Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Maggot Aftermath with its ups and downs, and some welcome housemates who engage in baking with me!

I know, that last post was just disgusting, wasn't it? well, in case you were worried, the cupboard is now officially clean and spotless; no sign that the maggots were ever there:

See?! Ta dah! All better now! Of course, I wasn't all better - all the yucky maggot cleaning meant that I slept really badly the following night, and then was really vomity the next day, and really ill and whiny. My poor parents! They received numerous phone calls where there was nothing they could really do! But once I'd had a good sleep I felt I much better, and a week later I'm all good!

My housemates have almost all arrived back now, and I no longer have the house to myself - booo! but it does mean lots of good conversation and some wonderful friends who are willing cleaners! We are not your typical students...

I baked with one of my housemates today, Libby (the one who owns Norwegian Blue fish!). She has just started getting a children's magazine made by a particular well known global company which makes films about princesses and mice in clothing for children. So I taught her how to make shortbread, and she made these biscuits:

Not bad, huh?! We had leftover dough which didn't want to turn into the cartoon mouse heads, so I rolled it out and she chose another cutter from my box. the hearts go well, I think! The mouse head was one of those cutters where you cut the shape out, and then they give you another tool to press the face markings in:

Now, I'm normally a super lazy chef, and I just stick the biscuits in the oven straightaway. But as any baker will tell you, if you do that, your biscuits will spread. And we didn't want deformed biscuits. So we chilled them in the fridge first, then popped them in. And they came out very clearly! My recipe for shortbread is a very simple one, from the Good Housekeeping Cookery Book - I think it's under 1-2-3 biscuits. I double the amount, and tweak it a little. But, just in case anyone doesn't know it, here it is:

1 oz sugar
2 oz butter
3 oz plain flour
1 splash vanilla

Mix your butter and sugar together, then stir your flour. Keep stirring, even though it looks too dry, and it will eventually form into big lumps. Squash those together into a dough ball. Pop it in plastic wrap or a food bag and pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes (or not at all if you're feeling lazy!) Take it out and roll it out on a well-floured surface so that it's about 1/4" thick. Cut your shapes out and place them on a tray covered with greaseproof paper. When you can't cut anymore out, squash the dough back together and re-roll and cut untilt here's no dough left. Pop the tray into the fridge for another 20 minutes whilst you preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Pop the tray in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. take them out when they're light golden in colour.

And that's it! Try not to re-roll the dough or fuss with it too much, as it makes it tough. And be aware that the biscuits should still feel soft-ish when they come out of the oven, but they will harden as they cool. If you leave them in the oven until they're hard, they'll be horrid later! Of course, you know all this, I know, but it helps to say it anyway just in case!

Tomorrow I'm back to church, and Monday I start at my placement - I'm working with a family this semester, and they're lovely people. I had lunch with them on Thursday. Plus, they live only a 20 minute walk from me! Bargain! Wish me luck!

Love love xx

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