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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Keeping strawberries, Gingerbread Men

Christmas in New Zealand means strawberry season.

A handful of fragrance - strawberries and basil

Our strawberries have done really well this year. I wanted to check that I was keeping them the best way possible so looked on this great website which gives the best way to keep all kinds of foods, and for how long. A great idea to reduce food wastage.
So strawberries will keep in the fridge for 2 days, stored single layer, covered and don't wash them first as the extra moisture could cause them to deteriorate.
Corn cobs are also best kept in the fridge with their husks still on for approx 2 days.

Gingerbread Men
I decided today would be a great day to throw on my Kenny Gee Miracles album of Christmas Saxophone Music while there is no one else around to complain...and cook up a storm before Christmas.
I wanted to make some gingerbread men to include in the girls' Christmas Santa sacks
I'm not sure that anyone else would like to tackle making these at this stage of the pre Christmas rush...but I did today and they turned out great.

Gingerbread People

725 g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves (I skipped this as I didn't have any)
225g solid white vegetable shortening. ( I used coconut oil and it worked fine)
225g castor sugar
300g golden syrup
2 eggs, beaten

Into a bowl sieve together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
Put the shortening in a pan and melt slowly. Add the sugar and golden syrup and mix until runny.
Pour the fat mixture into the flour and add the eggs.
Mix well together until smooth. Wrap in baking paper until ready to use.
Roll it out between two sheets of baking paper and cut your shapes.
Bake at 180c for approx 8 minutes on fanbake - depending on how thick you have cut your shapes. Thinner = crisper, thicker = chewier texture.
This makes a lot - twice as much as what is shown in my picture, and can be used to make gingerbread houses too.

Royal Icing for piping
175g icing sugar
1 egg white, beaten stiff.

Gradually add in the icing sugar to the beaten egg white until smooth. Consistency should be of soft peaks.
I used an empty icing sugar bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner for piping. 

So Merry Christmas to you. I hope it is a happy occasion at your house. Ours will be a little spread out, with taking several days to catch up with extended family. Hopefully we will dig some new potatoes to go with Christmas dinner...fingers crossed.

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