Baking, Christmas, crafts, food, Lifestyle, recipes

Vintage JennyVintage: How to make a gingerbread house?

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Last Christmas my friends and I thought it would be a good idea to make gingerbread houses. They looked quite cute in the end but we will never attempt this again! This year it’s cookies or minty sweets or something like that.

Here’s a repeat of last year’s ‘fun’…

Some words of warning – while making gingerbread houses sounds like lovely fun it is in my one experience difficult and stressful. Getting them to stand up while the chocolate glue dries is particularly tricky. But I was the least optimistic on this mission and my friends Auriol (middle house) and Erin (right house) were far more positive throughout. We made a lot of mess and each house collapsed at least once but I think by the end they turned out pretty well.

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We started by cutting templates for each piece of gingerbread we needed, then cutting out the dough and popping the separate bits in the oven for 15 minutes. To save time we used dough that was ready to roll out – Asda, £2. These small pieces are for chimneys.

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Standing the pieces up in butter cream before glueing them together with melted white chocolate seemed to be the best strategy. They fell over quite a bit but once the chocolate had hardened they were pretty sturdy.

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My favourite picture of the whole day. What’s wrong, Auriol?

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Butter cream, white chocolate and icing sugar. I’m not sure which one eventually held it all together…

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But wait? What are they? Finished gingerbread houses? And they’re standing up?

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food, lifestyle, recipes

Can’t wait for… My Little French Kitchen

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The blessed Rachel Khoo has just revealed the cover of her new book and suddenly I’m really excited and absolutely starving. The follow-up to The Little Paris Kitchen is out on October 10 and you can pre-order it for just £14 on Amazon.

It’s my birthday five weeks after this comes out so I really hope someone loves me enough to get it…

 

 

 

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New York cooler cocktail

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From 100 Cocktails: How To Mix Them by Bernard

1/2 gill of Canadian club whiskey

1/4 gill of lemon squash

1 dash of lemon peel juice

3 dashes of grenadine syrup

1 slice of lemon

1 lump of ice

Fill up with soda water

Put the lump of ice in a tall glass and add the Canadian club whiskey. Then add the lemon squash and the grenadine syrup. Fill up with soda water and stir well. Serve with a dash of lemon peel juice and a slice of lemon.

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Photo shoot nibbles…

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Lunchtime on the day of the photo shoot for my friend Erin’s plus-size clothing range at Asos – misslacyltd – was pretty special, with chocolate covered strawberries and red velvet mini cupcakes for dessert. Erin’s also taken to something new and very pretty – frozen blueberries in cocktails, which turn drinks purple in no time…

And the chargrilled chicken on little pieces of bagel with basil was my favourite bit –

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Gin daisy cocktail

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From 100 Cocktails: How To Mix Them by Bernard:

1/2 gill of gin

1/2 gill of lemon juice

1/8 gill of grenadine syrup

Slices of fresh fruit

Soda water

1/2 shakerful of broken ice

Half fill the shaker with broken ice and add the gin. Then put in the lemon juice and the grenadine syrup. Shake well, pass through a strainer into a large tumbler and fill up with soda water. Serve with slices of fresh fruit on top and with a spoon.

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Sidecar cocktail

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In celebration of my new racing green Mini Cooper! My first new car in nine years!

From 100 Cocktails: How to Mix Them by ‘Bernard’ –

1/4 gill of brandy

1/8 gill of dry gin

The juice of 1/4 lemon

1/2 shakerful of broken ice

Half fill the shaker with broken ice and squeeze in the juice of 1/4 lemon. Then add the brandy and the dry gin. Shake well and pass through a strainer into a cocktail glass.

This is a great favourite among the French and is fairly strong, apparently.

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“I’m the spare driver!”

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