot Slow Cooker!

 

 

ISave

Save

Save

Remember remember the 5th of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November… Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night, Fireworks Night. Whatever you call it, it sure is a fun albeit freezing night out for all the family celebrating the failure of Guy Fawkes’ infamous Bonfire Plot. Bonfires will be lit and fireworks will be illuminating the night’s sky with ‘BOOM BOOM BOOM’ as my toddler would put it.

We have been talking loads about fireworks as Diwali just passed and she had quite a few  fireworks themed activities for the past week. Her playgroup organised a lovely firework painting station for them, which she thoroughly enjoyed. We wrapped up warm and went to the annual Rainbows festival of fireworks at Leicester Racecourse. We were not sure whether to go for this or the biggest display at Abbey Park. I think we definitely made the right decision as we knew the toddler might be very tired and it might not go our way when the fireworks went off. Who knows, we might have to make a run for it  and Abbey Park was a much larger venue. Parking was a huge factor in this too. We were there from half 5 right up to the end of the children’s display which started at 7. We were frozen by then. A little someone who was never a fan of gloves kept asking us to ‘fix it’. Its very telling that she was cold🙂

When we arrived, little one was excited to look around the funfair and we asked her whether she wanted to go on a centipede roller coaster. She profusely said no. However, we took her on a tamer train ride. She had her game face and was oh so serious when her daddy took her in the little train carriage but when she came out .. she was squealing with excitement and told me that she sat on a Choo Choo Train and rang the bell. Little joys in life, it was lovely to see her expressions.

img_6182

img_6168


img_6170


img_6164

img_6166

She especially loved the live music on stage, where she danced for at least half an hour whilst waiting for the children display. I forgot how expensive it can be for things like that. Our entrance was £7.50 each  (£5 for advance tickets), rides usually cost about £2.50 (double that as she is still wee to go unaccompanied), coffee / tea £2 and oh my word, the warm sugary donuts were 4 for £5! Oh well, all in all .. an experience to be had.

She was still excited when they were counting down to the kiddies display but all went a bit wrong when it started. She was not as excited as the last time she saw fireworks and started saying no and she was scared after a few minutes. My husband and I ran helter skelter working our way through the crowds whilst catching bits of it. She would look in amazement for a while and say lets go. We missed the lighting of the bonfire as well as the adults display (no surprises there)

As we were leaving and was in the vicinity of the carpark, she started wailing again as she wanted more fireworks. Oh the looks on our faces.

Till next year kiddo.

Pumpkin picking experience

Yes yes, its yet another pumpkin patch blog post on the internet but it is special for us as its our first experience with the little one in tow. It might have been easier ( *clears throat* photo opportunity ) last year as she was not yet a walking talking toddler .. I could have plopped her anywhere and it would have been picture perfect (jokes). Its nice to set little traditions for the family though and we will have to make a conscious effort to go again.

We went to Cattows Farm, a beautiful piece of Leicestershire countryside but their pumpkin patch was empty. They had a huge demand of Pick Your Own this year but no worries as they had a special plan in place for the kiddies. They just placed pre harvested pumpkins on their land🙂 Well, who cares! We were there and we were going to make the best of it.

She was thrilled when she saw so many pumpkins but one would assume pumpkins would be the main attraction at a pumpkin farm? It was ALL about the dandelions and the daisies for her. She kept saying ‘Look Mummy ‘ ‘Look Daddy!’ ‘I am picking lots and lots’. It was adorable, bless.

Pumpkin Patch

Cattows Farm

Pumpkin Picking

Dandelion

Pumpkin Picking at Cattows Farm

img_6138

Dandelion Love

Daddy Daughter Time

Daisies

What a lovely experience for us to enjoy as a family, we must remember to go earlier in the month next year. Perhaps there will be actual pumpkins to harvest🙂 Cattows Farm is a wonderful family friendly place, we had a good wander around the farm shop and made some purchases. Little one was pretty chuffed with her big and ‘little’ pumpkin. Oh yes, I have to mention the cakes in their tea room. Looks super delicious but unfortunately we already had food plans, therefore did not indulge this time around.

Cattows Farm Leicestershire

Cattows Farm Shop

They also had a little children play area which must be fab for the summer!

Cattows Farm

… no prize for guessing my height😉

Cattows Farm

Last not but not least, a picture with their resident sheep and goat. Sure hit with bubba, she loved saying hello.

Cattows Farm

Save

Taipei with Kids – One day itinerary

We had a wonderful time in Taipei. We found it to be a well-mannered kid-friendly (toddler friendly) city with a variety of things to see and do. I mentioned well mannered as I always had the impression that I might be slightly put off by the people. Totally wrong as the people there are very kind and especially accommodating as we could speak some Mandarin. The city is very clean too. Stroller friendly and oh it just reminds me of Japan and Korea. Cultured.

There were too many things that I wanted to cover in Taiwan but we did not have time for them all. The weather was also not very pleasant on certain days as we were there during typhoon season. We managed to squeeze a little trip away from downtown Taipei to a hot springs resort and that’s a lovely touch. I would highly recommend it if you are travelling with children. Much needed rest and relax before or after covering the city. Ps. if you are planning any travels, I personally LOVE the DK Eyewitness travel guides.

I wrote about our experience at Taipei 101 and Din Tai Fung in my previous write up.

We had one full day left on our holiday, so here goes! This is a post covering our busy day exploring Taipei. We could have covered more ground but I think this is perfect if you are with kids. We even had cheeky cakes and coffee whilst little one had a long snooze in her pram. This post is also my entry in to the Trips100 Family Adventure Company blogger challenge. We would love for our little family to go on another adventure to Cambodia with them🙂

First stop, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. This place was spectacular, it was HUGE and oh so picturesque with the impending storm clouds. The view at CKS Memorial Hall was really something, from the moment you walk through the large Memorial Hall Doors, to the National Theatre & Concert Hall buildings on the left and right and they sure did save the best for last .. the sight you get to enjoy when you climb up 89 steps to the Memorial Hall. We were left ‘breathless’ .. properly gasping for air as I did not want to miss the changing of guards. You can imagine me trying to run up the stairs carrying the toddler whilst the boys had to fend for themselves and get my heavy handbag and the pram up those stairs.

img_5151

img_5156

img_5155

‘Come on, little one’. This might be one of my favourite pictures of all time.

img_5157

img_5185

My beautiful mummy in front of the National Theatre.

img_5181

img_5161

We made it! Caught the changing of guards ceremony which takes place every hour from 9am to 5pm. It was fascinating. If we got there earlier, little one might have enjoyed this with a better view. She was still mesmerised, probably viewing it through someone else’s phone. *jokes*

img_5168

img_5166

Look at all the selfie sticks😀

img_5169

img_5178

img_5179

img_5180

We were all warm and sticky after our first stop and quickly hopped in to a taxi to the next attraction, Longshan Temple. Its also conveniently located next to Huaxi Street Night Market (which is open all day long) also known as Snake Alley. We decided to have lunch there. Ps. NOT snakes. Thank goodness we had lunch at a relatively normal and DELICIOUS stall before we walked passed all the ‘snakey stuff’

A large, red, palace-style archway marks the entrance to the market.

IMG_5203.JPG

We decided on this little stall, look at how they present their food. They charge you based on weight. All we did was point at the food we wanted and we were pleasantly surprised when the food arrived.

img_5190

Look at how little the shop is, the seating area is opposite. Picture of my mummy in front of the shop if you are in the area. Its very very good and not pretentious at all.

img_5191

Little one was quite happy playing with chopsticks and waiting for her food to arrive.

img_5195

The seafood was incredibly fresh. Delicious squid. I was quite surprised to see our tot eating this dish, she loved it paired with her noodles and rice.

img_5196

Clams, also very tasty.

img_5197

Huge pot of nutritious chicken soup.

img_5198

A very fine lunch I must say. Drooling, just thinking about it and it was not very costly too. Perhaps 20 quid for 5 adults.

We then walked around the market and I had goosebumps most of the time. There must be a reason why its called ‘Snake Alley’. They had specialty shops serving different parts of the snake and boy I was not amused. Little one was intrigued though.

img_5202

All fired up from a satisfying lunch, off we went to explore Longshan Temple. It was beautiful, mystical and bustling with all sorts of sights, smells and sounds. It is probably the busiest temple in Taipei but if you were to visit any, this would be it. I know most people would say that the temple isn’t the greatest place to visit with kids in tow but we managed to manoeuvre the little one through the temple without too much stress. We whizzed through the inside of the temple as it was very smoky with incense but little one really enjoyed the grounds of the temple. They had a waterfall and a lovely garden. I have been told to go in the evening as the candles and lights gives it a more special atmosphere. Next trip perhaps.

img_5204

img_5214

img_5209

img_5211

img_5216

img_5207

img_5215

img_5220

We quickly hopped into a taxi for some ‘rest and relax’ at The Grand Hotel. Why a hotel? This is also one of Taipei’s popular landmarks featuring beautiful palace like exteriors and intricate interiors. Our little human was way overdue for her nap and she fell asleep oh so quickly in the taxi on the way there. Perfect timing! We had plans to drop by the very famous Shilin Night Market in the evening, so this pit stop was much appreciated after our busy morning. Ps. the Shilin Night Market is not too far from here too. Hence, this strategic and grand ‘rest station’

img_5231

img_5232

Check out their keys, it symbolises wealth. Of course, following the trend of times The Grand Hotel (established in 1952)  has renovated all of their key systems to ensure better security but this wall display certainly caught my eye.

img_5233

We were really stuffed from lunch but if you are up for it the restaurant has a lovely afternoon tea buffet deal which was quite popular. We just ordered from their menu. I enjoyed a green tea slice accompanied by some lovely live music. Oh what a way to relax whilst bubba was snoozing.

img_5235

img_5237

Look look, someone’s all rejuvenated after a long nap. Time to take more pictures! Grand Hotel?

img_5251

img_5252

‘Hi Nanna’

img_5241

img_5244

img_5250

img_5254

Next and final stop for the day, Shilin Night Market. Shilin is indisputably the most famous night market in Taiwan. Taipei is a food lovers dream, everything looks and tastes delicious. I had dreams about devouring everything and anything at the night markets but … unfortunately this was not the case.

img_5261

img_5262

Yes, the market was filled to the brim with a wide variety of food stalls but night markets can be very overwhelming for an 18 month old. It got congested quickly and it was not particularly stroller friendly when it got busy. They are not many places to sit and there are queues everywhere.

img_5265

img_5274

img_5275

This might have been the trigger for her crying her eyes out. There’s a variety of amusing games in the night market too, she was thrilled with the monster my dad won for her but I think the popping of them balloons spooked her.

img_5266

img_5269

We did however manage to get seats to try the famous oyster omelettes. A simple egg omelette with fresh oysters but boy did it taste good.

img_5273

img_5271

Bubba was far from cooperative at this point, so we decided to call it a day and have dinner in the hotel. Once we got in the taxi, she was perfectly happy. All the hustle and bustle in the night market must have gotten to her.

IMG_5276.JPG

Very picture heavy post and pretty long for my standards but I am sure I will be thrilled to re-read this post when she is a bit older. Gosh, we really do love traveling especially with the little one in tow.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our travels in Taipei and do ask if you have any questions.

xxx

Ice Monster Taipei – Taiwanese Desserts

We jumped at the chance of a baby-free outing when my parents volunteered to babysit.  I quickly did some research and decided that we should definitely try one of the most famous desserts in Taiwan – shaved ice. We dropped in at one of the top shaved ice eateries, Ice Monster.

IMG_5137.JPG

The menu is definitely something, the variety was endless .. it was so tough for us to make a decision. We settled on their bestseller, the Mango and the Bubble Milk Tea Sensation. You can also take a peek at how they prepare your desserts as they do it right by their doorway.

Check out their branding .. got to love their ‘grumpy’ bright yellow monster.

When our desserts arrived, we just stared at each other .. channeling ‘ITS HUGE’ thoughts. Overwhelming, we should have shared but we we were greedy and wanted to try more than one flavour.

On first bite, I was rather surprised at the silky smooth texture of the ice. Quite different compared to the Malaysian shaved ice dessert (Ice Kacang) that I grew up with. Super soft shaved ice that melts in your mouth like cotton candy. Amazing! Refreshing and oh very addictive. They must add some sort of condensed milk to the ice. The mango was very fresh and this is not surprising at all as Taiwanese mangoes are abundant.

img_5144

Bubble Tea Sensation was interesting, looked like a Chewbacca. It was a deconstructed bowl of ‘frozen’ bubble tea. Creamy ribbon like shaved ice served with a side of ‘pearls’.

img_5149

img_5148

img_5143

The bill came up to 400 TWD , about £10. Definitely quite dear if you compare this to a street stall selling shaved ice but cannot complain for the quality, variety and experience🙂

One for the books, baby-free ‘date night’ when we were on holibobs.

img_5145

xxx

 

Taipei travels (Part 1) : Taipei 101 & our first Michelin star experience at Din Tai Fung

Back to more travel tales, if you missed it I wrote a post about Surviving Long Haul Flights With our Toddler , our wonderful hot springs retreat and a bit about Jinshan, in the north of Taiwan.

Bit of a recap .. we were in Taiwan in July and when we there, we were issued a typhoon warning. Category 5 Typhoon Nepartak was supposed to make landfall and we rushed from Yangmingshan, the mountain area down to downtown Taipei where we hunkered down at our hotel. All very scary especially as we had our little one with us and we have never experienced anything like this at all. Thankfully, it did not batter Taipei much and the warning was lifted and shops and attractions which were initially closed started to open for business again in the later part of the afternoon.

We then decided to head on over for some sightseeing and food at Taipei 101. It was still raining cats and dogs, so taking shelter somewhere indoors was the best option. The Taipei 101 tower itself looks like a giant bamboo stalk, no pictures as we rushed in due to rain. An engineering marvel as its one of the tallest buildings and its designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes.

Besides the tower itself, the base of the tower is a HUGE multi-level shopping mall, food courts and restaurants.

Look, swanky mall eh?

img_5058

We took a trip to the top of the tower by purchasing tickets. Tickets will grant you access to the observatory and the museum. Since it was ‘typhoon day’, there were hardly any queues although this also meant that the outdoor observatory was closed.

IMG_5063.JPG

Just found a picture of the tower from the outside, but its one of those touristy ones. Whoops. Definitely not buying it as little one and the husband is not even in it. Bet you have done this too, just take a picture of it for memory sake. They are really efficient when it comes to children and the elderly, there’s a special seat for them to wait instead of going round in a queue.

img_5064

The lift up is quite something as well. It took about 40 seconds to the 89th floor. Unbelievable.

img_5068

The views from the observatory deck was amazing.

img_5071

Little one slept all the way up and was still fast asleep when we were up there. Gave us a chance to take ‘lovey dovey’ touristy pics.

img_5072

Hoorah, someone is up to join the fun. Grouchy though *approach with caution*. Posing with the postcard we sent home specially for the little one. Lovely little note for her to read when she is older.

img_5079

IMG_5100.JPG

and one with her grandparents.

IMG_5085.JPG

This is the massive gold coloured damper that keeps the building from swaying. Very interesting, my husband read all about it😀

img_5090

There are a number of figurines around the observatory deck. Little one had a bit of fun holding their hands and imitating them.

img_5089img_5093img_5096

There’s also a little museum bit before you head out.

img_5102

I would highly recommend adding Taipei 101 to your itinerary even with little ones in tow. She found it quite interesting and there’s lots of space for them to run around when its not too packed.

After our spot of sightseeing, its time for food. Well, its always a good time for food especially in Taiwan. We wanted to try Din Tai Fung. One of the ‘must eat’ places in this country. This restaurant originated in Taiwan and it has lots of branches in 13 (or more) countries. It has 1 Michelin star and we knew that we were in for a long wait. We expected to wait an hour according to all the reviews and if that’s the case, we would have looked for food elsewhere. Definitely our lucky day, we waited for only 15 minutes for a table. The service was impeccable and although it was very busy, we were attended to very well. Ps. never in my life .. we had to get a number to wait for a table. They hand you menus and make you order in advance before you are actually seated too.

img_5105img_5110

Hoorah, we are in. It was a huge restaurant and the first thing you notice that it is actually very clean despite the volume of people who eats there. Their staff is top class which is expected of a Michelin star restaurant I suppose. The glass window feature to their kitchen was very interesting. Entertaining to watch the kitchen crew diligently making their famous dumplings and buns.

img_5112

img_5122

img_5120

The food did not disappoint, definitely lived up to all the raving reviews. You know sometimes, when you are looking forward to something that’s pretty hyped up .. its not as good as you think or it always slightly disappoints .. this was not the case. Food was lush.

Would recommend their Shrimp Fried Rice. Not salty and not oily, it was delicious.

IMG_5123.JPG

For dumplings, we tried one of their inspired creations. Steamed Gourd (or Squash?) and Shrimp Dumplings. There’s an art to eating them .. well I just ate them. They were outstanding. Did you know that there’s soup in them dumplings. Wow. Do make sure the soup runs into your spoon though.

img_5124

img_5126

img_5127

Now for something sweet to end our delicious meal on a higher note.

Snow fungus soup served cold, I was not a huge fan as it was pretty ‘gelatinous’.

img_5129

The Taro Steamed Dumplings on the other hand was exquisite. Dessert version of their steamed dumplings. I was apprehensive at first but the taro filling was not overly sweet and has a texture like mash. It works though. Did you know that all their dumplings have a minimum of 18 folds. I tried counting and I think all of them have exactly 18, what a piece of art.

img_5128

What really stood out to me about the food at Din Tai Fung was that nothing was overly salty and they really focused on the quality of the ingredients. Very intriguing and delicate tastes.

A must try – lived up to its hype.

 

Baking with the Toddler – Dairy Free Shortbread

I always had this idyllic idea of baking with my child, where it will be so pretty and fun, like something from those adverts you see on telly.

I have been procrastinating for quite a few months as I knew that this would smash that lovely picture that I have painted in my head. I finally DID IT. Baking with my little one for the very first time at 21 months! A really good and fun age to start as she now understands the concept of cooking. At least, I think she does as she watches me in the kitchen and pretends to cook her own food when she is actually eating. Haha.

I set up all the ingredients in advance and before I could even explain or show her which one to mix, she started pouring the wrong ingredient to the huge mixing bowl much to my dismay. She was doing her own thing whilst I tried guiding her to ‘follow the recipe’. “At least she’s loving it”.. I kept repeating this in my head.

Good thing I hid the raspberries till the end as she conveniently forgot that she was still baking and started enjoying them. After munching on quite a few raspberries, she started cooperating again and she was a jolly good helper.

I am so glad that I waited till she was this age so that it wont be too much of a ‘fail’. Good fun, more mess than usual, double the time BUT yes, to more baking days ahead especially since its autumn🙂

Enjoy our pictures, its chronological … includes the time where she toddled away and enjoyed some baking ingredients i.e the raspberries. Ingredients will be further down the post🙂

img_5690

img_5693

img_5694

img_5695

img_5696

img_5697

img_5699

img_5701

img_5702

img_5704

img_5706

Looking back at the pictures, her face was a picture of concentration and she carried out her little tasks with focus. Awww bless nothing cuter than little kids attempting to bake. First time trying this dairy free recipe and thankfully it worked! Super easy and she loved pressing the dough into the elephant mould. She kept wanting to turn the mould upside down to look at their faces though.

Ingredients:

290g baking margarine, we used Stork (not the spreadable kind), room temp. diced

120g sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

270g plain flour

110g rice flour

100g raspberries (optional)

pinch of sea salt

Mix the ‘butter’, sugar and vanilla together until pale and fluffy. (Well my toddler wanted to do flour first) Add the flours to the creamed mixture. Fold together. We included some raspberries for fun. Place dough in moulds or prepared tin. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes, preheat oven to 170°C. Bake for 40 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and score and do leave for it to completely cool before removing from mould or cutting the slices.

img_5709

img_5710

img_5711

img_5714

We had one happy tot! Definitely makes it all worthwhile when you see her tucking into her little cookie. The elephants were a hit as she was so excited to eat the ears and then the eyes.

IMG_5721.JPG

For some other dairy free makes, check out my df banana ice cream and passion fruit cake. Hope you have a happy Sunday with your loved ones.

Ps. theres a huge range of animal moulds on Baked By Me. Great fun when baking with the kiddos.

The Adventures Of An Allergy Mummy

Previous Older Entries