Sunday 6 April 2014

April so far

I'm guessing that the unpredictable weather we are having at the moment is totally my fault.
That odd rainstorm that brought across the Saharan sand?  That would be because I washed my car the day before. 
The dull drizzly weather we've had after almost a week of sunshine?  That coincides nicely with us taking delivery of a new outdoor sofa for the patio.
So that's it.  I'm not planning any more fair weather activities so maybe the warm dry weather will return.
In between washing cars and building sofas I have been doing creative things but I can't share what I've been up to on my blog because they're going overseas to someone who reads this so my creative activities will have to stay a secret until they have safely arrived to their destination.  They haven't even made it to the post office yet so don't hold your breath! In fact, getting them packed into an envelope would be a good start wouldn't it?
After mentioning Greek Easter Biscuits recently, a few people asked for the recipe so without further ado ... Recipe from Luke at The Lemon Tree Restaurant
50g pitted medjool dates
50g Dark Chocolate - any dark chocolate will work but Chef recommends Willie's Venezuelan Rio Caribe Chef's chocolate drops
125g pecan nuts (I used pistachio)
125g plain flour
75g cold, diced unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
Vanilla seeds from a pod or vanilla essence

Place the dates and chocolate in a processor and blend together. Place in a mixing bowl and use your hands to make small 1cm sized balls of the date and chocolate mix. Set aside.
Clean the processor bowl then place the pecan nuts in and blitz to a fine powder. Add the flour, butter, sugar and vanilla to the nuts in the processor and blitz together to a fine breadcrumb.
Place the mix in a bowl and add about 2 teaspoons of water and mix it in lightly with your hands. Take a handful of the shortbread mix, pop a chocolate ball in and carefully mould the mix round the chocolate aiming for a biscuit the size of a walnut.
Place the biscuits on a baking tray covered in parchment paper, and bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees for 30 minutes. Leave to cool until the biscuits are able to be handled.
When they are ready roll each biscuit in a dish of icing sugar being generous with the covering. Leave to cool for a further 30 minutes then re-roll in the icing sugar. When the biscuits are re-rolled they are ready to eat and will keep well for days in an airtight
And that's just where Luke is wrong - Mine did not keep for days due to the fact that they were so popular they got eaten very quickly!

I've been in a bit of a cooking frame of mind this month, having received the new Mary Berry recipe book for my birthday.  I have made about six things out of it and every single one has been a total success.  Have you seen any of the episodes of the series that is on BBC on a Monday?  This is the book that goes with the series and I wholeheartedly recommend it.  The family are a little pleased, yet amused by my enthusiasm for all things Mary, especially  on Monday evening when I was heard to say to the dog 'Come on Coco, let's get comfortable, Mary Berry will be on any moment' and as I settled down on the sofa, she (Coco, not Mary) snuggled up next to me as if she were watching it too.

The Italian lessons are still going well, and it's surprising how much we have picked up.  Did I mention that my husband and I have downloaded the Duolingo app and are preparing ourselves for our summer holiday?  Try it, you'll be surprised how good it is for a free app. We have a family who live in our cul de sac whose mother is Italian and the other day when I was coming back from a dog walk, I heard her say something to their little girl about the lovely little white puppy.Il bellissimo cagnolino bianco.  This is my chance, I thought, I'll practise my Italian on them.   What should I say?  Should I talk about the weather?  Ask her what her name was?  Then the mum continued talking to the little girl and was speaking at 100 miles and hour.  There was no chance I would be able to converse.  Even if I could make her understand me, I would never understand her reply!  So I resorted to a smile and a 'Ciao' and ran indoors.  Things have got to improve a LOT before July ...


Sian said...

There's a girl here with a birthday coming round soon and I bet she would love that Mary book. While I would vote for Sewing Bee, she is a Bake Off fan

Anonymous said...

Hope you get a chance to enjoy the outdoor sofa this week x

Anonymous said...

I got a chuckle out of your weather issues. My mother always used to plan outdoor birthday parties for me and it always seemed to rain. Hope your weather improves.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Those cookies/biscuits sound delicious!

alexa said...

You have made me smile :), with your knack of telling a funny story. I'm more of a Sewing Bee person myself. but I remember Mary Berry first time around - isn't it great that she gets two bites of the cherry (cake)? There's a career for you!

Alison said...

Your comment about your Italian made me smile...I have just come in from meeting with a couple of the local Spanish women from the village who are keen to to meet up once a week for a language exchange programme,...we are hoping to start next week....I feel a blogpost coming on!
Alison xx