Thursday, 20 November 2008

By request...

Today I made sculptures out of leaves in the garden. There are only two trees near our garden (near, not even in) and yet when autumn hits a tremendous amount of leaves end up on the decking. I think it has some sort of leaf-attracting force field or something. It's been a long long time since we ventured out there, partly because of busy weekends, partly because we feared being eaten by the leaf mountain, and as a result the leaf piles got higher, the decking slimier and generally it was all a bit eurgh. So today I went out and did battle with it. I think I won. All the leaves are now in a huge pile at the back of the garden, waiting for the weekend when the two of us can haul them into bags. My only worry is a fateful wind will scatter my efforts. Oh well, I can live in hope.

I didn't post the recipe for the ginger bears the other day, and I've been asked for it, so here it is. It could do with more ginger I think because the flavour is a mild one, but then if mild is what you're going for this is perfect. It's also not a dough that is going to yield hard teeth-cracking gingerbread like they used to have in the bakery near where I lived when I was a kid. Instead it's a soft dough, much kinder to teeth and more appropriate for bears.

Gingerbear dough: I highly recommend making animals out of this dough, it suits them. I think bears are best, maybe you think elephants are, either way it's more fun than people!

Yields - er, quite a few.

300g self-raising flour
3 tsp ground ginger
100g caster sugar
50g butter
3 tbsp golden syrup
4 tbsp milk (I needed a bit more)
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 160C and line a baking tray.

Place flour, salt and ginger in a bowl. Warm the sugar, fat and syrup together (I did this in a jug in the microwave for about 1 min) and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Add the milk and mix to a firm dough. Knead lightly with hands. Roll out and cut out shapes and place on the baking tray. Bake for 10-15 mins (I baked for a little longer) until just golden. Cool on a rack then enjoy.

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