When I was growing up in England we were VERY poor – throughout the year my Mum did not know how she would feed the family from day to day!

Christmas time was very special.   Two weeks before the holiday, Dad used to work two jobs going to work during the day and sorting parcels at the Post Office at night.   I don’t know how he managed to do this but he did :-)   That meant that we would have a real family Christmas with a couple of toys each for my two brothers and myself, a lovely holiday meal that Mum put together including mince pies and Christmas cake, nuts and fruit.   Truly a feast that we would remember for the rest of the year.

Christmas morning my brothers and I were up and ready to open our packages but Mum would not let us until my Dad got up.   He was catching up on his sleep from two weeks of going without almost any.   Mum said that without Dad’s hard work, there would not be a holiday so we would wait for him.

I remember spending time with the family especially the younger of my two brothers (who unfortunately passed away way too soon).  Brian loved classical music especially that “attached” to the Royal Air Force.   We spent many hours listening and discussing the music especially “Spitfire Prelude”.   Those are very precious memories of Christmas and my brother.

Life for me is certainly not so hard now and I really appreciate how fortunate I am and try to help those who are in difficulty.

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday filled with precious memories and a happy and healthy New Year.

Beryl

 

RHEINDEER BEER

Reindeer Beer : Looking for something fun to make for a holiday gift?   These “reindeers” create a lot of smiles.

To make them, you will require the following :

(1) 6-pack of beer of your choice

(1) package of chanelle pipe cleaners

(1) package of small red pom-poms

(1) package of plastic or sugar eyes

Contact cement.

Take one of the pipe cleaners and fold in half, but make a flat base for attachment to the top of the beer bottle.   Twist each half to give them a “knotted” look.  Take another pipe cleaner and cut into four pieces.   Twist two of the pieces onto each half of the pipe cleaner to create an “antler”.   Glue to the cap of the beer bottle and also cover with a small piece of clear tape to ensure that the antler will stay upright.

Place a dab of glue on the bottle where you would like the eyes and  nose to be placed.   Wait for approximately a minute or two and then attach them.  Follow the same method for each bottle until finished. Allow to stand overnight to allow attachments to be completely  set.

If beer is not your beverage of choice, this will work well with any slim-necked bottle.

Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday!

Beryl

When I was a little girl growing up in England,  at 11.00 am on Veteran’s Day, there was the sound of a cannon going off or bells ringing all over the country to alert us to a 2-minute silence. EVERYONE (including traffic) stopped for 2-minutes of complete silence out of respect and to remember those who had fallen in both wars.   The silence was deafening – a complete country come almost to a standstill.   (If I remember correctly, it was usually a Sunday nearest to the actual date)

I was born sometime after the Second World War and later found out that my dad had been rescued off of Dunkirk Beach.   Winston Churchill had asked anyone that had anything that would float to go across the English Channel and bring the British soldiers off of the beach so that they could fight another day and we would not lose the war!   The Germans had forced them down onto the beach and were about to murder as many as they could.   The first boat dad was on was blown up.   He was fished out of the water and put into another boat, but was very badly injured.   When he arrived in England he was patched up and convalesced for three months.   When dad recovered, he was offered a “nice safe home posting”- he thought that was great.   He was sent to London to do bomb disposal for the rest of the war !!!

I remember my brothers and myself playing in our small kitchen with coloured drawings – I later found out that they were the drawings my dad had done of the inside of the bombs so that he knew which wires to cut!

I am forever grateful to my dad and people like him in that war and to the many other brave people who  have fought around the world for the freedom we have now.   God bless them all.

This month is designated as “Breast Cancer Month” but I am sure that anyone who lives with this disease, it is “every month”.    Our company decided to donate 5% of our total orders for October to go towards research.

Now, it is closer to home – I had an email from my brother and sister-in-law informing me that my niece has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is due to have a full masectomy on the 13th November.   As one can imagine, she is in complete shock as she lives a very simple life in the South of France with her partner Larry.

What does one do in a situation such as this except be supportive, even from a long distance?   We are praying that all goes well and hoping to go and visit next year.

We wish Karen and all of the people out there dealing with this illness, or any other, our very best for a full recovery.

Beryl

 

 

Claire Bowman Cake Lace mix (# 18280) is an innovative new product that allows one to make edible lace for wedding cakes, celebration cakes, cupcakes – wherever your imagination takes you!

Mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions, spread onto the silicone mat (using icing spreader # 1325) and place in the oven at 80 degrees C (175F) for 12 – 15 minutes.   Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes.   Carefully remove from the mat and the lace is ready to use.   Cake lace may be made ahead of time and stored for 2-3 months as it will stay moist and pliable.   Double wrap each piece in greaseproof paper and store flat in a zip-lock bag.

The lace may be coloured when mixing, and/or dusted with pearl dust before attachment to your project.   It may also be hand-piped if mixed and left to stand overnight (covered) to allow the air bubbles to dissipate.

The uses and designs for this product are endless.

ICING SPREADERCAKE LACE

Best Lemon Bars – I love lemon bars and have searched high and low for a good recipe.   I found one that I liked and “tweaked” it to get the bars the way I like them.   I hope you will enjoy this too :

8” SQUARE PAN,  ENOUGH FOIL TO LINE.   TURN THE PAN UPSIDE DOWN. PLACE THE FOIL OVER THE TOP (SHINY SIDE UP) AND PRESS AROUND PAN TO MAKE SHAPE. PLACE SHAPED FOIL ON INSIDE OF PAN AND PRESS TO GET AS SMOOTH AS POSSIBLE LEAVING ABOUT 1” EDGE OVER SIDES.

CRUST
1/2 CUP BUTTER (OR MARGARINE)- ROOM TEMPERATURE
1/3 CUP CONFECTIONER’S SUGAR – UNSIFTED
1 TSP VANILLA
1 CUP ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR – UNSIFTED

INSTRUCTIONS :

CREAM BUTTER (MARGARINE) UNTIL LIGHT.    ADD CONFECTIONER’S SUGAR AND VANILLA.   CONTINUE BEATING UNTIL WELL INCORPORATED INTO BUTTER. ADD FLOUR ON LOW SPEED UNTIL INGREDIENTS JUST COME TOGETHER FORMING A SOFT DOUGH.   PRESS DOUGH INTO 8 “ X 8” SQ PAN LINED WITH FOIL. PRICK ENTIRE SURFACE OF DOUGH WITH A FORK . CHILL FOR APPROX 1 HOUR.    BAKE AT 325 DEGREES FOR APPROXIMATELY25- 30 MINUTES UNTIL LIGHT GOLDEN IN COLOUR.

LEMON TOPPING :

(3) LARGE LEMONS (THIN SKINNED)- WELL WASHED   (3/4) CUP SUGAR
(3) LARGE EGGS (EGG BEATERS)                                             (4) TSP CORN STARCH
(3) TBLSP MELTED BUTTER (OR MARGARINE)                   1/4 TSP SALT

WHILST THE CRUST IS BAKING, CUT THE LEMONS IN HALF, REMOVE THE SEEDS AND CUT INTO QUARTERS.   PUT THE CHUNKS OF LEMON INTO A FOOD PROCESSOR WITH SUGAR.   PULSE UNTIL LEMON LOOKS LIKE A SLURRY.    ADD EGGS (EGG BEATERS), CORNSTARCH, SALT AND MELTED BUTTER (MARGARINE). BLEND UNTIL WELL INCORPORATED.

REDUCE OVEN HEAT TO 300 DEGREES. POUR LEMON FILLING OVER HOT CRUST AND BAKE FOR 22-23  MINUTES.

REMOVE PAN FROM OVEN AND LET COOL COMPLETELY. ONCE COOL, REMOVE FROM PAN USING FOIL OVERHANG, CUT INTO SQUARES AND SIFT POWERED SUGAR OVER TOP BEFORE SERVING.

RECIPE MAY BE DOUBLED. BAKE CRUST FOR 30 – 35 MINUTES AND LEMON FILLING 22-25 MINUTES.

ENJOY!

We have just returned from our Son’s wedding in Florida.   Our son is a police officer and his new wife works with a dermatologist.

Actually getting there was quite an adventure.   The night before we left, we received a text from US Air that our flight had been delayed for approximately 40 minutes !   Based upon this information, we arrived at the airport at 6.00 am the following morning, went through security only to find that the flight was delayed a further hour!!   The long and short of it was that we were delayed three hours and were sent to five different gates before actually boarding our flight.   To add insult to injury, we were delayed a further 30 minutes because the pilot said that we had to “wait for catering as they were empty”.   Why bother, the airlines don’t really serve anything unless you are charged an arm and leg anyway!

I had shipped my decorating tools down the week before and had baked and frozen the wedding cake and desserts and shipped them overnight so that I could start decorating when we arrived.   As you can imagine, I was somewhat stressed at the delay.  It was quite a feat getting everything finished but all turned out well at the end of the day.   A beautiful wedding.

As my husband pointed out, it would not behove anyone to make the mistake of trying to rob the wedding party – about half of the guests were police officers :)

 

There is so much going on this month. The World Cup, Father’s Day and were you aware that June is officially National Candy Month? To off-set our love of candy, this month is also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month! How can we combine all of these events?

I have to say, I am not much of a sports fan but it is exciting watching all the players compete against each other, striving to do their best for their team and their country. My son, who is a sports addict supports “The Gunners” (An English team -Arsenal). I have never really understood the teams for the World Cup. Certainly in the UK, the team players are drawn from other teams all around the country to make up the “World Cup Team”. I personally think that is not a very good idea – they do not really have enough time to play together and get to know each other’s foibles. That of course is my opinion, which is probably completely incorrect!

My Dad passed away a number of years ago but he would have loved National Candy Month – he had a very sweet tooth. In fact, as a small child I remember him making cake sandwiches! and he loved biscuits (cookies) also. Come to think of it, he loved anything sweet. He was one of the lucky ones who NEVER put on any weight. He just seemed able to eat whatever he pleased without any real consequences. He and my mother were both great cooks and bakers. I am sure that is where my love of baking comes from.

Enjoy all of the events of this month – I’m sure the Dad’s will be enjoying the World Cup.

Happy visiting with the Dad
s of the world.

Beryl

image002I love making dessert but rarely eat it.   I suppose after working around all of those wonderful ingredients which are then baked and  the desserts plated, that alone is enough!   However, I do love cookies (biscuits to me) particularly SOFT chocolate chip cookies.   I have researched and baked many versions and think I have finally found (for me at least) the perfect recipe.   Soft and flavourful with lots of qood quality chocolate.   What more could we wish for with a lovely cup of tea?   When making these cookies, please be sure to use the absolute best chocolate chips you can find, preferably semi-sweet .

Enjoy!

(8) TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER

1/3 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR

1/2 CUP BROWN SUGAR

(3) TABLESPOONS HONEY

(4) TEASPOONS VANILLA EXTRACT

1/2 TEASPOON ESPRESSO POWDER

3/4 TEASPOON SALT

(1) TABLESPOON CIDER VINEGAR

(2) LARGE EGGS

1/2 TEASPOON BAKING SODA

3/4 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER

(2) CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

(3)  CUPS SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES AND LIGHTLY GREASE OR LINE WITH PARCHMENT TWO BAKING SHEETS.

IN A LARGE BOWL, BEAT TOGETHER BUTTER, SUGARS, HONEY, VANILLA, ESPRESSO POWDER AND SALT UNTIL SMOOTH.   BEAT IN VINEGAR, EGGS, BAKING SODA AND BAKING POWDER UNTIL WELL INCORPORATED.   FOLD IN FLOUR AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS.   USING AN 1 1/2” ICECREAM SCOOP, DROP ONTO PREPARED BAKING SHEETS (EITHER LINED WITH BAKING PARCHMENT OR LIGHTLY SPRAYED WITH A NON-STOCK SPRAY).   FLATTEN SLIGHTLY WITH THE PALM OF YOUR HAND BEFORE BAKING.   MAKES  APPROXIMATELY (36) COOKIES.

THESE ARE BAKED IN A CONVENTION OVEN SO IF YOU ARE USING A STANDARD OVEN, WATCH THE COOKIES CLOSELY.   THEY NEED TO BE JUST LIGHTLY BROWNED.   THE LONGER LEFT IN THE OVEN, THE HARDER THEY WILL BECOME.

ONCE REMOVED FROM THE OVEN, LEAVE ON THE COOKIE TRAY FOR APPROXIMATELY (5) MINUTES BEFORE MOVING TO THE COOLING RACK.

THEY MAY BE STORED IN AN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER FOR UP TO (3) DAYS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE, APPROXIMATELY (1) WEEK IN THE REFRIGERATOR (IF THEY LAST THAT LONG) OR FROZEN UP TO ONE MONTH.   MAKE SURE TO PUT WAX PAPER BETWEEN LAYERS OF COOKIES BEFORE FREEZING.   ALLOW TO COME TO ROOM TEMPERATURE STILL IN THE CONTAINER WHEN YOU ARE READY TO EAT THEM.

cupcake time Easter cupcake huntThis is a wonderful time of the year when the world comes alive! This is the time for Spring Cleaning—for me it is the time for Spring Baking! This is absolutely my favourite season. Baking comes to mind for this holiday season and what could be easier than cupcakes for Easter?

You will need the following :

easter cupcakes

Bake your cupcakes and allow to cool completely. Leave them in the cupcake pan for approximately 10 – 15 minutes before removing. This helps to keep the cupcake papers attached to the cupcakes. You know sometimes that they seem to come away! Place them on a cooling rack to finish.

For the “grass” cupcakes, use the green frosting and a grass tip #133. Pipe grass on the top of the cupcakes. To do this, put the tip close to the top of the cake, start to squeeze and, as you squeeze, pull the tip up to make the grass. Repeat this to cover the top of the cake and then add your chocolate Easter eggs.

The birds nest cupcakes— using the brown frosting and tip # 133, start at the outside of the cupcake and pipe in a circle, stopping and starting to make the decorating look like a nest, finishing in the centre. Add chocolate Easter eggs and tiny flowers.

What could be more Spring like and tastier than these beautiful Easter cupcakes? The perfect dessert for a perfect Spring day. Wonderful for an Easter brunch.

 

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