Easter is…..

All your eggs in one basket

Since it is Good Friday and the start of the lovely long Easter weekend, I thought I would keep today’s post short and sweet.  So will just leave you with this to the point quote which I came across this morning:

Easter is the only time of the year when it’s
perfectly safe to put all your eggs in one basket.

And, with that in mind enjoy your Easter weekend.

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Easter card
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Easter Biscuits

Happy Easter biscuits!

There is always a batch of these biscuits in the tin at Easter – it wouldn’t really be Easter without them.  However, as I made the mistake of making mine a few days ahead of the Easter bank holiday weekend, my children (aided of course by my husband) have already eaten them and all that remains in the tin are a few crumbs and several sticky finger marks…..

Happy Easter!

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Easter Biscuits

For this biscuit recipe you will need:

100g butter
75g sugar
1 large egg
200g plain / all-purpose flour (sifted)
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
50g currants
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons milk

Makes approximately 16 biscuits

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas Mark 6 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  • Measure the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until combined (I always use my Kitchen Aid to do this, but it could be done by hand).
  • Add the egg and beat again.
  • Add the sifted flour, cinnamon and mixed spice.
  • Finally add the currants, lemon zest and milk.
  • Mix together to form a soft dough.
  • On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to approximately ½cm thick.
  • Cut out the biscuits.  I used a 6cm round cutter.
  • Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheets and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  Whilst they are cooling sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with sugar.
  • Hide in a biscuit tin at the back of the pantry to make sure there are some left for Easter!

Out to Lunch

Out to LunchYesterday there was a definite hint for the first time that Spring, whilst not quite here yet, was most certainly on the way.  So much so, that I traded in my basement gym cross-trainer for the pavement and ran outside (in the fresh air) for the first time in months; and what’s more I could even feel my feet!

Basking in the achievement of my first proper run in far too long, I elected to take the rest of the day off and met a good friend for lunch.

As we gossiped over our salad and delicious wraps I picked up a text from my husband wondering where I was?

“Out to lunch” I replied.

Back came the response:  “Brain or whole body?”

Really there is not a lot you can say in response to this, so I chose to ignore it and my friend and I passed a further hour or so shopping and catching up.  Although I suppose it is always good to know what someone really thinks of you!

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Epic Easter Egg Craft Fail

Easter Egg craft – and well to put it bluntly my epic fail!

With Easter only a few days away, the Internet and Pinterest are bursting with beautiful Easter craft.  My eye has been caught and my head turned by the abundance of beautifully decorated eggs.

Below are a few of my favourites:

Pink polka dot Easter Eggs

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Sprinkle decorated Easter Egg

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Rubber Band Patterned Eggs
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Sadly, it was definitely a case of my “eyes being bigger than my talent” when it came to decorating our own eggs.

Disclaimer:  If you are at all craftily sensitive I would recommend looking away now
and reading no further to avoid undue distress

This is our epic Easter Egg craft fail in all its hideous, and yes, shameful, glory:

Epic Easter Egg craft fail

Apologies for the slightly poor quality of the photo, I just snapped this with my phone as it wasn’t really worth getting the camera out!

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Chocolate Waffles

Everything tastes better with chocolate doesn’t it:

Chocolate Waffles

My children certainly think so!

These waffles were made following Eric Lanlard’s recipe which was included in the Easter chocolate recipes feature published in The Times this weekend.

Recipes © Eric Lanlard. Extracted from Chocolat, will be published by Mitchell Beazley on 8th April 2013. 

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How did we ever manage?

Pink retro telephone
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When we were out for dinner recently our waitress wore a top with a slogan on the back which read:

I can still remember

This prompted one of those absolutely ridiculous conversations between my husband and I, as we entertained our children with the following “fascinating” facts:

Telephones:  do you remember when these had to be plugged in at the wall and you could only walk away as far as the cord would stretch.

Mobile phones – not yet invented….you had to use, wait for it, a public phone box!  And, then the first mobile phones, which were too hilarious for words – to carry one you required a separate handbag and the strength of a weightlifter.

Text and e-mail:  never heard of it, we wrote letters and talked (on that large thing attached to the wall by a cord).

Internet:  I believe this was still orbiting Mars?

We didn’t have a dishwasher (yes, we washed up and even worse dried by hand!).  Nor did we have a microwave (making jacket potatoes in the oven was an all-day event, not a 10 minute ping).

Satellite dishes bringing us an array of channels and the ability to record, pause and rewind live TV – no, if you were out – you missed it! And certainly no portable in-car DVD players, long journeys were just boring!

As we laughed about those “dark technology free olden-days”, our children gazed at us in open mouthed dismay and horror.  I am not sure they actually believed it was possible that we had been able to survive to become adults in such technological wilderness.  It was obviously on a par with telling them that we had grown up without fire or the wheel.

As I read over this list (which could be considerably longer), I hate to admit it, but I actually find myself wondering just how did we manage?

Add to my list, and let me know what you now can’t live without.

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Spring – excuse me?

No matter how long

Today is allegedly the first day of Spring.  So excuse me for asking, but quite frankly where are you Spring?

There is still snow on the ground, and, to add insult to injury, it is still falling from the sky.  Canada, if this is some sort of joke, it really is not funny anymore.  I am more than ready to confine my winter boots to the back of the wardrobe and to be skipping down the street in ballet pumps and to be exchanging my below the knee goose down coat for an easy breezy jacket…..

The longer Winter persists, I do pause (in my never ending rant against the cold weather) to wonder if we have in a quirky take on Alice in Wonderland not fallen down a rabbit hole but perhaps stumbled into Narnia.

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“She calls herself the Queen of Narnia ….. And she has made a magic so that it is always winter in Narnia—always winter”.
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

Should the weather be better where you are and you are lucky enough to be experiencing beautiful Spring weather, then enjoy.  For the rest of us, let’s just keep our fingers and toes crossed that the sun comes out very soon.

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Spiced Fruit Bread

Spiced Fruit Bread

One of my absolute favourites at Easter – or if I am honest, I would quite happily eat them all year round – are Hot Cross Buns.  Whilst they are crammed onto supermarket shelves in England the moment Christmas pudding and mince pies are returned to the stock room, in Canada they are much harder to find (if anyone can recommend a good source, please, please let me know).  Since I was unable to pick up a packet of Hot Cross Buns with my weekly shop, I decided to try making my own.  Simply put, big mistake!  Not only did they take the best part of the day to make, but the end result was really disappointing.

So, instead I have made Spiced Fruit Bread.  It may not be a Hot Cross Bun (yes, I am ever so slightly obsessed with them), but the flavours are similar and it did go a long way to satisfying my Easter craving.

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For this bread recipe you will need:
500g unbleached white bread flour (strong white)
2 teaspoons mixed spice
45g butter (cut into small cubes)
85g granulated white sugar
zest of 1 lemon
7g sachet of instant yeast (fast action)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg (beaten)
275ml milk (warmed but not boiling)
125g mixed dried fruit

  • Sift the flour and mixed spice into a large bowl.
  • Add the butter and rub together (this is best done by hand) until the mixture takes on the texture of breadcrumbs.
  • Add the sugar and the lemon zest to the mixture.
  • Pour the yeast into one side of the bowl and the salt into the other (the salt if added onto the yeast may prevent it from working properly, and the dough could fail to rise).
  • Mix the dry ingredients together with one hand.
  • Pour the beaten egg and warmed milk to the centre of the bowl and again mix by hand to form a dough.
  • Add a little more milk or flour if the dough is too dry or too sticky.
  • Turn out the contents onto a lightly floured surface, add the dried fruit and carefully work the fruit into the dough until combined.
  • Knead until smooth and elastic, this will take approximately 10 minutes.
  • Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover the top of the bowl with cling film and leave to prove for 2 hours in a warm place (an airing cupboard or oven warming drawer is perfect for this).
  • Once the dough has proved (ideally to at least twice its original size) turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly to remove the air.
  • If you are baking without a loaf tin then flatten the dough into a square and fold.  Re-flatten and fold again, this time at right angles to the first fold, to give you a long side that is about 23cm long the short side should be about 15cm long.
  • Turn the two long sides in to form a tight roll of bread dough and turn this over so that the seam is underneath make sure the ends are closed.
  • Place this roll on a greased baking tray and cover with a clean tea towel to prove again, for about half an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas Mark 7.
  • Bake the loaf for 25 – 30 minutes at 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
  • The loaf will be done when the bottom is hollow to tap, if not put back in for 5 minutes and re-test.
  • Delicious served for breakfast or afternoon tea with lots of butter and a cup of tea.

We’re off to see the Wizard

Oz the Great and Powerful, 2013
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As March break drew to a close yesterday, we took the children to to see Oz the Great and Powerful.

Written up in the cinema guide as the film for anyone who had ever wondered what life was like in Oz before Dorothy landed, I really needed no further encouragement to book tickets.  I absolutely adore the original Wizard of Oz film and have watched it more times than I care to admit, so of course I wanted to know what happened before Dorothy.  As I snuggled down in my seat clutching my bag of Maltesers I actually think I was probably more excited to be seeing the film than my children.

The film has received very mixed reviews from critics and film buffs, but quite frankly I thought they were wrong.  I was bewitched by the story and even my fidgety 7 year old sat still throughout.

There was one thing missing of course – where were the Ruby Slippers?  I only gave up hope of seeing them as the final credits rolled.

Glinda in the Bubble - Oz the Great and Powerful, 2013
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Although the fantastic portrayal by Michelle Williams of Glinda the Good Witch spinning through the sky in her rainbow bubble went a long  way to compensating for this small omission by the director.

All done, I loved it.

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Feet up Ladies!

As the weekend approaches I was absolutely delighted to come across this new article:

Newspaper article

A piece which categorically asserts that women need more sleep than men.

And, this informative snippet was not just in one newspaper but there it was in black and white on countless news-stands.  Amongst other places, you can read it here, here and here…..

Even, better, it was not just a theory, or casual posturing of journalists, but it was OFFICIAL and PROVEN BY SCIENTISTS:  Women need more rest than men.  The articles even asserted that women’s health could suffer as a result of sleep deprivation!

So, this Saturday, and for good measure I would most definitely suggest Sunday as well, toes-up ladies; breakfast in bed; idly scan the weekend papers; dust-off that chick-lit novel you have been meaning to read for months; and, generally take it easy.

For who are we to argue with medically proven scientific facts.

Happy weekend.

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