Halloween (ish) baking

Image

I know, I know, it’s late.

We’re almost into Christmas, and here I am with bat shaped cookies.

DSCF3220My last visit to Larisa and Adara (read about our dining and other adventures in my last post, here) coincided with Halloween. I don’t usually do that much for Halloween – I’ve been to a couple of Halloween parties in my life, as a Guide and then later at university when one of my American friends absolutely loved Halloween and went to town with decorations and so forth every year (and if Facebook is any indication, still does. I wish I was up in York and could go!) DSCF3233This year, I went ghost hunting with a company called Haunted Happenings. I’ll be honest, I’m not really much of a believer in spirits and ghosts and so forth, but I went with an open mind and the understanding that for a lot of people, this is very real and important to them. It was a great evening; lots of activity and unexplainable events, and I’m definitely glad I went, even if I don’t think that you could count me as a believer now.

DSCF3247A few weeks prior to my visit, Larisa had mentioned wishing she had some Lofthouse Sugar Cookies, which are a ~thing in the US, apparently. I sprung into action – surely people had created homemade Lofthouse cookies on the internet? Of course they had. I decided to go with a somewhat Halloween theme…based on the fact I have one bat cookie cutter. And some vaguely Halloween colours. I used a wonderful recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod, which I halved. I also don’t have a stand mixer, but this worked just fine with my hand electric whisk and a bit of elbow grease! I don’t generally have much success with cookies, so I was very very happy when these worked, and proved to be utterly delicious. I am a new convert to this type of sugar cookie. So light and fluffy and oh god, MOREISH.

DSCF3252 DSCF3251

DSCF3253I also made a flourless chocolate cookie that I found on Pinterest. This led me through to Chocolate and Carrots and another simple and easy recipe to follow! I had a bit more trouble with the cooking of these – they spread a fair amount, and I really need to get some non-stick silicon baking mats or something, because greaseproof paper did not prove at all non stick with these…They were, however, delicious – chewy and rich chocolate and the chocolate chips, oh oh oh. They didn’t turn out glossy like the original post, but they were so tasty that it didn’t matter!DSCF3257

And something that was pretty much a disaster, but I am nothing if not honest here! Another Pinterest find, from Tutti-Dolci. It claimed to be a wonderful moist chocolate pound cake,DSCF3258 but well, I burnt the top a bit, whoops, and I think I put too many chocolate chips on the top of the cake and caused to sink, whoops, but the texture inside wasn’t all that great either – it was rather stodgy, although it tasted nice. I couldn’t eat a lot of it though. I’m not sure whether this was due to a cooking issue, or perhaps my measuring of the mixture (me and cups don’t always get on brilliantly, which is the downside to using US recipes)DSCF3261 or just it wasn’t meant to be. Sigh. I think I needed to find some icing sugar to disguise it better!

Overall,  I think a successful baking session.  I do so love baking for friends…even if I do tend to go a bit overboard!

I’ll tell you someone who did enjoy the cookies…

A little girl…

DSCF3265(She didn’t get to eat a whole one, she just got a lick of the frosting whilst I was taking the photos)

DSCF3268DSCF3276

Advertisements

Gourmet visits to small adorable children

Well, small adorable child.

Meet Adara.

Image

She is one of the cutest things I have seen in my life, and I could just eat her up. (Side note apropos of nothing, changing nappies is not difficult but it’s also not easy, as demonstrated by the fact that I changed my first nappy ever whilst her mama was sleeping, and I put it on back to front *slow clap*)

Fortunately, the last time I went to visit, I avoided this, but I did enjoy some other delicious delights with her utterly lovely mama, Larisa. Larisa and I share a love for good food, and whenever I go to visit her, the diet tends to go out of the window, and she takes me to different restaurants around her area and we generally eat well. One favourite place is Edamame, a Japanese-sushi restaurant in Oxford. They only serve sushi on Thursday evenings, and you have to queue out in the street to get a table! We liked it (and the plum wine) so much that we went back for “normal” service the next time I visited. If my visit falls on a Thursday again, I’m sure we’ll be having sushi again!

This time round, we started with Wild Lime. Larisa heartily recommended the parmesan crust pizza, so natch, I went for that. It was utterly delicious and I did love the fresh rocket on the top. DSCF3298

Adara happily nommed down on one of the crusts (better than the leaves of the plant she was trying to eat…) because mama is introducing baba to the good things in life early. As she should.

After a fairly horrendous time trying to get parked at Bicester Shopping Village on a Saturday – starving crying baby in the back seat, no spaces, stressed driver, stressed mama – (yeah…) we headed straight for FOOD andDSCF3382 ended up at Busaba Eathai. I’d vaguely heard of this place before, and I guess I’d describe it kind of like a more upmarket Thai Wagamama! Omgosh though the food. I had a Jungle Curry, which is a pretty hot curry. I’m not amazing with hot hot food, but this, although mouth-burning, was mouth-burny in a good way. It was so fragrant and flavourful!

DSCF3383The service was great too;our server bought a biscuit over for Adara along with our coconut ice cream desserts, and Adara continued her reign of charming everyone who sees her (she’s currently charming the United States. I fully expect her to have taken over by the New Year)

DSCF3394

ImageImage

On Sunday, we were entranced by a hearty roast on the telly, so Larisa declared that we were going to Puddingface (which was utterly fine with me) who do HUGE pies in a million varieties – there’s a note on the blackboard menu that says that you are NOT allowed to share a pie (which seems a little harsh, they are HUGE) but they are delicious, so…

We also had pudding, because, you know, what’s having a weekend of good food without pudding?

Image

Adara had some of the mashed potato crust (lucky duck!) and a napkin: (crafty bonus – this was the first proper garment I knitted! AND LOOK, it fits!)

ImageSo, that was my weekend of fun and frolics and food. More craftiness to follow, I’ve been a relatively busy bee…

In the meantime, have some more photos of cuteness, and my face.

DSCF3330

ImageImage

Image